It's a specialized computer that operates like a VCR but it records TV shows onto a hard drive not video tape. Being a computer it allows all sorts of extra features. First is the guide data, you scroll through a TV listing on screen and pick shows you want to record. You can set it to record a single episode or all episodes of a series. You can rate shows (thumbs up/down) and the TIVO will then record other shows onto unused HD space that it thinks you may like.Originally Posted by Anonymous
Another important feature is live pause, if you're watching a show while it's being broadcast the TIVO records it onto the HD so that you can hit pause, (rewind, etc.) then when you come back you continue from where you left off -- then you can fast-forward through commercials until you've caught up to the broadcast signal. Most people that get a TIVO have it change how they watch TV. Once you've got all your favorite shows set to record when you sit down to watch TV you just bring up the list of recorded shows and pick something. You are no longer tied to the TV exec's schedule, you can watch what you want when you want.