What Is TiVo?

TiVo  is a brand of digital video recorder (DVR) in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It is a consumer video device that captures television programming to hard disk storage for later viewing ("time shifting"). The device also provides an electronic television programming schedule, and provides recording options based on that schedule.

With the TiVo service (available free of charge), you can:

  • Control live or recorded shows with pause, rewind, fast-forward, instant replay, and slow motion
  • Search the electronic program guide (EPG) seven days in advance to select the shows you want to watch or record
  • Set TV recording preferences via the web with the TiVo Remote Online Scheduling feature
  • Record every episode of your favourite shows automatically
  • Search for everything by your favourite actor, and genre. You can even use a keyword for your search
  • Record two shows at once
  • Manage what your kids are allowed to watch and easily find quality children's shows
    Find and access all free-to-air channels including High Definition (HD) channels such as 7HD, 9HD and 10HD

                                            The TiVo Digital Video Recorder                                        

    A TiVo device serves a function similar to a videocassette recorder, in that both allow a television viewer to record programming for viewing at a later time. Unlike a VCR, which uses removable magnetic tape cartridges, a TiVo device stores television programs onto non-removable hard disk storage. Also, the TiVo device does not have any buttons on the front panel; its functions are solely controlled by remote control.
    A feature that distinguishes TiVo devices from similar digital video recorders is the sophisticated software written by TiVo Inc. that automatically records programs — not only those the user specifically requests, but also other material the user is likely to be interested in. The TiVo device also implements a patented feature TiVo calls "trick play," which allows the viewer to pause live television, and rewind and replay up to a half hour of recently viewed television. Finally, more recent TiVo devices can be connected to a computer local area network, which allows the TiVo device to download information and even video programs and movies from the Internet.

    TiVo Functions

    TiVo gets program information for the next two weeks, program description, regular and guest actors, directors, genres, whether programs are new or repeats, and whether broadcast is in HD.
    Users can select individual programs to record, or a "season pass" which records an entire season (or more). There are options to record First Run Only, First Run & Repeats, or All Episodes. An episode is considered "First Run" if aired in two weeks of the original air date.
    When user requests for two programs conflict, the lower priority program in the Season Pass Manager is either not recorded or clipped where times overlap. The lower priority program will be recorded if it is aired later. TiVo systems with two tuners record the top two priority programs.
    A user rating a program.TiVo pioneered recording programs based on household viewing habits,this is called TiVo Suggestions. Users can rate programs from three "thumbs up" to three "thumbs down". TiVo user ratings are combined to create a recommendation, based on what TiVo users with similar viewing habits watch. For example, if a user likes The Simpsons, American Dad and Futurama, then another TiVo user who watched just the The Simpsons might get a recommendation for the other two shows.
    A limited amount of space is available to store programs. When the space is full, the oldest programs are deleted to make space for the newer. (Programs which users flag to not be deleted are kept.)
    While watching TV, the current channel is recorded for up to 30 minutes. (Dual tuner models keep two channels.) This allows users to rewind or pause anything that has been shown in the last thirty minutes: useful when viewing is interrupted. A viewer can also decide to record a show that they have already started watching. The TiVo will capture the previous recorded segment, up to 30 minutes, to ensure the start of the show is included.
    Unlike VCRs, TiVo can record and play at the same time. A program can be watched, even if it's in the middle of being recorded, which is something that VCRs cannot do. Some users take advantage of this by waiting 10-15 minutes after a program starts (or is replayed from a recording), so that they can fast forward through commercials. In this way, by the end of the recording viewers are caught up with live TV.




    © Digital Television For Dummies 2008

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