A Brief History of Trump and TiVo, Which He Called 'One of the Great Inventions of All Time'

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Donald Trump, the seventy-year-old president of the United States of America, really loves his TiVo. This much is clear from a new Time magazine profile on Trump, which focuses on what our nation’s mercurial boss does after hours.


To no one’s surprise, the leader of the free world spends a lot of time watching cable news. But hidden in the article was this beautiful reference, to what very much seems to be one of Trump’s favorite things:

But for now, Trump is focused on his TV. He watches the screen like a coach going over game tape, studying the opposition, plotting next week’s plays. “This is one of the great inventions of all time—TiVo,” he says as he fast-forwards through the hearing.

In fairness, TiVo is objectively one of the greatest inventions of all time. Before 1999, recording TV required hooking up a VCR to your cable box or antenna and then having to deal with truly archaic timers to set recordings. If everything worked correctly, the season finale of Melrose Place would be recorded while you were on your way to Washington D.C. with your fifth grade class. But twenty years later, thanks to on-demand television, and streaming, DVRs feel sort of passé.

And yet, despite technology’s inevitable and monotonous way of making our lives more convenient, Trump still seems to favor the older methods of TV recording. In fact, the Time article isn’t the first time Trump has expressed his love of TiVo. In April, a Washington Post profile on Trump’s obsession with cable news pointed out this fun tidbit:

But Trump — who has boasted to several advisers and friends about having “the world’s best TiVo” — remains most focused on what he sees on his flat screens, going so far as to compliment print reporters on their television appearances.

I have no idea what what “the world’s best TiVo” is referring to. Could it be the TiVo Bolt+, released last fall, which can record up to six shows at once and store up to 450 hours of bloviating cable news talking heads? Maybe. Or maybe he’s got something special just for him in the White House.

Yet another profile on Trump’s TV habits, published in January by Axios, also name-checked TiVo. It’s not clear if the authors, Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, were using TiVo as a stand-in for DVR, or if it was specifically referring to the TiVo brand, but available evidence suggests it could be the former. Back in August 2015, Trump name-checked TiVo in a campaign speech in Michigan. TiVo itself was so excited, it posted a clip to its official YouTube channel:

Trump was explaining to a crowd how great TiVo is, in a longwinded way to explain how the press was dishonest. OK.


And it’s not just The Donald that loves TiVo. In an interview with People back in October 2015, Melania Trump cited TiVo in a section about how her TV tastes differ from her more orange husband.

She and Trump share a love of Elton John and Pavarotti, but when it comes to TV, “I say, you watch your own stuff and I watch mine,” she says. “We have Tivo! It’s a great relationship.”


It’s unclear whether Barron Trump—described by his father as “so good with these computers”—also bows down at the alter of TiVo.

Incidentally, TiVo the company, doesn’t always seem to love Donald Trump. The official Twitter account for the company posted a #DumpTrump tweet back in July 2015, early in Trump’s campaign.


However, this tweet was sent before the aforementioned clip was posted to YouTube, so either TiVo is bullshitting us or its communications teams aren’t entirely in sync. (We’ve reached out to the company for comment on its number one fan, and we’ll update if we hear back.)


One final burning question: Does the Trump’s TiVo have the sounds enabled (you know, that great “boop, boop” noise), or did he turn that shit off to save everyone else’s sanity?




Christina Warren

Disclosure: I also love my TiVo. It is a TiVo Roamio Plus from 2013 and it is the cable box in my bedroom. I am officially an old.