Laying Down on the Job

Laying Down on the Job
The Santa Monica Easy

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pervasiveness of TiVo

I'm not ashamed to admit, I love TiVo.  I wasn't the first in my immediate circle of friends to get TiVo because -- as usual -- I didn't "get" it.  I read about what it did and how it worked  but I didn't get excited about it and I couldn't wrap my head around why TiVo was so much more than a super-charged VCR. If TiVo had rolled out its product the way Apple rolled out the first iPod or iPhone, I'd have been much closer to the front of the TiVo line, but I digress. 

I learned that a TiVo DVR would need to be purchased and a relatively modest monthly subscription fee assessed. The first person I knew to get TiVo was a family member who, the day after getting it said, "Trust me, you need TiVo -- you'll never regret it and your life will never be the same."  I should have gotten TiVo'd up right then and there because this person had never been wrong in the past -- so you'd think I'd learn.  After all this was the same family member who's dragged me, through generosity and love, kicking, screaming, moaning, huffing, puffing and otherwise whining into a pteradactyl-free life.  I should have simply opened my wallet and made the plunge with that one enthusiastic, unqualified, endorsement.  I was, however, pig-headedly unmoved. I just couldn't justify the expense, especially since I didn't see the need.  I admit it's fun and cool to be the first person to get the next new gizmo but I was uninspired. My VCR recorded any program I didn't want to miss.  I heard Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" talk about TiVo in terms that were nearly incandescent and I have to admit his reverent endorsement pushed me a teensy bit closer to TiVo enlightenment.  Even then, I didn't act.  

It took a Mother's Day to get me to TiVo.  On Mother's Day 200-I-forget-what-year, I got a TiVo DVR and a year's pre-paid subscription as a present from my wonderful, generous, thoughtful child.  As promised -- ever since then my life has not been the same.  Skipping past advertisements is the least of TiVo thrills.  I can watch an already recorded program while yet another one is recording.  I love that I can create a wish list of titles/actors/directors/topics that interest me and have them record automatically.  I can pause what's on TV for up to 30 minutes, go do something else, come back and pick up where I left off.  I can run a slide show of the photo collection from my hard drive to my TV.  I can play iTunes music on my TV.  I can transfer my podcast videos to TiVo and watch them on my TV instead of the computer.  I can schedule a show to record using my iPhone or over the internet.  I won't list everything but suffice to say, I love my TiVo and I'm always astonished when I meet someone who doesn't have it.  

Here's the thing though.  I'm so used to multi-tasking as I "watch" TV, that I often miss what was said and immediately pick up the remote to replay it.  I've become so reliant on the replay feature that today I found myself reaching for the car radio to replay something I'd just missed on the news.  Frequently I'll rewind to hear something I missed, only to get distracted by my computer or the newspaper or my homework so that  I' have to replay the same segment multiple times.  Kind of defeats the whole multi-tasking thing.  I've even found myself looking for the replay button in the immediate aftermath of a face-to-face-conversation. I think TiVo has eroded my ability to stay focused and "present".  It's the creeping pervasiveness of TiVo replay.  

Nevertheless, my life has never been the same now that I have TiVo and its remote will be the last thing pried from my cold, dead hands.  

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