With just under a month left in 2008, it is time to look forward to 2009 and ponder what new habits to include as a New Year’s Resolution. For me, the one thing topping my list is ridding myself of the “Tivo guilt” I carry with me everyday. For instance, when my husband travels, he’ll casually mention that I still happen to have five 90210s to watch. Bear in mind, that is five hours of programming that is hogging resources. My Tivo guilt is at its highest when the prioritizer is forced to make a hard choice and then my husband’s Heroes fails to tape. The Tivo guilt is double for me also because we have two Tivos. The one in our bedroom is holding at least six House episodes.
The idea of recording a show or even a season pass of a show is too alluring. Unfortunately, the ability to record on demand to watch later leads me, and I am sure countless other Tivo or DVR users, to fill that time they would have spent watching their favorite show with some other less worthwhile prospect. Back when I had to tape a television show on a VCR tape, I was at least limited to 4 hours per tape (six if I wanted shoddy video quality) and had to watch the entire tape before safely taping over the content. This just doesn’t exist on our Tivo, which has seemingly endless hard drive space for 100 or more hours of programming. Once the Tivo starts to fill up unwatched, it becomes a chore to watch those same shows we enjoy. I confess that I once let nearly an entire season of Survivor pile up to the extent that our Tivo prioritized and deleted the content. I lost the final episode and had to Google to find out who the winner was that season. And don’t even let me get started on last season’s Lost. Yes, Tivo guilt and I are well acquainted.
So for 2009, I make the following New Year’s resolutions to assuage my Tivo guilt:
1. Catch up and purge the content saved by the middle of January.
2. The enjoyment of television shows is best experienced on a weekly basis for most shows. I vow to not spend a whole weekend burning through half a season of NCIS.
3. Delete anything older than six months old if unwatched. If I haven’t watched it in six months, I’ll never watch it.
4. Be honest with myself whether or not I really will watch the show I am recording. If I dislike a new show after a few episodes, I will delete the season pass.
5. When the Tivo wants to tape two shows at the same time, take the hint and watch one of them live instead of doing something else.
6. Designate a time each week to catch up on any shows that I taped during the previous week so as not to feel so overwhelmed with Tivo guilt that I put off watching shows until I have a larger block of time to catch up.
With time, I hope to break my Tivo addiction and subsequent Tivo guilt. The New Year is all about a clean slate and starting anew. So, if you are suffering from Tivo guilt too, resolve to start the New Year with a cleared out queue on your DVR.
Sources and inspiration for this article: