Why the hell is my Tivo reading everything on the screen? (and how to turn it off)

2 minutes, 27 seconds Read

The other day, my Tivo started talking to me. My new Tivo Bolt was audibly reading every word on my television screen. I mean speaking everything out loud. Like every single word from top to bottom, left to right.


Who knew that Tivo had a voice and personality? I didn’t and it threw me WAY OFFFFFFFFF. In my defense, I’m kinda slow to start off with, my Tivo’s never spoken to me, and it was a long day so my brain wasn’t working at capacity. That’s to say when the talking started happening, I was confused.

Having an Amazon Echo Dot in the apartment only served to add to the confusion.

“Is that Alexa?” looking at the direction of my Echo Dot.

Logical yet odd thoughts popped up as I tried to make sense of my television talking to me: “Is Alexa reading my Tivo screen” and if she is “Why is the voice coming from my TV?”

Then I thought that it might have been my LG TV showing off its “Smart TV” designation — something I hadn’t really taken advantage of. With all the human confusion caused by all the “dumb-smart devices” in my home, it’s not out of the realm to envision how conscious Artificial Intelligence will ultimately enslave our the human species. Clearly, I’d be one of the first to go, after my grandma.


Why is My Tivo Reading all the Text on my Screen?

After taking a much longer than expected identifying the source of the issue (not the Echo Dot, the LG TV Android tablet, Bluetooth spectre, or my stove) — my genius brain pinpointed it to the Tivo.

It turns out that I unexpectedly held down a button I shouldn’t have and turned on a Tivo accessibility feature “Text-to-Speech” screen reader which does exactly what it sounds like: it reads your screen. Here’s what Tivo has to say about the option:

Our goal is to provide the best, most accessible experience… Video content information, setup options and configuration changes are now optimized to interacts with Screen Reader. Your TiVo is programmed to read menus, program descriptions, channel numbers and similar selected options in a way that is optimized to interpret acronyms and similar formatting.

How to Turn Off Tivo’s Screen Reader

If you’ve accidentally smashed up against or cat sat on your Tivo remote, then you may have activated the screen reader by holding down the button “A” for more than two seconds. This accident/cat’s ass turned on the screen reader/Text-to-Speech feature. The good news is that it’s easily reversed in the same way.

Here’s how you turn it off easily without going back in time or having backward cat booty:

If the “A” button is pressed for more than 2 seconds again, it will turn off Screen Reader.

Not bad. Now you can go back to watching recorded game shows and preparing yourself to serve your Artificial Intelligence masters.

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