Depending on your position in life, you most likely fall into one of three camps regarding DVR service. If you’re a user of it, you think it’s one of the greatest inventions of all time. Way better than sliced bread. If you’re someone who has their livelihood tied to commercials, you probably hate it. After all, we use it to skip that shit. The third camp is people who don’t have DVRs and thus don’t really care.
Regardless of what camp you fit into, we must all acknowledge that the DVR is here and here to stay. No take-backsies! We have to learn to live with it – well, no, I love to live with it, it frees me up and lets me watch TV on my schedule, but I can understand why some studio people don’t like it.
So knowing that a DVR is running in tons of houses, I have a message to Cable Companies: get your shit synchronized!
For reference, I am a subscriber to Time Warner Cable in Southern California. My experiences are tied directly to this service; your mileage may vary but I’m sure you’ll relate to this experience.
To start with, DVRs are fancy, high tech machines. They are constantly receiving a signal from a central area – messages can be sent to the box, it can retrieve current episode guides, etc. I’ll bet you noticed it even automatically sets its own clock.
The problem begins.
I am fucking tired of my DVR cutting off the last bits of shows. I rarely get to see the post-credit teaser of Modern Family and seeing previews for next week’s episode is almost unheard of. Most recently, I’m missing bits of the actual shows on Showtime. I’m not missing post-credit stuff or previews, I’m missing actual scripted work. What the shit?
Who do I blame for this? I’m guessing, on this one, the cable company. My recording for Californication was 28 minutes long. The one for House of Lies was 27 minutes long. Why isn’t the recording just 30 minutes long? What little bit of code is wrong here? When I tell you to record a show from 8-8:30, or whenever, why do you not start at 8:00 and then stop at 8:30? Are you trying to go all Skynet on me here or something?
That’s annoying, yes, but I also want to point a finger at the stations themselves too. Have you noticed an increase in shows that start at say, 10:01pm or or run from 8:00-9:02pm, or something stupid like that? Are you trying to give me some extra content, or are you purposely trying to fuck with my DVR schedule and create conflicts so that I get stuck watching your shitty follow-up show to whatever I was trying to record? Not cool.
But we’re not done yet! The studios, they are to blame too, and I think the Unions too. Remember when shows used to have credits? Like the show would stop and then the credits would roll? That doesn’t happen anymore. Now the screen shrinks down and a little tiny bar shows up and the credits run by down there. Problem being that the DVR clicks off right at 8:59:59 or 9:00:00 and there may be a little bit of show getting trimmed here for whatever broadcasting delay. In the good old days, that would just be a black screen with white credits rolling on it. Nope, not anymore! That’s part of the scripted show.
Now I blame the studios for this one, because they’re trying to shove more commercials into a time slot, so by eliminating the traditional 30 second credit roll, they’ve freed up 1-2 commercial interludes. Brilliant! I also have to point a finger at some Union, I’m not sure which, because I’m pretty sure credits are very strictly controlled – there’s a reason why they have to be shown, and somewhere along the line everyone agreed to let them be chopped down, compressed, and marginalized.
All I want to do is utilize this beautiful technology to watch my god damn shows! Why are you making it so difficult? Can we just all get on the same schedule? Shows should start on the hour, or half-hour, and end on the hour, or half-hour. A show should start exactly at 7:00:00 and end at 7:59:59. Or end it at 7:59:00 and put in your stupid interstitial. DVR’s should, logically, follow the same routine and record full shows. I shouldn’t have to be a DVR neurosurgeon and tweak the record times – because all that’s going to do is eventually create a conflict that I can’t resolve and then the whole world ends. Further, Cable Companies, get your fucking clock game on! Maybe its your fault, maybe your central server is screwing me by a few seconds because you can’t keep your clocks running on time!
All I know is any time my recording comes up short, I go past my boiling point.