Written on: 05/12/2002 by Tamber.
Never miss favourite program again! Pro-activley records programs. Pause live TV.
'Only' 20 hours recording time. Single Tuner. No DVB (digital TV) intergration.
What is Tivo? In a nutshell its a digital VCR, instead of using a cassette to record programs it saves them to a hard drive (like those in your PC). There are additional features such as pausing live TV, automatic recording of programs and recording of suggested programs.
The unit its self will set you back around £150, this will get you a box that can record about 20 hours of TV. If you want the advanced features like automatic recording and suggestions the subscription service is £10 a month or a one off £200 for a 'life time' (of the recorder) subscription.
A Tivo will change the way you use television, I don't watch live TV anymore, everything I watch is now pre-recorded by Tivo and watched at my leisure (advert breaks can be skipped). You can forget about setting the to record by time and date as you would with a VCR, just choose the name of the program from a simple to use menu and hit the record button. In the 2 months I've had it its only dropped 3 programs due to recoding errors (I record about 7-10 programs per day). If you do find yourself running out of space you can use the 'save to VCR' function.
The only gripes I have with Tivo is that its a single tuner device, you can only record one channel at a time (although you can record a program and watch another pre-recorded program simultaneously). The 20 hour recording capacity isn't enough, depending you your viewing habits it can fill up in a couple of days. Fortunately Tivos are modifiable, you can fit larger hard drives to give your unit 200+ hours of recoding time. Bear in mind that you will void the warranty by doing this.
Finally the Tivo only uses SCART plugs, so if you have digital TV your Tivo will take the analogue out and re-digitise it. This leads to some picture quality loss. Hopefully the next generation Tivo's will have FireWire in/out so you can record the DV stream straight from your decoder (Sky+ does do this).