Amazon and Tivo have teamed up to provide a new service where you can rent or buy videos from Amazon and have them downloaded directly to your TiVo. There are over a thousand movies (including just-released to DVD movies, like the new James Bond flick) as well as TV shows. It can cost anywhere form $1.99 to rent, or something like $7.99 to buy. New users of the service get a $15 credit, so I signed up for it today, and then proceeded to “rent” The Break-up. Within 15 minutes, the movie was downloading onto my Tivo and the download was complete after about an hour or so.
It seems like a pretty cool service. If you are at work and decide you want to “rent” a movie, you just order it up and it will be there waiting for you when you get home.
With all of these services like this, or the iTunes store, it is bringing “instant gratification” to a whole new level.
The Comcast guy got here at about 10:30 and it was surprising how easy it was for him to get my cable setup. There were two minor snags, one of which is resolved, the other of which is pending.
I couldn’t get my computers connected to the internet unless I was directly connected to the cable modem. The cable guy “hated” Macs and furthermore, he didn’t know anything about them. He stuck around for about 45 minutes while I tried getting it working, but no luck. He had to go on another call. I spent the next two hours trying myself. I could get a connection if I was directly connected to the modem, but not if I wasn’t. On the other hand, if I plugged the Airport Extreme base station back into the DSL line, it worked fine. I called Comcast tech support. No help there. Finally, on a whim, I thought that perhaps the base station was retaining the mac address assigned by the DSL modem. I performed a manual reset of the base station, reconstructed my network–and everything worked!
I hooked my TiVo up to the new cable box and got it configured for the new channel line up. One nice feature was that all of my Season Passes were updated with the correct channel automatically. TiVo recently provided an upgrade which allows WPA2 encryption, so I was able to convert my wireless network back to WPA2 encryption. That is working great now too.
The final snag was that I was supposed to get a Digital DVR for the bedroom. There were none in the warehouse at the time the service guy went out there. So I have only “basic” cable in my bedroom right now. (That’s fine because I don’t watch much TV in there.) He said he’d keep checking the warehouse today and if they got one in, he’d bring it out. Otherwise, I’ll probably have to wait until next week. Once I have that, however, I’ll have DVR capabilities in both rooms (meaning I can record Gray’s Anatomy and Scrubs since they are on at the same time.)
I was frustrated by the Internet connection issue, but I’m glad that I got it all fixed. On initial glance, I think the cable connection is faster than my DSL. I noticed download speeds of just about 1 MB/second earlier. I’m going to confirm my downloading the most recent episode of Battlestar Galactica from the iTunes store. In the past, it takes about an hour to download. We’ll see how it goes over cable.
Monday night is Heroes and Studio 60 night. And in my pre-TiVo days, I’d force myself to stay up to watch them, or I’d miss them and have to buy them from the iTunes store. Tonight, however, I am tired and about ready for bed. And as I type this journal entry, TiVo is diligently recording both shows for me so that I can get to bed early and watch them whenever I feel like it.
I could get used to this kind of personalized service–or as Douglas Adams once put it: a machine that watches TV for me. (He was referring to VCRs.) Now if I only had a machine that could go to work for me…
It went like this: I had TiVo’d the movie Prime on HBO several days ago and sat down to watch it this evening. That ended just in time for me to watch Heroes. A few minutes into the show, however, Norm called to talk about plans for this weekend. Fortunately, the show is on a “Season Pass” and was recording anyway. Nevertheless, I paused it. After talking to Norm, I had to call AJ, and once that was done, I had to call Norm back again. So when I finally got back to Heroes, 40 minutes had passed. I caught up as best as I could by skipping commercials. I then went on to watch Studio 60 which had its best episode so far. But even racing through the commercials, it was well after 11 and now its about midnight!
I am debating whether to vote in the morning or the evening tomorrow. If I vote in the evening, it will have to be after the gym, but the polls don’t close until 8 PM and I’ll have plenty of time. If I vote in the morning, I’ll be a little late into work and I’m on good work groove right now so I don’t know if I want to go in later.
I guess I’ll see in the morning.
I was up at 8 AM this morning and took my car into Saturn for my 9 AM service appointment. Last night, while in the shower, I had the strong urge to seriously consider buying a new car today, but the urge passed and sanity returned, and instead, I had my car serviced and never even looked at another car while I was there. I had the service people take an extra good look at the car since I’m driving up to New York on Friday. Everything was in good order, except the brake fluid, which they drained and replaced. They washed the car and it’s looking shiny now. It only took an hour and I was out of there at 10 AM.
I made pretty good progress this week on the software project on which I am working. I hit most of my milestones for the week and felt pretty good when I left work yesterday. Sometime between leaving work yesterday and this morning, I had an idea that would avoid some minor problems that I had been running into and make the code a little more elegant. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head and so I decided to head into the office on a Saturday and get some work done. I got to the office around 11 AM and I worked until about 4 PM and I was quite pleased by the results. I even got a little ahead of where I should be in my effort which will help to make next week a bit easier.
I stopped at Best Buy on the way home and picked up a couple of DVDs: the special edition of Memento and the Star Trek “Time Travel” episodes box set. On the train ride home, I watched an episode of Battlestar Galactica on the video iPod.
I decided to take the rest of the evening off and chill. Earlier in the week, I’d had my TiVo record Beverly Hills Cop and Beverly Hills Cop II, both of which I hadn’t seen in a long time. I settled down to watch them this evening. No reading today, but that’s okay.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I have stepped into the 21st century. That’s right, you are looking at the latest owner of a TiVo device. It is all setup and working and in the few minutes I’ve had to test it (pause live TV, etc.) it is working just as advertised. Not only that, I didn’t need a phone line after all. I simply get the TiVo USB wireless device which connects to my my encrypted wireless network and all programming information, etc. is handled over my high-speed wireless connection.
In addition, the wireless device comes with features that allows me to play back my TiVo’s programs through my laptop computers (or desktop computer) on my network, so I don’t actually have to be sitting in front of the TV to watch TV. I’ve also already set up “Season Passes” for several of the shows I watch (Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, House, Studio 60, Gray’s Anatomy and Heroes).
The setup was remarkably easy and intuitive, even though it took a little while. Even the configuration was simple (once I realized I had to use WEP security on my wireless network instead of WPA, which is what I had been using). I’ll post more about it once I’ve had time to actually use it, but I am pretty happy now that I finally have it.
I am no longer a slave to TV schedules!