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January 26, 2004

We're now a TiVo family

We finally relented to the lure of technology on the weekend by buying a TiVo. We don't watch a lot of TV, really, so I'd been lukewarm about the idea. Leisure time is in short supply, and between Netflix and our own DVDs, CDs and the iPod, the Gamecube and the Internet I've got more than enough to keep me busy. On the other hand, the prospect of getting an appliance that would watch TV so I wouldn't have to seemed appealing.

We've got a DirectTV system, so that means that we get a special kind of TiVo configured specially for the satellite. Ours is a Hughes DirectTV DVR, and it's replaced one of our two DirectTV receivers (for an additional charge of $5 a month, on top of the $99 for the DVR itself). Unlike other TiVos, this one downloads the digital signal directly from the satellite, so there's no need to encode the image - it just saves it to disk. This means the recorded programming has no loss in quality, which is nice. The interface is also great - we can now pause and rewind live TV and record shows with the touch of a button. In theory, we should be able to record one show while watching another, but that would mean running another cable down from the satellite dish, so it might be a while before we can get that set up.

The one snag is in hooking up the DirectTV DVR to the phone. We don't have a phone socket anywhere near the TV, so I had to run a 50-foot extension through 3 rooms to hook it up. When researching TiVos it seemed like it might be possible to hook a WiFi receiver to the USB port of the TiVo and hook it up via our wireless internet network, but it turns out that's not possible with the DirectTV TiVos which use an older version of the TiVo OS. (I'll have to return the Wireless UBC adapter back to Circuit City, where we purchased the TiVo.) On the other hand, it seems like the TiVo is getting all of its program info from the satellite anyway (we get our local programming from the satellite, too), so I wonder if it really needs to be hooked up to the phone at all. I think we'll see how it goes for a while, and maybe just run the extension out to let it dial in once a week or so.

Now, we just have to find our if our TiVo thinks we're gay or not.

Posted by david at January 26, 2004 12:00 PM | TrackBack
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Comments

I am both envious of those with TiVo and wary of having one myself. Considering my past patterns, I think that me getting a TiVo would be tantamount to saying, "I'm never going to do anything with my life." (Even now, when I err and purchase a computer game, I must admit that I'm not going anything meaningful with my life for at least the next couple of weeks.)

Posted by: Gary on January 26, 2004 10:56 PM

I worked on the Media Center PC (essentially a PC with DVR built in) on and off for the past few years and was amazed at how much time I squandered watching TV. Between the Daily Show, Sponge Bob, and classic Twilight Zone episodes who had time in their busy day for "work"?

All the good stuff on our service here is on late at night, so if I had the chance to TIVO shows like "Sex Kittens Go to College" and "Celebrities Behaving Badly" I would spend my whole day in a crumpled sea of chocolate wrapppers and pretzel bags, smudgy remote in hand. I'd never do anything with my life, either, meaningful or otherwise.

The fact that I'm a notoriously early riser combined with the lack of DVR keeps my TV consumption down to a modest level. Now I save all that time for useful pursuits, like, say, the Internet...

Posted by: pam on January 27, 2004 12:45 AM

Actually, even though we've only had it a short time I can already see its value. It's nice to be able to sit on the sofa when we come home from work, and there's always something on. The big difference is you don't need to channel-surf anymore: you just watch what the TiVo has already recorded for you, timeshifted.

This is what I like about Netflix, too: there's always a movie you want to watch, when you want to watch one.

Posted by: david on January 27, 2004 11:45 AM

One notable TiVo user apparently unimpressed with the performance of Timberlake and Jackson was FCC chairman Michael Powell, who launched an investigation into the bare-breasted matter. Powell is so taken with TiVo that he once referred to it as "God's machine."

TiVo bares facts on instant replay.

Posted by: pam on February 3, 2004 02:29 AM

Boy let me tell you-- I sure was glad to have Tivo so I could watch and rewatch that little "accident." Many a moon has past since I've been so excited to see a boobie.

Posted by: jay on February 3, 2004 09:38 AM

Please tell me that's a pun on "mooning."

Posted by: pam on February 3, 2004 10:04 AM
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