Will The DVR Save Television From A Slow Death?

Rarely has a non-descript box beside your TV been the source of such heated division. While the DVR has provided great convenience for TV viewers unable to watch their favorite programs, it’s upset the TV industry in the process.

The most irked are advertisers, whose ad campaigns can now be fast-forwarded through and whose viewing metrics have been blurred by at-your-leisure programming.


Still, the box some say is hurting a lagging TV industry could ultimately save it.

With TV programmers forced to compete with other media, recent numbers from Nielsen could prove encouraging. It turns out DVRs actually increase viewership.

Nielsen’s People Meter shows the number of DVR owners increased from 12.3 percent to 30.6 percent since January 2007. These numbers are attributed primarily to cable providers integrating DVR into their cable boxes. But the DVR is starting to expand beyond home cable viewing.  

Providers like Dish Network and Cablevision are rolling out mobile versions of their DVR service through which users will have access to their cable television from everywhere. And now that the DVR could be television's savior, manufacturers are launching new boxes that could make TV a different experience for the long haul. A prime example is Panasonic’s newest model which comes equipped with a Blu-Ray DVD burner.

Elaborating on their numbers, Nielsen found that the increased popularity of the DVR has had a positive impact on overall viewership as well as program loyalty. At the same time, the spread of the DVR provides a new set of broadcasting metrics allowing both programmers and advertisers to see how and when people are watching.

It’s this increased access to metrics that could mark the DVR’s greatest influence. Tivo, one of the first companies to popularize DVR-style viewing, is looking to challenge Nielsen by offering stations, advertisers, and producers year-by-year, second-by-second data showing exactly how and when content is being viewed on the company’s boxes.

If Tivo's approach is a success, the DVR might have industry critics eating their words before the transition to digital television is over.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

Videos
  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.

Vikings unwittingly made their swords stronger by trying to imbue them with spirits

They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.

Shutterstock
Culture & Religion
  • Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
  • To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
  • They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
Keep reading Show less

Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
Keep reading Show less