Search Tools
Some of the most desirable features of DVRs are the tools they offer to help you find the programs you want to record.


Photo courtesy Amazon.com
TiVo screenshot

All DVRs offer search tools of some sort, usually by name of program, name of actors, and in some cases more sophisticated options such as keyword searches.

The TiVo service offers two functions aimed at people who know what they want to watch: Wish Lists and Season Passes. Wish Lists allow you to type in (using an on-screen keypad) names or keywords that you want to keep an eye out for. For instance, a Wish List might look for everything starring Frank Sinatra, or any animated program with the word "dragon" in the title.

Season Passes allow you to tell the machine to record every instance of a single program, with the option of some advanced specifications. For instance, you can simply tell it to always record "Frasier," or you can tell it to only record first-run episodes.