Well, after months of revisiting the idea, I’ve finally taken the plunge and, like Gene, Jeff, Vernon and even, unbelievable as it seems to me, Faustus, have bought a TiVo. Yesterday I left work, picked up Alex’s lab test results from the vet to take with us to his specialist appointment on Monday, pulled into my parking space at home, and made a spur-of-the-moment decision to head back out to Best Buy. Half an hour later I was heading home with a new DirecTV tuner that includes a built-in TiVo recorder.
This is a little odd, from two almost opposing perspectives. On the one hand, I’ve always considered myself an early adopter of technologies, but haven’t bought a DVR despite a couple of years of thinking about it. At six years old I asked my parents to have Santa bring me a calculator for Christmas; when told that because of the expense (yes, this was before the time that calculators might be part of a kid’s meal from a fast food chain, back when calculators cost Real Money) it would be my only gift from Santa that year, I agreed and was content with that. My calculator, a big bulky thing, could only add, subtract, multiply, divide, compute percentages and square roots, and change sign–it didn’t even have a memory–but I nearly wore it out.
Over the years my early tech purchases have included a Sony stereo Betamax VCR; three Palm Pilot models and two Handspring Visors; four different Macs, three PCs and a laptop; a CD jukebox; a DVD carousel; wireless networking; a widescreen TV; and a Dolby Digital DirecTV receiver, among many, many others. I was one of Verizon’s (then BellAtlantic) first subscribers to DSL several years ago. More recently, though, I seem to be taking a more wait-and-see approach; I have yet to buy an MP3 player, for example, or satellite radio, or–until yesterday–a DVR.
On the other hand, I’ve taken almost a perverse pride, and have exhibited even some smugness on occasion, about my sparse TV-watching habits and my anti-television sentiments; between Thanksgiving and February, I’d used my television for broadcast video–I do frequently listen to the digital audio channels, and I also use the television in conjuction with the DVD player to watch movies–only three or four times. Since then, I’ve had it on only an additional handful of times.
But I knew that there was quality programming–ok, and some eye candy and video junkfood–that I might watch, if I could do it when and how I wanted, which has been the appeal of TiVo to me. I also like the integrated DirecTV/TiVo receiver, which allows me to record two programs at once, or record one while using the recorder functions–pause, instant replay–for watching another in real time. Also, the integrated receiver means that the satellite signal–which is digital–is transferred directly to the digital recorder; using a standalone TiVo or ReplayTV would mean that the satellite signal would have to be converted to analog first and then back to digital, and some comments I’d read online suggested that there was a noticeable diminution of quality with that set-up.
My worst fears may have been realized, though. Only installed yesterday evening, it’s already downloaded several weeks of its program guide, and even has recorded a number of hours of programming overnight and this morning. So here I am at 2:00 on a Saturday afternoon, still in my underwear, checking out the interesting things it’s suggesting and automatically recording for me, and watching some of the things I specifically asked it to capture for me–the interesting Bravo series about how a new Cirque du Soleil show comes to be, for example, the last two seasons of Will & Grace that I’d given up along with the rest of television, and possibly way too many animated series–Family Guy, Daria, X-Men: Evolution, and TechTV’s Anime Unleashed.
And, thanks to Schwans and Internet porn, I don’t even have to leave my house for food or sex any more. If I had a telecommuting job, I might never have to live my home until I died; wonder when the home self-cremation kits will hit the market?