TIVO vs MySky - which is better?

I’ve been a big evangelist of MySky ever since it arrived and have converted various family, friends and even neighbours to using the box. It has a clean, easy-to-use interface and fantastic functionality making the sagas of programming a VCR and getting the time right a distant memory. I love being able to press a button and know that all future episodes of a show I like are going to be recorded.

Long before MySky, I used to wish we had TIVO here in NZ and now it’s finally arrived. Thanks to TVNZ and Telecom, we’ve been given a TIVO box on loan for a few months to give it a go.

Things I like about TIVO compared with MySky:

No more fiddling around to get to the right place after ad breaks

I love how TIVO jumps to exactly the right place when you stop fast-forwarding through ads! With MySky, I regularly accidentally miss the point where the show comes back after ads and I have to rewind back a bit and fiddle around to get it to the right point unless I’m lucky first time, or stop a bit early when fast-forwarding ads.

Faster fast-forwarding through ads

I haven’t done a timed speed test, but it’s much faster to fast-forward through ads using TIVO.

It’s more like a computer

TIVO seems a lot more like a computer or server where you can transfer files on and off of it reasonably easy from other computers or devices in your house. Maybe this is somehow possible with a MySky box, but it’s less obvious.

Things I don’t like about TIVO compared with MySky:

Buying content is difficult

It’s so much easier to press a couple of buttons and get paid content on MySky. It seems like you have to pre-pay for content on TIVO and you can’t just pay the exact cost of the movie or tv show you want to watch – you have to buy credits in bulk on your computer online (e.g. $30 worth) – not via the TIVO box. I repeatedly tried to watch a free Beyonce music video and followed their instructions carefully but had no luck.

We’re on a medium sized new TV and I found it incredibly difficult to read some of the on-screen instructions for buying content. It’s super tiny white text on a pale blue background. I found it hard to view movie and tv titles – the little pictures of the DVD covers made it hard to make a choice. I’d rather have a nice big list and a photo come up when you roll over the title.

The paid content area has a completely different design to the rest of the TIVO box – it just feels clunky and not easy-to-use.

Deleting content is difficult

I like to keep all my recordings on MySky under control and regulargly go through and bulk delete things I’ve recorded and never got around to seeing. It’s fast and easy on MySky but not on TIVO. You have to go into each recording, scroll down, delete and confirm before repeating the process.

Things I’m not so sure on with TIVO compared with MySky:

I think that when you first get TIVO, you need to either turn off the auto-recordings or spend a decent amount of time telling TIVO the shows you like and don’t like. I didn’t do either and the TIVO box quickly filled up with all sorts of TV shows. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and would see that TIVO was recording not one but two channels for me. I wondered what on earth TIVO thought I’d like. Once you have told it a few shows you like, then it seems much more under control, but it’s a little overwhelming seeing all the things filling up the TIVO box.

I’ll add more to this post as I use TIVO more! If you have any tips or thoughts on these observations, please let me know!

Subscribe to our mailing list

About the author

Co-founder of Throng. Favourite TV shows recently: Homeland and The Newsroom.
More from this author »

  • Spencer

    Until recently I lived in the UK and had the Virgin Media HD device, that provides similar features to MySky (Sky+ in the UK) and TiVo. I am guilty of preferring functionality of the Virgin device over TiVo mainly because I am more familiar with it. With use, the TiVo interface will become easier.

    I have just purchased a TiVo for Christmas and love it so far. I am sure the MySky offering is superior in some respects, but that is mitigated by the ongoing cost of HD content, plus the ridiculous package fees Sky charges (and there is still nothing to watch some nights!)

    I feature I love is that with a download from the US TiVo site, the TiVo can see my iTunes and iPhoto libraries shared from my Mac. Awesome.