Have you looked at TiVo lately?

We all have to “manage” so many things in our adult lives. We have to manage work of-course, but we need to manage our playtime too, because we don’t want to waste, or squander it. One common form of entertainment is TV. With the advent of DVR, TV can become an annoying “baby bird mouth” as I call it – something that needs attention on a regular basis.

I was getting annoyed with my cable TV DVR last week and thought “there has got to be a better way”. Immediately I thought “I wonder what ever became of TiVo? If they are still around, that must be a pretty mature product by now”

Sure enough, they are still around and they have a very mature product! So let me break down some of the numbers for you:

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I went with the 4-tuner/75hr model and I think that is sort of the “sweet spot” for anyone who watches a moderate amount of TV. The “hardware” noted above for TiVo is that you have to rent a “cable card” from the cable company and in my case, a special converter so that the TiVo can decode the pay channels. That is what is $2.95/month. The cable card plugs in the back of the TiVo and the converter is an extra little black box that goes in-line with coax, and connects to the TiVo, in addition to connecting via USB.

Now, you might think “hey dum-dum, I’m saving $2 per month, and to do that I have to buy a $250 device?” – well technically yes, and those adept at math might realize the ROI is technically 10 years. BUT, that isn’t really the primary reason to consider this upgrade.

Managing TV:
We all have some form of entertainment in our lives. Television is such a broad form of entertainment that if you don’t have some sort of strategy to manage it, it can waste a lot of your time and even become cumbersome. In a very selfish way, I want TV to be supremely useful to me, with very little headache – is that so much to ask?

So, what does TiVo allow me to do that my cable DVR didn’t?

First, I have waaaaaaaaaaay more space for recordings. I don’t have to “worry” about going in at least every couple of days and making room for shows or “worry” that the DVR is going to delete some older shows to make room for new ones. To be able to record 75 hours of HD is a LOT of space, so much space that your DVR queue will be a complete mess way before you ever run out of space.

Second, it let’s me set up a Season Pass (where you can record all of the showings of program) – but it also let’s me set up a wishlist. A wishlist can be based on a show/movie title, actor, director, band, etc – and anytime that it comes up in the future schedule, it will record it. If there is extra space, it will also “guess” and record other shows it thinks you might like. It will only do this if there is extra space and you can turn this feature off too.

I got this device yesterday and I already look at my DVR differently. It is now something that I can manage and go to when I feel like it (without any “worry”).

In my opinion, television in general has lots of junk on – but it also has a lot of really great, really useful programming. The TiVo is a far, far better device for managing this form of input into my life. It’s a better tool for the job.

Portal for Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube:
One thing that is apparent from the get-go is how seamless access is to these other providers. When I search, it’s not just searching the cable programming, it searches Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc

It really blurs the line further about “from where” the video is coming. It’s pretty cool that I can rent On-Demand from cable, watch Amazon Instant Video movies, watch Netflix, and browse YouTube all from one device – and they so it all pretty well! Well, the Amazon app is pretty rough, but the others look great!

The Future of Entertainment:
It has really become obvious to me that cable companies are very entrenched in the old-school mentality. They want to control the content, the hardware, and the experience – and invest as little as possible. In the past, they have put in a modest effort to keep people at bay. I don’t think anyone would call these companies innovative though. They aren’t interested in innovation (it seems to me), they want to do the bare-minimum.

The result of that is a fragmented world for our entertainment that is clunky and inconvenient to manage. By switching to a 3rd-party company that is built on innovation, I see it as I am buying freedom. I bought a device that lets me consume entertainment far more easily, and it’s one less thing I have to “manage” in life. Well, I still have to manage it – but this is a much more effective tool for doing so.

By the way, I am in no way affiliated with TiVo, I am just sharing my experiences as a new TiVo subscriber.

Posted in New Technology, Professional Development, Uncategorized

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