Transfer from the TiVo or download on iTunes? Convenience is winning out

Steve Jobs is taking more of my money than is really necessary. He is winning the convenience war, and it may spell longer term trouble for my TiVo.

With two kids under the age of three in the house, our tv watching has dropped to a minimum. I watch about four hours a week, if I’m lucky, which puts us on the extremely low end of the national average. Aviva generally refuses to watch science fiction, so this means that any attempts to squeeze the two scifi shows I try to keep up with – Fringe or Star Wars: The Clone Wars (I admit it; go ahead and laugh) – into those four hours is a challenge.

When we were traveling over the holiday, I saw the opportunity to catch up on some missed shows by transferring them to my phone. Between the flights, children napping in cars, and general downtime from grandparents spending time with the kids, this might be my opportunity.

The episodes were sitting on my TiVo, just waiting to be watched. I just needed to get them onto my phone. I’ve done this before. I own the software. It’s as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Decide you want to do is about 48 hours beforehand, leave the computer on overnight, and set them to download from the TiVo, since it takes about an hour per program over our wireless network
  2. The next night, run the special TiVo software that will convert them to an iPhone friendly format. This will max out the CPU for about an hour per program
  3. Import the converted videos into iTunes and then sync your phone. They’ll now be on your phone, but be prepared for a loss of synchronization between the audio and video during transcoding, meaning that everything will look like it was dubbed.

Or, I could pay $1.99 per program and download them to my phone over the air, without commercials, without audio syncing problems. It’ll take under an hour.

I paid the $4 for the two programs.

With Apple TV out, the usefulness of my TiVo is starting to come into doubt. The future of my tv watching is coming down to a race – either TiVo is going to make it easier to get the programs off the box, or Apple is going to expand their catalogue to cover all of the other programs that my TiVo records.

These days, the odds are looking in Apple’s favor.

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