Jasper Smith

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Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Because life’s too short for commercials

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I’ve been a big fan of TiVo since signing up four years ago. It’s hard to imagine sitting through TV commercials again. But I just did something that feels a bit like moving from a Mac to a PC — a move I was forced to make about eight years ago when I changed jobs after a decade of very contented Macintosh use — I just switched to Big Cable Company’s own DVR product and unsubscribed from TiVo.

The problem for me is TiVo’s reliance on third party technology for programming updates. Unlike with the cable company’s DVR service — which automatically provides the DVR with programming information — TiVo has to get the programming information it relies on via the use of either a phone line or an internet connection.

Now, I suspect plenty of the people in TiVo’s target market — youngish, technofilic, upmarket urbanites — also happen to be well represented among the growing throngs who don’t bother with landline telephone service. But this hasn’t presented most of them with a problem vis a vis TiVo programming downloads because the vast majority of such people also have internet access. And that includes me, too. Or at least it used to.

You see, Jasper recently acquired office space. And the office in question is very close to Jasper’s home (let’s put it this way, it can be ten degrees outside in the Boston winter and I sometimes don’t bother to wear an overcoat on my way to work). So, given the fact that I obviously need a broadband line for work, I decided to save the 500 bucks a year that maintaining a separate web connection for my apartment would cost me. Although I wouldn’t be shocked if I break down in a few months and re-order home internet service, for now I’d rather pocket the cash, and paying the extra $40 or $50 a month for a second (home) internet connection really seems like a waste — kind of like paying the extra cash for a separate line to a room upstairs when I’m already paying for it downstairs (yes, my office is almost that close to my home, but unfortunately not close enough for me to be able to pick up a wireless signal).

The only other alternative, of course, would be to try steal bandwidth from a neighbor for the two or three times a month required to keep my TiVo service up to date. But I can’t find an unencrypted signal bring myself to be such a dishonest neighbor.

So for now, I’m going with the product from the big, impersonal, evil, monopolistic provider. We’ll see how it goes.

UPDATE: Then I read this. Who knew?

UPDATE: Fuck. This has got me scared.

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Written by Jasper

February 20, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Technology, Television