I don't know if it's a problem with the clock on my DVR, or if things run a little long, but I just really hate it when you're recording something, and the timer stops before the show is over. Usually it's not a big deal -- a final wrap-up on a news program, "coming next week" teasers (which I usually avoid watching normally anyway) on some series, closing credits which are too tiny to read. But sometimes it's the end of a news story, and sometimes it's programming that does go a little long.
Occasionally this happens intentionally, where the station does want to bleed into the next timeslot, so that you stick with their programming and don't switch channels to something else that already started on time.
My feeling is that even it's the latter -- or whatever the reason, even a badly set clock (which isn't my fault, since it comes from the signal) -- that DVRs should be smart enough to know when a program is actually over, and keep recording until then.
That's particularly because sometimes a program simply does run long, and I find that's usually the case with movies.
Last night I was watching a film I had recorded a few days earlier on a movie channel. It was a thriller with Al Pacino, called 88 Minutes. (It's worth noting that 88 Minutes actually runs 132 minutes. But I digress...) However long it runs, it's longer than the time slot it was scheduled in. How much longer, though, I don't know, because during the final confrontation scene, the movie...stopped. Actually, I'm not even sure it was the final scene. For all I know it goes on for another five minutes, or 10. Or 88. So, after watching this entire thriller, I have no idea how it ends. Maybe there's a surprise twist.
Happily, with DVRs you can search programming everywhere, and while I thought that maybe the channel would have 88 Minutes elsewhere on their schedule, for more repeat viewings (it already had repeated it a couple times), alas it didn't -- but bizarrely (and happily) a completely different channel IS showing it next Wednesday. Go figure. How odd, of all movies. But huzzah!. So, I set the timer. (Today's BobTip: I didn't record the scheduled movie itself. I set the DVto record the show that follows, but started it 10 minutes early. That way I'm sure to get the entire conclusion -- and also don't have to fast-forward through the whole thing...) So, all's well. Except for the part where I have to wait until next Wednesday to find out how the thrilller ends.
For what it's worth, 88 Minutes starts out pretty exciting and has a great sense of paranoia. (A forensic psychologist gets a phone call that he has 88 minutes to live. From subsequent calls, it's clear that the killer is near by, so he suspect most everyone around him.) But it starts to get a bit too convoluted for its own good, and the part of the conclusion that I did see was a bit much. But still, having put in the time, I do want to know the full payoff.
Recording shows is oh-so-much easier than in the days of the VCR, but still can be a bit of an art (especially juggling multiple shows and trying not to overlap your limit of two recordings at the same time). When I remember, I try to add a minute or two to the end of programs I record -- though too often I don't remember, as I suspect is the case with most sentient beings. That said, I do always to add the maximum "extra time" to live sporting events, since those not only regularly go over their scheduled slot for a normal game, and then there can also be overtime or extra innings. (I always add the maximum, by the way, because unless there's a conflict, there's no reason not to. And the last thing any self-respecting sports fan wants to risk is to watch an existing game that's gone double-overtime...and then have the recording stop with time running out. This did happen to a friend of mine, a major soccer fan, who was recording a major soccer championship and -- my heart sank as he began telling the story and noted that he hadn't added any extra time. He was on the edge of his seat as the tied game went into stoppage overtime -- when all of a sudden his recording cut off with a minute to go. I believe that his neighbors could hear the screams from blocks away...)
Now, if we could just get those DVRs to figure out this "actual ending" thing on their own, we'll be on to something.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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