So, I just got a TiVo

I’m joining the 21st century with a TiVo. My new apartment building includes a cable package in the monthly assessment. I have a TiVo with internet and a cable tv subscription of about 250 channels.

I know I’ll need to read the manuals that the cable company provided. I already know I’d like to scroll through TCM’s programming list and pick a couple of movies each week to record, even though I’ll likely be at work or asleep when they are on. I think it will also come in handy during the World Cup, It’ll be impossible to avoid spoilers, but I’d still like to record each game and watch them later.

I don’t watch many current programs. I’ve been using Hulu for the Daily Show and Colbert, occasionally the Simpsons, SNL, and the Tonight Show.

I’d also like to find a way to record some of the classic tv shows that are broadcast on some of the retro networks but aren’t available on streaming. I plan to drop Netflix DVDs this month.

First of all, do you have a genuine TiVo such as a Roamio or a cable company box that is a DVR? Of course, some cable company are made by TiVo, but not all. Even if it is made by TiVo, cable company DVRs work very differently than TiVo brand ones.

If it’s provided by the cable company, you probably have a TiVo-wannabe DVR. It won’t really be nearly as good.

With a Real TiVo, you can schedule stuff via their website or an app. You can view your programs on certain other devices. You can download many programs off the TiVo to your computer. (To save space, watch later, clip/convert parts of shows, etc.) And most importantly to me, you can upload programs to the TiVo. I watch a lot of programs this way.

I don’t think most cable company DVRs allow transfers.

Newer TiVo models do streaming (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.) and in some markets video-on-demand.

The best forum site for TiVo users is TiVo Community. Some bits here and there mention cable company DVRs.

Well, it says TiVo when I turn it on. It does have Netflix as well as Pandora and a few other apps.

Link, although my package is custom for my building. It includes the TiVo Premiere.

I love my TiVo. My first was a birthday gift about eight or ten years ago, but sadly, it failed after a couple years. I was so used to having it that I immediately bought another.

I love being able to schedule from my iPad app. I will be somewhere, and someone will mention a show or movie, and I just schedule it from there.

We rarely watch anything in real time anymore. My husband and I will let the show get fifteen or twenty minutes in before we turn it on, and then fast forward through the commercials. I like CSI, but all the lab stuff bores me, so I fast forward through it.

I’m always online while I watch TV, so sometimes I miss something and I can just rewind and listen to it again. If I’m watching football, I do my own replays if something is good.

It took me forever to set up both times. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d allow a huge block if time. The TiVo I have now required some card or something from the cable company, so I had to schedule that, too.

Once it’s set up, just search for shows and press record. If you find a whole series you like, you can set up a season pass and it will record them all. Really, after it’s set up its pretty easy.

The Premiere is one generation of out date (Series 4 not the current Roamio/5), but it’s still good. I have one and a TiVo HD (series 3) which doesn’t have quite all the same bells and whistles.

The TiVo Community web site is for you, then.

The official software to transfer things to/from your PC is TiVo Desktop (Desktop Plus is $). The free version is no longer supported (Windows 8:mad:) but can still be downloaded. It can also be used for viewing photos and on a good day playing mp3s. But there are several other options available. As well as programs to convert the downloads to standard mpeg2s.

Your TiVo has a MAK number that you need to do this and other things, see the settings menu.

To do things on the Net, you will need to register your TiVo at TiVo’s website. Create an account and all that. It is the simplest option for creating Season Passes, searching for and scheduling programs, etc. Be warned: TiVo doesn’t run their web site well. It is slow and flaky. Be patient.

There are several third party options out there for handling push/pull needs on a TiVo.

I use PyTivoX

Also worth poking around the TiVo Community Forums…especially the Home Media Features forum

My tip is to not schedule The Daily Show and Colbert Report separately. Just record TDS and extend it by half an hour. Or even extend it for a full hour since the next show @Midnite is hilarious as well. All three shows run on the exact same schedule so if John Stewart has the night off the other 2 shows aren’t on either. Plus when Colbert goes off the air and Minority Report with Larry Wilmore moves in you don’t have to fiddle with the controls.

And try to avoid the spoilers. I’ve found that watching sports once you know the outcome really sucks the fun out of it.