It's a Timeshifted Life

This is one of those topics that I have meant to blog about for a long, long time, but I never really got around to it. Kind of ironic once you read the rest of my post.

When I was younger, I remember a time when schedules meant something. For any of your entertainment needs, you needed to be ready to commit a timeslot to it. Then, as a nation, we participated together.

This often led to a cultural mindset around a common experience. We all watched Saturday Night Live at 10:30 PM (CST) on Saturday night. We all watched the Packer game at 12:00 PM on Sunday after church.

Occasionally you would meet someone who would record things on a VCR and it was almost a game to tell them a little about what they taped without giving away the entire show. It was cruel, but it was the way we did things.

Now things have changed. With the proliferation of Tivo and other similar DVR units, it is no longer a common experience that we rally around. Instead, it is the norm for everyone to "Tivo" their various shows and then watch them a day later with no commercials. While this is convenient, it has caused some interesting changes to the American entertainment psyche.

For example, it is now almost a sin to release a "spoiler" now. It used to be a great common experience to share what happened on the latest episode of your favorite show, but now if you even start to mention Lost or 24 in a crowded room, you will more than likely get stopped as if you are violating some sort of classified information restriction.

Also, while we are watching less commercials thanks to timeshifted viewing, I am willing to wager we watch more TV overall. Now that we can record multiple shows on multiple channels at any time of day, the inventory of "my shows" has increased for most people. My wife and I installed a 100 hour DVR two weeks ago. Do you know how long it took to fill it? Sadly, 1 week. Are we abnormal? Perhaps, but I'm sure we are not alone.

Finally, and perhaps the most obvious, the good part of the DVR. Thanks to watching shows we both care about, carving out time to simple watch TV is much more desirable for me and my wife. And for my marriage (and I'm sure countless others) this shared bonding time is pretty important. Even if it is in front of a TV.

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