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.