So, I got the new Time Warner PVR

On Friday I got the new Time Warner DVR/PVR cable box. The guy who came to install it was a great evangelist for the service; he explained how he had had Tivo, but was completely delighted by his time with the TW service. I’m not sure why exactly a technician was required though, TW is generally big on self service and this install wasn’t any more difficult than a non-PVR box. Actually, it seems like everyone wasn’t required to have a technician install their box.

To be specific, the set top is the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000. It’s larger than the normal digital cable box, which was in turn larger than the old style analog boxes I’d
had before that. I guess that’s to be expected considering the DVR case also has to contain the hard drive. Time Warner says the drive can hold up to 30 hours of programming, but the Scientific Atlanta site claims the device is capable of 50 hours. I’m not sure if some of the drive space is being used by TW, or if the technician just misspoke. I’ll post more information once I’ve hit that limit.

I’ve only had it for a day or so, so I’ll post in more detail once I’ve had some time to play with it. At this point, I’ve only hit a few snags (in no particular order):

  • The menus, etc. don’t seem very responsive. I expected this as both of the guides that came with the device specifically mention patience. Hopefully software updates will improve this.
  • The reminder feature, which allowed you to schedule on screen reminders for shows you wanted to see, seems to have been removed. I guess the thinking was that you’d never need to set reminders since you can record shows. That’s wrong, and the feature should be restored.
  • It’s a linux box, and if I’m not mistaken it runs on Sun hardware. shiver
  • The cable companies have turned off the commercial skipping feature. I guess I should have expected that.

I’ve heard rumbles about some other bugs, but as I mentioned my experience has been pretty limited so I can’t chime in.

All in all, it’s been great. The first time I was able to pause a baseball game (last night’s crushing loss actually :( ) and rewind to see the play again I felt like I’d moved ten years into the future. Or at least caught up with the present. Now I just have to force myself not to be glued to the sofa.