Family TimeThe GadgetryTVs

What does your PVR Say about You and Your Family?


Now that may seem like a strange question, but the Personal Video Recorder you choose does reveal a thing or two about your personality, particularly in terms of your television viewing.  The best way I can illustrate this is by using friends I know and how they use their PVRs (and yes, maybe one of the “friends” is just me, disguised, but I do want to retain some anonymity.)

 You may have heard about people who are blessed with “infinite patience”. They will happily wait in line at the bank to speak to a cashier, despite the fact there are seven people in front of them with the person at the desk cashing in their week’s pay in pennies. My friend Bill is not like that. He’s the most impatient person I know. And I would know this by the way he uses his PVR. He cannot stand wasting time watching commercials. So I observed him and his techniques for avoiding them. Firstly he rarely, if ever, watches live TV. He uses his PVR so that every time an advertisement comes on he can instantly skip it. That means virtually uninterrupted viewing.

If he comes across a program about to start that he wants to see, he’ll begin recording it. Then, he’ll start watching it 15 minutes later skipping through the ads as they occur to slowly catch up with the ‘live’ program around the time it’s finishing. I’m told this is a well-known technique and is known as ‘chase play’. Yep, for Bill, the PVR’s ability to start playing a program before it has finished recording is a truly wonderful thing.

The next thing I’ll look at in my detective work is the size of the hard drive/storage capability of someone’s PVR, and then how much it’s used. My friend Alex bought a top of the line  TiVo with bells whistles and the maximum capacity storage. When we look at his recordings, we see there’s rarely more than 5% of the capacity used. So why did he pay for all that extra room when he doesn’t use it? Because he has money and wanted the best.

Just because you record a lot, doesn’t mean you watch a lot. My colleague Beth records anything and everything, and usually has only a few minutes of spare recording space on her PVR hard drive at any given time. She’ll then delete a program to make space for another one, even though she hasn’t watched it. That tells me Beth must be a busy lady because she never seems to get time to sit down, unwind, and watch her TV recordings.

Finally, I think buying a PVR when you have a number of people sharing the television indicates you are a wise peacemaker. It means you avoid feuding over which program to watch by recording one program while watching another. However, make sure that if you do this, your PVR has twin channel capability—otherwise as soon as the recording is about to start it will switch channels causing more friction.

If you really want to understand the  nature of a person, take a look at  what types of programs they record. Are they into Top Gear, NASCAR Live! and other automobile shows? Or maybe they like practical experiments and explosions and so they regularly record Mythbusters. If they are soap fanatics then the hard disc will be full of General Hospital, Days of out Lives and the other series. You should just be thankful there isn’t a spy in you PVR sending back signals to the TV networks telling them what sort of personality you have based on your viewing and recording habits. Or perhaps there is ; )

Enjoy your PVR!

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