TiVo: Focused TV

Now Playing on TiVoHave you ever sat down in front of the TV after a long day, hoping to find an interesting show, only to end up surfing channels for a few minutes and then turning it off?  Have you ever caught yourself saying “I have 70 channels, and there is nothing on!”  Friends, there is a solution to this problem: the Personal Video Recorder (PVR), the most common version known as TiVo. 

I’ve heard it said that TiVo stands for “Television Revolution,” and it really is no overstatement.  TiVo, and other personal video recorders like it (ReplayTV, Windows Media Center, etc.) can totally change the way you watch TV.  In fact they can change the way you view entertainment altogether. 

Before the advent of TiVo, we were at the mercy of the broadcast corporations.  If we wanted to view a particular show, it was up to us to plan our schedule around it.  If we were unable to watch it when it was on, our only recourse was to record it with a VCR.   But who has the energy as well as the discipline to keep up with programming it and constantly changing and rewinding tapes?  This usually resulted in only recording a very few shows per week, if any.  TiVo has changed all that.  We can now watch all the TV shows we want to watch, when we want to watch them.

Then there are those dreaded interruptions – commercials – that can make TV watching so difficult to fully engage in.  For this reason, a large percentage of the world resorts to movies, in theatres and at home via rentals.  (Movies are great, and they have their place, but as I will write in a future article, I believe that TV is slowing overtaking movies as our culture’s highest level of entertainment).  Even if a show is taped in advance with a VCR, the commercials can only be “skipped” by fast-forwarding through then, which can still be time-consuming.  With TiVo, the problems related to commercials all but disappear.  Each commercial can be skipped easily with the press of a button.

Can you imagine sitting down in front of the TV and having all of your favorite shows available for you to watch any time of the day or night?  And all of this is accomplished with almost no effort on your part – just add the shows you like to your “season pass” list, and go on with your life while TiVo finds and records your shows.  It will even learn which kind of shows you like and record similar shows.  How great is that? 

The number one excuse I hear for why people don’t need TiVo is because they say they don’t watch much TV.  But upon digging deeper, I often find that the real reason is they have become frustrated at not being able to find shows which interest them when they sit down to watch TV.  It is also common for these same people to regularly go to the movie theaters or rent movies, proving that it is not a time issue, but a matter of choice.  I believe that if they experienced the advantages of watching TV through the eyes of TiVo, their views would change.

I have even discovered that TiVo saved me money.  After using TiVo for a short time, I realized that I did need the extra channels provided by “extended” cable package, as the primary channels in the basic package (including all the major networks) contained plenty of quality programming to keep me entertained, since TiVo found and captured it all for me.   This reduction in price more than offset the monthly cost of the TiVo service (which I soon ended completely by buying a “lifetime subscription”). 

If you are sick of channel surfing, and want to “focus” your TV watching for maximum entertainment value, I encourage you to try TiVo, or another PVR like it.  In future articles, I will be comparing the different options for PVRs.  Stay Tuned.  😉

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I grew up in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, where I currently live with my family. I earned a degree in Electrical Engineering from Calvin College. After college I worked as a software engineer for two years and then switched careers, becoming the music director of a large church. I enjoy all things technical and musical, as well as skiing, tennis and television.