Pre-PVR Creative Solutions to Complex TV Issues

TVPlease hold your laughter while I confess something. American Idol is appointment viewing in my household. In fact, it's the only show the entire family watches together. My kids absolutely adore this show, and it's a big deal to them that Mom and Dad watch it with them and critique the karaoke with Simon and the gang.

Last night, American Idol aired at 8pm. We had to watch it, but I had a television quandary. Last Wednesday I screwed up the VCR recording of Lost. I've actually ordered a PVR from Rogers since that error, but it's being shipped and hasn't arrived yet. So last night I had to think fast on my feet...

Last week's Lost was airing on Buffalo's ABC affiliate at 8pm. Victoria's A Channel was airing the new episode at 7pm their time, to accommodate some dancing reality show. 7pm Victoria time is 10pm Toronto time, so I could tape last week's episode at 8pm while watching American Idol with the family at 8pm, then Taryn and I could watch last week's episode at 9pm and this week's episode at 10pm.

Sounds like a plan, right? Well... my Rogers digital terminal won't let me record a station I'm not watching. If you have a digital terminal, you know what I mean. The television has to be on channel 3, hence this inconvenient limitation. That's when I rolled back the technology a few years to solve our dilemma.

I cut the digital terminal out of the loop and kicked it old school by connecting the cable directly into the VCR and then connecting the VCR to the back of the television. Now I could record Buffalo's ABC affiliate to VHS while watching American Idol on CTV. Then, at 9pm, we watched the enhanced airing of "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" before reconnecting the digital terminal so we could watch the Victoria A-Channel affiliate's feed of "LaFleur" at 10pm.

We're caught up with Lost and the Kids got to see AI. Hopefully the PVR arrives today.

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What the hell is a VCR?

March 5, 2009 @ 10:24 AM

Stephanie Wilkinson

What makes me laugh is that you throw around a lot of "computer words' that are way above my head but then you use a VCR, and I have had a PVR since Rogers first launched them years ago (although now I'm in Cogeco-ville)...

You won't believe what you've been missing a week from now...

Our biggest thing was recording two different things and watching a third. It's no-no so we got an additional PVR for the other tv.

March 5, 2009 @ 10:53 AM


Although the greatest thing ever to hit television, the PVR does have that "it only has two digital tuners" thing going for it.

So you can only record two shows at the same time, and either watch one of those shows while it records, or watch another recording. If all you do is watch recordings, this is not a problem at all, and with timeshifting, there really should be no instance where you need to record more than 2 shows.

OH!!! Additional thing in the PVR that hasn't been mentioned: because it has two digital tuners, it does Picture-In-Picture on it's own. That's right, you can do PIP using a PVR ;)

March 5, 2009 @ 11:13 AM


Mike: Its great you able to watch American Idol thanks to your quick thinking. What's next on the docket, coming up with a cure for cancer?

March 5, 2009 @ 12:32 PM

Toronto Mike

I'm working on it...

March 5, 2009 @ 12:48 PM


In all seriousness could you have used a splitter in to watch and tape different channels?

March 5, 2009 @ 12:49 PM


Good point Stephanie.

Let's celebrate Toronto Mike now using the greatest thing to hit the television since the addition of colour!

March 5, 2009 @ 1:41 PM

Mississauga Mike

For future reference, I believe you can go to your nearest Rogers Plus store and pick up the box and have it activated all within hours.

Before Christmas time we were renting two of the HD terminals from them and went on Boxing Day, bought two receivers, returned my rentals, went home plugged them in and was good to go.

Let's see Bell TV do *THAT* ;)

March 5, 2009 @ 2:51 PM

Toronto Mike

MM, I tried that first. Only HD-PVRs at the Rogers in my neck of the woods.

I even had Mrs. Rogers calling all the outlets before I agreed to have them ship it to me.

March 5, 2009 @ 3:04 PM

Stephanie Wilkinson

Mississauga Mike... I thought that too (go to the Rogers store) only to read T-Mike's next response...

No hi-def??

Do you actually have a colour tv??

March 5, 2009 @ 5:38 PM

Toronto Mike

Yes, I have a 27 inch Sony Trinitron CRT television and it is a colour TV.

The HD PVRs actually cost more than the standard def ones...

I can't afford a fancy schmancy new TV b/c my bed broke and the new one is breaking the bank.

P.s. Click an ad on your way out!

March 5, 2009 @ 5:43 PM


I have a Rogers Digital Terminal & need PVR in the worst way (& LCD HDTV). I still use my VCRs & Thurs. night is busy for me so I tape 2 shows & watch one. :(

March 6, 2009 @ 7:55 PM

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