George V. Reilly


(Originally posted to Cool Stuff at EraBlog on Sun, 09 Feb 2003 08:02:27 GMT)

Emma bought herself a TiVo Digital Video Recorder a few weeks ago. I had heard it said that TiVo changes the way you watch TV. It’s true. Emma is fond of Home and Garden Television (HGTV), which has a lot of shows about re­dec­o­rat­ing and re­mod­el­ling. They’re padded un­mer­ci­ful­ly, constantly recapping what they showed you before the most recent break. She can work through an ostensible 30-minute show in under 10 minutes by skipping from highlight to highlight.

Our TiVo also has a DirecTV satellite receiver built in, giving us access to far more stations than we had on cable, with better quality picture. We also bought a new 27" TV to replace the 21" TV that I bought secondhand in 1993. The com­bi­na­tion of a digital signal and a new TV gives us a far better image than we’re used to – though it’s not half bad on the old TV either. Alas, Sturgeon’s Law (Ninety percent of everything is [crud]), still applies to the content.

The sheer con­ve­nience of being able to tell it to record a slew of shows, without having to mess around with lots of videotapes, means that we’re able to watch a number of programs that we wouldn’t otherwise watch. I’ve started watching the Charlie Rose Show again, for the first time in years. It airs from midnight to 1am in Seattle. I’m a night owl, but that was too in­con­ve­nient for me. "Time shifting" makes it much more likely that I’ll watch it.

I’ve never been much of a TV watcher, but I’m seeing more than I have in years. I’ve also taken to watching Cirque du Soleil: Fire Within, a doc­u­men­tary series about the making of the Cirque’s new show Varekai, and Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, a series debunking alien abductions, psychics, and more.

We’re also recording a lot of films that we might not have got around to renting or seeing in the cinema. Our main problem is that the hard disk only holds about 35 hours of content. That sounds like a lot, but it fills up quickly.

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