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.