Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Heart My DVR

Last winter, we got a DVR. I thought I blogged about it, but I can't find the post. Maybe I only Facebooked about it. Maybe I just imagined that I did anything about it.

That wouldn't be uncommon.

It was a Revolutionary Event in our house when we got the DVR because Eamonn said we were never going to hav one. Never. And truth be told, the fact that we got one at all was an accident.

There's a very long and comical (in retrospect) story about how the DVR came to be in our house. It started with the "need" to switch from DirecTV to Dish Network because DirecTV had dropped the Versus Channel and YOU CANNOT GO THROUGH LIFE WITHOUT THE VERSUS CHANNEL BECAUSE WE WON'T BE ABLE TO GET THE TOUR DE FRANCE ON TV, DON'T YOU KNOW???

Clearly, something had to be done.

So we switched. I handled the switch. It involved much research into the pricing and plans and options and all of that rigamarole because I am nothing if not thorough after being married to Eamonn for...let me count on my fingers...16...wait, let me double check that...sorry, I'm off...nearly 15 years. Is that right? We got married in Dec. '96. You do the math and let me know. I'll need to know by Dec. 21 by the way so I can get up and say, "Happy XXth anniversary, honey!" Don't leave me hangin'.

Where was I.

Right, DirecTV. Who could have cared less when I called to say I was going to leave if they didn't get Versus back. But then when I called to actually switch, they freaked out. They said we were among their oldest and most valuable customers. Twelve years! Twelve years we'd invested with DirecTV! And I admit, it was hard to go. I knew all of the channels, they never had outages. It was a known entity.

But, no Versus, no DirecTV. Despite their continually upping the ante and getting to six months of free service, we still walked.

I laugh when I think back to the questions I asked the customer service people at Dish.

Me: "So you're saying I can watch something on one TV and the other TV can record something else, all from the same receiver?"

CSR: "Yes, m'am."

Me: "I don't need a second receiver."

CSR: "No, m'am."

Me: "So one receiver can let two different TVs watch two different shows. And if I change the channel downstairs, it won't change the channel upstairs?" I could not wrap my head around this miracle of science.

CSR: Sighing heavily and I'm sure rolling her eyes. "Yes, m'am, that's what I'm saying."

I won't go into how I found out you could PAUSE LIVE TV. Or rewind it. Or how I didn't even discover that at my own house, that I was at a friend's house and saw them do it and stared at them with big saucer-like eyes and said, "How did you do that?" And they pointed out they had the same TV system we did and how could I not know this??!

But back to how the DVR came to be: A Dish guy with a heavy Russian accent came to install the new stuff.

Totally screwed it up.

And despite his assurances that our VCRs would work, they wouldn't.

Calls customer service got us comments like, "We don't work with outmoded technology." I spent several mornings crying in my granola over the loss of my friends at DirecTV. They never talked to me that way.

Another day. Another Dish tech. No dice on the VCR. Eamonn did manage to rig up some sort of crazy system to get one of the VCRs working, but it was frying my brain to try and use it.

In exasperation, I told Eamonn we were getting the freaking DVR. I couldn't take the pressure any longer.

So we got it. And it was like a movie where the sun bursts through the clouds, angels and harps sing.

It was beautiful, man.

And when we got the DVR, I giggled about the fact that the DVR could hold 150 hours of recordings on it.

Who in the world would load their DVR up with 150 hours of crap?

That would be us.

Eamonn and I each have it set up to record certain shows we like. His are mostly sports (soccer, cycling and Formula One racing).

I, on the other hand, have a bunch of old Disney movies that the Hallmark Channel ran last spring (all of those Kurt Russell ones--the Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, etc.; Summer Magic with Hayley Mills; That Darn Cat with Hayley Mills; Pollyanna with Hayley Mills. I love Hayley Mills. In fact, ever since I first saw the Parent Trap, I wanted to be Hayley Mills so I could have a twin sister. I was pretty devastated to find out she didn't have a twin--that it was her playing opposite HER.). I have random episodes of Magnum P.I. on there; America: The Story of Us; the entire series of The Pacific; an odd episode of Biography and Oprah here and there. The entire season of Masterpiece. And I confess there are a few reality shows I love: Amazing Race, Top Chef, Biggest Loser. And I love Life Unexpected. And Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters now that I think about it. I forgot about the Good Wife, too.

I love a lot of stuff. Egad. I need to get a life.

The boys quickly learned how to record stuff, too. So look closely and you'll see the Pokemon Movie 3, odds and ends of shows they were watching and I made them go to bed in the middle of. iCarly. I admit I love iCarly.

It was all adding up.

And then last weekend, Eamonn went out of town and was unaware that one of his favorite shows, Top Gear, had a four day marathon, or something mad like that, scheduled. And it was set to tape "All" instead of just "New" episodes.

On Friday, I noticed the DVR was recording. A lot. Like constantly. Saturday came. Still recording. What the heck? I went into the menu and we had eight, EIGHT!, hours of free space left and we were only two days into the Top Gear marathon.

I freaked out. What would happen? Would all of our recordings just vanish? The thought of no Amazing Race of Biggest Loser nearly sent me over the edge and so I spent a few frantic minutes figuring out how to avert disaster.

Now we have 29 out of 150 hours free on the DVR. Now there's something to be proud of.


Mountain Mama said...

DVR fan? I am raising my hand high.

My favorite thing is that we can watch a 4 1/2 hour football game in less than 2. We can watch Basketball and skip over the free throws and time outs. Another short game.

And then there is, of course, the recording of shows that you can't watch the night it airs. Better than sliced bread!

Bowing down to DVR,

jean said...

I do not have DVR. In fact, I'm considering getting rid of cable altogether. I'm hardly ever home, and when I am, I should be playing catch-up on house/yard work instead of sitting on the couch watching tv.

Marci said...

Hello everyone my name is Natalie and i am a DVR addict! (welcome to the club!)

M said...

I was a little lost cuz I don't watch TV....but it all sounds good!

How old is you oldest? in about 8 years you'll have your own version of BIG Foot!

DebH said...

OMG I CAN NOT live without our DVR. It is a god send and the advertisements for it are so true it truely changes the way you watch TV.

Ours is almost always full...my 7 & 11 year old have them full from anything spongebob to iCarly. Husband RFD and son Hunting channel.

Me? I just get Ellen, Oprah & Survivor.....and I pay for it!

jen said...

it's been that long since your wedding? God, we're old. And don't depend on me for the math, I'm a j major too.

Oh, DVR rocks. But it stresses me out too...trying to keep up. MPT definitely on my DVR too!

Can you two still tango?

Amber said...

How is Dish compared to DirecTv? Our contract is up in a couple months and though I would like to cancel it completely, I heart my DVR too! Let me know!