Television on your schedule

Q; The remote control my cable company gave me has an On Demand button. What does this do?

A: On demand functionality is a feature that many cable companies include with their digital cable packages. It allows you to pull up a list of shows, select one and immediately start watching the program.

Imagine that your cable company has a giant video recorder that records every show on every channel 24 hours a day. Instead of you having to record your favorite shows on your own VCR or DVR, you simply pull up a menu of television shows already recorded by your cable company, select the one you want, and the show immediately starts playing on your television.

While this is an exaggeration because not every show on every channel is available with On Demand, it should help you see the bigger picture.

So why would your cable company want you to be able to watch any show at any time? The answer is surrounded by dollar signs. While your cable company may offer hundreds of television shows, and even movies, with On Demand free of charge, you will quickly find that the most recent episodes of many of your favorite shows along with new release movies will cost you a couple dollars or more to watch.

In this techie’s opinion, On Demand cable is worth its weight in gold if you love to watch old television shows and movies. But if you plan on watching an entire season of a new television show, you will find it much cheaper to use your own VCR or DVR to record the shows yourself.

For those of you that do not have the option of On Demand cable or do not want to be tied down to your cable company, keep in mind you can accomplish this same exact thing by purchasing television shows and movies in iTunes through the iTunes Store and then wirelessly transferring them to your Apple TV but that topic will have to be saved for another show.

This post was originally broadcast Friday, July 6, 2007 on Tech Talk with Noobie, a weekly radio show on WCBK 102.3 FM in Martinsville, Indiana. Tech Talk with Noobie airs every Friday between 11:30 a.m. and noon. If you have a question you would like Noobie to answer on the air, simply e-mail your question to [email protected].