The one where my brother gets a PVR

Originally written for eVent! magazine [ep] on January 19th, 2006.

There is nothing better than television.  Okay maybe ice cream but television comes a close second.  The last few years though I haven’t been watching as much.  My schedule varied and the shows I wanted to watch would be missed.  Eventually I stopped even paying for cable, moving instead to watching television shows on DVD, spending my cable monies on complete seasons in box sets. 

Boxed sets of television series are a preferable way to watch a show.  I can’t imagine watching the frantic passed 24 on a week by week basis, waiting a full seven days to find out whether or not Jack Bauer manages to save the world.  Rather I enjoy binging, watching four, eight or more shows back to back as I race through the set nearly at the same pace as Bauer races through an explosion filled day.

Still though there are some shows that aren’t on DVD, or that aren’t appropriate for DVDing.  A regular show like the Daily Show probably won’t receive the traditional DVD treatment and given that it’s show that works best in context.  So how do I watch these shows, especially with my ever-changing schedule?  I’ve been waiting for TiVo, a recording device available in the United States that lets you digitally record television shows to a hard drive with an easy to use interface. 

TiVo is much easier than programming a VCR, and you never have to worry about tapes being eaten.  The only trouble is TiVo isn’t available in Canada, and may never be.  However there are some TiVo that fill the void.  Shaw cable offers a high definition television box that gives TiVo like recording functionality. 

My brother recently bought the HD box, and has loved it.  Having used it myself it’s been getting me back into watching real television.  I set the box to record The Office and My Name Is Earl on NBC and then I can watch them at anytime of the day, or the week.  I wake up early and before work I get to watch all the shows that I would have normally spent the evening watching the night before, but instead was working when was on.

As a fan of a sport, English Premier League Football (soccer), that’s not popular in Canada and takes place overseas the recording functionality of the device is also invaluable.  Instead of struggling to wake up at four in the morning so that I can try to stay awake through an Arsenal game, I can simply let the Shaw HD box record it and play it back when I’m fully awake.

Another thing is that if you’ve got a newer high definition television the HD picture on high definition channels, and there are still only a few of them, looks amazing.  Currently the picture is as crisp and clear as watching a DVD, though since the high definition television format is a superior format to DVD it should in fact eclipse the picture from your DVD if you’ve got the right cables.  That is at least until HD DVDs come out.

Now this might seems like a giant ad for Shaw, but it’s not.  Shaw just happens to be the company whose device I’ve used, but Bell offers a similar system through their satellite service and it is worth checking out as well if you’d prefer their rates to those of Shaw’s.