What TiVo can learn from the phone company

I recently purchased a TiVo HD. The TiVo was pre-activated, so I didn’t have to activate it on tivo.com.

Before I pass on my old TiVo (a series 2), I want to transfer the programs from it to my new TiVo HD. In order for transfers to work:

  • both DVRs must have active service agreements
  • “allow transfers” must be enabled on tivo.com
  • both DVRs must be associated with the same tivo.com account

For some reason, my new TiVo was associated with the account of the person who ordered it, not my account.

I called TiVo, confirmed a few details, and they sorted everything out.

So, what’s the problem? It requires human intervention. The first time I attempted this process, the TiVo call center was closed. This account transfer should be a self-service option.

When I forget my password for AT&T’s web site, they text me a new one. It’s a pretty smart idea — communicating the secure information out-of-band.

My TiVo should have a unique identifier — other than the service number — that’s only visible from the device itself. Since my TiVo connects to the Internet already, this should be pretty straightforward. Once I enter that information, TiVo can confirm ownership of the box, and transfer it over to my account.

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