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October 10, 2015


Relationship trouble? DVRs to the rescue!

by Brad Trechak, posted Sep 3rd 2008 1:00PM
DVR ScreenAccording to a study performed by NDS, the makers of DVR technology, DVRs within households actually save relationships. 79% of the users polled said the technology has improved their love lives. There are several reasons I find this interesting.

First, the study is done by the manufacturers of the product. While I have no doubt the study is genuine, it is somewhat suspicious that such a favorable report is produced by those who profit from it.

Second, the article does not state exactly how the DVRs help relationships. There could be several reasons, of course. DVRs in the house could lead to a lack of squabbling over the recording of favorite television shows. Since you could watch the shows whenever you want, it could make for couple-bonding time in front of a TV with a DVR.

Most importantly, it could lead to a lack of actual conversation between the couple which means it's less likely that something will be said incorrectly by one party or skeletons will come flying out of the closet to ruin the relationship.

Ain't technology grand?

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Average U.S. home gets over 100 channels

by Brad Trechak, posted Jun 9th 2008 2:04PM
TVAccording to a study done by Nielsen, the average home in the United State gets 119 channels from their cable provider. The study seems to hint that this is a major factor contributing to the decrease in overall ratings for broadcast television. As a result of this, the networks face a greater amount of competition.

Other interesting finds from the study include:
  • In 2007, the average household increased the number of channels it watched (up to 16 channels an average of 10 minutes per week each).
  • Scripted television still is the majority of the English-language product (40% of primetime programming) despite all talk of a reality television boom. Variety programs comprise 23%.

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Study: Women are heavier PVR users than men

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 28th 2008 9:02AM
MagnosticismAccording to a new study (PDF link), women are more likely to stream TV shows from network web sites than men, and they're more likely to time-shift their TV viewing with a personal video recorder. While both of these activities may seem like the geeky domain of guys with thick glasses, there's a pretty simple explanation. Men are more likely to watch sports, which is far more time sensitive than most other programs. If you took any group of folks and divided them up into heavy sports viewers and people who watch, well, pretty much anything else, you'd probably find that group B spends more time with the PVR too.

The study from Solutions Research Group found that 15% of women watched a streaming network TV program last month, while just 11% of men did. And women time-shift about 56% of their television viewing, compared to 42% for men.

The study also looks at other digital lifestyle activities like video game usage, online shopping, and downloading movies from the internet.

[via CNet]

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Study: 1 in 5 US households has a PVR

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 21st 2007 11:59AM
The LRGLeichtman Research Group reports that about 20% of US households have a personal video recorder. That's up from 12% according to a study released by the same firm last year, and up from about 7% two years ago.

The study also finds that:
  • More than half (53%) of PVR owners say they have an HDTV set (although it's not clear from the press release if they have a HD PVR)
  • 45% of respondents say they record five or fewer programs per week
  • The mean household income of PVR owners is 33% above average
  • While most PVR owners say the ability to skip commercials is very important, only 8% say it's the main benefit of owning a PVR.
In other words, this is the latest in a long line of studies aimed at television execs looking for evidence that PVrs are not killing the industry. If PVR owners have money to spend, and don't think commercial skipping is the single most important thing their little box does, then there's hope, right?

But that's what happens when you ask loaded question. Just because users say that commercial skipping isn't the most important feature (I'm willing to bet it's the ability to watch TV on one's own schedule), doesn't mean they'll be happy if you take it away.

[via TV Predictions]

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Study says TV not gay enough

by Varun Lella, posted Aug 8th 2007 1:42PM
Ugly BettyAccording to a new study released by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, depictions of gay, lesbian and transgender characters and issues are not doing so well on prime-time television.

In the group's first ratings report, which ranges from "excellent" to "failing," looks at the number of occurrences of gay characters or themes in the 4,700 hours of programming between June 2006 and May 2007.

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Good TV makes you fat

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 4th 2007 4:19PM

fat tvAccording to a new study, people eat more when they're watching television they find entertaining.

Dr. Alan Hirsch, the neurological director for the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, conducted an experiment in which folks were given chips to eat while watching Letterman and Leno, and chips to eat when not watching any TV at all. As it turns out, they ate more chips while watching TV because they paid less attention to whether or not they were full while distracted by what was on the television.

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What are rich people watching on television?

by Anna Johns, posted Mar 8th 2007 10:43AM
scrubsImagine this: you're sitting on your leather sofa with a glass of Joseph Phelps 2001 Insignia wine in one hand and a remote control in the other. You look at your 80-inch plasma television. What's on the screen? Scrubs.

A media group analyzed Nielsen ratings by income and determined that affluent American television viewers prefer to watch ABC and NBC. And they don't watch reality television. Instead, the highest-rated television shows among America's wealthier viewers are The Office, 30 Rock, What About Brian, Lost, Friday Night Lights, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and Studio 60. Besides DH and Grey's, those are all shows that receive mediocre ratings.

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Watching less TV won't make kids exercise more

by Julia Ward, posted Feb 7th 2007 8:04AM
Television Kids EatingI love science. It allows you to say commonsensical things, but with proof. The latest non-revelation to be offered by researchers is that switching off the television does not guarantee that children will exercise. A four-year study of more than 10,000 American children ages 10 to 15 found no correlation between the amount of time spent watching television and the amount of time spent engaged in vigorous activity.

According to the study, long hours spent watching television has contributed to the obesity epidemic among children, but killing your television won't reverse the trend. Watching TV and physical exercise are not "functional opposites." If they were, everyone would be on a "no television" diet.

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Study finds boomer backlash against youth-obsessed TV

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 20th 2006 3:28PM
BitternessAccording to the AP, a study commissioned by rerun-centric network TV Land found that Baby Boomers -- still the largest segment of the population -- are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the youth-oriented programs on TV these days.

The study found that 37 percent of boomers are unhappy with what's on TV, and 80 percent of all people over 40 say that they have trouble finding shows that they can find relatable to their own lives.

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Rats are smarter than you think

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 22nd 2006 12:05PM
splinter the ratI'm a couple days behind on this, but I only just found out about the National Geographic special Rat Genius last night. Luckily the special will re-air this Friday at 2 pm. Perhaps I'm the only one who finds a special dedicated to the minds of these rodents fascinating and intriguing, but if you share my love of nature programs this sounds like it could be very interesting. The special will explore how rats can survive in almost any environment, and how it's actually possible for one to actually swim up through your toilet. It also examines how a rat's mind works by learning from past experiences, and how experts are trying to harness the brain power of these rodents to detect landmines in Africa and help discover diseases in human beings. That's right, not only is your home probably infested with these little creatures, but they're actually much smarter than you think. Sleep well.

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CNN seeks out the happiness cure

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 17th 2006 8:02PM
sanjay guptaOn November 19, Dr. Sanjay Gupta will host a new Dr. Sanjay Gupta Primetime Special titled "The Happiness Cure," which initially sounded to me like the show would be about trying to find a cure for happiness, and I think we all know the cure for happiness is watching an infinite video loop of a kitten scratching a baby. However, the special is actually about where happiness comes from and how different people try to obtain it. Different segments will look at genetics, drugs both legal and illegal, and the effects of happiness on health. Personally, I have my happiness smuggled here once a week from China. Over time I've built up a tolerance and now the only thing that affects me is pure, unbridled ecstasy, which I keep in a cigar box under my bed. Comedian Richard Lewis and motivational speaker Tony Robbins will also appear on the special. It airs on CNN November 19 at 10 pm.

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Study links TV watching to autism

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 17th 2006 4:06PM

toy tvOngoing research at Cornell University has revealed a possible link between autism and children under the age of three who watch television. The study found that when cable became more prominent in households in the '80s, autism rates also increased. The study has not found anything specific in television viewing that may trigger autism in young children, only that there is a strong correlation between the two. Some have pointed out it may not be television, but indoor air pollution that may be the root of the problem.

While experts study this and try to come to a consensus, I think laypersons should see this as a reminder that too much television exposure at a young age is not a good thing. As Slate's Gregg Easterbrook points out in his article, humans evolved responding to three-dimensional stimuli, and repeated exposure to two-dimensional images, whether it turns out to be directly linked to autism or not, is still not a good thing in the early stages of development.

[via Netscape]

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Study shows men will delay ER visit if the game is on

by Joel Keller, posted Oct 11th 2006 11:32AM
Nate Robertson and Craig Monroe of the TigersSay you were a guy watching Game 1 of the ALCS last night. While chopping up celery sticks to eat with your buffalo wings, you get so excited that the Tigers were smacking the crap out of the A's Barry Zito, you slip and put a big gash in your finger. It's so big that it looks like it might need stitches. So you immediately leave the house and go to the ER, right?

Not necessarily, according to a new study conducted by a Baltimore ER physician. Two years ago, he found that the number of men who check into the ER during a televised sporting event drops 30 percent as opposed to the levels on the same day of the week when there are no sports on. Now, his new study reveals that in the four hours after the event ends, overall ER attendance is 40 percent higher than the average for the same day and time of the week. It's especially evident during college football telecasts. The reasons behind the visits (*cough*Alcohol*cough*) will be studied next.

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How many television sets in your home?

by Anna Johns, posted Sep 22nd 2006 8:25AM
televisionThe average American home has more televisions than people. When I saw that statistic from Nielsen Media Research, I thought I was bucking the trend. And then I thought a little harder and realized I'm the average American. There are two people in my household: my husband and myself. And, guess how many television sets we have? Three! There's the main set in our living room, hooked up to two TiVos, a Nintendo and a DVD player. Then there's the TV set in our bedroom, which we got this summer when it was 104 degrees and the only air conditioning in our house was in the master bedroom. Oh, and that elusive third television set is in the garage. It's positioned right in front of the very dusty treadmill. Still, it's plugged in and it sort-of works (the pixels are dying so it looks like everything is in letterbox).

I wanna know: How many television sets in your home? And, which rooms are they in? This could get interesting...

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America's watching a lot of (old) sitcoms

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 23rd 2006 11:43PM
Seinfeld logoSo it looks like the sitcom isn't dead, after all. It's just really, really old.

According to this AP article, a new study states TV viewers are watching more hours of sitcoms than ever before, to the tune of 4.84 hours per week, as opposed to 3.78 hours/week in 1993-94. Unfortunately, most of the sitcoms being watched are reruns, from syndicated reruns like Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond to pretty much every comedy on Nick at Nite, TV Land, and TBS.  The study showed that viewers watch prime-time network sitcoms only 13 percent of the time, opposed to 56 percent in '93-'94. Now, the numbers might be skewed a bit because the total number of hours of sitcoms on TV has tripled over the last twelve seasons, but it still looks like people are flocking to new sitcoms in smaller proportions than in past years. Jeez... no wonder why Arrested Development failed...

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