The DVR Continues to Be a Life Changer

Includes: DISH, T, TIVO
by: Sam Diaz

Several years ago, I proclaimed my kids - then ages 4 and 7 - to be pioneers of the TiVo generation. I even wrote a newspaper story about it, complete with pictures of these little kids managing the remote and demonstrating the ability to pause and rewind live television.

Fast forward to today and the Diaz household now has three digital video recorders, though only one is a TiVo-branded device that comes with a few extra bells and whistles. The others are DirecTV’s not-as-good-as-TiVo DVRs.

Still, I ask myself: Could we ever get along with the mighty DVR? The answer is simple: No way.

The DVR, obviously, is my Dead-Finger tech selection - that is, the DVR is the one tech gadget/device/service that you would have to pry from my cold, dead fingers for me to give up.

Back in the early years of a $400 TiVo, I remember being initially most impressed with the abilities to pause and rewind live TV. Today, that’s less impressive as it is expected. What has stayed with me over the years is the ability to set up “season pass” recordings of my favorite shows so they’ll be waiting for me when I’m ready to watch. For some shows, I have no idea what day or time they’re broadcast on traditional television. I just know that every once in a while, there’s a new episode waiting for me.

So, how do they make the technology even better? They’re already doing it.

DirecTV (DTV) and DishNetwork (NASDAQ:DISH), for example, offer remote DVR scheduling from a Web browser or mobile device, which means never having to worry about missing a show. Likewise, I’m waiting for the satellite guys to follow what AT&T (NYSE:T) is doing with the U-verse service, which allows users to watch a recording on one DVR on second DVR in the house - regardless of where it was recorded.

Note to DirecTV: I was ready for this technology yesterday. But, alas, DirecTV is the only provider that offers the NFL Sunday Ticket - so I’m pretty much stuck where I am, even if the company forces me to watch recorded programs from the DVR that recorded them.

As a side note, the DVR has also forever changed the way I watch football. I have been a subscriber to DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket for years so I have my choice of games to watch. I usually find the one game I really want to see, hit the record button on that one and then surf through the other games. I have become a pro at rewinding to make my own instant replays, pausing to see if the guy was really in-bounds and fast-forwarding through the same Miller Lite commercial they’ll air all season long.

The DVR - the technology, that is - changed my life forever. There’s no going back.