Digital Video Recorder. TiVo is the brand name, but may other brands are available. And it is, without a doubt, the best thing ever. We've had DVR on our cable for a while now, and, like DVD and VCR before it, I don't know how we ever lived without it.

We can rewind and pause live TV. We can record two different channels at once - and watch something we've already recorded. We can set it to record every episode of any series (oh yes, Stargate SG:1 is being recorded).

This got me thinking about two things. The first is that, in essence, a DVR is really just a hard-drive connected to your TV, so the technology has been available for a couple of decades now. I wonder why it took so long to think of it. I mean, it seems so bloody obvious when you think of it, yet that is the beauty of hindsight.

The second thing is this: I wonder what the next big thing in home entertainment will be?

I guess being able to spot it would make me a rich man.

Fluorescent discs were supposed to be an up-and-coming thing a few years back. Everything that makes a DVD cool but with - well, at last estimate I heard - twenty times the capacity. Imagine having every episode of your favourite TV series on one disc. Yep, you don't even have to expend energy getting up to change discs. Wow. Of course, that's not that big a deal, because you can get DVD multi-changers even now.

But imagine a fluorescent disc multi-changer. Build a toilet into your armchair, drop a fridge next to it, and you'd never have to move again.

Of course, DVR ain't done yet. Bigger hard drives, more channels at once, that kind of thing. But I wonder how long before DVR goes the way of the VCR, which is to say that almost everyone has one, but we use them less and less.

Interesting that it took both DVD and DVR to truly take over for VHS. Shame it kinda preempted DVD-R and DVD-RW as the next great way to record stuff.

(And I wonder if there's an award for most acronyms in one blog entry).

I'm going to make a prediction. If DVRs have a shortcoming, it's that fact that you can only deal with the TV/cable/satellite transmissions it's hooked up to. In the future, possibly the near future, the DVR and the home computer will come closer, maybe even meld together. Ports to connect your digital still and video camera and download the contents. Card slots for storage cards for transferring programmes and saving them. Maybe the ability to download videos to your iPod video player or other portable device.

Maybe one day you'll be able to take video on your camera, watch the video on your television, and then email it to your mother all from the same set-top box.

Write that down, make it, patent it and make a fortune. And don't forget to chuck some cash in the way of your ole pal Doombreed.

Of course, people have been predicting the ultimate all-in-one entertainment centre for a while now, so don't count on me being right this time. Any money you invest is entirely at your own risk.


Too much time on my hands...

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