First off, many thanks to Joshua – not sure of your last name, but you listed me as your TiVo referral and that earned me some points towards a toy from TiVo. To Joshua, my hat’s off to you.
If you haven’t experienced the joys of TiVo, let me again strongly recommend one. Their most recent innovation — TiVo KidZone — is brilliant, just the latest enhancement to an already family-friendly service. In short: it creates a kids front-end to the TiVo, showing only those shows they’re allowed to view. Everything else (the grown-up shows) is behind a password. Parents who don’t want to set up specific shows to record can just take the KidZone Guides as recommendations for what programming is age-appropriate. Or take the guides as an addition to the stuff you know you will let the kids watch… Bottom line: TiVo helps you establish what’s acceptable, while making it easy to put everything else on the other side of the fence. For parents looking for a way to make the TV more manageable, it’s a great answer.
Back to the grown-ups, the fact that TiVo’s basically now an in-home video podcasting service is a killer app as far as I’m concerned. The first time I figured out I could auto-download new recordings and have TiVo convert the video into an iPod-compatible video format, I realized that this changed my TV viewing as much as the TiVo originally did 5 years ago. It’s remarkable: you get your TV on any computer in the house, and on any portable device (iPod, PSP, Treo, many others).
With their ever-more-flexible pricing plans and the ability to get the boxes for free (so long as you commit to certain monthly pricing plans), it’s really cheap to get one of these in your house. I’ve yet to meet a TiVo user who didn’t turn into an evangelist for TiVo (we’re kind of like the more cult-ish Mac owners in that regard). It makes TV more watchable, it makes it easier to watch what you want, when you want. It even helps you spend less time watching TV (by always having your shows available). What’s not to like?
If you make the plunge and use my e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) as your referral, I get points towards free stuff. I don’t do this for the free stuff — it’s nice, but I genuinely think this is a wonderful device that anyone who even watches a little TV will find useful. Go for it.