Though I’m not one to brag, I have a busy schedule. In addition to Medialoper, I have my traditional consulting clients (cat food is not cheap), I have my blog, I write regular reviews (or irregular as the case may be), I have a regular column, I participate in a blog co-op on a quarterly basis, I read a lot of books (some even for pleasure), I exercise, and I have friends — though they’d be the first to note that I am usually too wiped out to be much good there.
This level of business makes me American, not unique.
The last thing I need in my life is appointment television — and since the magical day that TiVo walked through the front door, I don’t have to worry about being home to watch something. I like to joke that TiVo saved my marriage; the truth is, it was TiVo and DirectTV. Also, the husband’s incredible Thursday night gourmet meals.
This is a love letter to TiVo. Video recorders were great in their day, but I never really worked out how to record and there was a lot of switching of tapes and that whole linear thing. I still think back fondly to the weekend when I watched all the episodes of Battlestar Galactica — in a row — and thought, wow, best show ever (note: Jim discovered this truth many months later; it’s good to be smug). TiVo makes test-driving new programs fun and easy. I probably wouldn’t have given Veronica Mars a chance if it weren’t for TiVo.
In our house, we’re first-generation TiVo with a lifetime subscription. It was a risky, radical purchase — but bold moves have a way of paying off in the end. When baseball season collided with other programs, we realized we couldn’t live without the dual tuner option (no, not a clue, couldn’t explain the technology or what this means if I tried). This has the added advantage of thwarting the networks’ tendency to put stuff I like opposite other stuff I like. By way of example, see Sunday night television (though the demise of The West Wing will clear some of the gridlock).
There’s a certain sense of comfort that comes from knowing that TiVo will automatically record every episode of a series once I’ve decided I want every episode of a series. There’s a sense of comfort that comes from knowing it picked up last night’s odd-sized The Office. Sure, there’s also that irritation factor that comes when networks try to game the system by bleeding ending times into the next slot. It’s not cute, it’s not funny, and I think it doesn’t work as well as the nets hope.
While I don’t use them as often as I could, I derive a special pleasure from TiVo’s suggestions. They lead me to Stargate Atlantis, which makes me want to check out other Stargate products (there are, in case you’re wondering, a lot of Stargate products). There was a funny week or two when TiVo somehow translated the husband’s love of Junkyard Wars into a passion for auto programming (there are some weird television moments out there). Our inability to fit nicely into marketing molds sometimes leads TiVo to believe we’re both religious nuts and porn addicts. We figure that the poor soul back at HQ who was assigned to analyzing our data suffers a lot of migraines.
And, yes, we realize that our data is being sliced and diced. We knew this from the start. We’re cool with it. Freedom of choice and all that.
I know that broadcasters and advertisers don’t love the fact that TiVo lets me skip commercials (you can always tell the sophisticated TiVo user by the way they fast forward with such graceful nonchalance), but, you know what?, I don’t care. Would they rather that I didn’t watch television at all? Because adding that commercial time into my schedule would be a make-or-break thing for me. They can make it up in product placement — I’m so jaded that I have no objections to the practice.
I love TiVo. I love that TiVo is a verb. I love that people like Jim who have Replay still TiVo stuff. I love the little TiVo man — when he waves his antennae at me, I just swoon. Long live TiVo!