(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Networks Messing With Show Times To Screw Up TiVo?

from the silly-networks... dept

It's not clear if this is being done specifically to screw with TiVo-like devices, or if broadcasters simply can't keep shows within their customary time constraints, but a number of shows are running a minute or two over, screwing up systems designed to record in half-hour or hour increments. If broadcasters really are doing it to mess with TiVo, it's a short-sighted policy only bound to anger viewers and make them not want to watch shows. Of course, the real response is for DVR makers to be able to record in odd time increments to make sure shows are fully recorded, and make use of multiple tuners to handle periods of overlap. Broadcasters, instead of trying to block out TiVo and others, should provide the type of metadata those devices need to accurately record the full show. Of course, instead of doing that, TV execs seem to think they need to "fight back" against these devices that let people watch TV the way they want to.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Chris, Dec 2nd, 2004 @ 1:59pm

    No Subject Given

    Some devices do compensate already. ReplayTV, for example, will adjust to the new show time without having to set anything manually. But where it is problematic is when a show is to be recorded on a different network - basically you would need to allow the device to record "partial" programs.

    One thing that I find interesting here is that these "overlaps" will most likely drive audiences more towards VOD content where the standard time formatting doesn't matter. ABC loves to drag things over by a minute or two, but NBC is notorious for playing around with multiple time formats: their big Thursday line-up often had 45 minute programs, and their latest reality show "Biggest Loser" frequently runs in 90 minute episodes.

    When we move into VOD programming I imagine that the formats we are used to will not be the same. Afterall, why should they?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous, Dec 3rd, 2004 @ 10:35am

    No Subject Given

    Sometime last season NBC began starting ER one minute before the hour. This caused a conflict with the show I was recording in the previous hour and resulted in my DVR skipping ER. After giving it a bit of thought I concluded I could live without ER and haven't watched it since. Very smart programming move.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2004 @ 11:25am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Same here.. just last night I went to add "ER" to my schedule to be recorded. As soon as the message came back that it conflicted with what I was recording from 9 to 10, I just said the hell with it.

    I used to be a loyal "ER" fan. I haven't watched it once since the fall season began. I hope NBC realizes they really are losing some viewers as a result of playing around with the start & end times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Steve Mueller, Dec 3rd, 2004 @ 12:32pm

    PVR Programming

    I spoke to a Tivo user and he said that, like Replay, the Tivo relies on information in the TV schedule, not 1/2-hour boundaries. The non-traditional times might mess up VCRs, though.

    To fix the problem, I wish the PVR people would add some intelligence. If two shows overlap by a minute, they should start recording the second show when it starts. Chances are you'll only miss credits and next week's preview. Some VCRs handled overlaps better than our high-tech PVRs.

    To allow better control, they should allow reducing the time the show is recorded. For example, my Replay allows me to start recording earlier than the scheduled start of the show (useful for some shows that start a bit early despite the schedule) or continue recording past the end of the show (useful for sporting events), but it doesn't allow starting recording after the show starts or end recording before the show ends. Adding those simple options would allow the user complete control of how they wanted to handle overlapped shows. It would also allow a user to schedule recording only part of a show (like the "Tonight Show" monologue but no guests), which could save disk space.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Baggins, Apr 30th, 2005 @ 10:12pm

    TV execs

    TV execs undoubtedly like many other Business execs are slow to respond to consumers responses to their (the execs) behaviours. For years people have been adjusting the times that they set their VCR's to for pre-recording stuff to deal with this practice which has been going on for decades now. In the 1950's and 1960's, programs programmed for an hour averaged about 48 to 49 mins long. Obviously the rest advertisment either paid or Network. Noow they average 42 at best, YET are STILL programmed for an hour. Programs don't start on time, are scheduled to finish later even though they are obviously the same length as any other show: simply because networks want to squeeze some more advertising into a specific program they think will be popular.
    Personally I gave watching "TV" up as a medium that isn't relevant to me, I refused to be dictated to in that way. I avail myself of other consumer choices. I used to have PayTV, but ditched that when they started transmitting ads during programs. I don't like commercials and I don't like being conned by the Networks. Most of the time their product is mainstream unoriginal crap anyway, so most times I don't miss much anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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