Just got back from CES and a brand TiVo DVR has been sitting patiently in my living room. I know the device isn't for sale in the UK anymore, but it is so easy to set up and operate that even this cynical reporter was amazed by it wants to share his experiences with you.
As I'm writing this, the appliance is playing mp3 music files through the home cinema set, streaming the music from my iMac (it can also show my iPhoto pictures). Getting access to these files took literally zero setup.
It won't however play AAC music that was bought in the iTunes music store. Apple chooses no to allow streaming of AAC content to 3rd party appliances. Some day this will come and haunt them for sure.
Hooking up the TiVo to my wireless network turned out to be the biggest headache. I refused to turn off WEP encryption, which is what the TiVo helpdesk suggested initially after we couldn't get a connection. It turned out that I had to change some settings in my Netgear wireless router and then all was fine. Nothing that TiVo should be blamed for. (Wishlist items: TiVo currently doesn't support WPA wireless security. Also, you have to manually go in and adapt the firewall settings. Again something that is due to OS X's features.)
I'm not sure what amazes me more. That TiVo actually supports media streaming from an Apple computer (Linksys doesn't! - and their media adapter is the best selling device in this category), or how easy it was to get all this working.
It also raises some serious questions about the viability of Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition. The cheapest Media Center PC at HP costs $879.99 (monitor not included).
The TiVo and network adapter set me back $ 130 (plus a monthly subscription fee to get the electronic program guide). With a device that's so easy to set up, it's obvious who will win the war over digital living room.
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