StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118478501219584.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of www.scifi-universe.com‘, ‘Journeyman begins airing this fall on NBC.‘);
Time shifting television is quickly becoming the norm for a lot of people I know. Im not talking about time-traveling shows like Doctor Who or NBCs fall series, Journeyman, either. (Although I am enjoying the Christopher Eccleston Doctor Who episodes that have been airing lately on PBS, and look forward to seeing Reed Diamondprobably best known as Kellerman on the criminally under-appreciated NBC series Homicide: Life on the Streeton Journeyman.)
Im talking about recording shows via VCR or DVR, and watching them later; on-demand TV; watching streaming video online; even downloading shows to an iPod. Whenever youre watching a television show outside of its real-time airdate, youre time shifting.
Friends, relatives, and neighbors swear by their TiVos and DVRs, but do they really remember to watch the things theyve recorded?
Im pretty low-tech, and have even been teased by some of my editors and a couple of executive producers Ive dealt with in recent years. (You taped it? or A TV writer without TiVo?but I think the real subtext probably is, You actually know how to program a VCR?) But as long as my trusty old VCR is still working, why go to the expense and headache of catching up with the Joneses?
Another good reason to stick with my VCR is because, quite frankly, Im really bad at time shifting. If I dont watch the show Ive recorded within a day of its original broadcast, chances are Ill either accidentally tape over it or forget to watch it entirely. Im the same with DVDs: the fact that theyre sitting there waiting to be watched makes it easier to keep putting off watching them. Right now, I have at least two shows Ive taped that I actually intend to watch, plus a stack of about 10 DVDs Ive been meaning to watch for the past month.
Sure, if its a crucial episode of a serialized drama, Ill remember to watch, usually right before the next episode is about to air. But if I had a DVR, Id probably wind up with a couple hundred hours of unseen programs, which Id then have to delete or dump to tape to free up space to record more stuff.
Whether youre an old-school or high-tech time shifter, do you really watch everything youve recorded for later? Have you maxed out the 80, 180 or 300 hours on your DVR thinking youll catch up on your viewing when you have a couple days off? Do you even remember half of what you havent gotten around to watching yet? When you know youre going to miss an episode, do you download it or view it online? Or maybe you prefer to wait until your favorite shows are on DVD.
Im curious about your time shifting habits. What method(s) do you use, and why? Which programs or events are you most likely to save now for laterdramas, comedies, sporting events, awards shows, documentaries? And best of all: what are some of the strangest things your TiVo has recorded based on what it thinks your preferences are?
Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, SatelliteORBIT, and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
from the July 18-24, 2007, issue