Do you know what I enjoy? Being able to watch TV on my iPad while my wife chooses to watch some bullshit that was recorded on the DVR. It's a luxury that I absolutely enjoy but try not to take for granted. A prime example of this during football season when Sunday Night Football is on at the same time as Vanderpump Rules. I say to myself, "Hey, no problem!" I simply pickup my iPad, launch my FiOS TV app, and I'm set. If I really wanted the "TV" experience, I could always go into another room or, better yet, launch the FiOS app on the Xbox One and watch TV there. (Though I must confess that I look forward providing live commentary when Bravo is on!)
Now I'm not trying to suggest that I'm special with my FiOS TV setup or that having a multi-room DVR (which we have) is amazing. I realize that MANY people have this. My point is that this is a luxury that I could have only dreamed of growing up. As a kid, I didn't have cable. Hell, we didn't own a VCR for long time! (If we wanted to watch a VHS tape, we borrowed a VCR.) This wasn't because we were poor or anything, I just grew up with really stingy parents. And for those of you who are too young to remember what a VCR is or haven't heard of it, try to figure out how to schedule a recording on that thing. Not only was it a convoluted process, it rarely worked. The disappointment of finding out that a REALLY important TV show was NOT recorded deserved an award.
The "not having cable" part was especially irksome when I wanted to MTV. I was into MTV in the late 80s/early 90s because at this time, Metallica started to become mainstream/commercial. Before their "Black Album", mentioning Metallica to someone would have likely followed-up with a puzzled look. After the "Black Album", they were all over radio and MTV. So you can imagine how irritated I would be after hearing from friends and family about a Metallica performance on the MTV Music Awards or some other random show that I could not watch because we didn't have cable! It's like wanting a toy and then hearing from friends who know that you want it, know that it is not easy for you to get, and yet they insist on talking about how great the toy is without considering your feelings.
But now I have cable, a DVR that can record 6-shows at once, and I can watch my television anywhere. To some it may seem common place to have all of this. To me, it's a luxury that, while I can't live without it now, am MORE than happy to have. But wait, there's more! I can also Netflix anytime I want, Hulu Plus a show "on-demand", or even Amazon Prime Instant Video to let my daughter watch "Yo Gabba Gabba" when she is throwing a fit at a restaurant. If I'm really in a pinch or just don't care to spend the extra money, I can rent stuff from FiOS OnDemand or from iTunes via my Apple TV. And if I'm lucky, I can YouTube content. (BTW, all those Metallica performances I missed as a kid...no problem thanks to YouTube.)
Thanks to the Internet, I can watch TVs (and movies) anytime! It's all great...and it's all much.
With all of these great choices for TV (and movie) watching, one can't help but become overloaded. The example I laid out above is practical, as it solves the simple problem of two people, wanting to watch two different shows. (And yes, I realize that simply going into another room where another TV/receiver are can solve this problem...but then that forces you to isolate yourself from each other. Plus not everyone can afford multiple TVs, let alone HDTVs.) But the problem that exists with all of this choice, at least for me, is that I have a huge backlog of TV shows and movies to watch. And I have barely made a dent. It's easy to add to my Netflix queue, but I don't think I have watched a quarter of what's one there.
And what about shows like "Game of Thrones". Thanks to HBO Go, I can catch up on the previous 4 seasons as well as catch up on Season 5 episodes I have already missed. That means I need to set time aside to watch about 50 minutes, per episode, and then repeat this between 12 - 22 times just for one season. And that's for ONE SHOW. What about "Dare Devil" on Netflix, that's "just" 13 episodes. But then I hear "The Wire" is great, that's another 40+ episodes, at 50 minutes a pop, I would have to watch. This will, of course, interfere with the upcoming "Orange is the new Black" season on Netflix!
It goes on and on.
Complaining about watching TV may sound silly, but it's a weird problem to have with the "all-consumption" we live in now. I am definitely happier than I was growing up, as I have the luxury to practically watch what I want, when I want. I just have a lot of stuff I need to watch!
And maybe, just maybe, I'll finally get caught up...until next season.