Wednesday, April 03, 2013

DVR Storage

Here is an interesting story about DVRs from Consumer Reports, which includes this statistic: 41% of the programs we record on DVRs never get watched. (Speaking of which, Consumer Reports is the best magazine ever, and the only magazine I've ever subscribed to on my own.)

Let's take this opportunity to talk about my recent DVR habits, because it's been a while. The days of me referring to a DVR as a "Tivo-like Device (TLD)" are long gone, because the term DVR is now standard, and according to that same Consumer Reports story (in turn based on a study by Motorola), 46% of all U.S. homes have one. (I wonder how many of those are name-brand Tivos? 1%? Is Tivo still in business, even? I'd think that cable and satellite companies issuing their own DVRs would have put Tivo out of business long ago.)

About that "41% of recorded programs never get watched" stat: That's probably high for us, but not that far off. The list of network and cable TV shows that we record is short and manageable, so we usually get through all of that, eventually. It's movies, specials, and sports that we (or in the case of sports, I) never get around to watching. HBO free preview? Record lots and lots of movies! (Most of which we never get around to watching.) The Bible miniseries on the History Channel? Let's record the whole thing! It's unlikely that we'll have time to sit through all ten hours of it, but we have the DVR space for it, so why not?

I imagine that a lot of DVR owners have a perpetually full DVR. But our primary DVR is usually 50% to 70% full, and the secondary DVR has never been more than 30% full. We're pretty disciplined as far as not biting off more than we can chew. (Each of our DVRs can store approximately 100 hours of HD programming.)

Actually, I don't think I ever mentioned this: We have two DVRs now - one in the living room and one in the bedroom, and we can watch any program recorded on either DVR in either room. The reasons I got the second DVR are: a) it was part of a DirecTV promotion, so I got a pretty substantial discount on it (although I forget if it was 100% free or not); b) to double our disk capacity; and c) to give us the ability to record four simultaneous programs instead of just two. (This really comes in handy on Thursday night.) If we still just had the one DVR, I think we'd be up against it in terms of free disk space.

I also like to keep a healthy buffer of free space for my weekend sports recordings, most of which I end up not watching anyway. For instance, I may record an entire hockey game, but I often only watch one period, maybe two periods, and skip through the rest. And out of the four soccer games I recorded last weekend, I only ended up watching half of two games, and none of the other two games. I did watch most of the NCAA tournament Elite Eight games last weekend, though. (Thankfully, by the time I got to that point in the broadcast, I knew to skip past the replays of the Kevin Ware injury.) So if you include sports, then maybe that 41% figure is about right for us.

I've had a DVR for almost seven years now, and I couldn't go back. No way. And if we ever do end up running out of DVR disk space, no big deal, because then we'll finally have a reason to delete that Bible miniseries that we never got around to watching, right?

1 comment:

Spartangoogle said...

Over the summer we'd take on the task of watching the stored CSI's. Now that there are only two versions, not so much involved. Mythbuntu has recently "updated" and your Dad is having a heck of a time getting it to work!