Turns out there is a name for this technologically-imposed feeling of inadequacy: TiVo Guilt.
As an article over at TVGuide.ca points out, in Canada this should more appropriately be called PVR or perhaps DVR Guilt since the majority of us Canucks don’t use the TiVo service for our digital recording needs.
The article quotes Brad Berens, the chief content officer at iMedia Communications as saying that:
I think that if you give things a name, that’s a wonderfully empowering gesture … because now [viewers] know what it is and know that they can take control of their media choices, they can take back that remote and hit the delete button and not feel guilty – all you need to know is that other people are feeling it, and then I think the guilt can go away.
Now, I don’t know if Berens possesses a degree in psychology, but knowing that I can now call this feeling by a pseudo-clinical name doesn’t change things one bit for me. I still get that strange sense that I’m somehow falling behind when I open my PVR list up.
Moreover, the term PVR Guilt needs to have a companion term for the feeling of satisfaction you get after watching a recorded show and subsequently deleting it from your PVR’s hard drive. Anyone have a pithy suggestion?
I’ve also noticed that PVR Guilt can easily evolve into a much more sinister condition which I’ll call PVR Anxiety Syndrome. It can occur when the amount of recorded material on your hard drive starts to approach 80% of the device’s capacity. This is about the time when you start to realize that shows which you’ve recorded, but haven’t had time to watch or to ‘protect’ will start to delete themselves in favour of newer recordings. Much like PVR Guilt, I’m betting that most of you won’t find having a name for this situation (or knowing that others suffer from it too) any help in overcoming its effects.
Clinically addicted TV recorders can potentially stave off their anxiety indefinitely by moving to an expandable PVR system like Bell TV’s 9242 HD PVR. I think Rogers has a similar option. The upside is that you can archive your recorded content onto external hard drives. The downside is two-fold: first, these external drives will cost you… up to $300 for a 1TB unit. Serious archivists could run up a pretty hefty storage bill. Secondly, this measure will only increase the effects of PVR Guilt as your sub-conscious continues to tally the hours and hours of programming that is accumulating slowly but steadily.
We recently bought a DVD-recorder, which I foolishly thought would be a good compromise between paying for a hefty PVR upgrade and having to furiously delete shows and movies. Sadly, it hasn’t worked out at all. Not only must I record the shows in real-time to DVD, which is super time-consuming, but the quality is barely VHS-calibre. This thanks to the limited input options on the DVD recorder: I have my choice of composite or S-video for the video and only analog stereo for the audio. Worse still, my PVR only has HDMI or composite video outputs, which means I’m limited to the composite input on my DVD recorder. Digital video? Forget it. 5.1 surround – or even Dolby ProLogic? Nope.
Looks like I’m stuck taking "back that remote and hit the delete button and not feel[ing] guilty" about it. Right. Good thing I love my PVR.