For some reason I was reminded yesterday of my old replayTV (well, Stephen’s old replayTV to be honest). This was a really cool device that recorded TV by you simply telling it stuff like ‘record all episodes of Simpsons’. This may not sound like much but in America you get three episodes of Simpsons on weekdays, none on Saturday and two on Sundays – so that would have been a lot fo recording setting otherwise. Once set, the replayTV would sit there quite happily until the show came on then start recording it. At some point in the future you’d come back to find ten or so episodes of Simpsons sitting there on the machine ready to watch (assuming it hadn’t run out of hard drive space of course). Then I’d just happily sit down for a few hours of mindless high brow entertainment and learning of words such as ‘specious’ and ‘crisortunity’ – deleting episodes I’d seen already straight away and just watching ones I hadn’t.
That wasn’t all though – you could also simply skip through ad breaks, which again in America could save you 10 minutes per ‘half hour’ episode of Simpsons. Sweet. Wait – there’s more. They had this cool thing call ‘ShowStopper’ where you could pause real time tv when the phone went and then go back to watching it where you left it, fast forwarding to catch up with real time again during the ad breaks.
Bizarrely this was back in 2000 that it was first released and not everyone has one yet! It totally revolutionizes the way you watch TV – and gives an indication of what it would be like with on demand TV (ie, where you just say ‘I want to watch Simpsons episode blah’ and you pay directly for that – probably a lot more money for an advert-less show than one with adverts).
The reason I mention this now is that on BBC News today I see that Sony’s next Playstation will incorporate one of these toys in with it. So I’m sure Stephen will be very happy indeed, especially on top of the major congratulations for his engagement. Cheers!