Friday, September 12, 2008

Buying Time

I just bought 120 hours.

Which is to say, the fine folks at just added an additional hard drive to my DirecTV Tivo, quadrupling its recording space. With the new season starting, I realized that I was going to have be vigilant about checking that particular machine, which with its dual tuners and small capacity would fill up fast. I would have to watch something, or at least burn it to DVD for later watching, almost constantly, to make room for incoming material. This is not a healthy relationship to have with a Now Playing list. Then I realized there was another way to alleviate my looming TiVo Debt -- I could just get a bigger drive, aka a bigger credit limit, and carry a larger balance.

If you have TiVo, I recommend being in business with the Weaknees guys. Their prices are reasonable, their speed impressive, and their customer service truly extraordinary. For instance, just this week, when I tried to order the add-on drive from them for self-installation, they took the initiative to query me about my specific setup, and when they discovered that the drive I'd ordered wouldn't work with my software without special installation, they offered to do the custom installation, free of charge. All this *before* I was even aware of a potential problem. And they did the work in less than 24 hours. If you live in LA, you can drop your machine off at the Culver City office in person, thereby avoiding both the cost of shipping and the horror of that empty space in the entertainment center where your friend TiVo belongs.

The other way that buying TiVo memory buys me time is less concrete, but of no less value to me. Before I had a TiVo, I had 4 VCRs on separate cable boxes, running almost constantly. I liked my shows to be sorted onto separate tapes, so even if two shows I was taping were on back to back on the same channel, I still needed to set 2 VCRs and 2 cable boxes to record them both. My roommate and friends were well-accustomed to a 15-minute wait before I could leave the house, heralded by the phrase, "I just need to set the VCRs."

(Oy. All this because early in my career, I had a meeting with an exec for a show I hadn't seen. I tried to fake it through , and failed -- and swore thereafter to tape everything in my field, so that if I had an unexpected meeting I had the material for a cram session. Today, of course, streaming video and online episode guides make such precautions unnecessary, but habits die hard. )

My first TiVo put that lost time back into my day. Plus the time I used to spend scanning the TV Guide each week with a highlighter in one hand. I will be forever grateful.

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