Monday, July 10, 2006

Argh ... forgot to set the video before I left home

Ever been away from home and remembered that you didn’t set the video to record something you wanted to see? It’s become less of a problem for people with PVRs like Tivo or Sky+, since they tend to be used to record an entire series of a show.

But one-off programmes are often publicised at the last minute, - I usually read about them while scanning the papers on the plane on the way across to London - when I’m very definitely out of remote control distance.

Recording a programme via TivoWeb on a Sony Ericsson P800 mobile phoneOver the last few years, a series of hacks have been developed for the Tivo - TivoWeb and now TivoWebPlus provide a web interface to programme their Tivo, allowing remote access if your Tivo is hooked up to a permanent internet connection. Later generations of Tivo hardware and software may also allow over-the-web programming - but it’s not available to UK customers who are trapped on the original hardware.

(c) SkySky+ have sensibly enhanced their service with Remote Record to allow registered customers (paying subscribers) in UK and Ireland to text in details of programmes they want recorded: name of the show, channel, date and time to 61759 (61SKY). Up to eight mobile numbers can be associated with a single Sky+ box, allowing the entire family to text in their requests.

(c) SkyGPRS and 3G mobile users can also access the seven-day programme guide from their mobile browsers to elect programmes for recording. And the facility will shortly be added to the website.


Jimmy Porter said...

I find Tivo and the likes of that scary.

I hear you have to plug your Tivo into a telephone point which transmits data and stuff to a computer which recomends programmes which you might like.

I just don't like my viewing habits being monitored. I heard a story, although I do not know if it is true about a university academic who was researching sexual transmited diseases. He recorded a few programmes with his Tivo and stuff and not before long, his Tivo began recomending things from the adult channels on Sky.

And if that is being fed into a central computer who has access to it?

Maybe I'm just a paranoid freak with too much time on my hands and coffee in my blood.

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

I'm not sure that the Tivo uploads any information back to Tivo Central other than channels you need listings for. No need for it to block up their 0800 number for any longer than need be. But it might do.

Given that I paid the one off lifetime subscription, they've no ongoing relationship with me. I've moved house since buying it on eBay, and will be difficult - though not impossible to track down. I'm not too paranoid.

It's the Tivo unit itself that chooses the shows that you might like to watch. Takes a fair bit of processing.

In practice, I rarely watch anything it records unless I've asked it. Mainly because I'm always behind with recordings and the spare capacity it uses for possible shows is quickly overwritten. But it does throw up the odd interesting show that I've subsequently told it to record more of.

The story I heard about the STD academic was that it started recording anything that mentioned homosexuality - leaving him with the impression that it (the Tivo) had decided he was gay! (You can reset the favourites if you feel that its taste has gone too far off your viewing habits.)

But it has changed my viewing habits completely. I rarely watch TV live any longer, and never watch the ads. The tail end of last night's World Cup final was the first live TV I'd seen - other than CBeebies which entertains my daughter in her more boisterous moments - since Christmas.