Leaving the fold

I remember when my brother first told me that he’d bought a TiVo. It seemed like a silly idea; why would you want to spend hundreds of dollars to record no more than 14 hours of TV when you already had a VCR?

Then I visited my friend Sam, who had one, and who let me play with it a little bit. And then I realized that TiVo, like some other joys of life, needs to be experienced, not just talked about.

Soon, we, too, owned a TiVo. A 30-hour TiVo. With Lifetime Service. And life was good.

For a while. Then we decided to leave the cable company and go to DirecTV. That, of course, meant buying a new TiVo, one which worked with the satellite signal – all digital, from start to finish. I was able to sell my old TiVo for a good price (Lifetime Service was no longer available except via buying an old unit), so life was again good.

But it didn’t take long to fill up the TiVo’s disk. Fortunately, it was easy to add a second disk, courtesy of Weaknees. And life was good.

In 2003, we moved up to HDTV. But we didn’t have TiVo on HD, so we mostly watched standard definition TV except for the few things worth watching in real time (mostly the Superbowl).

Eventually, however, TiVo caught up with our needs, and we bought the wonderful HR10-250 DirecTiVo – HD and TiVo in one terrific box. Sure, I had to replace the disk once, and sure, the HDMI card went out, but it did its job for us.

Until DirecTV and TiVo parted ways. And then DirecTV announced that they were going to move to MPEG-4 for their HD offerings, including a couple of channels that I thought it would be nice to be able to watch in HD (notably SciFi, for the final season of Battlestar Galactica).

I thought about going back to the cable company, but they didn’t offer SciFi in HD. In fact, it wasn’t clear just what they offered in our area — every time I called, I got a different story about the coming “rebuild”. And the phone company doesn’t offer TV here.

So, after much agonizing, I called DirecTV and told them to bring me a new, non-TiVo HD DVR. I originally was going to hold out for the unit which was capable of receiving over-the-air HD and continue to use the antenna on our roof — but then came the New Year’s storms. We no longer have an antenna on our roof.

I decided to take that as a sign and agreed to take the HR-21 – without over-the-air capability. It was installed today.

I haven’t actually used it to watch anything yet — it’s taken me a couple of hours to move it where I should have had it installed in the first place, as well as to convince the Harmony (Logitech) 688 to talk to it. But we’ve successfully recorded a Simpsons (which Jeff has already watched and deleted), so I guess we’re committed.

*sigh*

This just in!

I was wandering through TiVo Community just after compiling this post, and discovered that the AM21 will soon be available, providing over-the-air capability to users of the HR-21. Hmmm….

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