About three weeks ago we decided to get cable again after a 2 ½ year break because Hulu owned by NBC Universal, Disney/ABC and Fox started delaying shows by 30 days after broadcast unless you subscribe to a participating satellite/cable provider; Cox is not one of the participating providers at time of writing.
We have started recording the shows we like on the DVR until we have watched the previous episodes on Hulu after the 30 day delay period then in all likelihood we will cancel Hulu completely as we wont need it because we have the DVR, Hulu is useless to us as Cox is not a Hulu partner at this time.
So Contour itself; it’s OK, but has issues with connectivity, the iPad app is a good idea but we have lots of connectivity issues and also doesn’t allow for watching programs you have recorded on the DVR on the iPad; plus it’s only available on your own home network; so don’t get any ideas of taking television with you when you go on vacation or business trips, which is a big negative for me.
The Cisco/Cox Record 6 DVR is generally good, no problems with setting and watching recordings but the recordings are not high motion encodings; in fast moving scenes there is a good amount of pixelation. Watching TV is fine in general, although often channels go “offline” saying there is no TV signal being received. The HD channels output in 1080i video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio for the most part but we have experienced intermittent video and audio breakup. Occasionally I also get a failed recording because it has disappeared from the program guide after the recording was set using the guide.
We also have the Cisco client box in our bedroom which connects to the main box in the living room to set and watch DVR recordings; but there seems to be connectivity issues, recorded programs refuse to play on the client box roughly one in every four times, but will play fine if I watch it on the Record 6 DVR box in the living room, there are clear communication issues between the Record 6 DVR and client box.
Obviously the biggest marketing point is the personalized recommendations but we really don’t use the service. We know what we want to watch and most of the recommendations are kids programming as the kids use the TV more than the wife and I do. So I suppose it works, but it’s not really used.
The question is “is it worth upgrading?”; and the answer is; it depends on what you currently have; if you already have HD Television and a DVR then it’s probably not worth upgrading unless you are a prolific recorder of programs; in which case the six tuners and 2TB hard disk would be a nice bonus for you. If you are upgrading from non-HD or straight into the back of your TV cable, then it’s definitely worth the upgrade, high quality video, digital 5.1 audio and many more viewing choices.