[Tig] OT TiVo (was: Re: Is packaged media close to end of life?)

Bob Kertesz bob at bluescreen.com
Tue Jan 8 16:08:29 GMT 2008

>> My HD TiVo uses around 15-20 gig for a decent quality 2 hour movie.
>forgive my ignorance on consumer video products but I donĀ“t know
>much about TiVo.  does it take baseband video (what I used to call
>IF in radio-speak) and allow you to tune all the channels at your
>convenience at a later time?

There are two basic types of TiVo, older style analog units with built-in
tuner(s) for off-air or cable analog channels, plus baseband video/audio
inputs, and the new HD models, which also have two off-air/analog cable ATSC
tuners, and two slots for cablecards (no baseband inputs). The cablecards,
available from the cable company as monthly rentals, contain a QAM (digital
cable) tuner and the security electronics which authorize channels. I've owned
TiVos of one sort or another for almost a decade, can't imagine watching TV
without one.

At its core, the device records and plays back TV shows, whether off-air or
cable. It can additionally suck content down from the internet if connected
that way. And the never models can act as a form of media center - for
instance, with appropriate software running, I can connect to my PC and show
MPG or JPG or MP3 content from it on any TiVo in the house, and I can move
content between TiVos as long as the DRM flag allows it.

The boxes.with dual tuners can record two channels simultaneously while
playing back a recorded show. If the source is digital, the bits are recorded
directly to the hard drive, so playback is as good or as bad as the source,
but lossless in terms of what the TiVo does. Analog sources and cable have a
"good-better-best" quality choice, and are recompressed by the TiVo, with the
lowest quality recording fields only.

Aside from the mechanics, the user interface is what sets the box apart and is
a premium experience that one pays for on a monthly basis with a TiVo
subscription. For your money you get a FULLY searchable 14 day guide, the
ability to time shift programs at will, the ability to pause live TV for up to
30 minutes, the ability to have it smartly record the programs you want. By
smartly, I mean that if the geniuses at the networks start moving your shows
around the schedule, the TiVo will simply find them and record them anyway.

The UI is very powerful, brilliantly designed, and ridiculously intuitive and
simple to master. My sister the total Luddite was up and running with hers in
less than 15 minutes.


Bob Kertesz
BlueScreen LLC
Hollywood, California
bob at bluescreen.com

The Ultimate in ULTIMATTEĀ® compositing.  
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