I setup a TiVo series 2 today for a friend. There was no telephone jack near the TV, so the only real option was wireless ethernet. Unfortunately, the first activation call must be made via a telephone (or via a wired USB ethernet adapter using ,#401 as the dialing prefix). Finding a compatible wireless adapter was almost impossible because there are so many different hardware revisions, no one knows which adapter contains which chipset, even if you use the cheat sheet on Tivo.com. I got lucky and found an old revision of a Netgear adapter, the only one in the store.
Luckily, this was an open-box TiVo from Circuit City with the latest version of TiVo software, so I was able to skip the initial setup and configure the wireless adapter from the beginning. This made the configuration process so much easier. I then purged the “thumbs up/down database” to remove any setting from the previous user (no season passes to delete). The TiVo finally rebooted after working on the purge for probably 45 minutes. It then downloaded new program data, which took another hour. After that finally completed, I went to search for shows to add their season passes, but search could find no shows. I didn’t have time to wait for it to do whatever it needed to do, so I went to the live TV guide and found the 10 shows that I needed and created season passes that way.
Total setup time: 5 hours. Yes, 5 hours! Most of it was waiting around, but still, that is a long time. And it would have been longer if I had to find a phone line to do the activation, especially if it was a Vonage-only house. I could have build a PC and installed Windows Media Center Edition in that time. TiVo needs to get their act together and add an Ethernet port and WiFi to their receivers. Sub-$100 Media Center Extenders have this functionality. It shouldn’t be such a painfully complicated and slow process just to setup a TiVo.