TiVo created a revolution in television viewing when its digital video recorder (DVR) first showed up. In a world resigned to scrolling back and forth through an endless stack of VHS tapes, TiVo made it simple to record a show and watch it later. More than anything, the user interface made it quick and easy to set up recordings and play them back when you wanted. Now all sorts of services offer DVRs, but the latest wrinkle is a “whole home” feature: record the show on one television, and watch it on any other one in the house.
The latest entry is from DirecTV. And let’s start with the punchline; DirecTV Whole-Home DVR Service costs just $3 a month on top of your subscription (which must include HD and DVR services at $17 a month). For this, you get a box that will let you record up to two shows at once, and watch up to two shows on different televisions at once. And all this can be going on at the same time. You can manage your DVR recordings and schedule from any TV in the house, and even pause a show in one room and then go continue to watch it in another. And you can even increase the storage capacity by adding an external hard drive with an eSATA connection. You can get a 1 TB model for about $100 these days.
All this for $36 a year seems to be a pretty good bargain. It’s a convenient system that means you don’t have to buy a separate DVR for every room.