Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Nuevo TiVo

Neither KC nor I watch a lot of TV. KC because she watches it all day, and me because there's nothing on I like. But there's a few things we do watch, like Formula 1 racing and House. Then there's other things we want to watch but never seem to find out about until too late, like concerts (especially PBS's SoundStage and Austin City Limits) or Cirque de Solei performances. Once in a while, a special thing will come on we really want to see; right now, that's the CIS Basketball National Championships.

But it has been rare that we have caught most of what I listed above. We are busy and don't remember to set the VCR. We're out at the West Wing when we find something is on. Or we're out of town period. On top of this, because we watch so little TV, we don't have HD nor anything except basic cable (but we do have a whole bunch of channels we pay for but rarely watch).

Last year, for instance, I missed the single most critical race of the entire F1 season because I set it to record at the wrong time (F1 races take place around the world; the race was the Brazil GP and I even now have no idea what time the race was actually on). In addition, Speed TV didn't have the rights for that particular race (TSN did), so I taped the wrong channel at the wrong time.

This weekend marks the first race of the 2010 F1 season, and also is the CIS Women's Basketball Championship weekend. And we're on the road to Big White, leaving the house before we will know what's on when.

So determined to figure a solution, I did a bunch of research and discovered TiVo. Now I'd heard about this technology before a little bit, and was always intrigued. The more I learned about TiVo, the more it fit the bill.

If you have not heard of TiVo, it's basically a really, really smart digital PVR. In Canada, the only TiVo service available works only with SD (cable, a cable box, or a satellite box), which suits me just fine. Here's what sets TiVo apart from your basic VCR, or even the PVRs offered by Bell, Shaw or Telus:

TiVo is programmed not by channel and time (it can be, but it's not necessary), but instead by program and channel. You like House? Tell TiVo, and with one click, TiVo will automatically record your choice of every House that shows up on that channel, only the new episodes, or only the current season's episodes. Even if the station moves House for a hockey game, you won't miss it.

Do you like F1 racing? You can program it exactly once, to automatically search all TV listings for any F1 racing show whenever it shows up on any channel, and record whatever it finds.

Like Bruce Willis? Tell TiVo. TiVo will automatically record any of his movies that comes on, any time he's a guest on a talk show, or any episode of Moonlighting (or any other TV show he was ever in).

TiVo learns. Based on what you record, how you rate it, and whether or not you actually watch it, TiVo will start automatically record things similar to what you record. Watch every Soundstage that features blues, but skip the country & western ones? TiVo knows. Magically, it records any blues music that comes on any channel any time and makes suggestions to you about what to watch.

Watching live TV and need to hit the john? It automatically records 30 min of live TV as you watch it, enabling you to pause and even fast forward through the commercials you missed.

Are you sitting at work, and hear about a cool show or movie you wanted to see, but it starts before you get home? Go on line and set up the recording just as you would at home. You can do this as late as 1 hr before the show starts.

More importantly, on the road during playoffs of our favourite sport (like CIS basketball)? You can go on line, check the schedules, find out who's playing, and set up an individual recording for the one game you want.

Got two things on at once you want to record? No problem. TiVo records two channels at once, AND still allows you to pause live TV.

Flipping through the on screen TV guide and see something you want to record? One button records it. One more records every episode forever.

There's 80 hrs of recording capacity. So with all this automated recording, what happens if you run short of space? Simply tell it your priorities, and it will keep your highest priority shows.

Want to keep something permanently? Use the TiVoToGo program to send it to your laptop, and burn it to a DVD.

We bought one this week, and installed it, a fairly simple process (other than the step to temporarily take security off my network, which had nothing to do with TiVo). This is seriously cool. I never have to worry about missing a race ever again. I can set up new recordings while on the road. Now, if I just got TSN2, I could record my women's basketball game.

Okay, so TiVo has one problem. It can't record channels you don't get. But other than that...

1 comment:

Astrid said...

I got TiVo last year for my birthday and LOVE it. I love the suggestions ... we've found lots of cool programs that way (and so has Matt since we mostly watch Treehouse!).

I haven't gotten the TiVoToGo to work ... I think it is a security issue on my router.

But I LOVE it. For your F1 racing, I 'd recommend adding on some extra time to the recordings ... Stephen tapes golf and we have to add extra time at the end in case it goes over as it will only record till the end of the scheduled time (not necessarily the end of the show). I taped the Barbara Walters Special on the weeked and only got 20 minutes of it because the oscars ran over... If it could fix that it would be perfect.

We don't have digital cable and I loved that we didn't have to upgrade to get it. Plus between the cost of the box, wireless antenae and fees ... it is cheaper than a shaw box!

If they could sort that out it would be even better!

We didn't watch alot of TV but I love that now when I want to watch something ... there is always something I want to watch available!