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					Meghan Daum: TiVo Tyranny -- The Latest in Self-Loathing - Los Angeles Times                                                                               09/26/2006 07:18 AM

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                            Loathing                                                                                      - Meghan Daum
Opinion                                                                                                                   RECENT COLUMNS:
                            Newspapers pile up, e-mails go unanswered -- and TV shows now go unwatched.
                                                                                                                          - Meghan Daum: TiVo Tyranny -- The Latest in Self-
 Op - Ed                    September 23, 2006
 Columnists                                                                                                               Loathing
 Sunday Current                                                                                                           September 23, 2006
                            THE FALL TV season officially kicked off Sunday, meaning that televisions with digital
 Letters                                                                                                                  - Meghan Daum: I'm Laughing at, Not With, Your
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                            recorders can sag under the weight of even more must-see programs that undoubtedly
                            will be recorded but never watched.                                                           Fashion
NEWS                                                                                                                      September 16, 2006
California | Local          Don't get me wrong — we love this technology, so much so that TiVo, the company that          - Meghan Daum: Finally, It's Dad's Fault
National                    pioneered it in 1999, has become a verb. No matter what kind of digital video recording       September 9, 2006
                            system we have (and by the end of this year there will be an estimated 22.1 million           - Meghan Daum: Celebrating Labor -- by Working
Entertainment News
                            users) we do not record shows, we TiVo them. Moreover, the phrase "watching                   September 2, 2006
                            television" has morphed into "watching TiVo," a semantic shift that might soon eliminate      - Meghan Daum: JonBenet Wasn't the Only Victim
Politics                    terms such as "boob tube" and "idiot box" from our pop cultural lexicon. And it was           August 26, 2006
Opinion                     already bad enough that no one uses the word "algophilist" anymore.                           - Meghan Daum: Jack FM May Be Annoying, But Jill's
Columnists                                                                                                                an Airhead
Print Edition                                    ADVERTISEMENT                  TiVo sounds like the name of a pet        August 19, 2006
      What is RSS ?                                                             beagle. That's apt because, like a
                                                                                                                          - Meghan Daum: The Upside of Marrying Down
                                                                                loyal dog, DVR technology is              August 12, 2006
                                                                                nothing if not patient. Part personal
Travel                                                                                                                    - Meghan Daum: Bigger Breasts, More Testosterone
                                                                                shopper who knows our tastes
West Magazine                                                                                                             August 5, 2006
House & Garden
                                                                                better than we do, part complacent
                                                                                spouse who keeps our dinners              - Meghan Daum: Sweating Your Way to Enlightenment
Health                                                                                                                    July 29, 2006
Food                                                                            warm no matter what time we
Car Culture                                                                     stumble home at night, DVRs offer         - Meghan Daum: Can't Get Enough Baby Talk
Obituaries                                                                      a convenience we increasingly feel        July 22, 2006
Crossword, Sudoku                                                               we cannot live without. But like          MOST VIEWED MOST E-MAILED
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                                                                                                                          - The Breakfast Hype
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                                                                                                                          - Clinton Doth Protest Too Much
BUY, SELL & MORE                                                                BlackBerrys, laser hair removal — it
                                                                                                                          - Data on Homes Cause Jitters
Jobs                                                                            also introduces yet another form of
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Personals                                                                        In other words, if you already feel
Deals at Local              guilty about your piles of unread Sunday newspapers and New Yorker magazines,                       E-MAIL: News sent directly to you.
Stores                      there's a new form of self-loathing: TiVo tyranny. Ever since I got a DVR system, my                RSS: Pick the topics, create your page.
Coupons                     television has become a source of dread. No longer a symbol of slothful refuge wherein
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                            I can while away a few hours watching whatever dreck happens to be on, it is now a                  mobile device.
PLACE AN AD                 taskmaster. My life is not only cluttered with unanswered e-mails, unreturned phone                 PODCASTS: Tune in to L.A. Times podcasts.
                            calls and unfinished novels but entire seasons of television shows I feel I should watch
                            but haven't and probably never will.                                                                NEWSPOINT: All the news you choose, delivered to
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Contact Us                  At this moment, my TiVo-generated roster includes every episode ever aired of "Weeds"                           ADVERTISEMENT

L.A. Times Archives         and "Big Love," three months of "The Daily Show," five "South Parks" and several
Customized News             documentaries on subjects such as hybrid corn. Meanwhile, the show everyone's been
E - mail Newsletters        talking about, "The Wire," escaped my notice entirely. It remains unrecorded, and I
                            remain shamefully clueless.
 Customer Support
 Subscribe to L.A.          Studies — including some conducted, oddly enough, by TiVo — have shown that DVRs
Times                       do increase the number of hours people spend watching television. But according to
                            Josh Bernoff, principal analyst at Forrester Research, the real news is that DVRs get
 LOCAL ADS     Buy a link   affluent people to watch more television.

                            "Nielsen Media Research will tell you that there's a clear inverse correlation between
Laser Hair Removal          income and TV watching," Bernoff said. "DVRs cost money and, right now, are for
Find Laser Hair             affluent people. So they're watching more than in the past."
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Specialists in Los          I must not be as affluent as I thought. Caught in the shackles of my own personal TiVo
Angeles.                    tyranny, my DVR has reduced my viewing hours practically to zero. And it's not just
LaserHairRemovalLosAn...    because the remote control somehow ended up in my car. It's because turning on the
                            TV is now less about escape than about being confronted with an electronic to-do list.,0,7279423.column?coll=la-util-opinion-commentary                                                         Page 1 of 2
Meghan Daum: TiVo Tyranny -- The Latest in Self-Loathing - Los Angeles Times                                                                                   09/26/2006 07:18 AM

                             There are the shows I want to watch, the shows I feel I should watch and shows the
Beverly Hills                DVR thinks I should watch based on my prior selections. Faced with this monstrous
Makeover                     inventory, the only logical thing to do is turn off the TV.
Affordable Facelift,
Tummy Tuck, Laser            That's because with choice comes paralysis and, in turn, convenience usually finds
Hair Removal, Free           apathy nipping at its heels. In the pre-TiVo era, television was challenging. We had to
Consultation                 hunt for something worth watching and, if we found it, we sat still and paid attention. In
http://www.BeverlyHills...   the same strange way that it's infinitely more satisfying to hear a favorite song come up
                             unexpectedly on the radio than to play it on a CD, there was a certain beauty to the
                             old-fashioned TV experience. Even if we watched alone, we knew millions of others
                             were watching the same exact thing, at the same exact moment. Even if there was
                             nothing on that we particularly wanted to watch, there was something nice about settling
                             on the best thing we could find and shutting off our brains for a while.

                             Of course, smart people aren't supposed to want to shut off their brains. DVRs, being
                             for smarties (or at least the affluent, which may get you further than being smart) is
                             supposedly about quality rather than quantity. It's supposed to reduce our guilt about
                             what we watch. Instead, we get to feel guilty about what we don't watch.


                             FOR THE RECORD:
                             An earlier version of this column referred to Bernoff's company as Forrest Research.
                             The correct name is Forrester Research. —

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