Tivo - a Home Improvement Tool?

Category: Websites & Videos

Here's how Tivo has helped us restore our old home...

Our Review

Yes, we're Tivo devotees. After getting a Tivo as a gift for Christmas (and then the lifetime subscription for my birthday!) last year, I was excited from the start. The interesting part is how Jeannie went from skeptic to evangelist in twelve short months, based exclusively on how it has helped us with our work on the house. (Well, OK, recording episodes of the Daily Show with John Stewart didn't hurt either.)

We've found a number of ways that Tivo can actually be very useful for old home fans:

  • 'Ask This Old House' Season Pass - There is actually an overwhelming number of TOH shows on the air. Tivo tracks and records them all. This is especially nice for Ask This Old House, which has a great educational format...the topic saved on Tivo always seems to be useful within the next few weeks.
  • 'Bungalow' Wish List - More recently, we realized the value of the Wish List feature. By entering the term 'bungalow' (or 'leaky faucet' for that matter) we never miss an episode of any show that addresses the topic. We've caught lots of episodes about bungalows on shows we'd never otherwise watch.
  • Money saved renting movies (and returning them late) plus we don't feel compelled to sacrifice the daylight weekend hours for an important playoff game or some such thing...we can always watch it later when we're worn out.
  • Fast Forward - Finally, it's hard to beat fast forwarding through the commercials. A half hour show in just 22 minutes...even more time to work on the house! :-)

At first it seemed pretty strange to write up Tivo on a website like ours. But after thinking about it, I figured it was interesting how new technologies like this are actually incredibly useful for folks like us interested in niche topics like restoring old houses.

So if you haven't checked out Tivo, I highly suggest visiting a friend or your local Best Buy for a demonstration. Need more proof? After J's parents saw it during their Thanksgiving visit they went back home and got themselves one for Christmas!

P.S. On a related topic, I'd been planning this entry for a while. The amazing thing is the concidence that today Google launched a new feature: real time search of TV content. Their Video Search uses closed captioning text to allow people to search for words mentioned in any recent TV program. There aren't a lot of channels available yet (a search for 'bungalow' today only brought up unrelated news stories) but it might not actually be that far off in time when you could search and find the contents of any episode of a home improvement show right over the web...instantly! (The thought makes my head spin.)

Looking for More?

House in Progress Search for more on 'Tivo' on this site.
Houseblogs.net Search for 'Tivo' on on other houseblogs like this one.
Google Search for 'Tivo' on Google.
Amazon.com Search for 'Tivo' on Amazon.com.


Tivo is the best! I don't know how I did TV without it. I actually find myself watching less TV now, because I don't surf anymore, I just watch what Tivo has recorded.

I am more and more regretting that we didn't spring for the TV-R thing when we got our satellite service. Darnit.

Our thanks to J & A for the TiVo demo on our visit. We are devotees. Now we enter our preferences and watch it when we have free time. Love Love Love it. No more waste of time surfing and my thumb feels better already....... your happy M-I-L and F-I-L Less conflict in the household as well. One can watch while the other records for later use. Ahhhhhhh

My Dish Network DVR does the same thing -- searching for all shows that contain a particular word or phrase. I, too, have found shows on channels that I never otherwise would watch (like RFD-TV, Rural America!). DishPass doesn't track what you watch and make recommendations like TiVo, but the search feature is very, very cool.

I think I'll add a search for "bungalow" -- great idea!

quite simply, tivo is the best invention of the past 10 years...when my parents are already on their second unit, you KNOW it's worth having...


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Unbiased reviews of tools and resources based on our experiences restoring an old home.

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