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November 20, 2006

HD + PVR = Happy Happy, Joy Joy

Filed under: Software,Television — Bob @ 8:52 pm

I’ve discovered new joy in life, in the form of HD television and a PVR – a digital video recorder similar to a Tivo. Eileen’s folks gave us a beautiful Toshiba LCD HD television recently, and we upgraded to the Shaw HD terminal with the PVR feature. Sure it was expensive but well worth it.

At this very moment, we are watching last night’s Without A Trace episode, sans commercials. Earlier we caught up on some Daily Show episodes from last week, again we fast-forwarded through the commercials. This new gadget has really altered the way we watch television. Instead of trying to catch certain shows at certain times, we just record them for later viewing at a more convenient time. We record every episode of our favorites so we never miss out even if we are out being social.

I have thought about buying a Tivo for a long time now. I even considered building a MythTV appliance to make it even better. The only things that stopped me were the lack of HDTV support (although I understand this is now available from Tivo and you can buy HD tuner cards for MythTV) and the lack of integration with Shaw’s cable service for encrypted channels like the Documentary Channel. And the cost isn’t really less for either solution, especially if you end up with a good quality case for the MythTV solution.

Shaw’s service isn’t flawless but its darn near perfect. The recording feature integrates with the “guide” of upcoming programming, recording is a single button press, and it offers to automatically record every new episode of a given show. I have it set up to record every episode of the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, Numbers, and Battlestar Galactica.

I would like to have larger recording capacity but honestly I haven’t found it really necessary. And I’d like to have a text search to find programming to record but even that hasn’t been terribly limiting.

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