"Amazing product with terrible support problems"3.5 starson by shouldbesimple
Pros: Really does revolutionize TV watching
Cons: Almost non-existent network support, picture quality not the best
Summary: TiVo wins the "Best Product Regardless" award. There's no doubt it's the greatest advance in TV watching since the original Betamax VCR, but like the early Betamax it is a half-finished product that is not ready for the average consumer - you know, the guy or girl whose VCR flashed "12:00" the entire time he owned it.
I knew I was in for a rough ride when I saw that every single TiVo box on the shelf at Fry's Electronics in Palo Alto has been returned at least once. If I were not an obsessive systems geek, I'm sure my box would have ended up with one of those stickers on it as well.
The networking capabilities of TiVo are at least half the reason to buy one but, incredibly, TiVo does not provide any networking hardware with their systems (not even an RJ-45 jack!) and right now there are essentially NO compatible network adapters available. After three trips to three different stores (and buying two adapters on TiVo's "approved list" that turned out to be useless) I found a Netgear adapter (WG111NA with serial 130xx) specifically labeled "TiVo Compatible" and it WAS compatible - after hours and hours of reading forum posts and experimenting. If you follow the TiVo recommended procedures, there's no way you'll get it working.
TiVo is now selling its own branded network adapter, which I suppose they must properly support, but it's back-ordered until early March. Based on my experience, I'd get the TiVo-branded adapter in your hand BEFORE you buy any TiVo box. If all you want to do is use the basic recording features the dial-up connection is fine, but once the box is on your network it can help manage all your media: video, music, photos - the works. It becomes a true media hub linking PC/Internet with TV and home audio. This is truly revolutionary...but not yet simple.