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Old 03-14-2010, 05:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How do you watch Television?

I watch a lot of television. In fact, part of my job is to watch a lot television. The truth is, even if it wasn't my job, I would still watch it.

In the past, I used to spend most of my time watching by surfing around between a few channels, often watching a two to three shows at the same time. The exception to this would be if there was a show I was especially interested in watching, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I would settle in for the whole show.

These days, I have a DVR and seem to spend a lot less time watching live TV. Rather, set up the recorder to capture a series and watch these programs when I want to and fast forward over the commercials. In a lot of ways, this is a preferred method as I get to see what I want when I want it. The downside is that when I spent time surfing channels, I would discover new content with greater frequency. I know have to rely on other avenues to find new shows and make a point of finding these shows. Serendipity is not as big a part of my television experience as it once was.

How about you? How do you watch TV? Has your television experience changed over the past few years? Where do you think is the future of television?
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i dont watch tv anymore. i just download the shows i want to watch. if i hear about a good show, i'll dl it to check it out. i never have the time to sit in front of a tv so its the only way i get to check out some shows. i usually have to be in bed before 10 because i wake up at 445 everyday.
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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We don't have cable television anymore and so our options are limited to what we can get via the internet or over-the-air via antenna. On the Internet, we use Hulu and Boxee to access a lot of TV. OTA, we get Fox, ABC, and public broadcasting. The public broadcasting is 4 channels in 1--an HD channel, non-HD, a channel called Create!, and the FM broadcast of the public radio station. The HD comes in crystal clear.

Generally, though, I watch less television than I used to and read more.
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't watch a lot of TV. What I do watch, I tend to DVR so I can FF through the ads and watch it when I want to.

I think TV will go the same way as radio.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would say my TV habits have changed over the last few years. Being so busy I rarely wind up in front of the tv when a show is actually on so DVR has allowed me to follow certain shows and sports I'd long since given up trying to follow (On Demand serves the same purpose I suppose). HD tv and plasma screen...whatever TVs play a roll as well, I don't think I watch anything outside of the HD channels anymore which is a major change because I'm now limited to maybe 70-80 channels, less channels better picture I suppose

Anyway other then that I don't really have any habits. TV is really just something I use to unwind at the end of the day and keep the old stress levels in check. But during those two or three hours I plop my ass down on my couch, just kind of veg out and try to think as little as possible.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sports and news primarily.

My viewing habits have changed substantially. I have very little interest in any of the 'hit' shows. Seldom watch movies.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have to wonder, if watching TV via DVR is increasing and people are skipping commercials... how long can the industry sustain this?

There are two main forms of revenue in the business of television: advertisers and subscription fees. Cable channels can make quite a bit of money from subscriber fees, depending on the deal they have cut with the platform carrying them (the cable or satellite company). Free to air channels and networks don't get these subscription fees (though there are movements afoot to see this change - some of you may have even lost some channels because of it). With advertising dollars drying up, who will fund content?

Would you be willing to go back to the days of old where people tuned into: The Ford Theatre? In other words, shows that have one sponsor and that sponsor is talked about in the show itself rather than the spaces in between? Would you be willing to pay more for television but get it all commercial free?
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Besides the rare fragment here and there, I now only watch TV once it's been released on DVD. Even then, there isn't a whole lot I'll watch.

I'm more of a reader/video gamer.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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i don't have time to game. And anyways, they all seem to be the same (i.e. a first person shooter or role-playing). When I do settle in to watch tv, it is the same as Charlatan's method: watch 2 or 3 programmes at once, flipping over during commercials, or microbursts of viewing when one show gets boring. I still have two VCRs, so if I want to timeshift, or record, I use tapes. I cannot justify the expense of DVR's (either Rogers, Bell or Tivo) just to watch tv programmes.

Even watching DVD's takes a long time. I usually get to watch movies in 10 to 20 minute segments due to all the other competing tasks that need to get done in a day.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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This would probably never work but I would love it if TV went entirely to an on demand system and you just pay by the channel or show you want to watch. Off set the cost of commercials in the price of each show/channel (if you could do that at a reasonable price) and just let the customer decide what they want watch and when. Honestly I only watch maybe 10% of the channels I have but in order to get the ones I want I have to buy the whole package...I always found that a little annoying.

Sure the cost would probably be through the roof but a guy can dream can't he?
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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My TV viewing has changed over the past 15 years. In 1997 I bought a VCR that had VCR+ and a spine labeling system that allowed one to wave the tape in front of the VCR and it would tell you what was on the tape. That alone was a major changer for me because I always found it difficult to remember to record shows I wanted to watch.

When I got my first Tivo back in 2002 it made another leap for me. I was able to finally watch TV that I wanted to when I wanted.

I do not like regular DVR offerings as there is no ability for the Tivo search and record function by keyword is exceptional. Since we travel, I like to populate keywords like Singapore, Spain, and Travel. Tivo finds those programs and records them for me. Interested in a director? I put in Martin Scorcese and all his movies are recorded and also any time he appears on a talk show or guest appearance.

Tivo also makes suggestions based on the viewing and recording. So there are always new programs that I'm finding I like based on the previous ones I watched.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:09 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes Mantooth View Post
This would probably never work but I would love it if TV went entirely to an on demand system and you just pay by the channel or show you want to watch. Off set the cost of commercials in the price of each show/channel (if you could do that at a reasonable price) and just let the customer decide what they want watch and when.
You mean like iTunes, but maybe with more selection?
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:17 PM   #13 (permalink)
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You mean like iTunes, but maybe with more selection?
Yeah exactly, not just more of a selection but everything you'd find on tv right now, HD quality, available immediately stuff like that. Netflix just started offering a service where you can use netflix ready devices (IE Playstation, TIVO) and watch directly to your TV (some selections in HD)...but its selection is very limited.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I just record everything I think I might want to watch. I have a dual tuner DVR and a separate older DVR so I can record 3 programs at once. I can also watch recorded programs while recorded so I can technically be watching 3 different programs while recording 3 other programs. Well not me personally, but it makes it so nobody in my house has to watch the same thing and it's rare that anyone has conflicting recordings.

I think I actually watch less TV now. At least TV doesn't interrupt things anymore. I can record the local news and skip to that 10 second story they advertise all day long. I can impress friends by putting on Jeopardy that I'd already watched. I can get my Wayne Brady fix and not have to wake up at 9am.


Not to thread jack, but would anyone be interested in a thread in tilted Entertainment to announce upcoming shows, or syndicated shows about to start showing from episode 1, or even really rare 4star movies that you don't see often that might not come on again for years? I just ask because I'm noticing a lot that I'll see something on and it's not scheduled to come on again. Just a generic "hey guess what's coming on" thread, nothin fancy...
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:44 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I watch TV mainly via DVR. Being able to record 4 things at once means very rarely do I have to follow the schedule the TV tries to impose. I'm watching Saturday Night Live right now (Seinfeld doing "Really? with Seth Meyers), which was on while I was asleep last night. When I'm done, I'll watch the new Simpsons and Family Guy which are actually on right now. I don't watch too much—I try to stay active while out of work so I don't start becoming lethargic—but in a given week I catch House, 24, Good Eats, Lost, Supernatural, Burn Notice, and Caprica. That's a lot lower than the national average, but it's a lot for me.

Where is TV going? Online. Be it free w/ advertising a la Hulu or pay to rent like Netflix, the usefulness of "tune in this Thursday" has already gone the way of the dodo. That's part of the reason the US has to really step it up with a national broadband initiative because we don't have the telecom infrastructure for 70 million homes downloading three shows and an HD movie at once.

That reminds me, I'm going to be trying out Netflix online as soon as I remember to call AT&T to speed up my internet to 24 gigabits a second (about 3 GB/s).
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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At this point I have more TV's and video recording devices than I've ever had. So this includes 3 large flat panel TV's, one small flat panel, and one conventional 32" CRT TV, and a DVR setup that can play back through either of two TV's. But on average I watch less than 1 hr per week of TV. My wife is the one who watches some of the "popular" shows; my older son, 14, watches sports; my younger son, 13, only plays his live gaming Xbox stuff. I'd rather do other things and don't have time to do everything.
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:15 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I used to watch a program, then go surfing til the ads were over.
Now with the DVR, I usually record one channel while watching another (sometimes surfing around), or watch something I've recorded while recording two other shows.
It's amazing how much time is cut from an hour show by zooming through the ads.

I wouldn't mind too much if we went back to the old days of one sponsor shows, as long as it's integrated pretty well with the show.
I watch The Biggest Loser, and they have the trainers and contestants doing these very stilted advertisements during the program that's just painful to watch.
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:24 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I download most things, if it's a Leafs game I'm after I stream it, being in Alberta sucks, Flames and Oilers everywhere, basically any sports I stream.
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:32 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by silent_jay View Post
I download most things, if it's a Leafs game I'm after I stream it, being in Alberta sucks, Flames and Oilers everywhere, basically any sports I stream.
That seems....volatile.
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:43 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I think we are clearly on track to rid ourselves of the video store (bricks and mortar rental establishments like Blockbuster) which will be replaced by Video on Demand. There is little holding this back. I know I would love it if I could watch any film, at any time (ie not just the latest blockbusters). The only thing holding this back is the antiquated thinking of most rights holders and the cost of digitizing, storing and serving some obscure film that may not have the potential audience to warrant the set up costs. In the meantime, a good percentage of films will become available.

Television is another beast. I can see a day where Free to Air network television comes to look and feel a lot more like General Entertainment cable channels (such as Universal, Bravo, USA, etc.). A lot more daytime repeats of primetime programming, fewer original programs, etc. Some will ditch their local programming and others (in bigger centres) will leverage their local audiences to capitalize on local audiences. I am also thinking that subscription television (in one form or another) will rule. The days of ad driven free to air will be gone. Think about the feel of Satellite Radio.

In this sort of world, niche television rules. I have been thinking for years that television will become much more like a magazine. You buy one magazine over another because an editor has chosen content for you and you keep buying it because you trust them to serve you what you want.

The extrapolation of this will be the ability to make and program your own channels. Content is served up VOD style and you can create your own playlists.

My biggest issue with this is how to market new content and drive viewership. Which leads me back to the editor idea. You could end up with taste makers that develop playlists for you.

No idea if any of this will come to pass... just musing.
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:08 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Thats what I'm picturing as well Charlatan, essentially turn on your tv, upcomes a menu with all the channels you've subscribed and additional menus for movies and other contents. You pay a certain monthly fee to select the movies, channels and maybe sporting events you want and when something new comes along it just appears in the menu.

Personally I think the concept of tv stations is getting a little old fashioned anyway. Look at the music world for example with the advent of mp3s and stores like itunes the way music is sold, distributed, advertised and even recorded has changed to adapt to a newer market place...to think we soon may see a world were record labels no longer exist. I see television stations having to adapt in a similar manner, the industry will have to revamp and adapt to the new system or fall by the wayside.

I mentioned the Netflix streaming subscription above and I really like the concept of being able to watch any film when I feel like it. Whenever there is a movie I want to see, no matter how old or obscure I always check to see if I can get it streamed before I go anywhere else. For now the selection is very limited and more often then not you wont find the movie you're looking, but maybe as the money and tech go in that direction the more movies will be available for that kind of service.

Pretty cool discussion I'm enjoying it.
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:32 PM   #22 (permalink)
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The reason Hulu is interesting is that it is co-owned by a number of studios. It is the studios that produce and control much of the content that you want to watch.

Local channels became largely irrelevant years ago when they stopped making local content. Today, you are lucky if they even have a local newscast. Most local channels are just conduits for network content and large syndication companies.

My question is if we head in the direction of content on demand, what happens to the local? Will there be enough demand to create local content? Is it a bad thing to not have a local newcast? Has television gotten better or worse with the loss of local content? In Canada, the networks were often legally mandated as part of their license to use the airwaves, to create x number of local hours per week.

If we head in the direction of VOD... what then? Are we willing to give up local stories? Would you pay for local content if it cost more and didn't look as good as a large studio production?
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:53 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I use a pretty cool program called Boxee run on a Nettop machine attached to my LCD TV. It is still in beta and rather buggy, but pretty awesome. It rolls all the web content you can imagine into a single, simple interface, plus adds access to local content. It is very much like is described above. I can watch what I want, when I want, provided it is available either locally or streaming online.

We did end up getting basic cable since starkizzer was tired of not having regular TV available, but most stuff we watch comes from the internet.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:23 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlatan View Post
The reason Hulu is interesting is that it is co-owned by a number of studios. It is the studios that produce and control much of the content that you want to watch.

Local channels became largely irrelevant years ago when they stopped making local content. Today, you are lucky if they even have a local newscast. Most local channels are just conduits for network content and large syndication companies.

My question is if we head in the direction of content on demand, what happens to the local? Will there be enough demand to create local content? Is it a bad thing to not have a local newcast? Has television gotten better or worse with the loss of local content? In Canada, the networks were often legally mandated as part of their license to use the airwaves, to create x number of local hours per week.

If we head in the direction of VOD... what then? Are we willing to give up local stories? Would you pay for local content if it cost more and didn't look as good as a large studio production?
I was thinking the same thing about local newscasts, honestly I don't watch them because I'm never home. I would be interested in seeing how the rating stack up, if they're high enough I could see people spending money to purchase a local newscast, if not it may be one of those necessary sacrifices that go along with new technology.

Using the example of the music industry album packaging was at a time almost as important as the music on the album itself. The new technology has made it almost irrelevant, album covers are missed but not enough to sacrifice convince and pricing mp3s give the customer...a necessary sacrifice. (not quite the same but yeah I guess the point comes across)

I'm not sure if we'd be better off without local programming but do they offer enough to keep up? Again a cheaper more efficient cable service may be enough to entice people to look elsewhere (papers, Internet) for local content. Personally I don't think I would pay for a local newscast because I'd never watch it. Local stories are usually in the paper or the online equivalent and you can get weather and sports scores almost anywhere. One thing I think would be lacking is an outlet for special local programming, primarily local sports teams and political debate. Both would have a hard time finding a home and I think local political debates would be especially missed. I don't know its an interesting problem...perhaps a city funded menu for local events?
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Old 03-15-2010, 04:51 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Literally the only thing I watch live is "event" type programming. I watched the Olympics and the first 2/3 or so of the Oscars live. Apart from that, I can't remember the last time I watched live TV. It's all DVR for us, or content I've downloaded that I play across my home network on a hacked Gen-1 XBox using XBMC. We're use that mostly for movies and for things we don't have DVR access to (primarily HBO offerings like Big Love and The Wire).

What it mostly looks like to watch us watch TV is, I'm watching, two girls are watching and on their laptops at the same time. Any time anything happens on TV, they both say "what happened?" and I rewind it. Which results in me watching most things about 1.4 times.
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Old 03-15-2010, 04:58 PM   #26 (permalink)
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What it mostly looks like to watch us watch TV is, I'm watching, two girls are watching and on their laptops at the same time. Any time anything happens on TV, they both say "what happened?" and I rewind it. Which results in me watching most things about 1.4 times.
Nice image. We watch TV a lot like that as well. My son and I are almost always with our laptops nearby and we will rewind if we felt we missed something.
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:10 PM   #27 (permalink)
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DVR+time shifting+no commercials = WIN

It's hilarious when I tape something for a friend and have to use analog. The quality is so terrible it amazes me that it passed for acceptable.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:02 PM   #28 (permalink)
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The local newscast is something I still watch on normal television--we get 2 choices here from the antenna, one out of Eugene and one out of Portland. I don't see either station doing away with their local newscasts any time soon.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:11 PM   #29 (permalink)
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That laptop image... eek.

I watch TV almost exclusively by time-shifting. DVR, internet, whatever method is best, but always time-shifting. The only time I watch TV as it is broadcast is on the very rare occasion that I'm looking for something to do and browsing TV seems appealing. It's really rare.

BUT, a side-effect of this TV watching habit is that I'm always watching something that I'm quite interested in. I don't really view watching TV any differently than watching a movie anymore: I set aside time for whatever I'm watching, and my attention is 100% on that show.
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:20 PM   #30 (permalink)
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The reason either my son or I are on our laptops is, generally speaking, because we have one television. If I am watching something, I tend to watch it 100% and browse the Internet during the commercials (assuming it's live otherwise I am fast forwarding over the commercials). It might be something I am interested in but not my son. So he's on his laptop only half paying attention.

The opposite is often true as well.

I'd rather this scenario than having either of us disappear into another room and not spend time together.
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:36 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Hulu and Netflix. I watch "television" from my laptop monitor. Typically have something playing (old Stargate SG1 episodes at the moment) while I'm doing mundane tasks in the lab like trimming blocks or ultramicrotomy. When I'm home, Tt and I will sit across the room from his desktop monitor to watch The Office, the latest episode of Naruto.
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:37 PM   #32 (permalink)
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all of my 'tv watching' comes through the mail.
Netflix.
recently we tried watching some episodes of Lost on the ABC website that magically appeared on our television...still not sure how that works
but it was suckola, man.
we'll wait until they come out on dvd.
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:38 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Charlatan View Post
The reason either my son or I are on our laptops is, generally speaking, because we have one television. If I am watching something, I tend to watch it 100% and browse the Internet during the commercials (assuming it's live otherwise I am fast forwarding over the commercials). It might be something I am interested in but not my son. So he's on his laptop only half paying attention.

The opposite is often true as well.

I'd rather this scenario than having either of us disappear into another room and not spend time together.
Ah, see that totally makes sense
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:40 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by genuinegirly View Post
...the latest episode of Naruto.
Love it! Man, I can't wait for this filler arc to be over.
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:40 AM   #35 (permalink)
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I haven't owned a TV since 2004, and don't miss it. If there's a sports game I want to see I'll watch it online or preferably at a friend's place or bar.
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:51 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
How do you watch Television?
I'll typically fall back into the sofa, turn the TV on with the remote and tell Mrs. O'rights to bring me a beer. Then I turn on the closed captions, 'cause there ain't no way in hell I'm gonna be able to hear what's on the TV with all of that screaming.
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:12 PM   #37 (permalink)
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On TV I only watch commercials. I cannot watch a TV show then be interrupted by a commercial. That would just drive me nuts. So I download all interesting shows.
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Old 03-16-2010, 03:40 PM   #38 (permalink)
Getting it.
 
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I am amazed at that nobody has said they sit down and channel surf. Perhaps the number of people watching programming online is more a reflection of the type of people who gravitate to an Internet forum like this than anything else. Regardless, how many of you that now stream or download or watch on DVD used to sit and watch live TV. How many used to channel surf?

Now that you are able to watch when you want to watch, have you freed up time for other things?
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Old 03-16-2010, 03:50 PM   #39 (permalink)
...is a comical chap
 
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I almost exclusively watch TV online. I may plop down in front of the tube on a weekend if hubby is watching something that looks appealing, but I very, very rarely sit down and watch TV on my own accord. I only watch 2 shows regularly - Lost and House - and watch them on the weekend when I have a little more free time. Prior to online streaming, I just didn't watch TV. There was a span of 2-3 years that I NEVER watched TV and several more years that I only used it for the Academy Awards or news coverage of major events, which is pretty much the only time I turn it on now.
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:24 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I use a dual tuner HD Tivo so I can record two shows on different stations at the same time.

I think ratbastid mentioned watching the oscar's life. I decided to record the Oscar's and waited about 1.5 hours before watching the show because I wanted to fast forward through all the commercials and the amount of time it takes for a person to walk on stage.

Also, I use Netflix instant streaming to watch t.v.shows that were recommended to me by other people that think I may like the story.
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