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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Static From The Geek-In-Chief: TiVo Changed My Life, But HDTV Is Ruining Everything

I was a latecomer to TiVo amongst my group of geeks. Despite the persuasive sales pitches of two of my closest friends, I resisted acquiring a DVR two years longer than they did. Finally, my lovely wife ponied up for some TiVo for my thirtieth birthday, and we immediately realized how foolish we had been to delay embracing such a revolutionary and life-changing device.

Now that I possessed the ability to time shift effortlessly, I swore that TiVo had made live TV watching a thing of the past. Never again would I fall victim to the whims of faceless network executives who schedule shows much like the way I put away clean clothes: just stuffing things wherever they may (or may not) fit. Never again would I watch lame commercials and promos: with a bloop, bloop! BLOOP! of the TiVo remote, they were gone. And never again would this idiot cede control of his idiot box to anyone.

But that was before a young punk named HDTV strolled into my life.

Turns out HDTV is quite the charmer. Its picture is wider. Its clarity and detail, jaw dropping. The 5.1 Dolby Surround rattles windowpanes, and the subwoofer's bass vibrates light bulbs right out of their sockets. There is, however, a slight problem: it turns out my TiVo (as well as my shunned old flame, the VCR) doesn't speak HD. At all. Which means I'd have to buy new, HD-capable recording DVR or VCR equipment (which happens to be scarce, and way too expensive) to time shift this now indispensable technology, or otherwise opt for the unthinkable alternative.

Watch live TV.

I never thought it would happen. I never thought it could happen. And yet, every Wednesday night at 9:03 (damned ABC scheduling times), there I am, watching Alias, in full widescreen glory on live TV- commercials and all. Commercials and all! We're talking Quiznos ads! Eleven o'clock news teases! Even- gasp- Wife Swap promos! (Oh, the unspeakable horror.)

I know, I know. HDTV DVRs and VCRs are bound to be more a feasible option in no time. But that fact isn’t doing me any good now, proving one valuable point: staying ahead of the curve ain't easy when you're a TV Geek.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to my show. The commercial's over.

Static from the Geek-In-Chief appears every Wednesday.

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