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Vintage Buffalo: Philips Series 1 TiVo

by Emily Price | April 6, 2011April 6, 2011 4:30 pm PDT

Vintage Buffalo is a new weekly feature here at TechnoBuffalo where we take a look at our old gadgets, why we bought them, and what made us replace them. I’m a bit of self-proclaimed gadget hoarder. While I tend to buy a lot of “new” gadgets, I have a hard time letting go of some of my older electronics that I’ve grown emotionally attached to.

Are you like me and hanging on to some gadget relics of the past? Submit your story to vinatgebuffalo@technobuffalo.com to be featured in a future Vintage Buffalo!

This weeks gadget is the Philips Series 1 TiVo.

Owner: Jim Montgomery, IT Architect

Gadget: Phillips Series 1 Tivo

Purchase Date: In the year 2000

Price: $300

Why I bought it: People looking at new technology always suffer from near-sightedness. It is very difficult to know in advance, before you have used a new gadget for a while, what aspects you soon won’t be able to live without, and which annoyances will drive you insane.Very rarely do you see a new technology and realize immediately that it will have a long-term affect on you. I thought I had a peek into that long-term affect with the TiVo. The lure of not watching commercials was what made me buy it, but it was so much more that made me fall in love with it.

Best feature: The User Interface.The capabilities of a DVR are a given.But the interface is a huge differentiator. TiVo had (and still has) the best menus, the best sounds (I still make TiVo sounds today when using my current inferior DVR – beep ba-deep!), and fast response times. I’d love to shake the hands of the team that created the TiVo interface. They could develop circles around anyone at Apple, any day.

A close second choice for best feature is their remote. It felt better in the hand than just about anything (other than a craft beer), the buttons were perfectly spaced, and the arrangement just made sense. Nothing else has ever come close for me.

Still working?: It will still turn on! But I don’t have the subscription service, and the hardware has some issues.

What made me replace it: It’s been replaced with a newer DVR from the cable company. The hard drive started loosing data after 4 years (bad sectors?), and shows would start to glitch during playback. You just have to live through the 2-3 month (or years?) separation anxiety from the TiVo interface. Eventually you get used to the lesser interface, and you still have your DVR capability. Every now and then I fondly remember the good times when I could just beep bong bong, and watch a show. Uh oh, just thinking about it may make me relapse.

Why I’m still hanging on/why you gave it up: I used to brag when people asked if I had seen a certain commercial that “No! I don’t watch those anymore: I live in the future.” You just don’t give up on things that had brought you so far.

I have a dream that I will one day crack open that case, swap the hard drive with an enormous replacement (peta-byte drive, anyone?), rebuild the system with an open source DVR alternative, and then watch reruns of Golden Girls and A-Team until my eyes bleed, all while in a glorious heaven-like state, once again reunited with my beloved TiVo.

Note: Some foods may cause you to have weird dreams.

Have a gadget story of your own to tell? Send us answers to the following questions and a picture or video of your gadget (even an old one) to vintagebuffalo [at] technobuffalo.com. We’ll pick one person each week to have his or her story featured on the site!

Gadget:
Purchase Date:
Price:
Why I bought it:
Best feature:
Still working?:
What made me replace it:
Why I’m still hanging on/why you gave it up

Did any of you have the original TiVo?


Emily Price

Emily has been obsessed with computers since the early 80s when she discovered she could play Ghostbusters on her father's Commodore 64. She...

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