Monday, April 16, 2012

Tivo Vs SARA

We have a Tivo box in our house because I worked one day over the Christmas break, 7 or 8 years ago. We were doing something with Tivo at that time and they requested that we support them over that holiday period, and those of us who agreed to were given both the box and a lifetime subscription to the service. Vicki has loved it ever since I brought it home, not the least of which because of its knack for finding interesting things to record that she ends up enjoying.

Anyway, last night's episode of Mad Men wasn't watched by us "in real time" as it usually would be because Julie was over and the 3 of us were talking our way through the Freakonomics movie that we streamed on Netflix. I wasn't concerned, though, as I knew that SARA (our Rogers box) would record each showing of it. And it did: there were 3 copies of it waiting for us tonight when we sat down to watch it.

Unfortunately, it seems that the show before it on AMC, The Killing, ran long, forcing Mad Men to start (and end) late. Despite having 3 different recordings, we didn't have the final couple minutes of the episode. Quite frustrating!

But then we remembered that the Tivo box always records Mad Men upstairs, which is how we saw Season 4 after I got into it last year. So off Vicki went to check, and sure enough: there it was (once only), with adjusted start time so that it got the entire episode!

And there it was: the difference between a first class PVR box and... well, SARA. Now I know enough about the cable industry to realize that problems like this often boil down to the upstream data provider's accuracy and timeliness, rather than the software or hardware on the box. But somehow Tivo always seems to get it right, whereas Rogers just doesn't.

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