TiVo taught my kid to read

No, really. Before Luke could read, he could operate the TiVo remote and navigate the interface to choose his favorite shows. He looked at the list of recorded programs, noted the channel icon and the first letter of the show title (PBS Kids logo + “D” = Dragon Tales), then — ba-boop! — on came his show of choice.

TiVo is the biggest and best family TV hack there is. We’re no longer hostage to program listings or broadcast times. When the kids have 30 minutes to watch TV, there are always at least three or four parent-approved options from which to choose, including more than one episode of their favorites. We zoom past all commercials, when there are any. The only live TV the kids can browse is rated G (everything else requires a secret code). No need for channel-flipping: TiVo is the gateway to all TV-watching, and we all like it that way.

For a few painful months we used our cable company’s inferior TiVo impostor. Aside from its atrocious interface, this DVR had a nasty habit of displaying whatever was on the current channel while one navigated the list of recorded programs. Luke would turn on the TV to watch his requisite 30 minutes, and there, in the little picture-in-picture window, was something TOTALLY inappropriate for him to be seeing, even for a minute or two. No way to turn that feature off, either.

Thank God our TiVo is back. It’s friendly and it makes nice ba-boop sounds.

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  1. Chris says

    Without a doubt, Tivo has become a godsend for my wife and I. We have about four to five episodes each of Dora, The Wiggles, Jack’s Big Music Show, etc ready to be queued up at a moment’s notice. The only downside is when we go visit a family member who doesn’t have Tivo. Our daughter has become so used to video on demand she can’t comprehend the fact that one of her favorite shows isn’t ready to watch at the drop of a hat!

  2. says

    Tivo/DVR’s are the best things ever invented for kids! I keep 2 episodes of my son’s favorite shows on the DVR at all times, (and it automatically records a new one every day and deletes the oldest one so there is always something new) and I also make a VCR tape of a bunch of the shows so that I can send him to Grandmas with a tape full of Dora, JoJo and Hi 5.
    I know they say TV isn’t supposed to be a babysitter, but sometimes you need 20 minutes to get some laundry done, make a quiet phone call, take a shower (ALONE) or vaccum, etc…
    Whoever thought of Tivo/DVR, I LOVE YOU!

  3. Kate says

    We were “early adopters” of the Tivo precursor, Replay TV, 8 years ago. My children have rarely seen live TV since birth, and we like that the TV “stops” when the show is over so we can limit viewing, but the earlier commenters didn’t mention the best part for us parents: there are 2 or 3 shows we like to watch, and most TV dramas are chronological now so you hate to miss an episode. With Replay/ Tivo we can watch our show in 40 minutes of our precious evening, or if it’s been a really bad month, we have a 2-3 episode marathon- not only do we get to skip commercials, but we can also skip the scenes from last week and the teaser for the next episode. I have no random TV time, but I’ve seen every episode of “Lost” when convenient for me…and yes, Tivo taught my son to read, too! (I hate to admit it, but XBox strategy games are now improving his vocabulary and comprehension.)

  4. Victoria says

    One other great feature of TiVo is that you can pause live TV as well as the recordings to answer precocious questions, whisk a training toddler off to the toilet, etc. It’s such a releif to be able to pay attention to your highest priorities, yet still not miss the news report when you don’t have time to wait for a repeat.