This week TiVo released a software update for their Roamio line of boxes that brings the QuickMode feature that was originally introduced on the new TiVo Bolt. You can read more about it on their blog post. If you enjoy listening to podcasts at faster than real-time speed, then QuickMode might be for you.
QuickMode lets you watch recorded programing 30% faster (at 1.3x speed) and pitch corrects the audio so the actors don’t sound like chipmunks. For a 60 minute television show, QuickMode will save you about 18 minutes. If you combine QuickMode with the time saved skipping through commercials (hint, try the 30 second skip - usually 6–8 presses per commercial break) you can fly through an hour long show in a little more than 30 minutes.
I’ve been using QuickMode for a few days and while I like the feature, I won’t use it for everything. For starters, much like listening to podcasts at faster than normal speeds, I found that QuickMode required me to pay more attention to the show that I was watching. If I “zoned out” for a minute I was likely to miss something. This made it much more difficult to watch TV and multi-task at the same time.
I also found that QuickMode was more suited to certain types of programing. I barley noticed QuickMode when watching “talking head” shows including the evening news and Meet the Press. For drama and action/adventure shows my results were mixed depending on the pace of the show. I watched Supergirl, a show that I find a little slow-moving, and found although I had to pay more attention than usual, QuickMode was fine. (I’m still undecided on that show.) On the other hand, watching the fast-paced medical drama Code Black was more difficult. The combination of lots of action on screen and medical jargon made me eventually turn QuickMode off after the first 20–30 minutes. Although I didn’t have a chance to test it, I would imagine QuickMode would be particularly useful when watching sports.
I suspect QuickMode will be best when used selectively. Using QuickMode changes the experience of watching TV. If you're watching to relax, want to enjoy the pace of the show and have no time constraints, you may opt to leave QuickMode off. If you're watching TV for information or have time constraints it's something to consider. I’m very happy to see TiVo bring QuickMode to the Roamio line of products and it’s a feature I’m sure I’ll use regularly.