Sunday, December 05, 2004

tivo nation

it's been a week since my incredibles post, and the only item on my xmas list this year (other than socks and happy meal incredibles toys) was a tivo (specifically a directv dvr, aka "DirecTiVo"). libby & barry have one in the living room already, though i haven't used that one much.

the other night barry & went xmas shopping, & because "we're all adults now", barry went ahead & bought my tivo while i was there with him. the reasoning was that i pretty much knew i would get it anyway (since it's practically the only thing on my list), so there wouldn't be much point in pretending to keep it secret. the model i'm getting is made by hughes, and says "up to 70 hours" on the box, suggesting it has an 80gb drive.

even being there during its purchase, i still wouldn't have dreamed of "opening it early", so i left it downstairs to be placed under the tree, etc. but the next morning people seemed surprised that i hadn't opened it immediately, and everyone said i might as well go ahead & hook it up... so what the hell.

my directivo has been hooked up since friday night. it's definitely more convenient than traditional tv with a vcr, although i don't agree with all the nonsense that's been in the media recently about "the death of the vcr"... millions of americans still don't own any digital video media (vcr, dvd, digital cable or satellite), and millions more still own large libraries of vhs tapes. i sure have tons of them, and until i get a dvd burner (probably not anytime too soon), i'll continue using vhs to archive my favorite programs. but i digress.

tivo is very handy & easy to use. i was already comfortable using directv menus and guides, so the learning curve is not steep at all. i've set up a few season passes for shows i like, but perhaps even more convenient is the ability to set it to catch up with movies that come on satellite. we have several hbos, starz channels, sundance ifc, and several more, and there are probably a bunch of movies in rotation that i've been meaning to see but come on at weird times or opposite other shows. now i can record them in the middle of the night (or the workday) & watch them at my convenience. already i have it set to record shattered glass and lost in translation this week. and i recorded the remake of texas chainsaw massacre last night.

not to mention that if i'm ever watching tv and hear a sample-worthy line, i can just rewind, open a wav editor, and record it to my computer immediately.

obviously i like it, but i've only had it for a couple days so it hasn't revolutionized my watching experience just yet.

in other xmas news, my employer decided to give us all an extra day off for some reason. i'm not entirely clear why (probably some kind of reward; i'm not complaining). but i've taken advantage of the extra time and scheduled another trip to san francisco to visit connie for xmas. i leave on the 22nd & return on the 26th. air travel will be crazy on the 26th, but i think it'll be worth it. months ago, connie & i had explored the idea of her visiting here for the holidays, but because of how our time off worked out, if we'd done so we wouldn't have been able to get together again until may. rather than go five months without seeing each other, we decided she should visit here in february for her birthday instead. that trip is already scheduled, those tickets already purchased as well.

but this extra day off was a boon, and in addition to getting 12/24 off for the holiday, gave me just enough time for a quick trip to california. i'm not sure i've ever spent xmas outside the midwest; if i have, it would've been in san diego in the '80s. so christmas in the bay promises to be a new experience. hopefully we'll find some interesting events or shows going on...

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