In todays digital era, there are literally
hundreds of channels available to the consumer. Even the more basic
subscription packages present the viewer with a dazzling array of
channels to choose between and pay for. But despite paying
extra for those channels how many viewers still ignore the
vast majority of those extra channels? How many viewers take the
time to scour programme guides to see what is being shown on all
of the hundreds of channels available every day? Even with only
the five basic terrestrial channels it is a time consuming affair
to check the full twenty-four hours listed in the programme guides
How many times have you missed your favourite
programmes because you havent managed to get home in time
and forgot to set the video to record them? How many times has the
phone rung half way through watching your favourite programme?
How would you like to throw out your programme
guide and have just one channel that shows all of your favourite
programmes? You can watch them whenever you want not when
they are broadcast. Not only that but you would find available all
of the interesting programmes from those hundreds of channels that
you never realised were on. Sounds too good to be true? The solution
has been available for over a year and you probably didnt
TiVo is a revolution in television viewing.
It puts you the viewer in control of what you watch, and when you
watch it. It manages TV for you so that you never miss your favourite
So how does TiVo work? It replaces your video
and stores recorded programmes on a computer hard disc. This means
no video tapes and fast high quality access to all of your
programmes. Each day a free quick phone call to TiVo HQ by the box
downloads the latest programme guide data giving you listings up
to 21 days in advance. All sounds complicated? Well forget that
TiVo provides a unique user friendly way to allow you to
completely manage your viewing experience. Even those of you who
found VideoPlus numbers difficult will now be able to record programmes
At the heart of TiVos radical new management
of TV is the Season Pass. Instead of having to set your video to
record programmes each day, you simply tell TiVo which programmes
you always like to watch. Tell it you like to watch Friends
on Channel 4, and whenever that programme is broadcast TiVo will
record it. Even if the time for the programme changes from one week
to the next TiVo will realise and still record the programme.
Next time you are late home from work or shopping, TiVo will have
recorded your favourite programmes for you without you having to
lift a finger!
Finding programmes to record is easy, TiVo
provides many different ways to find programmes, and displays both
the name and description of the episode, For films a BBFC rating
is shown (U, PG, 15 etc) as well as a number of stars to indicate
how good it is:
Live Guide: A transparent
guide that overlays whatever is currently on TV. It lists what programmes
are currently on each channel.
Browse by time: Shows
whats on all available channels, or all of your favourite
channels at any given time.
Browse by channel: Shows whats
on a particular channel at a given time.
Search by title: Enter the title of
a programme to quickly find it without having to specify a channel
Search by genre: Search for programmes
of a particular genre, eg all Science fiction programmes, all documentaries
about animals etc.
Inside TiVo / Channel Highlights:
Special guides exclusive to TiVo that list the best programmes on
for the coming week.
Your recorded programmes are
ready to watch at any time. You can even start watching a
programme whilst it is still recording! The Now Playing list shows
each of the programmes available to watch.
Recording of your favourite programmes
couldnt be easier! But what about those hundreds of
channels that you have no idea whats on?! TiVo learns
about your viewing habits it analyses what you ask
it to record, and makes suggestions as to other programmes
you may like. You can rate programmes by giving them thumbs
up or thumbs down by pressing the thumb
buttons on the remote. Give Coronation Street
a thumb up, and TiVo might suggest that you may like to watch
Eastenders as well.
TiVo can automatically record its suggestions
so that you always have even more choice than the programmes
you recorded yourself. Its great to find interesting programmes
waiting for you that you didnt even realise were on TV.
TiVo scans all available channels and chooses programmes that
you like. Dont worry though it will always remove
these automated recordings first if you begin to run out of
space! TiVo has very sophisticated but extremely simple space
management either delete programmes, wait for them to
expire (become old), or flag them to save forever.
TiVo frees you from sticking to the broadcasters
schedules. After using TiVo for a while you start to watch what
you have recorded not whats on. Viewing becomes a pleasure
not a chore. Some programmes still just have to be watched live
though like watching your favourite football team! As you
watch a live programme, TiVo is also recording it automatically
saving up to the last thirty minutes of whatever you are watching.
If the phone rings, simply press the pause key and the live programme
is paused! When finished simply press play and continue watching
where you left off! If you turn your head and miss a goal, simply
press the instant replay button to jump back a few seconds and see
what you missed.
TiVo can work with and control a number of
set top boxes. It can emulate your remote control and send out commands
to change channels automatically to make its recordings. It can
control Sky, ITV Digital, and cable (both analogue and digital),
as well as having a built in analogue terrestrial tuner.
Sounds impressive? Its also future proof
like most set top boxes, TiVos software can be updated
with new features. This process happens automatically when
new software is available TiVo will download and install it for
you. In early 2002 a new major update arrived on TiVo boxes
this further enhanced TiVos ability to manage TV. Some of
the amazing new features now available are:
- Season Pass Manager rank
your programmes in order of their importance. If two are on at
the same time TiVo will automatically pick the higher priority
programme, and try to record the other if it is repeated on another
- Wishlists perform searches
using keywords, programme genre, actors, and directors to find
programmes that you like, and optionally automatically record
- Overtime padding set your
recordings to start earlier or finish later than scheduled so
you dont miss them when the broadcasters dont stick
to their scheduled start/stop times.
- Save the buffer TiVo is
always recording the last 30 minutes when you watch live TV. If
you watch something and wished you had recorded it for someone
else to see simply press record and TiVo will save its
buffer up to the start of the programme.
- Parental controls Allows
you to lock certain channels or programmes of a specified rating
so that your kids cant watch them without a code. Applies
to both live programmes and ones you have recorded.
TiVo truly does revolutionise television
viewing. It has an extremely loyal user base once you start
using TiVo you will never go back to normal TV. Its extremely
easy to use even for those that find VCRs difficult. Amazingly
the more technical savvy people who buy TiVo are astonished to find
that their non-technical partners take over TiVo and love it more
than they do!
TiVo will cost you £300 (RRP) for a
40 hour Thomson Scenium TiVo, and a further £10 per month
(or £199 lifetime) to subscribe to the TiVo service which
activates most of the features outline above, provides guide data,
and software updates.
For more details visit TiVos website
and join the TiVolution!