I Think My DVR Hates Me

I’ve written previously about losing shows I’ve recorded when my DVR hit its storage capacity limit and had to delete whatever was oldest. As if that weren’t painful enough, it seems that the DVR has taken things a step further this time by mysteriously canceling one of my series recordings altogether. I’ve apparently missed an entire season of ‘In Treatment’ and didn’t even realize it until now.

Over the summer, I lost a whole season of ‘Damages’ to DVR overload. More recently, I had to purge a lot of unwatched episodes of ‘Rubicon‘. Although I really like both shows, I found myself falling behind in watching them. I let the episodes pile up, in the hopes of one day burning through them in marathon sessions. Unfortunately, that never happened. The flood of new shows pushed me past the DVR storage limit. Once I noticed that old episodes of each were missing, I had no choice but to delete the rest. Both of these shows are tightly-plotted serial narratives. I couldn’t miss a few episodes and still keep up with the plots.

At least I had the chance to resign myself to that fate in both of those examples, however. In recent weeks, I’d actually been feeling pretty good about my DVR situation. I’d managed to plow through a good chunk of my backlog, and was safely down into the 30% range on my storage meter. That should give me plenty of leeway to record upcoming episodes without fear of losing anything old.

But then I happened to randomly catch an ad for the Season 3 finale of ‘In Treatment’. “How can it be the season finale?”, I thought. “The season never started!”

I love this series, but hadn’t been paying attention to when the third season aired. There isn’t currently anything else on HBO that I’m watching, so I don’t often pass by the channel or see any ads for shows on it. Also, I’m pretty certain that I’d last programmed ‘In Treatment’ for a series recording, and just assumed that my DVR would pick it up whenever the new season started. I guess that was wishful thinking. The DVR never recorded a single episode, and I can’t find it in the list of series recordings anymore.

I’ve just checked, and Comcast still has the whole season available On Demand, so I suppose I can watch it that way. The problem is that this show is a big commitment, and I don’t know when I’ll have time to watch 28 episodes before Comcast drops it.

This makes me sad and a little upset. I think perhaps my DVR and I need some form of couples counseling to ensure that nothing like this happens again. If I miss any episodes of ‘Big Love’ due to shenanigans like this, that will just be unforgivable.


  1. I have issues with my DVR recording multiple copies of the same show even though I tell it “New Episodes only”, then end up deleting an episode I actually need every now and then. I had that issue on Big Love. Lost the whole last of the second sesason that way. Well, I was recording the third season while I was catching up with the second on Netflix (I haven’t finished yet, because Big Love just isn’t at the top of my que, and they only had it on DVD, which I have to pump myself up to watch nowdays). Then my DVR crashed. They replaced it with one with a MUCH bigger harddrive, which was GREAT, however, I lost the entire third season of Big Love, plus the entire last season of 19 kids and counting, plus the entire season of Sister Wives. Now Netflix picked up 17 Kids and Counting and 18 Kids and counting on their streaming service, so hope that 19 Kids and Counting will be soon. Sister Wives will probably be in reruns here shortly so I can probably catch up on that.

  2. Ian Whitcombe

    Putting aside the legality issue, I’ve never seen a torrent that mantained the HD resolution of the source broadcast. You pretty much end up with a DVD-quality picture with less filtering but much more macroblocking.

    • Depends on the source and the release group. Shoot, when Atlantis was airing, before Sci-Fi started broadcasting in HD, you could pull it off of torrent and newsgroups from CityHD in Canada. A few hit shows do get HD torrents, but most get scalled down to little 300 meg files. Blah, would rather get the SD-DVDs from Netflix rather than deal with those crappy torrents.

  3. Ed, Watertown MA

    My biggest problem is how poorly updated the Show Guides are, resulting in missing new episodes. The TiVo guide regularly has whole weeks of the Daily & Colbert shows listed as reruns when they are in fact, new. It also cost me the latest new episode of “Fringe”. Drives me crazy.

  4. EM

    The advent of DVRs brought along some nice perqs, but I miss the day of the VCR. Mine started devouring tapes a while back, and I can’t find a suitable replacement.

    This is what I need in such a device:
    · An ATSC tuner. Two for simultaneity would be better (a great DVR feature), although I suppose I could get two separate devices (I wish I’d thought of that in the golden days of VCR).
    · Timeshifting programmability.
    · Easy playback on my TV.

    Some things I don’t need:
    · A required subscription.
    · Required Internet connectivity.
    · Required computer connectivity.
    · A program guide (nice feature—if it works—but I can figure out my shows’ times and channels on my own, thank you).

    Basically, I just need my old VCR to work again, with a little upgrading for the digital-TV and HD age. That seems so little to ask, but it appears it’s just not complicated enough for the current marketplace.

      • EM

        Not really, for I’ve tended to think of D-VHS as a now-orphaned niche technology mostly for money-to-burn early adopters who couldn’t wait for high-def discs to debut. Indeed, the Amazon page you linked to indicates the product is no longer available (at least, via Amazon).

        This may be a case where I should have done more research before opening my trap on a worldwide medium. Today I visited an electronics retailer to do some Christmas shopping; when I strayed to see the recording and playback devices out of my own curiosity, I spotted a couple of DVD–VHS hybrid machines that very well might satisfy my requirements. Also on display there may have been at least one non-VHS DVD recorder that would satisfy my requirements as well. I fear I’ve tended to turn a blind eye toward DVD recorders unfairly, probably because of some concerns in the early days of the technology (such as the confusion of the competing recordable-disc formats). I’ll take a closer look at this sector and see if I can find something acceptable (on Amazon tonight I spotted a DVD recorder with a hard-disk drive—that might be ideal). It’ll be a little while before I can get serious, though—Christmas and other considerations have to come first.

        With DVD recorders, I stand to lose high-def in playback, but I think I can live with that as a compromise, just as I lived with VHS-quality playback in those days of yore before I even had high-def in my home. My traditional pattern is that I would usually end up watching my recorded shows “live” after all—the recording was just “safety” in case I should get home too late or get interrupted during viewing.

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