Can someone explain how a corporation that has obviously obtained a fair amount of market success could be so stupid as to release this awful “upgrade” to their guide? I’ll be the first to admit that the old system was light-years behind Tivo…but this? Calling this new guide an upgrade is like smashing your mother in the face with a thin slice of lemon wrapped around a Yugo and telling her it’s a filet mignon. So what’s really wrong with it you ask? Where in the world would I begin?
I’ll begin with their inability to tell time. The phone call I received and the notice that came later in the mail said that on Tuesday morning, Ocober 21, I would lose all my saved shows and settings because of this upgrade. When I got home on Tuesday after work, all of my shows were still there and nothing had changes. However, at 1am Wednesday the software install took place. So marketing people, it’s the next day once the clock hits 12:00am. Try to get that straight. I know all this newfangled stuff called “time” is real confusing but let’s do a little research before the next announcement, mmkay?
Let’s talk graphics. Now I know that the visual candy of the program guide really doesn’t affect the functionality of the guide all that much unless you severely tax the woefully underpowered CPUs that are usually installed in these set-top DVRs. HOWEVER, the graphics are reminiscent of 1988’s worst home-brewed ANSI colored interface and the color scheme looks like a reject for the vomit scene of The Exorcist. I really don’t want to look up what shows are coming on now because the overwhelming FAIL makes my eyes bleed and gives my brain a nearly uncontrollable desire to smash me in the face with a thin slice of lemon wrapped around a Yugo until it goes away. Are you getting this down, Comcast? Did you vet the new interface design at all? I mean with people who aren’t legally blind or were the recent recipients of a lobotomy…
DVR functions have been ‘upgraded’ as well…and by upgraded I mean severely hindered to a point of near catatonic uselessness. There was a time very recently that I could be fast forwarding through a part of a recorded show, see the place I want to stop, press the play button, and the unit would know I have only a human reaction time and would jump back a couple of seconds. No need to worry now. Comcast took that highly unwanted feature and tossed it out with yesterday’s lobster dinner leftovers. Because they listen so well to what their customers want, they replaced this with a wonderful new feature that doesn’t try to anticipate human latency. It simply starts playing from the point you press play. This means if you aren’t a precog, you’ll be doing a lot of rewinding at the end of your fast forwarding. Isn’t that just awesome? Seriously, guys, WTF?
Oh yeah, did I mention that the fast forwarding is slower than with the old software? It is much slower. The second level of fast-forward is around the speed of the first level in the old software. It was frustrating enough giving up my beloved Tivo 30-second skip but this just drags things out even more. And lastly in the realm of the DVR problems, I’d say that the way you set up new recordings is unintuitive. No, that’s far too politically correct and sanitized to express my true feelings for the new process. It sucks. It’s stupid and the guy that designed it is an idiot. Why on earth would you take a process that was simple and elegant and then ‘upgrade’ it into a 7 step process that makes no sense whatsoever?
Next there are the browsing options in the channel guide. Gone are the days where you could start typing the name of the show and have an ever narrowing list of results on the right to choose from. Instead we get the all new and improved option to select on the first letter and then scroll through all of the shows starting with that letter until you get to the one you want. Oh, and if the show airs on multiple stations, expect to see multiple entries in the search results. Isn’t that fantastic? Are you excited about this new system? I’m sure you’re just as excited about all of these great new features as I am. And would you like to know how excited I am?
I’m buying an AppleTV this weekend and canceling cable television. Congratulations…you have officially made my television experience Craptastic. I’ll be spending my money on iTunes to get my shows. Lord knows you’ve worked hard enough to drive even loyal customers to anything but your service. You’ve succeeded. I can’t imagine anyone enjoying this stinking load that you’ve just dumped on us.