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Hands-on the Moxi HD DVR summer update: So close, but yet so far

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Digeo just pushed the summer Moxi HD DVR update and I had to check it out. I had a few issues with the DVR after the last release that was supposed to be resolved. One, I hate the vertical channel guide bar thing and the summer update added a traditional grid guide. Two, the GUI was supposed to be faster now and require less button presses. Three, the player was finally suppose to be able to playback more video file formats like AVI and MKV.

Spoiler: Digeo fixed two out of the three issues mentioned above and ignored other glaring problems like the fantastically funny but also very offensive Porn search tool.

If you read my review of the Moxi HD DVR, you should know that I’m not a fan of the vertical bar channel guide. I think it’s a pain and doesn’t utilize the widescreen layout of an HDTV efficiently. But the summer update was supposed to add a grid guide and that was the first thing I checked out.

moxi-grid-guide-remote

So I went to the settings, and sure enough it was enabled. I then quickly navigated to the Channel icon (and ignored the onscreen message about the grid guide in the settings menu) only to discover that damn vertical bar was still there. So this time when I went back to the settings, I actually read the message that explained the only way to access the grid guide was to hit the little square icon on the remote twice.

moxi-grid-guide

Yeah, so when you hit the Moxi button, you still have the vertical channel guide. When you navigate to the guide through anything else, you still have the vertical channel guide. The only way to get the grid guide – which looks like it was designed by an 8th grader btw – is to hit the little square icon on top of the remote twice. Dumb.

There is some good news though. This update does speed up the GUI a bit. It doesn’t lag like it did before, which is always nice. Also, when navigating the network shares, you no longer have to hit the back button twice. A single click to the left navigates the system down one step. Before the GUI would ask you if you wanted to step back even though you hit the back button. This was a huge pain if you where several directories into a network share.

But – this is rich – now when navigating the network, the GUI asks you if you want to enter the folder you just clicked. Let me you walk you through this. I select PlayOn Media Server and click OK. The GUI then asks me if I really want to enter that folder, which I then must confirm by clicking OK again. Then I select Videos, which prompts the same confirm screen that I have to say OK again to. Then I can select the genre of movie I want to watch. But don’t forget about that confirmation screen which wants to make sure that you really want to enter the folder you just selected.

I don’t get it, folks. Navigating a menu should be as easy as possible with no extra steps. I think the purpose of this confirmation screen is to allow users to add the folder to a favorites menu, but there must be a better way of doing things. The current method is downright aggravating.

Just as Diego promised though, the Moxi HD DVR can playback more video file formats including AVI and MKV. Although, don’t expect to be able to watch any MKVs though as it seems that the speed is too slow and the playback is very choppy on larger files. AVIs playback fine although this is something that PlayOn resolved a few weeks ago. But now you can use any DLNA service including TVersity and Twonky.

moxi-porn

I still have one major issue with the Moxi HD DVR and that’s the search tool. As a family man, I really don’t want my child seeing descriptions of 18 Petite N Creamy, 18 Year Old Dream Teens, or any of the hundred other programs shown in the search tool. The problem is that these stations are available from Comcast, and even though I don’t subscribe to them (promise), all the programs show up in alphabetical order starting with numbers. This is a major problem I noted in my review that still hasn’t been addressed. The search tool should not show you programs on stations that aren’t available, pornographic in nature or not.

I would grade the Moxi summer update as a C. It’s not failing, but it’s also not excelling. These tiny fixes and poor implementation of a grid guide probably could have been rolled out without any fanfare. Don’t get me wrong, this $800 HD DVR is dramatically better than anything cable offers, but it still doesn’t reach the level of usability or function set by TiVo years ago.

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