The guys from Verizon showed up on Wednesday morning to install the Super-Secret Decoder Cards in my new TiVo.
Thank God one of them had actually "seen" a TiVo before Wednesday. Between the 2 of them it took less than 2 hours to do what a qualified technician should've been able to do in 1 hour. This is known as "job security." In all fairness to them, they are "phone company" employees which, in the past, meant hours of boredom hanging off of telephone poles, or down in freezing cold manholes, splicing miles of copper cable together in order to form "The Bell System." These days, though, it's just as likely to mean "the cable company" or "the computer guys." They don't know what the hell their job descriptions are any more. I feel for them.
This is what my TiVo looks like from the front:
This is what it does: It's a digital video recorder. It has an onscreen program guide that puts Verizon's to shame. All you have to do is "point and click" to record any show on the schedule. You can even tell it to record an entire season for you with just a few clicks. It holds up to 180 hours of regular programming (or 20 hours of HD programming). I can stick another (external) hard drive on the thing to up the recordable ante to nearly 200 hours of HD programming and nearly 1,000 hours of regular.
It does all kinds of other "tricks" with time and space (it's nearly as good as an episode of "Lost"). My favorite trick so far is, if I'm watching a show in "real time" and the phone rings all I have to do is hit the "Pause" button on the remote. The picture will instantly freeze. I take the call and after I hang up, 20 minutes later, hit the "Play" button and it will continue playing, as though I had been playing back a tape or a DVD.
It also learns and makes suggestions about things I might enjoy based on my past viewing patterns. This is both good news and bad news.
I am very excited about my TiVo. I'll be even more excited when the TiVo company issues me a refund for the defective unit they originally sold me.
Meanwhile, though, I'm a happy camper.
Tomorrow I'm seeing the new Charles Busch play "The Third Story" also starring Kathleen Turner ("Body Heat", "War of the Roses", voice of Jessica Rabbit in "Who Killed Roger Rabbit?")
Full review to follow.