NTL DVR Gripes

I’ve been using the NTL/UPC DVR (Digital Video Recorder) for a few weeks now, and although it seems to do the job of recording programmes quite well, I must say that the software implementation is quite poor. There seems to have been very little thought put into the user interface – which is shocking when competitor systems from TiVo and SKY+ have been around on the market for so long.

No dedicated button on the remote

With the record and playback functionality being so important to the unit, it’s a real shame that there’s no dedicated button on the remote control that accesses these features. Indeed the remote control is identical to the one supplied with non-DVR digital cable boxes, which seems like an unnecessary compromise, particularly as I have to do four button presses to access my list of recordings.

Backup doesn’t remember place in the list

If I select to watch a programme, and then exit back to the list of recordings using the backup button, the first show in the list is highlighted, instead of the show I just watched. And so, if I wanted to continue watching or delete the show, I’ve got to find it again on the list.

Poorly designed TV Guide

I must say the TV guide provided with the DVR is probably one of the worst I have ever seen, in terms of layout and design. Only about half of the screen is used to show listings information, meaning that you can only view 6 channels at a time, and 90 minutes of programmes at a time. From memory, the TiVo and SKY+ offerings are vastly superior, and a lot more intuitive to use.

No Season Pass

This is the huge omission, and my biggest gripe by far – the lack of a season pass feature, whereby in a single action you can tell the box to record all episodes of a particular programme. TiVo and SKY+ have had this functionality for years, but it is strangely absent from the NTL DVR. I do hope that the DVR manufacturers rethink this omission, and include it future software updates.

Posted by Richard

Richard has been blogging since 2000 about technology, cycling, singing, and life in general. Follow him @richbloomfield on Twitter.

3 Replies to “NTL DVR Gripes”

  1. I have the Telewest version (now Virgin, although they ain’t never changed the sticker on it) and it is pretty good. Its a diff remote that has a dedicated button to access the TVDrive functions. I can record Series with one button, however it does have an annoying habit of not recognising that summat is a Series and not giving you the option….
    Its nae bad tho’
    Happy NY btw.


  2. An additional gripe I have with the UPC DVR is that is seems to delete the schedule of TV programmes to record, every time the box is switched off (even into standby).


  3. This is an interesting feature of the DVR that I just discovered recently. If you cease to subscribe to a particular channel, then you will not be able to play any recordings from that channel.


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