I just recently exchanged a Rogers Nextbox 2.0 for a new Cisco 9865 (Nextbox 3.0) HDPVR. I was willing to give Rogers one last chance before abandoning them altogether and signing up with Bell Fibe TV. It’s not that the Rogers television service is bad or the monthly fees are out of line with its competitors, it was just the PVR’s that are supplied by them are atrocious. Based on my return record, I would say more than 80% of them had problems, since I rented the equipment it did not cost me anything to exchange them but after the 4th or 5th time it was getting frustrating. The reasons for the returns included: non responsiveness, endless rebooting, incorrect scheduled recordings, the list goes on. I sometimes think that this bad record is due to the fact that I was likely getting refurbished PVR’s every time I exchanged them but similar problems are described by people purchasing new units from third party suppliers such as Future Shop or Best Buy. I can’t imagine that it makes good business sense from Rogers’ point of view, having so many dissatisfied customers that can’t view their services because the hardware they get from Cisco/Scientific Atlanta is of such low quality. They should just stick to the business of providing good television services and leave the hardware supplying to company’s that have proven track records, a company such as TiVO. With this as a background, I decided to give them one last chance.
I was sort of hoping that the good reviews that I read about the Nextbox 3.0 were true, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt when the device took more than 30 minutes to start up. Once it did finally turn on, after repeated re-boots, I experienced all types of problems with it, even worst than those I experiences with the Nextbox 2.0. I would normally have patience and attempt to re-boot it myself or call Rogers and talk to some tech on the telephone. This time I took the box back the very next day and was ready to unload on the Rogers representative. Chalk it up to their training, the rep was very apologetic and said that some of the new units have problems with them, he then gave me another unit without blinking an eye. Rather taken aback, I took the unit home and hooked it up, not expecting much. Well, I was pleasantly surprised, as soon as I plugged it in it showed signs of life. As has been noted by other reviewers the start up took about 5 minutes compared to 20 minutes for previous models. I also found that it was much more responsive than the Nextbox 2.0. So in the next couple of hours I put it through it’s paces, changed channels and scrolled the guide (which is pretty well unchanged) with the greatest of ease; the set up of multiple recordings for individual shows and series was also very quick. I was amazed to see that it was actually able to record 8 programs at the same time, this is a great feature for those pesky programs that overlap by a few minutes. As was noted by other reviewers, the picture does look better. I am not sure if this is because they are using different compression techniques or if the circuitry is just better in the upgraded box. I also noticed that I was able to successfully set the output to 1080p, previous I was only able to get 1080i.
I am now 2 weeks into using the Nextbox 3.0 and have no problems to report with its performance. One problem that I do have is with its remote programming using the Rogers Anyplace TV application. This is a great feature that allows you to schedule recordings on your PVR from anywhere using your computer or smartphone. Well in principal it works well and in fact it worked well for me until I got the Nextbox 3.0. I should say that it still works but the PVR that I am able to access is not my own. At first I thought that I was still accessing my old PVR that was now in the hands of someone else but I soon noted that it had recordings from before I brought it back to Rogers. I have since called the Technical Support at Rogers twice about this, they have assured me that they are working on the problem but after 2 weeks still no success. So if you ever notice that strange recordings are appearing on your Rogers PVR it might not be that it is malfunctioning, it may just be that someone else is accessing your box using their computer or phone.
Overall, I would say that it is definitely worth it to give the Nextbox 3.0 a try. It certainly is far superior to the Nextbox 2.0 and is an improvement on the Scientific Atlanta 8300.