You Be The TV Programmer

TiVo Gives You Considerable Control

A close family friend brought TiVo over as a present and installed it while I was away. Do you know about TiVo? I knew it had something to do with television, but I really wasn't sure what it was.

It was sitting on top of the television when I came home. There was a thick booklet with it, but I tend to avoid opening booklets.

I figured I'd deal with it later. Much later.

Not so fast, TiVo suddenly just sprang into action on its own.

I'd be watching a basketball game and a message from TiVo was all other the screen.

I tried to peer through it, but couldn't help but see it said something was about to start on the Bravo channel that Tivo recommended and TiVo wanted to know if I wanted it to tape it for me. Tivo was taking over my TV. I really started to get upset. It was like Hal from the movie 2001 was in the room.

I decided to go to an electronics store in Manhattan to get the lowdown on TiVo.

Marty, a very nice fellow working there, agreed to explain what TiVo could do for me.

"You could pick a favorite program and just be able to watch it and record up to 60 hours of that one program, Marty said.

"Would anyone want to do something like that?" I asked.

"Maybe. Would you?" Marty said.

"Sixty hours of one program?" I asked.

"Sixty hours of one program," he confirmed.

"How old would you be after you did something like that?" I asked.

Tivo also keeps track of everything you watch on some database after you give it a thumbs up and I got the uneasy feeling this information is shared by others!

"Like if you order a movie it's recorded somewhere," I said. "And people would way, 'Oh he kept ordering that movie Basic Instinct five times. This isn't going to do anything like that; this is just between me and TiVo."

"It's just between you and this little box right here," Marty said.

"So TiVo could know more about you than you choose to share with your family," I pointed out.

"True. True," said Marty.

"So can you never erase TiVo's knowledge of this," I said. "I mean TiVo may have enough to blackmail a person."

"Let's hope not," Marty said.

Let's hope not. In the end, while I'm sure it will be welcomed by millions, I felt TiVo wasn't really for me.

I am what they said, "technologically challenged." I haven't even mastered seek and scan on my car radio. I decided I'm just going to stick with my VCR. Now, if I can only get rid of that flashing 12 o'clock.