Whenever a commercial comes on, both my kids, aged six and three, almost always say "dad, can you fast-forward it?" At this point I usually get irritated, because not only do they ask me to fast-forward every damn time a commercial comes on, but they get all disappointed when I tell them I can't because it's live television.
Is DVR ruining my children's generation?
There's an entire generation of people who are not going to know what life was like before DVR. Now some of you might be saying "Jack, TV is not that important anyway, and it rots your brain. So why are you making a big deal about this?" Sure, TV is not actually important, and it probably is eroding people's minds. I'm sure some parents think I'm horrible for even letting my children watch TV. But seeing as how there's a giant ass number of people in the country who regularly watch TV, I think that it does have a meaningful impact on society.
Before DVR, if you wanted to record a show you had to do so with a VCR. The quality would be shitty, and the tape would degrade over time after continuously overwriting everything week after week. If you weren't the recording type, then you had to be sure that you were at your TV whenever your favorite show came on. If you missed a new episode of whatever you liked to watch, then that was it.
Think about how long you had to wait to see that episode, or if you would ever see it. If you were lucky, there'd be a couple of months where they'd show the re-runs from that current season, but you generally had to wait several months before they started showing re-runs.
Now-a-days, there's virtually no such thing as "missing," a new episode of your favorite TV show. A shit ton of people have DVR, which means they can digitally record whatever shows they want and watch them at their convenience. It doesn't take any fiddle-fucking with a VCR or whatever, just a few buttons on your remote control.
Oh, you don't have DVR? Well chances are you've got an internet connection that's at least half-way decent. You can go to just about any network website and watch all of their shows' latest episodes for free. There's also hulu if you're looking for a one-stop-shop for all your TV viewing needs. Although a lot of the cable networks like A&E don't put their shows on hulu or their websites, they do usually put the latest episodes on an OnDemand through the cable company.
Do you see what this means? We've got an entire generation of kids that don't ever have to wait for their TV entertainment. They never have to worry about watching at a specific time on a specific night. It's like a safety net for TV. Why be on time when you can just watch whatever you want at your leisure? Not only that, but they'll rarely ever have to sit through more than 30 seconds of commercials.
There's no anticipation. There's no being forced to sit at the edge of your seat, begging for the plot to unfurl. They'll never appreciate television the way we had to. For them, the world will be a place in which all they have to do is fast-forward through the shitty parts, and one in which they don't have to worry about failing because there's always a safety net.
Granted, I love the TV safety net, but I still appreciate what it means. They will just expect it.