Moxi HD DVR guide
Reviewing a DVR isn't like reviewing a Blu-ray player or the latest HDTV -- at least not when it is something with a totally different user experience like the new Moxi DVR -- to do it right, it takes time, you have to spend some your days and nights with it watching all your favorite shows. But rather than keep our initial impressions of the new Moxi HD DVR all boxed up while we run it through the paces, we figured we'd share 'em with you to hold you over while you wait for the full details. First off we'd like to set some expectations though. If you are even thinking your provider's DVR compares to this, then think again, it just doesn't. The fact is that none of the providers care about your DVR experience and all do as little as possible -- what do you expect for basically free? The real context to read these impressions with is "how does it compare to TiVo or Windows Media Center?"

Unboxing the Moxi HD DVR

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Good

  • User interface looks great in HD, including the animated transitions and translucences.
  • Resolution settings are appreciated, including pass-through (720p is output as 720p, 1080i as 1080i, etc)
  • Skip is adjustable 30 seconds, 3 mins, 5 mins etc.
  • Setup was easy, appreciate the fact that we didn't have to re-run a "guided setup" to add the CableCARD.
  • Sound effects are configurable (high, med, low, mute).
  • Online scheduling does real time conflict resolution, nice -- but it did show up in both places and never went away on the TV.
  • Moxi LED on the front is configurable, you can even turn it off.
  • The website makes it easy to schedule and even delete recordings.
  • Changing priorities is painless.
  • You can disable the backlight on the remote to save batteries.
  • Recording buffer builds while you are watching recorded TV.
  • Hitting record while watching Live TV also records buffer.
  • There are dual live buffers.
Bad
  • No guide button on the remote, Moxi button takes you to last menu you were at.
  • No clear all or select all in channel list edit screen, and the selected item doesn't change to the next one when you change one. So it took a long time to clear over 1000 useless FiOS TV channels (music foreign languages).
  • Can't edit channel numbers to make channel 10, 10, instead of 620.
  • Channel logos are nice, but when there's no channel logo it should show the number instead of a square, the generic square makes it impossible to identify the station.
  • No grid guide option (list only shows 3 shows, when there is room for like 6 or 7).
  • Dolby Digital output wasn't on by default.
  • Channels don't change fast -- not slow either.
  • UI is usually snappy, but does lag at times like when entering text to search.
  • Conflict resolution is confusing, would make more sense just to ask what show you wanted to record.
  • Two tuners is almost never enough.
  • There seems to be no way to set recording defaults.
  • Recording something is a multi-button affair and the record button doesn't work if you are in certain menus.
  • The back and next button doesn't work like you'd think it would (not talking about the skip fwd and replay).
  • Moxi online scheduling doesn't pull your custom channel list.
  • Grid on website has lots of white space and should list more than 2 hours of programming.
  • Moxi.com is slow.
  • Search results on Moxi.com lists duplicates, so if a show is on every day, it'll show up 7 times.
  • Can't edit series recording settings on website.
  • No way to setup a keyword series recording.
  • In some ways the UI seems like the intention was to add additional clicks.
  • Lists are all backwards to every other guide in the world, so 1 is at the bottom, 10 is at the top.
  • Not possible to go back and see what was on.
  • On the remote there are letters on the number buttons, but they can't be used when entering text.
  • No skip to tick like TiVo.

Ugly
  • Recording defaults are useless, every single recording had to be edited. For example "keep" is set to 2 days instead of "til space is needed"!
  • Hitting stop while watching recorded TV takes you to live TV? What?
  • Not easy to tell why a show won't record from the guide. So in other words, if there is a series for The Big Bang Theory, but it doesn't have an icon indicating it is set to record, (speaking of which, the icon is a pie chart, how does that make sense?). There should be an icon to indicate you have a series recording. Basically you have to figure it out yourself. The context menus don't even change, so "record series is still an option."
  • No HD indicator icon next to shows!
Conclusion
Obviously out of the gate there are more bad than good, but that doesn't mean that in the end the good can't out weigh the bad. At this point though, it's hard to say how much of these are initial setup annoyances that won't be a big deal once we get accustomed to how the box works. But right now it's really hard to say if the really good looking interface will be enough to overcome the seemingly annoying usability issues. The other thing we'd really like to point out is that this device has only been on the market for a few months and that there has already been one pretty big software update, so it wouldn't surprise us if many of these complaints weren't addressed in short order. Who knows they might even be resolved before our full review is published.

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Moxi HD DVR initial impressions