If there was one piece of technology that has subtly changed the way I look at the world, it would be the PVR.
The first time I saw one was at the Twin's place, and he had basically just used it to save the last half of a hockey game while we put all the kids to bed. I was viewing it mainly as a fancy type of VCR.
(But it's so much more than that.)
When I got my HDTV, I signed up for the town's Digital Cable service. You get your choice of cable box to rent, so I chose the one with the PVR over the standard box. I thought it might be useful - more as a thing of convenience than anything else.
It's great to use and so easy to program recordings on - literally one button. But that's not the feature that won my heart over.
As a parent, I've missed bits and pieces of television shows or movies over the years. There are so many interruptions or noisy distractions that can occur that it's almost impossible to catch everything - if you add my shitty hearing to the mix, it's a wonder that I can follow a plot.
My savior? The ability to pause and rewind live T.V.
Phone rings? Pause it and get back to it later. Kids yelling and playing too loud? Pause, play with kids, watch when you've worn them out. The great thing about the feature is that when you go back you can speed through all the commercials. Yay! I can also skip back 5 minutes or so and listen to something again if I didn't get it the first time.
The big benefit is to my patience. I used to get really annoyed if I was interrupted while watching something that I wanted to see. Take today for example - I was interrupted about five times while trying to watch a documentary on the history of cigarette manufacturing and marketing. (It was great.) Normally that would have driven me nuts. But each time something happened, I was able to pause, deal with it, and get back to what I wanted to watch without having missed anything, and without the hassle of having to setup a tape or program channels.
It's a wonderful life.
I'm waiting for the next step in the technology. Real Life PVR would be great. Who wouldn't want to be able to rewind, fast forward or repeat sections of a day or week? Life with no commercials - what could be better?
Now you'll have to excuse me - I think I have something on pause.