Tuesday, March 29, 2005

So Much TV, So Little Time

I ordered a DVR from my cable company last week -- they had an offer for a free 30-day trial and I really wanted one anyway -- and have spent some time programming it to record all sorts of programs. All of the series I normally watch, plus those great old movies that only seem to be shown in the middle of the night.
I like the idea that I can watch what I want when I want -- instead of just watching reruns of "Everybody Loves Raymond" over and over again because that's what's on when I finish up work -- and that I can fast-forward through the commercials, but I have to say that having all of these recorded programs on the DVR hard drive exerts a strange kind of pressure. I feel like I'm somehow duty bound to watch these things before the hard drive fills up and starts to automatically erase the oldest programs.
This morning, I've got 10 programs on the disk, using up about half the space. The machine is currently recording "Diamonds Are Forever," an old James Bond movie that I've never seen. Last night I watched and erased Sunday's episode of "Arrested Development," and the documentary "Control Room," about the Al-Jazeera news network.
Backlogged on the disk: "Notorious," "My Own Private Idaho," "The Women" (which I should just erase -- I watched about 10 minutes of it before I was overwhelmed by its screehiness and had to turn it off), "The Passion of Joan of Arc" (which I've already seen), "The Fog of War," and a several others.
How silly, to let myself feel pressured and even guilty about not watching all of these recorded programs. Maybe it's just a part of getting used to another new technology. I was hoping this thing would provide more freedom to manage my own schedule and not miss shows I like, but now I am becoming a slave to the limited size of the hard drive.
But isn't that how our consumer culture works? Buy a microwave and feel bad if you're not popping corn day and night, buy a stereo and develop guilt pangs when you don't have enough CDs to provide variety, buy a computer and be compelled to blog endlessly ...
So now, I've got backlogs of work, hobbies, books, music and TV shows. Oy.