October 11, 2007

It's hard to believe how much difference an hour makes. I speak of the one hour difference between the Eastern and Central time zone.

For example, last night, I picked up Mrs. theskinnyonbenny from her work stuff at 5:00. We went back to the condo, let her change clothes, walked into the tiny downtown, picked a restuarant, ate, had a couple of drinks, and walked back home. We sat down, turned on the TV, only to find that it was still 20 minutes before the start of prime time programming.

What the heck?

What do you East Coasters do with all that time after work and before TV?

Here's another catch: I often fall asleep before the end of Monday Night Football, but this week -- tired from the Sunday drive here -- I was asleep before kickoff. How many millions of viewers do they lose every week? It seems to me like it would be better for the ratings if they started earlier and gave the heavily populated East Coast a chance to see the end of the games. I understand that this means that a lot of West Coast worker-bees would miss the kickoff, but everyone would be able to see the end of the game. Isn't the end the most important part?

I think we're nearing the day and age where programmers can assume that their viewers have a DVR. So West Coast people could catch kickoff when they get home to work, fast forward through commercials, and be up to real time by the end of the game.

Speaking of DVRs, TIVO is making a strong case for coming back from the dead. We ditched TIVO a couple of years ago, as the cable company's DVR had two tuners and HD capability. TIVO has caught up with these features, and offers some features that the cable company doesn't yet.

  • The ability to see what your other tuner is doing, and to jump immediately to it.
  • The ability to use your home computer as overflow storage for TV programs, so you're effectively unlimited in the amount of shows you can record and keep.
  • The ability to watch shows record on one TIVO box on a different TIVO box.
  • The ability to watch recorded shows on your computer, or to copy them to your IPOD or other portable device for viewing later.
  • The ability to play your music files from your computer through your home entertainment system without hooking up anything other than the TIVO box.
  • The ability to buy movies from Amazon, watch them on TIVO immediately, and keep them on your local computer forever, so you have them any time you want them.
  • The ability to schedule shows to record over the internet, so I can set my TIVO to record something that I find out about while I'm traveling.

Cool, hunh?

The real motivation for this switch was that Cox refused us a third DVR box, citing policy to allow everyone to get at least one. Mrs. theskinnyonbenny asked them to elaborate.

"So there's a shortage of them?"

"No, we have hundreds and hundreds here."

"Well, we're willing to pay an extra $15/month for a box that's earning you nothing by sitting in a closet."

"I'm sorry, you can't have another one."

As money allows, I would like to replace all of the DVRs that we have with TIVO boxes. That way, we can watch any recorded program from any room in the house.