Life Imitates TiVo


One great feature of TiVo (and potentially other DVRs, but I’m an exclusive TiVotee) is that live broadcasts are always buffered for 30 minutes, allowing you to rewind or pause on the fly. A quirk in the system allows you to press a button and go back to the beginning of the buffer (or the recorded program) – it can be handy, but in our house with kids, it frequently gets pressed inadvertently when the TV is off. Later when you turn on the TV, live programming is delayed 1/2 hour – I’ve had the experience a number of times of turning on a sportscast or news program, and only realizing after awhile that I’ve been watching in a delay. This inadvertent buffer can be unnerving, realizing that you’ve been living in the past, and then trying to figure out how to readjust into the present – do you just jump immediately, or slowly fast forward through ads & slow spots to take advantage of the buffer?

Lately, I’ve had a number of odd moments when I get the strange feeling that my life is caught in a 30 minute buffer, and fear that I’ll suddenly realize that I’ve got to awkwardly catch up to the present.

I don’t know if it means I’m watching too much TV or not enough…


6 Responses to “Life Imitates TiVo”

  1. 1 stephentrendy

    Just saw this on my tag surfer – and man, that happens to me all the time. I pause the TiVo to do something that requires full attention and then unpause. And I listen to the morning news for my time-cues to leave the house to catch the bus – so chaos generally ensues when I figure it out.

  2. Not enough TV. Never enough.

  3. I think this speaks to what makes TV special: we like it cause it’s live, or at the very least current: even if you watch SNL online, you want to watch it ASAP so you can take part in the culture surrounding it. Watching TV even 30 minutes behind just doesn’t feel right…

  4. I had the same effect happen to me when I came out of the theater from viewing Memento. The time pattern in that movie sustained itself in my mind for the next hour or two before I felt normal again.

  5. 5 Mia Consalvo

    I find myself wishing quite often that my radio (NPR) and even conversations had that ‘auto-jump back’ button, since sometimes I miss important stuff. Sadly, they do not!

  6. Great post! Ive noticed a lot of effects tivo has on me. I like to watch things buffered because I’ve lost the ability to handle commercials. When my buffer runs out i suffer what I call “real time anxiety”, losing the ability to shift ruins the experience!

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