Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bad Design: Comcast's DVR

Comcasts DVR solution is a steaming pile. I have had a few of them in the past five years and each one, rather than getting better, is seemingly worse in some respect. I now just live with it. The usability of the on screen display is horrible - that I can somewhat understand (not that I am happy about it), because it was probably the next to last thing Comcast thought about - they just wanted get their product out the door so they could begin their market takeover.

The piece that disappoints the most though is the hardware itself. The remote and the actual DVR unit do not communicate well at all. I will hit the Menu button and 10 seconds later it will load up. But since I am impatient I hit the menu button four more times in that 10 seconds. These presses are queued up and the menu loads and closes four times. Channel surfing is just as bad. Sometimes it takes the input from the remote right away, other times there is a huge delay and as the button presses get queued up, you end up overshooting the channel you want.

The DVR fast forward and pause functionality is hurt because of this as well. How many times have I overshot the end of a commercial break by over two minutes because the damn remote won't accept the play input.

Comcast needs to put some serious effort in the quality of the hardware they are delivering as well as the embedded software solution that runs it. They should open this up to 3rd parties and let consumers choose what DVR software to use. I would pay for a 3rd party solution that works then use the current offering - that said I give Comcast so much money a month just so I can get HD, that their solution should be more than sufficient.

Anyway, rant over, going to go watch some TV now...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve always been, how do I say this politely…underwhelmed by Comcast’s DVR’s. However in contrast, I’ve had DISH Network for years (and recently started to work for them too) and have been phenomenally impressed by their DVR’s. They’re pretty easy to use (the learning curve isn’t bad at all), they have a huge hard drive for recording space and the menu’s and guides are easy on the eyes. They’ve one a good number of awards at electronics shows and after first hand experience, I can see why.

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