Originally Posted by avnstf
In my father's unit (which I bought for him in April of last year), I found that - if a program was set to record - sometimes the grid-guide would show an indicator of this, and sometimes it wouldn't, which was really puzzling.
The guide only indicates what programs are currently recording. It does not indicate future recordings.
To see a list of future recordings, you need to pull up the To Do List
(as a shortcut, press '2' from the TiVo menu). I have this programmed as a sequence on my Harmony remote's LCD (picture
Originally Posted by avnstf
So I don't get it: 1) why should my unit operate differently than my father's? And 2) why WOULDN'T there be an indicator...?
Your unit doesn't operate differently from your father's.
As for why TiVo doesn't have this feature...there's some history to that. The original TiVo software was designed in 1997-1998 without an electronic program guide (EPG). The TiVo software used in public trials during 2H 1998 had guide data, but no EPG; you had to use search to find upcoming programs. We don't know whether this was due to Gemstar's unwillingness to license their EPG patents or TiVo's unwillingness to pay Gemstar's asking price for a patent license. Quote from EETimes in 02/2009:
Macrovision says they will license their listings data, their technology, and their patents to all who want them, and though we did not get into details on pricing, they say it's all reasonable.
This is quite different from the Gemstar of a decade ago, who was notorious for not returning phone calls from designers looking to license their patents, and who sued anyone with deep enough pockets and the nerve to go ahead and make an EPG without Gemstar's blessing.
TiVo and ReplayTV first demonstrated their DVRs to the public at CES in January, 1999. At CES, TiVo lead ReplayTV in core DVR functionality (i.e. ability watch an existing recording while recording something else), but ReplayTV had an EPG and TiVo did not. TiVo spent the next three months on a crash effort to implement an EPG that [they hoped] would not infringe on Gemstar patents.
TiVo went from having no EPG at all in January, 1999 to shipping their product with the "TiVo style" EPG in March, 1999. At the time, TiVo did not know that it would take ReplayTV another 8 months to ship their first units (late August, 1999), so design decisions were made that would allow the company to meet its goal of March release. There was also some concern that the EPG would have to be disabled if Gemstar sued.Despite their efforts on a non-infringing EPG, TiVo was sued by Gemstar for infringement in early 2000. TiVo agreed to to license the Gemstar patents in 2003. At that point, there was nothing stopping them from adding a traditional "grid style" EPG.
As for why a better EPG hasn't been implemented since, TiVo says it would require a major re-engineering effort. Their software was originally designed for use without an EPG, so more seamlessly integrating the two is apparently no small task. TiVo evidently feels that certain EPG improvements for the existing software are/were not worth the costs involved. TiVo has made minor improvements to guide navigation, such as 90min skip (with << and >>) and day +/- (with replay/skip); they also implemented caching to improve responsiveness.
A major redesign of the TiVo software is believed to be underway for new DirecTiVo and standalone DVRs; an improved EPG interface would almost certainly be a part of that. That new software could
debut with the new TiVo hardware coming to Best Buy in early 2010. It's worth noting that TiVo released software for Comcast's Motorola DVRs back in 2007 that included EPG record indicators for both individual and series recordings (screenshot
), so they do have some experience with that particular feature.
For a variety of reasons, I don't expect to see any major
changes on the existing boxes. If you require future record indicators in the guide, then you may want to wait for the new Tivo hardware coming in early 2010. I too would like guide record indicators, but for now, I don't think it's too troublesome to click a button on my remote for the To Do List