You can especially see this in the Olympics. I pretty much Tivo-ed every Olympic program over the two weeks, and then watched them on my own time. I know lots of people are complaining about the over-commercialism and the lots of sitting around and talking, but with the "fast forward" button, you don't see any of that. Yes, you can get though a 4-hour program in under an hour (especially if you watch things like skiing and luge on fast play, so you can see what they're doing, but have it all move faster. Unless there's a crash, then you rewind), but given the amount of things I had recorded, that's a good thing. It's also cool to be able to watch a whole hockey game in an hour. You can fast-forward through all the play stoppages and intermissions, and just get the 60 minutes of actual play. (For a while I was speeding through some of that too- if a team clears the puck during a power play, speed forward till it comes back into the attacking zone)
I guess all of this could be done with a regular VCR except for the fact that the Tivo holds way more, can be paused while I watch another program, and can record 2 things at once. It's actually amazing how restricted you get when you can only record two things at a time. I'm really amazed that Tivo hasn't come out with a 4-head DVR, like some other companies have.
This is starting to sound like a Tivo commercial, and I do like it a lot, but there are some things I wish it would fix.
- When you tell it to record a "season pass" (all the episodes of a show), it automatically puts it at the lowest priority (so it won't record your new show if there's a conflict with an older one). If I want it to be a higher priority, I have to manually change the priority, and I have to manually tell it to go back and record all the things it didn't want to record when it was a low priority
- If you're recording a long, 6-hour program (like, say, the Olympics), and there's a conflict with a small portion of it (say, a half hour in the middle), you can't record any of your 6-hour program. I'd like an option to say "Record as much of this as you can, but leave gaps when you need to record something of a higher priority". You can simulate this with the "Manual recording" option (which records off a station like a VCR program), but it's a pain to deal with.
- Lots of shows (like the Daily Show) have the exact same program several times a day. I'd like the option for it to move a scheduled recording to another time automatically for me, to reduce conflicts.
- Tivo gives you the option to start recording early, and stop recording late (And BTW, I found myself a few times wishing I could start recording late, and stop early, to manually fix conflicts). If you are recording the same channel with two programs that you set to overlap (for example, we have the Simpsons on at 5 and 5:30), then for a couple of minutes, you're using both recorders to record the same channel at the same time. This leads to conflicts. I'd like the option to have it "realize" that it's all the same channel and snip one of the two recordings if there's a conflict.
Most of this wishlist is probably for ways to make the Tivo a little more "programmable", so maybe they're not good requests for a general audience. Still, it's really awesome to have it automatically figure out what shows you want on a bunch of different channels (like the Olympics were) and have it record for you.