A Review of TiVo

My husband and I received TiVo as a wedding gift, and learned quickly thereafter that it would come in handy far more than our waffle maker or espresso machine. The premier brand name in a category of digital video recorders (DVRs), TiVo enables up to 140 hours of live television to be paused, rewinded, instantly replayed, recorded once or sometimes or always, caught up to, and otherwise manipulated for your personal entertainment. And all this is done without the use of a VCR or complicated programming techniques. Once you’ve grown accustomed to time-saving features and benefits of the TiVo machine, you will wonder how you ever managed to watch television without it.

TiVo requires little setup; it hooks into the television and cable box, and needs either a phone line or wireless internet connection so that it can download TV listing updates several times per week. Once up and running, it automatically records 30-minute blocks of live television, each one replacing the one before. If you were to sit down and turn on your television and were fifteen minutes into your favorite program, you could “rewind” TiVo back to the show’s beginning. Or, if you wanted, you could hit the “record” button and the show would be stored on the machine’s hard drive until you watched and deleted it yourself.

One of the benefits of TiVo (and of all DVR machines) is that the 10 to 20 minutes spent watching commercials can now be virtually eliminated. If a program comes on at 8:00, you could begin watching it at 8:20, fast forward through the 20 minutes of commercials, and still be finished as it ends at 9:00. (Of course, you wouldn’t have to watch it at 8:20. The beauty of TiVo is that you couldÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½watch it the next day or next week if you wanted.) TiVo offers users the ability to record favorite programs on a one-time basis or as a Season Pass. The Season Pass feature will automatically record every episode of a certain show, allowing you to specify whether you would like it to record reruns in addition to new episodes. The benefit to this feature is that viewers do not have to miss their favorite programs or remember to program the VCR if they want to see them. In fact, my husband and I have actually started to forget what day and time our favorite shows are on because TiVo takes care of the rest.

TiVo has two unique features which make it superior to other DVR machines. The first is the “suggestion” function, which allows TiVo to make recommendations to you based on your preferences and the shows you like and dislike. The TiVo remote has “thumbs-up” and “thumbs-down” buttons, allowing you to rate the shows you are watching or that TiVo has suggested for you. Based on your preferences, it will automatically record shows that are playing, but allow you to watch or delete them as you see fit. The other feature unique to TiVo is the “Wish List,” in which you enter a show or film that you would like to see, even if it is not currently listed. The next time it is playing on an available channel, TiVo will record it for you.

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