Remember Windows ME?

 

Remember how it looked so pretty, but usually ended with the famous blue screen at least once a day?

 

Well, relive all that fun now with Time Warner Cable’s latest navigator update to version 7 (7.2.0.5 actually).

 

Last week over a 2 night period, this massive update happened.  On night one, the update took approximately 2 hours to fully install, the first part of version 7.  The next night, a second update installed the ODN extensions, which took about 15 minutes total.

 

First the good news (to some), DVR compensation is back and still just as cryptic as ever.  As I pointed out in the past, this is a horrible feature and seeing it return is stomach churning.

 

Another good news item for some is that the guide is now available in 16×9 format with 7 channels showing at once.  Bad news is that the block showing the current running program is distorted somewhat.  Even in standard mode, the guide has a new larger font with bigger spacing between lines, which is good for aging eyes like me.

 

Now for the bad news.  When the “B” button is pressed on the remote, gone is the old search page.  In its place is a menu of 3 or 4 items depending on recent activity.  They are from top to bottom: “What’s Hot”, “Search”, “Genre”, and “In-Progress” (optional if watching something on demand).

 

“What’s Hot” shows a sort of twitter-like trending list of top shows with graphics (sometimes). “Genre” shows a list of different types of programs and clicking on one of them expands to a long list of programs fitting that genre.  I find this the least effective and dumbest feature in this update.

 

The largest change comes with the “Search” option.  Here you can search by title, cast, channel, sports (why single this out?), or all of them at once.  The block to pick the letters and numbers has shrunk considerably and is extremely hard to read especially on a small TV.  However, when selecting say a cast member and typing in part of their name and then clicking on the desired name may bring up a long list of programs.  In this list, there might be some series programs as well.  Click on the program title and you may get a long list of episodes divided up by season number.  While I have felt that this feature is long needed, it is made excessively more difficult to find when a particular person appeared on a particular episode using this new search.  The search should be limited to the particular episode and not be an exhaustive list of airings of a series for that week.  This seems to be more of a bug than a feature.

 

Speaking of bugs, here is a list of other bugs I have noticed during my week of testing:

 

  • Resolving conflicts is no longer easy.  One must go into the guide and delete unwanted conflicts or click on the shows that they don’t want to tape, then hit cancel recording.  Either way, it is more key presses than in the past.
  • Graphics in the “What’s Hot” screen and the program screen may not appear.  It seems that this is a cloud based feature which is downloaded when a graphic is available or when the box can access its server.  I find many of these graphics annoying as they appear to be mostly scans of old DVD front art.
  • Shows that you delete for not wanting to record keep reappearing day after day.  Once you say that you don’t want to tape a show for a particular time it should be gone for good not keep coming back.
  • The star rating system from movies is gone.  This feature I found to be one of the most desirable as it gave me some idea of how good or bad a film was.  This feature needs to be returned.
  • Shows marked for removal of space for new recordings don’t work when new recordings are added and space is limited.  The new recording is either not recorded or truncated.

 

Overall, there are other minor bugs that creep in once in a while, but these are the major ones.  While this is certainly a first step in being a modern system, it like Windows ME has a lot of bugs that prevent full enjoyment.  Hopefully we get another update in the near future correcting some of the above mentioned problems.

 

I am not giving this product a score because this upgrade is incomplete as far as I am concerned, but if I was to give it a grade it would be a 6.

 

 

Please note:  There will be no posting next week in celebration of Thanksgiving.  I will be back in 2 weeks with a new posting at that time.

 

 

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