Turning On and Watching Live TV with TiVo

TiVo offers several magic hat tricks with live TV; some to be expected, others a pleasant surprise. When you first turn on your TV, for instance, you usually see live TV on the screen, just like before TiVo arrived. Press the TV Power button on your TiVo's remote to turn on your TV; the TV displays whatever channel it's currently tuned in to. Or, if your TV's already turned on, press the Live TV button from any TiVo menu to jump quickly to the currently playing channel.

The first truly pleasant surprise comes with the Rewind button: When first turning on the TV and seeing live TV, feel free to hit TiVo's Rewind button a bit to catch up. Because TiVo's alwaysrecording something, it constantly records up to the last half hour of the currently tuned live show, just in case you might want to watch it. Quite a thoughtful robot, that TiVo.

As you watch live TV, TiVo won't forget your scheduled recordings. In fact, when it needs to record one, it lets you know a few minutes beforehand: TiVo explains what show it needs to record and asks permission to change the channel.

If you don't press any button at all, TiVo assumes you've nodded off and it's expected to record your show as scheduled. So, when the recording time begins, TiVo changes the channel automatically and records your scheduled show.

If you're so deeply engrossed in live TV that you simply must keep watching, choose the "Stay on this channel (cancel recording)" option and press Select. TiVo won't change the channel, and you can finish your live TV show. However, because TiVo wasn't allowed to change the channel, you lose your originally scheduled recording.

  • If you demand full access to live television — without TiVo interrupting you when it needs to record a different show — you must hook up your TiVo and TV set a little differently.
  • You may also jump to live TV by selecting Watch Live TV from the TiVo Central menu.
  • Pressing the Rewind or Fast-Forward button speeds up the action threefold in the appropriate direction. Pressing again increases the speed 30 times faster; one more press increases 60 times faster. (Pressing a fourth time reverts to three times faster, as punishment for the greedy.)
  • Is TiVo's remote having problems turning your TV on or off? It's time to program TiVo's remote control

Recording live TV

If you've suddenly stumbled across an intriguing live show that you wish you'd recorded, it's not too late. Just press the Record button.

To record immediately, press Select. TiVo immediately grabs as much of the show as it currently holds in its "buffer" (up to a half hour), tosses the show onto your Now Playing list, and then continues to record the show until it ends. You won't miss a single second.

To create a Season Pass that records the entire series, select Season Pass & other options. From there, you may record that individual show, as well as choose options for your Season Pass.

Finally, if you pressed the Record button by mistake, choose the third option: Don't record this showing. TiVo quickly removes its menu and pretends it didn't notice your fumbled fingering.

  • The simplest option is the first: Press Select to record immediately. After TiVo has begun recording your newfound show, mosey off to the Season Pass area and tell TiVo to record all the episodes, if you want.
  • When you record live shows with the Record button, TiVo uses Best Quality. Because TiVo always displays live TV at Best Quality, it simply keeps those settings when recording the rest of the show.
  • If you're waffling on whether to grant a Season Pass to a newly discovered live show, press the Record button and choose Season Pass & other options. From there, choose View Upcoming Showings to peek at future shows in that series. That helps you decide whether the show warrants an entire Season Pass, or whether the current episode is enough.
  • When you record from live TV, you'll find your newly recorded show waiting on TiVo's Now Playing list.

Pausing and restarting live TV

TiVo's Pause button works just like the one on a VCR: To pause a TV show, press the remote's Pause button. To begin playing the show from where it's paused, press the Pause button again. (Or press Play.)

Unlike a VCR, though, TiVo can pause live TV as well as recorded shows. While the live show's paused, TiVo continues to save the rest of the show in its buffer for up to 30 minutes.

If you don't return within 30 minutes, TiVo assumes you've given up; it begins playing back the show from where you paused it. (You'll probably hear the TV's sound blast back on, alerting you of your neglect.)

If you ever think you'll be away more than 30 minutes — which is quite some time, if you think about it — press the Record button to record the show for later viewing.

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