In this latest round of software updates on the DirecTV HR20 HD DVR, they've finally introduced "smart" technology into the experience of fast forwarding or rewinding through a show. By "smart" I mean "forgiving."
The situation they've addressed is to help compensate for people's slow reaction times when speeding through a recorded show. If you're fast-forwarding through a block of commercials and you see the show's started again, by the time your brain sends the signal to your finger to press the PLAY button, you're already several seconds into the show already and have to rewind. No matter how hair-trigger your own response times, you still miss a couple seconds of shows.
The brilliant folks at TiVo took this into account from the start and always backed up the show a few seconds from when you hit the PLAY button when rewinding or fast-forwarding. A nice touch that demonstrates they really pay attention to how folks use technology, and a great demonstration of technology closing an interface gap seamlessly.
So, having been trained on a TiVo for three years, you can imagine our frustration when we discovered the HR20 did not compensate for this gap and we had to relearn how to fast forward and rewind through a lot of trial and error to get our timing and prediction skills honed.
Flash forward to this past week, and the good folks on the HR20 dev team have at last introduced this compensation feature so that the DVR automatically backs up five seconds from the moment you press the PLAY button. At last!
On another front (following up on my DirecTV Ka-Lo upconversion process) we're at last seeing the lineup of HD channels expand. This morning I see in the menu a total of 21 high-def channels (up from eight), and the DirecTV folks are promising 100 High-Def channels by the end of the year. Now we get to see the Weather Channel folks in all their HD goodness 24 hours a day!