Until they own one, most people don’t know what they’re missing when it comes to PVRs (personal video recorders, also known as digital video recorders or DVRs). They really do change the way you watch TV, unchaining you from the broadcast schedules of the TV networks and allowing you to watch TV when you want it and how you want it. You can simply tell your PVR to record every episode of all your favourite shows, and when you actually feel like watching TV, you just plop down on the couch and start watching the recorded episodes, which are sitting right there waiting for you – no need for tapes or for programming in record times.

Of course, your dad will love doing this as well, and the best way to give him that ability is to get him a TiVo, Foxtel iQ2 or MyStar. Which one you get him will depend on whether he has pay TV or not. TiVo only does free-to-air TV; the iQ2 supports recording Foxtel shows (as well as free-to-air shows) and the MyStar supports recording Austar and free-to-air TV.

You can buy the TiVo for him outright, but the iQ2 and MyStar are subscription-based, so you might try subscribing him for, say, a year or so.

TiVO sells for $699, Foxtel iQ2 is a $200 setup fee plus $10 per month (this on top of the Foxtel subscription cost), and MyStar $14.95 per month.