September 12, 2003

Poor Man's Tivo

The story of satellite cable, a stolen VCR, and a cheap, lazy bastard. Coming soon.

(So, I started this post almost 24 hours ago due to a bug born of a finicky relationship between NetNewsWire and my custom-built weblog software. I’ll have to look into that in more detail at some point.)

And now, the story. I try to keep my television watching and spending to a minimum. I’ve never bought a television, or a DVD player, or speakers, and I used to have a VCR which has long since broke down. In San Francisco I watched a couple of shows a week on a 4” handheld TV I received as a present one year. When Tabitha moved up I talked her into not chucking her hand-me-down 14” TV. When Bryce moved from the east coast to California and then on to Hawaii I graciously offered to steal his VCR which he hasn’t allowed me to return yet. And recently our landlady wired up the house with satellite cable service which we’re chipping in on.

Herein we come to the point. The satellite box has this bizarre feature which allows you to schedule to record shows or specific periods of time on certain channels. It accomplishes this by bouncing a powerful infrared signal off whatever is facing the boxes that tells the VCR to start or stop recording. As a result, the VCR collects Simpsons, Family Guy, Futurama, Coupling, and soon West Wing episodes automagically. It’s not high tech, but it’s cheap and it works.

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