Monday, January 24, 2005

TiVO and TV

SOURCE: The Age of Egocasting
But scientific study and cultural criticism have never succeeded in persuading Americans to give up their televisions. “Throughout our history with The Box,” argues Bruce Gronbeck, “we have believed fervently that it brings good, not bad; that even when it’s bad it can be controlled; and that when we cannot control ourselves a technology will arise to help us do it.” TiVo is precisely this kind of technology. By helping us control what we watch and when we watch it, we mistakenly believe that we are also exercising a broader self-control over our television viewing habits; by only watching what we want to watch, we reason, we will watch less. But early evidence suggests that this is not the case. TiVo users actually end up watching more hours of television every week, including shows they might have skipped without regret if they were not available “on demand.” By emphasizing the efficiency of the technology—rather than what the technology is making more efficient—we avoid having to ask whether we really should be watching so much television in the first place, or reflect upon what television does to our intellect and character.

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