I love my Tivo (actually, a ReplayTV, but the same idea). I hate to say things like "I love my [insert gadget here]" - especially as I hate the symbiotic relationship most people have with their TVs. However, there is a lot of stuff I like to see, but I hate to and will not arrange my schedule around TV.
Intro: ReplayTV. I haven't watched "live" TV for months. I watch what I want WHEN I WANT TO. I sound like a commercial, it's true. But seriously, I've got the BBC morning news, sportscenter, and the late night shows recording every night to watch over my AM coffee. I've got all the Simpsons I need. I record anything with the words "soccer" "futbol" "religion" or "philosophy" in it. I have movies that air at stupid times. I have MST3K which airs at 7am on a saturday, plus all the talking head shows from Sunday AM... I could SO go on... Plus, with the commercial skip and FFWD, I can watch a lot of things MUCH faster (2 hours of wrestling in 35 minutes!)
I only have regular cable, but besides HBO and Fox Sports World (more soccer) I couldn't imagine having another channel. With the RTV I don't even watch all that I record from the channels I do have.
Everyone I know who's ever used ReplayTV or TiVo has become hooked on it. I haven't heard enough to prefer one over the other, but TiVo sounds better on paper. I'll probably get one of them eventually, when I subscribe to a digital service after my next move.
In the meantime, I have a DVD burner with a built in 80GB hard drive and interface that allows me to not only record shows like a VCR, but to label them, compress them, create and delete chapters (helpful for archiving programs without keeping the commercials), etc. I LOVE it.
Friend of mine had a TiVo and I thought it was stupid. But once he showed me how it worked I went home and ordered one that night! I absolutely love it and can't imagine living without it.
My favorite features are that I can set up season passes (and it will record my shows even if they change the time), and as Max said, I can watch what I want when I want. Being able to fast forward through commercials in 2 seconds is a plus.
And even something so simple as not having to worry about whether or not I remembered to turn the vcr off!
It is expensive to buy a standalone unit but I think you can rent the DirecTiVo units for not much more than you're paying now.
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