Digital Video Recorder or otherwise also referred to as Personal Video Recorder is one of the technological spectaculars that have happened to the television industry. This phenomenon, though some argue that it has killed television programs, has virtually made it accessible for the public and totally changed the way we watch programs. Developed by a company called TiVo in 1999, digital video recorders have been embraced by many Americans and have fundamentally changed the culture of watching television not only among them but also the entire world. It is paramount to acquaint ourselves with what Digital video recorders are, and give a skeletal overview of how they operate before we delve into how it has affected the television watching culture.
Jenkins (2006) defines Digital Video Recorder as a high capacity hard drive that records video programming from a television set. He also defines it as a device that records video and stores it into a hard disk in digital format; therefore, do away with the need for video cassette tapes. This device records video in digital format to other devices such as USB flash drive, disk drive, or any other mass storage devise. American populace being techno-savvy hardly lacks this technological invention of the 21st century.
Having evolved from the Video Cassette Recorders which use a blank tape to record for later viewing, the Digital Video Recorder makes use of an inbuilt hard drive that acts like a big tape, and where one records selected shows. These shows can be recorded by programming the Digital Video Recorder. This can be as easy as the touch of a button. For instance, say you like a television program like ‘The House’ you ought to find the show through the search function, and select record entire series, and it simply does. One can record all the television shows that he or she likes and cannot afford to miss.
On the other hand, Digital Video Recorders can recommend on the shows to choose based on shows one records. However, it should be noted that the Digital Video Recorder has a fixed capacity and one should put this into consideration while recording.
In addition, one other feature of Digital Video Recorder is that it can record two shows at the same time. Stelter (2008) tell us that Personal Video Recorder utilizes a device called dual turner digital video recorder which is capable of recording a live program while watching another live one simultaneously. Similarly, one can record a live show while watching another one recorded previously.
Moreover, Digital Video Recorder allows the viewer to pause and even rewind live television programs whenever they are interrupted. Let’s take, for example, one is watching his, or her favorite program and encounters some interruptions, he or she does not have to worry about missing an iota of the action since he can pause it, or rewind the show when he resumes watching.
Most American television viewers are more often than not irritated by the numerous and endless advertisements that interrupt their favorite shows. This problem has, however, been curbed since the introduction of Digital Video Recorder. This devise allows users to remove the advertisements completely or give them a chance to fast forward those advertisements. This in the end goes into cutting the time users spend on watching television. In this case, people who find the advertisements irritating, see the convenience of using Digital Video Recorder.
Advertisements in general seem to have been heavily impacted by the Introduction of Digital Video Recorders such as Astro MA, Sky +, TiVo among other digital television recorders which enable users to record television programs onto a hard disk. This, in turn, allows viewers, as we had mentioned earlier, to skip through or fast- forward through advertisements of the recorded programs. It will, therefore, be suicidal for me not to look at how the advertising sector has tried to stay put despite facing the challenges.
Speculations are at large that advertisements through the television are threatened by the existence of Digital Video Recorders because viewers opt not to watch them. This has called for new and innovative ways to advertising by companies. In so doing, companies target their advertisements to a certain demographic group, more so the youth. Aged viewers do not count much to most advertisers (Rodgers, 2001). However, broadcast networks are alarmed by the use of Digital Video Recorders by young viewers. This result in lower advertisement rates for them due to minimal live viewing by audience. The television advertisers also tend to target certain audiences in population, for example, gender, income level, and races. In recent years, it has been established that, shows targeted to young women bring in more profits in advertisements than those targeting young people; this owes to the fact that younger men are watching television less than their female counterparts.
Furthermore, companies have resorted to advertising through product placement in television shows themselves. In such instances, shows use the products of the companies, for instance, the Extreme Makeover. Another example, more familiar in the North America is sporting activities, like car races, named after commercial companies. Wringley Field can serve as an example in this case.
Another advertising feature to curb Digital Video Recording is one that shows at the bottom of the television screen. This is done just like the way warnings pertaining to weather are done. Though it may block some program features because it takes some space of the screen, this method is effective.
Interactive advertising as Rodgers (2001) puts it is an emerging way of television advertising that will considerably enhance the scope of interaction with the brand.
In a nutshell, Digital Video Recorders find its popularity due the annoyance from the advertisements. The advertisements may take longer commercial breaks because every industry- fast -food restaurants, phone companies, car industries- want to advertise, volume of some adverts may be higher than program volume, and more often cut into the scenes people find enthralling to watch. These are just but a few irritating factors that have seen the entire change in television viewing culture and significant growth and adoption of Digital Video Recording.
In conclusion, Digital Video Recording has revolutionized the culture of watching television. As we have seen above, viewers can watch their preferred shows from the comforts of their homes without much irritation from interrupters. These homes owe their comforts to Digital Video Recorders.