Tivo troubles: Why are the recommendations so bad?

As some of you know I am very interested in recommendation systems and algorithms. So when we finally got Tivo, I was excited for Tivo to change my world with its spot on recommendations. Well, thats not quite the way its worked out. Two months later – after constantly giving the thumbs up and down to programs/movies we like, Tivo still does not seem to have a clue about our preferences. Everytime I check, it has recorded some new program I dislike or would just never watch. Yesterday, it recorded Mash!. Earlier, it started recording kids’ shows for some reason. After a lot of frantic thumbs down, it stopped doing that. Once it went on a binge of recording the 6 O’ clock news from the major channels. I like news, but prefer radio or the internet. The only program I end up watching is “Sex and the city” reruns. I love that show (though Jon hates it!). It would be nice to have something to watch that we both like.

All I want is a few good movies, some documentaries, a few shows. A friend suggested that I should spend more time watching and rating shows and movies I like. My take is – the reason I got Tivo is that I hate crap TV. I don’t want to spend time watching crap to educate Tivo. I understand collaborative filtering algorithms(pdf) and how they work. I have spent enough time telling Tivo what I want. If it still does not get me, then its because the algorithm sucks.

Any Tivo fans out there willing to share their Tivo recommendation secrets with me?

And don’t even get me started on the latency of the remote!