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  Category: Articles » Technology » Electronics » Article

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Tivo

By Mitchell Medford

The World's first, best and easiest to use digital video recorder – that is TiVo in a nutshell. When it was first introduced, TiVo quickly gained popularity and became a smash hit in the world of home entertainment. Millions of American households are now enjoying the convenience and freedom that TiVo offers. In a huge way, TiVo has revolutionized digital video recording and made it more accessible to the public. This article discusses what TiVo is, as well as the advantages and disadvantages it offers.

What is TiVo?

TiVo is a brand of digital video recorder or DVR that allows user to capture television programming and record it to internal hard disk storage for later viewing. The TiVo basically functions just like video cassette recorders or VCR. The big difference is that TiVo uses a high memory, non-removable hard disk storage and has much more sophisticated software to record programs. In addition, live programs can be paused or rewound to repeat a sequence and unlike tape based recorders, a program that is on the process of being recorded can be viewed from the beginning. TiVo is powered by a 50 MHz PowerPC chip, IDE controller and specialized MPEG encoding and decoding hardware. A Quantum 13.9GB IDE hard drive (14 hr) provides the memory used for recording programs. There are newer units that offer 20, 30 and 60 hours of recording time. Meanwhile, TiVo software is Linux-based which has encouraged some to hack TiVo.

Advantages of TiVo

Convenience – Now, you have total control of your entertainment. With TiVo, people will no longer have to schedule plans around a favorite TV program. Instead, they can set TiVo to record that particular program for later viewing and can be watched over and over again. With TiVo, you can select your favorite programs to record either by time, specific program title, as well as by genre, actors, directors and many others. The TiVo memory is massive allowing you to accommodate all your preferred programs which remain intact for viewing until you manually delete it.

Excellent User Interface – The TiVo interface is easier to use in many ways compared to a VCR. Even technophobes can easily get the hang of TiVo and will soon consider TiVo as a best friend. One great feature that TiVo has is the thumbs up/thumbs down button which is basically a user rating system that allow viewers to score television shows. Users can rate TV shows in a scale of three thumbs ups and three thumbs downs. These ratings are then used to determine the user's preferences to suggest some shows and programs that are similar to the user's interests.

Great Features – Aside from the great convenience and ease-of-use, TiVo offers a host of other exciting features TV addicts will love. Season Passes allow TiVo to record a show each time it is aired regardless of when the show begins. TiVo also feature Wish List searches and online scheduling which have made the TiVo a household necessity. All theses plus TiVo's various home entertainment innovations make people wonder how they went for so long without this exceptional piece of home entertainment.

Disadvantages of TiVo

Privacy Concerns – Some users are concerned that TiVo's capability to collect usage data may intrude into the privacy of its subscribers. However, TiVo assures its consumers that no information about individual viewing habits are being collected.

Ads – TiVo began including pop-up advertisements to explore it as an alternative source of income. Apparently, as the user fast-forwards through certain commercials, instead of seeing a blur of broken video stream, they will see a static image. This drew negative response from its subscribers who have previously enjoyed TiVo's ad free viewing experience.
About the Author
Mitchell Medford is an author and product consultant for several consumer electronics manufacturers. Visit his websites for more information on Tivo and satellite tv.

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