The new television season is beginning and it seems NBC has fired the first shot across the bow of the Personal Video Recorder owner's ships.
According to TiVo, today's new episode of "ER" on NBC starts precisely at "9:59 p.m.". Yes, that's "9:59", not "10:00", "9:59".
Update: I just took a look at the rest of tonight's NBC lineup. "Friends" runs from 8:00 to 8:48p.m., Will and Grace from 8:48p.m. to 9:27p.m., and some show I've never heard of called "Coupling" ("Six single friends chase after love and intimacy in the Windy City"... yeah, sounds original to me, too) is running from 9:27 to the aforementioned 9:59p.m. The network news is running as normal, then "The Tonight Show" runs from 11:35p.m. to 12:37a.m., and the Late Night Show with Conan O'Brien runs until 1:36a.m. (These last two times may be somewhat normal, as they are shown for several otherwise-normal nights, too.)
Why is this interesting?
The top CBS hit "CSI" is on from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00p.m. I can't imagine we're the only TiVo household to be recording both CSI and ER. Because of the one-minute overlap, the TiVo will refuse to record both.
I suspect that NBC is happy with either result, "ER" isn't recorded in favor of CSI, or "CSI" doesn't get recorded, "accidentally".
So is this how television is going to go? Not product placements, but a television schedule full of 73 minute long shows starting at 3:43p.m.?
I honestly don't know what to say about this. This is just pathetic.
Update: Forgot to mention there's a workaround, of course: Use the manual recording settings (the ones that work even without TiVo service) to record NBC from 10:00p.m. to 11:00p.m. Odds are missing the first minute of ER won't cost you much... Considering that TiVo is probably positively correlated with the technical know-how to do that sort of thing, I question how effective this is even going to be and I wish I could have access to TiVo's statistics over the next couple of days to see how many people figured this out.
In other news, there's a domain shift coming up for jerf.org that may take a few days to propogate. You should not notice a difference, but there may be a blip in my postings because I'll be shifting to the new server and your DNS may not catch up for up to three days. If a telemarketer calls, be sure to inform them in great detail how rapidly Congress moved to re-affirm how much they suck. The final posting of my Communication Ethics essay will be in a few days after the domain shift settles down. There, I think that takes care of business.