I just posted this to szasz's journal as a comment but long ranty bits like this deserve to see the light of day so I repost it here.
TiVo is such a fucking blessing to anyone who is sick and tired of commercialized consumer culture. It's one piece of consumer electronics that helps you ESCAPE that culture. If I didn't have TiVO, I wouldn't want to have TV at all, and there's some useful information that comes over the TV.
Commercials make me want to hit things. I get very angry and anxious when I see a commercial. James O'Brien and I were talking about this the other night when he stayed at my place and he mentioned that basically commercials are someone trying to bully you into doing something or listening to some spiel that you don't want to do or listen to. And our natural reaction to bullying is to get angry.
Anyway, TV doesn't make me angry anymore. I watch what I want when I want it without commercials. I don't have to feel like in order to see my favorite show I have to be anti-social and sacrifice hanging out with my neighbors. I watch my favorite shows while I eat meals or while I'm doing chores or when ever I happen to be on the couch vegging...NOT...when teh prime time schedule insists I be glued to the TV. And I only watch the really top notch good stuff that I want to watch, I don't have to settle for the crap that happens to be on as I channel surf.
My only regret is that I don't watch as much C-SPAN as I used to. It used to be that was my favorite non-commercial refuge so I'd always turn it on and learn cool stuff.
Oh I saw a demo of MythTV while I was in Seattle. This is VERY mature open source software that does just about everything TiVo does and a LOT MORE but on stock PC hardware. Ultimately I think you'd end up spending MORE on hardware for a MythTV unit than you spend on a TiVo but it'd be way more cool and hackable. I'm definitely building a box for this for my house.