“Why not?” the ads for Verison’s Fios ask when the requisite adorable kid wants to know why he can’t record all of the cartoons at one time and save them all to watch in whatever room he wants to. Almost the same question that the Comcast Xfinity and Dish TV Hopper ad actors come up with before somebody voices over that they too can record 8, 12, or 15 programs at once (depending on which premium package you buy into), keeping up to 2,000 hours of recorded content (they all seem to agree on that number), with the ability to start watching in one room and finishing off in another (that’s no big deal but they all want you to believe that it is).
What none of them tell you is that all of their basic DVR package allows you to record only 2 to 4 programs at once and save a mere 50 to 90 hours. We’d like to tell you how much the basic packages are compared to the upgraded packages but none of the sites had a clear price of the DVR service and equipment rental. They all had disclaimers that the promotional bundled pricing of the DVR plus other services was good for 6, 12, or 24 months with a 24 month commitment and with additional activation, installation, equipment rental, and regional sports network fees. Not all providers charged all fees but all providers charged enough fees.
Not being able to determine if we’d want any of these premium packages based on how much they cost (why would anybody want to decide on what, or if, to buy based on price?), we can pretty much say without hesitation that we don’t want any of these premium packages based on principle. There aren’t 8, 12, or Heaven forbid 15 programs airing at the same time that we’d want to record. We can’t imagine that it is too often when there are two programs airing at the same time worthy of a quick view let alone a recording. And who came up with 2,000 hours of savable programming? That’s over sixteen 2-hour movies – or 66 cartoon episodes for the requisite adorable ad kid that started this discussion. Wouldn’t he be better off spending 2,000 hours at the neighborhood playground on the monkey bars with some friends? It seems to be another example of “just because it can be done doesn’t mean that it should be done” except this time someone is charging the American public for the right to excess.
Perhaps that’s what is meant by the “pursuit of happiness.” If we had to pursue 2,000 hours of quality programming to find happiness that might be a quest that’s never satisfied.
Now that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you.