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Cheap Instant Video Replay Using TiVo

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi folks,


First off, let me start this post saying that this idea was adopted from the diving industry.  My college roomate was a diver who turned me onto the idea of using a TiVo (DVR) to provide instant replay in a practice environment.


Basically, you plug a standard video camera that every gym has lying around (doesn't need to be expensive), plug it into the "Video In" part in the back of the TiVo, and then plug a TV ( I like a somewhat larger TV.....27"+) into the TiVo's "Video Out". 


Essentially, you trick the TiVo into thinking it's "Live TV" function is a television broadcast, when in fact it is the live image being sent from your camera.  Now, you have the ability to record every practice turn without missing anyone!  Plus, you can use the inherent features offered by TiVo to benefit your practices like "Instant Replay", "Slow Motion", "Frame by Frame Advancement", "pause", etc....


These features really help when you're trying to explain something to a kid who says he understands what you're saying, and yet he continues to do it wrong.  We all know these kids.  It's not their fault though.  They can't "feel" it kinesthetically". 


People learn more efficiently when they can see themselves performing a skill. 


This concept is nothing new.  However, the timing between the performance of the skill in practice and the provision of visual feedback, historically speaking, has been too long or too inefficient.  We've all done this............................bring a video camera into practice, record one kid, stop the recording to show the kid his turn, watch it with him to provide verbal feedback, then restart the recording, etc....  This is slow, inefficient, and therefore not used widely, at least in my opinion. 


The TiVo fixes all of that!  It is a computer so it never stops recording.  Therefore, you can stick the camera on an event/practice station, and let it go!  Each kid can go to the TiVo, rewind to find his or her turn, view it in slow motion, pause it on the trouble areas, then go right back and take another turn.  But the most beautiful thing about the TiVo is that during the time when the first gymnast was viewing his or her turn on the monitor, the TiVo never stopped recording.  So, the next gymnasti in line could record his or her practice turn while the person before him or her was watching his turn. 


That's why it works so great.  It's so simply!


If you'd like some information on how to physically set up a "TiVo Station" email me at, and I'd be happy to send you a document that I've made specifically giving you step by step instructions on how to set up and use a "TiVo Station". 


































post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 

 I wanted to update anyone interested in this setup.  I've received many inquiries about how to setup up the TiVo, and hopefully, all those who asked are up and running now, and enjoying their new toy.  


But, as I am reviewing this thread, I am looking at an advertisement for a "DVR 4 Channel $149.95.....MPEG4 IP Networking DVR Real Time with record, playback, backup" from  This would be the next step in the use of a DVR for sports.  The TiVo is one channel, meaning you can hook 1 video camera up to it.  There is also a 2 channel TiVo, but I don't have any experience with it, so I cannot speak about it.  


However, I do have experience with a commercial grade 4 channel DVR, and I loved it.  I used it at the 2005 Region 7 Men's clinic at IGC and set it up on pommels.  I was able to take 4 cameras and record 4 different stations at once, and the screen was split into four sections, so the gymnasts could see their turns without interrupting one of the other 3 gymnasts who were also recorded. 


I was also able to position the cameras at 4 different locations on one event.  Roberto Pumpido and I set this up on vault and placed a camera where a judge would typically sit, to see that vantage point.  We placed another camera very close to the board to see exactly frame by frame where the best vaulters contacted the board, and then we placed the other 2 cameras on the run and the landing areas in order to study those aspects of the event as well.  This tactic rendered a lot of understanding about each gymnast, and proved to be VERY helpful.


The problem was that the system I was using was on loan from a high end security company, and the DVR itself cost $2000, not including the cameras and cables.  So, the cost outweighed the benefit in most gym owners' eyes as to whether or not they'd like to buy such a unit.  But, that was in 2005!   


Now the prices are so low, that it's almost silly not to invest a little bit of money in a system like this! 


I truly think that integrating this type of visual feedback and technology into sport is the future.  So, try and convince the powers that be at your gym to look into getting a DVR, even if it's just a TiVo!  You'll wonder how you ever taught without it =)



post #3 of 5
Did you use a series2 Tivo? Were the gymnastics able to see their results instant replay post performance?


post #4 of 5

I have a Tivo, monitor and video camera but cannot seem to get beyond the setup mode.  Can anyone advise me how to proceed with the setup so the Tivo will accept the input from the video camera.


Thank you,


post #5 of 5
I know this is an old thread, but I read it some time ago, and used the advice. My daughter's gym now has a Tivo setup, and it works great!

I actually purchased the package (camera, TiVo box, cables) off ebay - I searched for "Tivo replay".
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