Why my TiVo usage reminds me of RSS consumption

tivo rssFirst my disclosure — I actually don’t have a TiVo anymore, I wish I did. But when I switched to HD I had to go with the standard, and very inferior (from a user interface / software perspective), HD cable box DVR. As Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote, ” ‘Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.”

With that out of the way. I find myself converging on a certain usage pattern when it comes to both TiVO/DVR and RSS — and the consumption of new content.

My typical RSS experience with new content:

Step 1) Discover new content via delcious, other blogs, digg, search, links, etc.

Step 2) Browse the content, maybe tag an interesting article.

Step 3) If it’s compelling, add the RSS feed to GoogleReader, and tag it

I end up with way too many feeds, so I often trim them back based on GoogleReader’s trends data.  I prefer to over consume, knowing that I can skim all day, and ignore many feeds, but come back to them when I’m doing a deep dive ona  topic.

My typical TiVO/DVR experience with new content:

Step 1) See a promo for a new show on TV, online, or word-of-mouth.

Step 2) Program a recording / “season pass” for that program

Step 3) Try and find time to actually watch the show 🙂

Step 4) After watching it, keep the subscritpion, cancel it, or keep it knowing that I will only watch it once in a while.

Where I see the convergence is in a few spots:

– Subscribing and recording are a similar experience

– I prefer to over subscribe as a sampling strategy so that I can always watch things later

– I prefer to subscribe immediately when I find new interesting content.  DVR and RSS make that super simple via 1-click ( well actually 1 click with Tivo, and 9 clicks with DVR – but I digress )

– There are many RSS feeds, and many shows that I subscribe/record but only watch occasionally.  It’s a “skim” / monitoring approach that works well.

On a somewhat related note, I was happy to see the PBS FrontLine show pop-up on my DVR recently.  The latest episode on “Spying on the Home Front” is a must-see.

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