Thursday, January 04, 2007


I can't believe that it's been less than two full days since we got the TiVo. I've already made huge strides in playing with it, and I never want to watch live TV without it again. Of course, I say that as I'm about to install a splitter so we can watch live TV without it.

If I could go back in time and warn myself, I'd suggest getting the dual tuner instead of the single tuner. Of course, the extra $$$ that the DT would have cost would have prevented us from buying the TiVo, so I guess it worked out. But if you have the option, I strongly recommend the dual tuner over a single tuner DVR.

I was asked if I could have made this system myself. Well, yes. With about three months of study time, about twice the dollar value in equipment, and a lot of patience. And we wouldn't have gotten some of the features I'm really liking with TiVo already. It's certainly possible for a tech-savvy person to re-create what TiVo does, but the price of TiVo a non-tech-savvy person is doing very well.

Case in point: I like watching The Daily Show and the Colbert Report in the background just after I wake up. I put them on when I go through my morning e-mail, eat breakfast, that sort of thing. For awhile the morning reruns were scheduled to make that possible for me. Not anymore. But this morning... this morning the TiVo had recorded them, and I was able to watch them like I used to... but I could also fast forward through the commercials. Or rewind to hear something again (there's an "instant replay" button that skips back a few seconds).

Another feature... You all know I like Aquaman. Well, Spongebob Squarepants has an Aquaman character named "Mermaid Man". So I put in a Wishlist on TiVo to look for shows that have "Mermaid Man" in the description. Guess what? It recorded one yesterday for me. One I hadn't yet seen, even!

But wait, there's more! I told you I networked the TiVo with my computer? Well, I installed a neat little app called Galleon. It lets me put video ONTO the TiVo. Say, a promo for Doctor Who that aired on the BCC and was posted to Usenet. I convert it to the right standard for my TV, put it on the TiVo, and we can show it at our next party without having to hook up my husband's computer, the way we've been doing it.

And I can also play music and show photo slideshows on the TiVo from my computer. The only issue with the networked computer is that when my RAM maxes out on my laptop, TiVo loses track of the computer and I have to tell it where to find it again. I can live with that problem, because I don't normally max out my RAM.

All this in less than two days.

So, do I recommend TiVo? Well, I've had it for less than two days, so it's hard for me to give a subjective answer... but Yes, I recommend it. There are flaws, of course, but it's light-years ahead of the VCR we've been using. No need for tapes spread out all over the living room. Simple digital recordings. And being able to pause live TV is such a bonus I don't ever want to go back to the old way.

Now, an offer. If you live in the Seattle area and decide to get TiVo, but have trouble setting it up, please drop me a line. For the price of a pizza dinner (for myself and hubby-Eric) I'll do my best to help you (I'll even come over to your house, if you need me to). And if I can't help, you don't have to provide the pizza. That's how much I like this system.

Also, if you decide to sign up for TiVo, and I influenced you positively in any way, please put hubby-Eric's e-mail address (tiktok at eskimo dot com) in as a reference. I think I've said before that if five people put his e-mail in, we can upgrade to a dual-tuner DVR. There are other "rewards", but that's the one I've got my eyes on. I feel a bit like I'm begging when I ask this, but if you aren't going to get a TiVo it's not going to affect you and if you are going to get one, it's just one tiny extra step.

Oh yeah... people want to know how much it costs. Well, we got ours through a special deal, so I can't tell you how much I paid. However, right now TiVo has a pricing plan that gets you three years of service for $299. Add in the actual TiVo box... say the dual-tuner that we ought to have gotten... $70 on sale from TiVo itself. You can get them cheaper if you look around. I bet a used one would come very cheap. The network adapter was a hit in the pocketbook, at $60 for the one we got. But you can find deals at TiVo Community and other places if you look. Wired network adapters are even cheaper, in the $10 range. Or you can just use a phone line. The initial costs aren't tiny, but so far they've been worth it to me.

So, any questions? Comments? Insults? Praise?