Rob's Blog

Monday, October 31, 2005

TiVo vs Moxi DVR

I've been using the new Charter DVR with Moxi for nearly a month now. It's connected to our plasma TV in the living room. We also have two TiVo boxes, a Series 2/540 model upstairs and a Toshiba SD-H400 with DVD also connected to the plasma TV. The Moxi box has become our primary system for watching TV downstairs.

The Moxi interface is quite different from the TiVo interface. Both are navigated with the remote control. TiVo's menus are arranged in a standard vertical list. Moxi's menu "buttons" are arranged in a horizontal scrolling list, with each button having a vertical scrolling menu. This is strange at first, but you get used to it very quickly. The Moxi interface takes full advantage of the TV's widescreen and high-definition display, and there is a TV picture window always displayed in the upper right corner while in the menus. The interface is very pretty, especially compared to TiVo's spartan white text on a green background. (The Moxi recently won an Emmy award for their interface.) One downside to the Moxi interface is that the guide doesn’t display as much information on screen as TiVo does, requiring you to scroll to see more shows. Also, when the current time approaches an hour or half-hour boundary, TiVo flips the guide to that time so that you can see what's getting ready to start. Moxi does not do this; instead the channels flip to the new show after the time has passed.

The Moxi DVR comes with an 80 GB hard drive, the same as our TiVo box. We haven't had any problems with space so far, but the more HD programs you record, the more quickly the space is used. It would be nice if the USB or Firewire ports could be used to expand the hard drive space.

The picture quality on the Moxi box is far better than the TiVo box. After years with TiVo, I have not realized how bad it looks. The High-Def and Digital channels look crisp and clear on Moxi. On TiVo, they have that "digitized" look to them, even on best quality (which is what my TiVo recording default is set on). After using the Moxi for this time, TiVo just looks awful. As for the analog channels, the quality is pretty much the same between the TiVo and the Moxi, but we feel that the Moxi is slightly better.

Besides for recording High-Def channels, the Moxi is able to record two channels at one time. You can also record two channels and watch something that's already recorded at the same time. With the dual tuners, we hardly ever see the "Moxi needs to change a channel to record..." message like you often see with TiVo. Another plus is that since the Moxi is the cable box, it never records the wrong channel. On occasion, TiVo's IR blaster would miss a channel change, and when it happens, it really sucks. Both of these features are TiVo killers.

The "wish lists" feature on TiVo is implemented much better than on Moxi. TiVo allows you to save your searches and can even auto-record them. The Moxi doesn’t record suggestions as TiVo does, but I don’t even miss that feature.

One TiVo feature I miss is the networking features. I didn't really use the TiVo-To-Go features all that much. We did use the pictures and the music on occasion. On the Moxi, the Music menu option displays the list of digital music channels. The Pictures option has a sample album and a Load Pictures option. Selecting it prompts you to connect your USB card reader to load pictures onto the Moxi's hard drive. I can't imagine I would ever do this. TiVo's web scheduling is nice as well. Hopefully, Moxi is working on networking features similar to TiVo.

The Moxi also has several games to choose from in the Games menu. They are basic, Flash-type games, nothing really great. There is also a "Ticker" option, which can be activated by selecting the Ticker menu option or pressing the Ticker remote button. It displays a scroll on the bottom of the screen that shows weather, news, sports scores. Like the games, it's neat to play with once, but then you'll never use it again.

Also, it was free for me to hook up the TiVo box. The Charter box cost $49 for installation. I had to help the guy hook up the box and figure out for myself how to set the screen to 16:9 720P and Dolby Digital. The only thing he really did was call Charter and read the numbers off the back of the box. The monthly fee for Moxi in my area is $14.

When TiVo comes out with a high-def box, I will definitely look into buying one. I think that the competition from the cable DVRs will only make the TiVo product better. Until then, I will enjoy the Moxi.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I just watched the new Madonna documentary "I'm going to tell you a secret." It was really interesting. It was a more mature, more spiritual Madonna. It's a nice contrast to "Truth or Dare." I wish the musical numbers were unedited, though. The edits are rather jarring, especially during the opening number, "Vogue."


Thursday, October 20, 2005

I switching my web host plan. I noticed that the plans that Interland offered were substantially cheaper than the plan that I currently have with them, while also offering 4 times the disk space and 250 times the bandwidth. I called and switched plans which was easy enough. Of course, now I have to copy my entire web site to a new server. That sucks. Hopefully I will be able to get everything copied over and working by this weekend so that I can have them throw the switch ASAP. That should save me about $70 bucks a month. (Yeah, I know. I was getting screwed before.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

NBC has given my favorite new sci-fi/mystery show this year "Surface" a full-season run. Cool. If you don't watch it, you should give it a try.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

OK. Get this. I'm at work today and 'Asian Guy' is listening to an MP3 player. 'Southern White Guy' asks him, "You listenin' to William Hung?" I turned around and was shocked, thinking "WTF? Why does he have to be listening to William Hung, you ignorant redneck?" But then again, maybe I was just being a little over-sensitive. Nah... Of course, 'Asian Guy' didn't know who William Hung was and Country Guy tried to explain. 'Asian Guy' said he was listening to music, not songs. No words.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I have an appointment with Charter today to install the new DVR with Moxi. It will be so nice to be able to record two shows at once time in High-Def. A Moxi vs TiVo review coming soon!