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October 31, 2014

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Moral Quandry: DVRs Waste Energy ... Should We Keep Using Them?

by Jean Bentley, posted Jun 15th 2011 3:00PM
TiVo, DVR, cable boxThe miracle device known as the DVR -- the digital video recorder, for those of you living in the middle ages -- had to have at least one downside, right?

Sadly, this one is hard to ignore. According to a new report, the magical machines that Americans use to parse the crowded primetime TV schedule use a cumulative 27 terawatt-hours of electricity every year. The Los Angeles Times puts it into perspective: That's the same amount of energy per year as nine coal-burning power plants.

And that energy? Not cheap. It costs consumers nearly $3 billion every year, with $2 billion of that coming when the boxes are off.

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TiVo Unveils TiVo Premiere

by Audrey Fine, posted Mar 3rd 2010 12:47PM
TiVoTiVo fans rejoice. Our "how did we ever watch TV before this?" gadget just revealed its even cooler cousin.

Speaking at Tuesday night's NYC launch party for TiVo Premiere, CEO Tom Rodgers explained that the new product is "your new cable box, it's your movie box, it's your Web box and music box," according to the Hollywood Reporter. And, in typical TiVo style, they've simplified the user experience as Rodgers detailed, "We've taken millions of pieces of content and organized it for you in a way that makes so much sense you'll wonder how you ever lived without it."

Mind-boggled by all the entertainment choices available to you? TiVo Premiere makes sorting through Internet TV, movie and music, on-demand offerings and YouTube videos a snap. And the set-top box also boasts a button that zooms through 30 seconds of recorded material in 1 second flat. Buh-bye commercials!

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Do you love commercials or are you just lazy?

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 2nd 2009 6:31PM
freecreditreport.com band
Here's an interesting factoid: 46% of people who record TV shows don't fast forward through the commercials.

Now, I'm a natural skeptic when it comes to studies like this. I always wonder how the question was asked, the specifics, is the respondent lying or over/understating something, etc, but I often find myself not fast forwarding through ads because I'm doing something else at the time (writing an episode review, for example). How about you?

Do you fast forward through commercials?
Always. Commercials suck!501 (59.1%)
Not always. It depends on what I'm doing.333 (39.3%)
Never. I wish I lived in a TV commercial!13 (1.5%)

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Mad Men marathon this Sunday

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 23rd 2009 11:40AM
Mad_Men_group_AMC
There was a real conundrum for Mad Men last Sunday night. Did you watch the Emmys and see Mad Men win as Outstanding Drama Series or were you tuned in to watch latest episode from Season Three? Of course, most of you reading are DVR owners and could watch one live and record the other, but watching an award show after you know the winners is a little like watching sports when you know the results.

Well, if a Mad Men fan has missed any episodes this season, or if they're piled up on the DVR/Tivo queue, making you feel guilty for not keeping up, here's an out. AMC is going to show a Mad Men Season Three marathon on Sunday, September 27, starting at 10 a.m. All six episodes will air up to the premiere of the last, episode seven, at 10 p.m.

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Once upon a time, people missed their favorite shows

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 22nd 2009 7:05PM
VCR adDo you remember a long time ago when you had no options to watch a TV show if you didn't see it when it aired (you had to wait for a repeat)? Of course you don't, you people with your Twitters and your iPhones and your space-age Saran Wrap. But there was a time when if you wanted to watch, say, The Magician, you had to stay home and watch it. No iTunes, no Hulu, no YouTube, no DVDs.

Then came the VCR, and everything changed. Only $1000! (Full-sized ad here.) Notice the fine print at the bottom: "Caution: The unauthorized recording of television programs and other materials may infringe the rights of others."

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A burning question about your TiVo that just might save your life (not really)

by Danny Gallagher, posted May 15th 2009 12:03PM
TiVo logoYour TV is filled with burning debates that demand a serious answer.

Could the Dick York "Darren" kick the ass of the Dick Sargent "Darren," or vice versa, and without Samantha's help? Could KITT beat the car from My Mother, the Car if Top Gear's James May was driving him? Does anyone watch The Cougar and if so, is TV Land holding them hostage?

So here's another flaming question to throw on the mystery pyre: do you actually let your TiVo play its trademark sound effects?

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Yes, I am afflicted with "TiVo guilt"

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 2nd 2008 5:07PM
TivoIt was only a matter of time. What was once the ultimate convenience for TV fans has now been labeled as an affliction. Brad Berens of iMedia, a company that analyzes the way advances in media impact people's lives, had identified the responsibility we feel when we TiVo or DVR a show or series and then don't get around to watching it in a timely fashion as "TiVo guilt."

I can't disagree. I don't know about you, but I'm always checking my DVR list to see what's stacked up that I still have to watch. It's not that I feel like I have to watch these shows -- after all I recorded them because I want to see them -- but there is a burden attached.

According to Berens, what I'm experiencing is called "opportunity costs," and my TiVo viewing has become -- believe it or not -- homework!

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Madchen mad about My Own Worst Enemy cancellation

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 24th 2008 5:35PM
Madchen AmickUsually when a show is canceled, you don't hear about it from the stars. Once in a while you do (like Kelsey Grammer when Back To You was canned), but it's usually the producers and/or critics who make the most fuss about a show being canceled. My Own Worst Enemy star Madchen Amick is speaking out about the cancellation of the NBC show (one of several she is currently on).

She says that the show actually was a hit, especially if you include DVR/Tivo/online viewers. She thinks that the show's high budget is what made NBC cancel it. If it didn't have a big budget and still got fair ratings, it could have survived a little longer. She's frustrated by the experience.

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Three shows I always DVR but never watch

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 12th 2008 3:04PM
The Sarah Connor ChroniclesFirst of all, is that even the right phrasing? Is DVR also a verb? Is TiVo? Probably not. Maybe it should be "shows I always record but never watch" instead.

Anyway, Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch blog has a post about shows that we have sitting on our DVRs every single week but we never end up watching. I've been thinking about this and I don't really think there are any shows that I currently record but never watch. Every show I want to see I either watch live or watch later. There's nothing on right now that I take the time to record but don't watch. But there were shows in the past where I did this, including Traveler (I finally deleted the last several episodes, knowing I'd never get to them - I just read online what happened in the end) and Angel. The only current show I used to record is The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The first couple of episodes had me but then I lost interest. Now I don't even bother recording it because I know it's just a waste of time (I know, I know, it's a good show, blah, blah).

You must have shows that are still sitting on your DVR, right?

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TiVo and Amazon to let you buy stuff from the comfort of your couch

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 22nd 2008 10:58AM
TiVo Amazon products
Amazon and TiVo are teaming up to make short work of the infomercial. Well, that's not exactly how the companies are promoting the new "Product Purchase" feature. TiVo customers will be able to order items from Amazon using their TV, TiVo, and remote control. No web browser or computer necessary. And no need to place your order in the next 15 minutes to get a free bonus gift.

Users will see links to products popping up in various parts of the TiVo interface. For example, if you're looking at a listing for a late night talk show, you might find links to buy books, CDs, or DVDs from that night's guests.

The advantage of ordering from TiVo is that you can make impulse purchases while watching a program, while recording the rest of the program in the background for later viewing. Of course, as anyone with a penchant for picking up candy and trashy magazines in the grocery store checkout lane can tell you, it'd be nice to have the choice to opt-out of the service in order to avoid impulse purchases.

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TiVo rolls out software update, adds YouTube support

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 17th 2008 9:03AM


TiVo has started sending out new system software to Series3 users who signed up for priority updates. The general TiVo using population should get the TiVo 9.4 software soon. And thet means support for:
  • YouTube video playback
  • The ability to play or delete an entire folder (in other words, you can watch programs in order without hitting a button on your remote)
  • Jump forward by 24 hours in the program guide
  • Pull up the program guide from any screen, whether you're watching live, recorded, or downloaded video
  • Easier toggling of closed captioning
  • Review your thumbs up and down ratings
Blogger Dave Zatz (who recorded the video you see above), has confirmed that the TiVo content uses the H.264 codec. That means there's pretty much no chance that TiVo Series2 users will ever see support for TiVo, since older TiVo models can only support MPEG-2 video.

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Australian TiVo commercial is attractive, unoriginal

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 14th 2008 12:32PM


TiVo launched an advertising campaign in Australia recently to promote the release of the first TiVo set top boxes in that country. And at first glance, the ad looks pretty cool and creative. At least until that little light bulb goes off in your head. You know, the one that says "haven't I seen this ad before?"

As Gizmodo Australia points out, you probably have. Because it's practically identical to an ad that Apple used about a little while back to promote the iPod Nano.



I don't know about you, but I can't imagine this being a coincidence. The two commercials are just too similar.

[via Zatz Not Funny]

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TiVo offers refurb TiVo HD for $180

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 9th 2008 11:27AM
TiVo HD refurb
When TiVo launched the Series3 video recorder, the first model capable of recording HDTV, the unit received a lot of rave reviews -- and a lot of complaints about the high $800 price tag. A while later, TiVo released the TiVo HD which is basically a stripped down model that sells for just $300. But if even that seems like too much money for you, TiVo's got a heck of a deal going on right now. You can pick up a refurbished TiVo HD for just $180.

The TiVo HD can record up to 20 hours of HD video or 180 hours of standard definition television. Of course, you need to factor the price of a monthly, annual, or product lifetime service plan. Those subscription fees quickly add up and wind up costing more than the unit itself. But it's always nice to save a few bucks up front.

[via TiVo Blog]

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It's official: TiVo will hit Australia on July 29

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 4th 2008 2:37PM
TiVoIt's been a long bumpy road, but TiVo will finally be available in Australia by the end of the month. TiVo and the Seven Network officially announce the coming availability of the set top box this week. As expected, Australian customers will be able to pick up a TiVo for $699 at Harvey Norman and Domayne stores. If the price seems a bit high, keep this in mind: There will be no monthly subscription fees for basic service.

But it turns out that many of the features that make TiVo stand out in the US won't be available at launch in Australia. There will be no support for networking features. That means you can't connect to the internet to download music and movies. And you can't hook up your TiVo to a home PC to access your photos, music, and videos on a TV set. In other words, basically what you get is the same TiVo service US customers had 4 or 5 years ago, but with support for high definition video.

Seven may eventually add networking features via a software update, but the company would charge for such additional services.

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TiVo to launch in Australia next week

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 23rd 2008 10:21AM
TiVoIt's been a long bumpy road, but it looks like Australia's Seven network will begin introducing TiVo on July 1st. For the first 3 months, you'll be able to pick up a TiVo box exclusively from Harvey Norman, but after that it should be available at other major electronics retailers.

A TiVo box will set you back $700 AUD. While that might seem a bit steep by US standards, that's all you'll ever have to pay. TiVo and Seven will not be charging any subscription fees. Instead, Seven will pay TiVo a royalty fee fro every set top box sold.

The Seven TIVo will go head to head with the Foxtel iQ2, a personal video recorder which comes with a $10 to $15 per month subscription fee.

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