Thursday , May 23 2024
Can you have too much of a good thing?

TiVo Series 3: A Blessing and a Curse

Today, I thought I’d share with you my latest problem:  sometimes, it seems, you can in fact have too much of a good thing.  Those wonderful, wonderful people at TiVo recently ran a deal: if you own Series 1 or Series 2 TiVo with a lifetime subscription you could upgrade to a Series 3 HD dual tuner TiVo with a lifetime subscription for the cost of the new TiVo and $199.  For those not in the know, TiVo no longer offers a lifetime subscription (lifetime of the product, not the owner), so in the long run this could save a ton of money. Getting that kind of cash together took some doing, but I worked it all out, and am now the proud owner of a TiVo Series 3 HD, dual tuner personal video recorder!  Score!

I don’t even have an HD TV at this point, but the TiVo can send out an old-school standard definition signal to a regular old TV, so that problem worked itself out quickly. 

As for look of the equipment itself, it’s fantastic.  Gone is the completely flat look of the front panels of the old TiVos; this one sports a digital clock read out and a display that informs you what exactly is being recorded at any given moment.  Sadly, they also included some buttons on the front of the box as well (do people really use those and not remote controls?), which mars the look a little, but it still quite a wonderful aesthetic on the whole. 

Programming the box is completely intuitive as well, except that my cable company required that they send out an installer to put the cablecards into the back of the TiVo.  It’s not that it’s difficult, but it did delay the setup by about a week. 

The real issue here is that I now have a dual tuner TiVo, which I understand is exactly what I wanted, but it’s still a problem.  With a single tuner TiVo I was able to record three hours of primetime a night, start watching at 8:45 and finish with the rest of the world on-time at 11:00.  It was perfect, I’d gained 45 minutes of time on a daily basis.  With a dual tuner TiVo I find that I now record 4.5 to 5 hours of TV a night (and on occasion as many as 8 hours).   At this point it doesn’t matter how fast I watch, there’s no way on earth I can finish at 11:00.  Despite this setback, and the utter requirement that I stay up later every night in order to complete my TV watching, I’m still expected to arrive at the office at the same time every morning.  It’s just not right.  How am I possibly expected to be as bright and chipper and ready for work with an hour or two less sleep a night?  It can’t be done, and yet somehow I’m expected to do it.

Some out there might suggest, foolishly, that I cut down on the amount of TV I watch.  Silly people.  You tell me, do you cut 24 or do you cut Heroes?  How do you choose between The Dresden Files, The Apprentice:  LA and Desperate Housewives?  In this last instance I’m only saved thanks to SciFi, which airs Dresden several times a week, thereby making it possible to record the show on an off hour. But, despite some networks willingness to re-air the same program over and over during a single week, there are hard questions here that must be answered.  Hard decisions must be made even with a dual tuner TiVo, and right up until I’m delusional from lack of sleep I for one am not willing to make them (I won’t even get started  on the fact that my old TiVo still works and I can record stuff there too, that’s a nightmare I can’t begin to work out). 

The TiVo Series 3 box is both a blessing and curse.  I highly recommend that you use it, but use it wisely, because too much time-shifting is a dangerous thing.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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