mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kill your TV, before it drowns you...

A few weeks ago, I was talking with coworker and his brother about TV shows. They recommended a couple shows that I should watch, and I groaned that I already had a ton of shows on my PC and DVR that I haven't gotten around to watching.

That's got me thinking about how TV has really changed with technology. It used to be if you wanted to watch a certain show, you tried to make time to watch it. If you really liked it, you might rearrange your schedule, but most of the time if you couldn't watch it, you just accepted that and hoped to catch the rerun.

Then came the VCR. If you really wanted to watch something, you could tape it. But it was cumbersome, and you had to remember to put a blank, rewound tape in and navigate the complicated scheduling mechanism.

But nowdays, it's easy to build up a massive collection of entertainment. We have DVR's like my RePlayTV that can capture hours of TV, that we just need to tell what we like and they will give us hours of programing. No need to remember to set your VCR or be around. And if you forget to set the DVR or it takes a poop on you, you can always rent or buy the dvd, stream it from a site like hulu, or if you are an evil pirate like me, grab it off a torrent or peer to peer site.

And there are more shows now too - it used to be that there wasn't anything to watch in the summer except reruns and failed shows that networks are burning off. Now, there are lots of cable networks that show new, quality shows during the summer - Burn Notice, The Closer, and In Plain Sight come to mind.

Right now I have a nearly-full 60 gig DVR and a ton of shows I've downloaded. I recorded the entire 5th season of The Wire and have yet to watch it. I love the show, but I want to dedicate time to sit down and watch it without a lot of interruption, because it demands that, and I haven't had that yet. Most days, I allocate an hour a day (usually around 10pm at night) to watch TV. Since I record more than an hour a day, I regularly find myself having to go in and delete stuff I haven't watched just so I don't run out of space or record over stuff I really want to watch but haven't yet.

Of course, TV isn't the only thing I procrastinate on - I've also got a pile of items needing eBay descriptions, a stack of books to read, a ton of home improvement projects that need to be improved, and a bunch of unarchived goals, ranging from losing weight to finding true love to getting my ham radio license.

Technology is great - it lets us do many things that would have been impossible a short time ago. But it also makes it easy to bite off more than we can chew, to make it easy to almost do things, to forget that there are things that technology can't make us do faster - except for skipping commercials, it still takes an hour to watch an hour-long TV show. The more we can "almost" do, the easier it is to lose sight of the limits to our time, the need for us to prioritize, the reality that we will never get done everything we need to or would like to get done.


At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL - that is *SO* me - I have a very full Tivo and no time. And I hate it that others talk about shows I've yet to watch. Just think, if you don't have time NOW - single - what will you do when you have a wife and kids?


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