CHEATING ON THE NIELSENS
26 May 2005
Am I cheating on the Nielsens? I don't really know.
My TV-watching habits are so bizarre that it's kind of difficult to know how to log things. If I have the same channel on in both rooms, how do I record which is the room which has me watching the program and which room has the "TV on but nobody watching," if I'm walking back and forth all morning?
If I sit here with the TV on while I'm typing for 15 minutes and then go into the kitchen, with the family room TV on in the background and straighten up the kitchen for 15 minutes, do I record 15 minutes in my office an 15 minutes in the kitchen? How about 5 minutes? (They say to record the programs that are watched for at least 5 minutes).
You're supposed to record if you watch a program on one channel and record on another, but what if you're going to be out and you set your DVR to record your normal programs to be watched when you get home at night?
That's what I did Monday night, when I had a meeting to go to. Walt didn't watch TV at all but I recorded Jeopardy, Queer as Folks and The Medium to be watched later. Do I record in my book that I watched them at midnight and that the TV was turned off at the normal time?
Well, I didn't. It was entirely too complicated because I wasn't recording on one channel while watching on another--I was recording while the TV was off. So I watched the three programs when I got home from work and logged that I'd watched all three programs at the time they were programmed.
Which, I suppose, isn't exactly kosher, since by watching them later in the night, I could skip over the commercials. But what about having a DVR and watching something "live" but on a 15 minute delay so you can skip over the commercials "live"?
And then there's "The Dog Whisperer." I've become a real fan of this National Geographic channel program, but I don't have a clue when it's on because the DVR just automatically records it and I watch snippets of it when I have a couple of minutes and there is nothing else on that I want to watch.
Same with "The Daily Show" and "Penn and Teller's Bullshit," which also record automatically.
("The Daily Show" is driving me nuts. I have not yet developed a feel for when it is broadcast "live," but it seems to be repeated endlessly. Only the shows that are repeated seem to have no rhyme or reason. I can't tell you how many times my DVR has recorded "The Daily Show" episode with Kathleen Turner as the special guest.)
I never dreamed that recording my TV watching for a week could get so complicated. I suspect it was a lot easier when all the Nielsen families had to do was attach a box to their television and have it recorded automatically what the family was watching--the days before VCRs and DVRs and televisions in every room in the house.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Now HERE's a TV. This is my friend Michael's new High-Def TV.