Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Amazon on TiVo

I've really enjoyed my TiVo. Got the first one back in April, 2006. It was a reconditioned Series 2 machine, with one tuner and a small hard drive. It cost about $150 and included a year of TiVo service. It really was a good deal.

However, TiVo has upgraded, and as I mentioned recently, so have I.

We now have a TiVo HD, which is essentially a Series 3, though they aren't calling it that now. And, while the TiVo HD supports Netflix streaming (as do other systems, including the XBox 360), all TiVo boxes ... including the Series 2 (the cheaper ones) ... support Amazon downloads, called "Video On Demand."

Now, while the Netflix process is streaming ... that is, it doesn't have to fully download before you start watching it, just like, say, YouTube ... videos are downloads.

Netflix streaming is including with any of their unlimited packages. We have one of the low-end packages, and essentially use just the streaming., though, is a pay as you go process. I rented a Batman movie, and had 30 days to watch it. Once I hit "play," I had 24 hours to watch it as many times as I wanted. That's pretty standard, for instance. iTunes or Apple TV has the same structure.

I bought A Christmas Story, back around Christmas. It downloaded, and we watched it a few times.

The thing I like about's setup is that they keep the videos available. I don't have to keep it on the TiVo box.

I deleted A Christmas Story, and after removing it from the "Deleted Items" ... essentially, fully and completely removing it from the TiVo ... it was still available in my "Video Library." I can download it again, watch it, delete it, then download it again, watch it, delete it, then download it again ...

Bottom line is, unlike iTunes or Apple TV, knows if I have it on my TiVo. And, if I don't, it lets me put it there. It only takes up space on my TiVo if I want it too.

They also have a wide selection of older TV shows.

Remember the cheesy Irwin Allen show, The Time Tunnel? As a kid, I loved that show. So, I bought it ... all 30 episodes ... from They are in the library, and if I ever want to watch them, I can download them again, and don't have to pay for them again.

Of course, they're protected files, and you can't burn them to DVD. If you want to do that, it's just as cheap to buy the DVD instead of download.

I've also purchased 4 "seasons" (74 cartoons) of Looney Tunes. Actually, I bought 6 "seasons" (110 cartoons), but 2 of those "seasons" (36 cartoons) would not download. I've been dealing with for a month trying to get that resolved, and they finally have decided to issue me a credit and remove the videos from my library. I'm okay with that. They've already removed the videos and issued the credit.

Still, other than that one hiccup, I've been very happy with the Video On Demand, and will rent or buy going forward.

Now that I've got a TiVo HD, I'm waiting for the number of HD movies available through Video On Demand to increase.

When they do that, I'll become a full-time couch potato.

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