Here are a few more tricks we found up our sleeves that you may find useful.
Selective Manual Auto-Record
Don't forget to make use of TiVo's manual record feature (Record by Time or Channel). If you're only interested in parts of a show, such as the top of the news or the last 10 minutes of The Apprentice (where you get to see Donald Trump, and his increasingly Flock-of-Seagulls hairdo, fire that week's groveling trainee), you can create re-occurring manual recordings for these show segments.
Help! My TiVo's haunted! One of the unfortunate things about TiVo is that, if you leave it on a menu screen and go away, it will eventually switch over to live TV. If you've gone off to do something else and not muted the TV, all of a sudden, you'll hear people talking in your house. This is particularly unnerving late at night, and depending on what TiVo tunes into, it can scare the bejezus out of you. So, if you leave your TiVo unattended, make sure to put the Mute button on.
Funky Space Figurin'
One of the great missing features on TiVo is a way to conveniently find out how much recording capacity is left on your drive(s). Crafty users have figured out one way of doing this. It's funky, but it works. If you have TiVo Suggestions turned on, TiVo will always try to record to fill the space left over after recording what you have requested. By going to Now Playing and adding up all of TiVo's Suggestions, marked by the round TiVo icon, you can roughly guess how much hard drive space is available (see Figure 3.11).
Figure 3.11 This 14-hour hard drive has about 4 hours of recording time left (at Basic quality).
Turning Your TiVo into a Channel-Changing Robot
Want to turn your TiVo into a very expensive robotic finger that changes channels? Let's say that you always get home a few minutes late for the news and miss the top stories. TiVo has likely been recording things all day and is not likely on your favorite news channel (where you could just back the broadcast up). You can fix this by creating a daily manual record for five minutes (the first five minutes of the news program). So, when you get home, even if you're 10, 15, 20 minutes late, TiVo will have changed to the news program and started buffering the telecast. You can then rewind to the beginning and you won't miss a thing. Why wouldn't you just record the full news program? You certainly could, but if you have limited hard drive space left, that half-hour (or hour) could be used by TiVo during the day to record something else. Make it a Keep at Most = 1 so that it will record over the old recording each day.
Using "0" in Title/Category Searches
To go to the top of the list of programs in a Title search or within a show category/subcategory, enter a zero. Since numbers come before letters in the TiVo database, this'll take you to the top where you can scroll all upcoming offerings (see Figure 3.12).
Figure 3.12 Getting to the top of a Title Search.
Live TV: Bad/Now Playing: Good
As one person on the Tivocommunity.com put it: If your TiVo keeps telling you that it needs to change the channel to record something, you're probably watching too much live TV! TiVo is all about time-shifting your TV-viewing so you have much more control over the programming. If you've been good about setting up your Season Passes, WishLists, and giving TiVo good feedback with Thumbs Up/Down, you should have plenty of shows to watch in non-real-time. If something is on that you didn't know about/forgot to record, start recording it, then go to Now Playing and watch something else. If you're having to sit through segments of shows or commercials that you don't care to watch, you're not using TiVo to its fullest extent.
One of the great benefits of TiVo and its Instant Replay and Back buttons is that, if you didn't catch a line from a speech, a movie, a game show question, and so forth, you can back the show up as many times as you like until you hear the missing line. But if after doing this, you still can't make it out, try turning on your TV's Closed-Captioning (CC) feature and then back up the show. If you have a universal remote (see Chapter 4, "Remote Control Freak"), you can even assign a button to your TV's CC feature so you can toggle it on and off at the touch of a button.