Know What You're Selling

Loyal readers know that I’m a troglodyte who doesn’t believe in Tivo. My problem is that I’m sold on the Tivo DVR but I’m sceptical about the Tivo service. And since the first doesn’t work without the second, I can’t commit to the purchase.

The good news is that Tivo has licensed Tivo Basic to Toshiba and Pioneer for their integrated DVR/DVD units. Tivo Basic is what happens when Tivo can only see 3 days in advance – no forward looking services such as season pass, wish list, or repeat skipping. This is perfect for sceptics, as it comes with a free trial and provides a fallback position if Tivo is too expensive.

The bad news is the selection in entry level Tivo Basic DVR’s is pretty slim. And the most interesting product that turned up in my search is the non-Tivo Sharp DV-HR300 DVD/DVR. Unfortunately, Sharp marketing has absolutely no clue about what they’re selling.

If you’re in the market for a DVR, then your top four features [in no particular order] are:

  1. Ease of programming
  2. Time Shift Viewing – real time pause and resume
  3. Chasing Playback – viewing a program from the beginning while it’s being recorded
  4. Watching while Recording

The DV-HR300 loses on ease of programing. Sharp doesn’t license Tivo Basic, so the DV-HR300 programs like a VCR. And I’ll be darned if their site says anything about the other three. Fortunately, a review on the Amazon DV-HR300 product page mentions an article in Sound and Vision. A quick trip to my local library for the DV-HR300 review confirms all three are supported.

Attention Sharp Marketing – do you think that it would be possible to actually mention three key product benefits on your site. And I assume that it I can watch a program stored on the hard disk while recording, then I can watch a DVD while recording. But it’d be nice to know for sure.

BTW, the other product I’m looking at is the Toshiba SD-H400. The Toshiba has Tivo Basic and is about $100 cheaper. But the Sharp has DVD-R/RW recording capability. I’ll let you know what I choose.