PVR Menu systems. Why are they horrible? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-20-2004, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
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My current DVR is the Motorola 6208.

I am so unhappy with it, but in Alaska, it is the only option if i want to get
any use out of my Plasma.

My largest problem with it, is that the menu system literally looks like it was developed by someone legally blind.

- All fonts are displayed in what looks like 150+ pt size

- I can only view 1 hour of menu at a time

- At most i can only make out 4-10 letters of the show names depending if the menu is segmented at the 1/2 hour mark or not.

- There are two massive ads to the left of the screen that take up more than 1/3 of the screen space, and look to be in 4-color CGA resolution.

- Every menu item is displayed in this horrific 'bubble' that looks like this:
------------------------------------
( Insert Menu Item here in 150+ Font )
------------------------------------

- In general, it sucks.


Aside from my whining/ranting/complaining, i have a few questions to ask of those that may be in 'the know' regarding this.

Question 1.) Is there some specific reason that DVR menu systems MUST be designed like this?

Question 2.) Is there some kind of Quality Assurance procedure that these things go through, and why oh why do they let this stuff slide?

Question 3.) Is there a way to upgrade the Menu Systems of my DVR?

Question 4.) Can i come work for you for free, and design a Menu system for you that dies not totally suck?


Thank you for your time.
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-20-2004, 01:58 PM
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Epitome,

PVR menu systems aren't horrible. Your criticisms are specific to the Gemstar TVGuide software, which is vastly inferior to competing DVR platforms. Cable companies only use that software because it is dirt cheap -- it essentially comes free with the box.

Alternatives are available, but they aren't free, and many cable companies choose not to pay extra for them. Below are several screenshots from DirecTV's DVRs. As you can see, the guide is translucent with the current channel in the background. When you pause, you see a progress bar with the start time, end time, and pause time. These boxes also have commercial skipping features, whereas the cheap TVGuide software does not.

http://home.comcast.net/~bklfowler/c...ectv_guide.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~bklfowler/c...rchbytitle.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~bklfowler/tivotimeline.jpg

In November, Comcast also plans to begin upgrading their DVRs with new "iGuide" software that they've been working on for some time now. It still won't be nearly as good as the Tivo software used by DirecTV, but it will be significant improvement over the TVGuide software they are using now. You can see a demo and screenshots here:

http://comcast.com/newguide/flashdemo.html
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-21-2004, 02:24 PM
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Ours looks great we use Pioneer Passport Echo
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-21-2004, 02:27 PM
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here is the List of shows recorder
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-29-2004, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I really appreciate the responses, and the pictures are proof positive that not all manu systems suck.

Just mine apparently lol.

Is there a way i can upgrade the menu system of my Motorola 6208?

Is the menu system hardware limited, or can any PVR accept any menu system?

Is it possible that i can pester GCI cable up here enough that they upgrade thier menu system to something that does not suck?


thank you for your time and replies.
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-29-2004, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Is the menu system hardware limited, or can any PVR accept any menu system?
Only certain software is available for certain hardware platforms. However, there are three or four different platforms available for the 6208, and all of the others are a significant improvement over TVGuide software you are using now.

Quote:
Is it possible that i can pester GCI cable up here enough that they upgrade thier menu system to something that does not suck?
They may have plans to move to the improved iGuide at some point. I doubt you'll have any impact on their plans though; it costs a cable company millions to tens of millions to deploy an entirely new software platform -- software isn't free, nor is the time and resources it takes to deploy and support it on customers' boxes.

The only thing you can do is write (email and snail mail) and visit the local office in person to complain, in the hope that your feedback will make it to someone that has some say in the decisions.
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-30-2004, 07:12 AM
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I find the Menuing system on the ReplayTV quite agreeable. It is all grid-style layout (just like a satellite receiver menu or digital cable box). It is also translucent so you can kinda see what is going on behind the menu. I only wish that it had a thumbnail picture of the currently viewed program in the corner. This is one thing that Guide+ has that I actually like (my parents have a RCA DRS7000 that uses Guide+).

If Necessity is the mother of invention, then Laziness is surely the father.

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