Creating TiVo Playlists and WishLists

TiVo is a master organizer — in fact, that's pretty much all it does. So you shouldn't hesitate to ask TiVo to play a list of songs in whatever order you decide. And definitely don't think twice about having TiVo scan the TV listings and record all of your favorite shows and movies, whatever they are.

Creating your own playlists

When you want to hear certain songs in a certain order, you need a playlist — a file listing each song's location and order, along with enough code to keep computers happy. When TiVo reads the playlist, it finds the songs and plays them back the way that you asked.

Windows Media Player creates playlists and can save them in the format TiVo understands — but only when you ask it to. (It can convert old playlists to a TiVo-compatible format, too.) Here's how to ask the right way:

1. Open Windows Media Player on your computer and choose Media Library.

Media Player immediately displays all songs, video, and other goodies.

2. Choose New Playlist from the File menu and create a new playlist.

When the window pops up, click on songs in the order that you want to play them.

Delete highlighted songs by clicking the red X; click either the Up or Down Arrow to change a highlighted song's playing order.

3. Name the playlist and click OK.

Done setting the order? Enter a name in the "Playlist Name" box and click the OK button for Windows to save your file.

4. Save the file as an M3U playlist and publish it.

Highlight your newly created Playlist file, choose Save As from the File menu, and save it as an M3U Playlist (*.m3u). Media Player normally saves files in WPL format, which makes TiVo choke and refuse to list them. TiVo can handle playlists stored in the M3U (most players), PLS (Winamp), ASX (Microsoft), and B4S (Winamp) formats.

Creating WishLists to record favorite things

What do you do if you want your TiVo to record all movies with a certain actor, director, subject, or you name it? For instance, you may want to record every movie with Katie Holmes, or all films directed by Akira Kurosawa.

That's where a WishList comes in handy. And these lists are easy to set up:

1. Press the TiVo button to bring up TiVo Central, the starting menu for most TiVo operations. Then select Pick Programs to Record.

2. Select Search Using a WishList.

The Search Using a WishList screen appears. Below the menu, TiVo lists your previously created WishLists.

3. Choose Create new WishList.

The other option, View all upcoming WishList programs, displays every show matching your existing lists, letting you pick the ones that you want to record.

4. Select the type of WishList that you want to create.

TiVo lets you automatically record any show featuring a certain Actor, Director, Category, Keyword, or Title. Here's the rundown:

• Actor: TiVo locates any show where that actor participates: movies, TV shows, talk shows, comedy shows — anything.

• Director: TiVo locates movies created by your favorite director.

• Category only: This jumps to Step 5, letting you locate shows fitting a specific category — animated children's shows, for instance, or specific types of sporting events.

• Keyword: The most versatile search, this records shows containing certain words in their description. Enter "James Bond," for instance, to catch any James Bond movie, no matter who starred.

• Title: Can't remember a movie's entire title? Enter the words you do remember to see a list of matches.

Always enter a person's last name first, followed by a comma, a space, and their first name.

5. Select the Category.

Narrow your search, if you want, to certain categories: Kevin Bacon's Historical Drama Movies, for instance.

Or, if you chose Category Only in Step 4, here's your chance to grab cooking, mystery, or romance shows, or shows from hundreds of other categories.

6. If you want, tell TiVo how to record your new WishList.

Having TiVo automatically grab every show your WishList locates can be risky. To control the amount of shows TiVo records, choose between several options:

• View upcoming programs: The safest option, this lists every show found by your new WishList, giving you the opportunity to weed out what you don't want.

• Auto-record WishList programs: A dangerous option, this tells TiVo to automatically record every show matching your criteria. (TiVo then places that new request at the bottom of your Season Pass list.)

• Edit Actor or Director WishList: This option lets you adjust an existing WishList to meet different needs.

• Delete this WishList: After a WishList grabs everything you want, feel free to delete it.

• Done creating WishList: Finished? Select this to wrap it up.

After creating a new WishList, always choose "View Upcoming Shows" to make sure the WishList works the way you intended.

And when TiVo has granted your wish — found all the shows you wanted — feel free to delete the WishList without remorse.

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