Sunday, March 13, 2005


Anthony's TiVo

So last week I offered to take home Anthony's TiVo, and Anthony agreed. Sadly, it wasn't a case of him deciding to give me the cooler version of a VCR. To do the initial setup of a TiVo, you need an internet connection, and thanks to the proxys at work and no internet at home, Anthony couldn't do it himself.

Since I got it all working this evening, I figured I'd blog about it.

With the OzTiVo setup instructions and the TiVo onscreen information, the setup was mostly pretty painless. My ADSL connection made life a lot easier in getting the guide data (and no one tripped over the blue cable running from the front room to the modem).

The first problem I ran into was the fact that my VCR wasn't listed on the available modles, and when I tried to find another one that worked, the remote shut down. Which meant I had to reboot the TiVo and start again. Fortunately all the settings were saved and the Guide Data set was just a matter of checking that everything was still current (2 mins rather than 20).

After just ignoring the VCR, I managed to finish the set up. Unfortunately, the TiVo then needs 4 to 8 hours to organise the data, and since I'd finished the setup on Friday morning just before work, I got the keep the TiVo over the weekend.

I played around with it a bit tonight. I tried to tape the Simpsons, but that failed for the simple reason that I didn't have the areal plugged into the VCR (currently I have to swap a cable around depending if I want the signal to go through the VCR or straight to the TV). I was impressed that it didn't just record half an hour of blue screen.

Once I solved the signal problem, I decided to watch something while I did the ironing. That something turned out to be Charmed, which I honestly didn't even know was still on. It took me some time to get set up, so I paused the show until I was ready. I fiddled around with the remotes for a bit too. About 10mins in, various messages from the VCR started appearing and the channel randomly changed and then changed back. All because I kept changing the incoming signal. Karina pointed out that the recorded image was a bit jumpy in places (I didn't notice - I was to busy ironing!). This went away when I caught up to the live feed of the show, so I guess there was an issue with the stored data.

In general I was impressed with the TiVo. While it was just as cool as I imagines, it was smarter than I thought. If the skipping problem was rare/fixable and I could get it working with my Sharp VCR, I definately think it would be money well spent. Of course, if you can convince your boss to buy one and let you borow it (and then you keep "forgetting" to bring it back), it's even better value for money...

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