DVR Overload Claims Its Latest Victim

If there’s one common fear that most TV addicts (especially HDTV addicts) share, it’s that dreaded day when the DVR hits its limit and starts deleting old shows. Since HD programs take up more storage space than SD programs, they burn through the allotment that much quicker. Many weeks, I find myself scrambling to watch as many episodes as I can to make room for the latest scheduled recordings. Recently, I found myself unable to keep up. The victim in this case: ‘Damages’. Dammit, I was honestly planning to watch that.

‘Damages’ is one of those shows that I really like, but don’t necessarily prioritize on the weekly schedule. I find that it’s a good candidate for storing up to plow through in marathon sessions on some rainy weekend. I’d only watched the first two episodes of Season 3, and then backlogged the entire rest of the season. It didn’t help that my wife, who had previously watched the series with me, suddenly decided out of the blue that she was “over it.” That gave me much less opportunity to watch those old episodes.

And then, one recent day, I checked my DVR status and found that it had deleted no less than five episodes of the show. ‘Damages’ is not the type of series you can pick up from any random episode. It’s a serial narrative and needs to be watched in sequence. I immediately checked Comcast’s On Demand service, to find that it only offered the last two episodes of the season, which I still had recorded anyway.

At that point, with plenty of new scheduled recordings bearing down on me, I made the hard decision to purge the rest of the ‘Damages’ episodes from my DVR. There was just no point to storing them any longer. I certainly wasn’t going to try to follow the plot with five episodes missing.

Sure, there are other options for catching up with the series. I’m sure it’s on Hulu or iTunes or something, in some sub-par, pixelated, barely-SD quality download with shrill stereo sound. (Yes, that very much includes Apple’s so-called “HD” downloads.) But I’m just too much of a video snob for any of that. These days, it’s real high definition or nothing for me. I don’t watch any movies or TV shows on my computer, and I can no longer suffer even DVD quality on my high-def screen. It really kills me that Sony gave up releasing the show on Blu-ray after lackluster sales of the first season box set.

(Please, no comments about less-than-legal alternatives. We’re not going to go there.)

As I write this, I’ve just discovered that my DVR has creeped back up to 88% already. That wouldn’t be so bad, if I didn’t have seven new HD shows scheduled to record tonight (Thursday). Crap, there go any other plans I might have had for this evening. I’ve got a lot of TV to watch.

So, ‘Damages’ fans, was Season 3 as good as the first two?


  1. Tim

    I can’t comment on season 3 of the show, but I can comment on your affliction. I too have come down with that disorder on numerous occasions. I like to call it “Diver Anxiety Disorder (DAD). In Canada, it’s also know as a “Piver Depressive Disorder (PDD).

    It’s a terrible state to be in. You’re forced to make tough choices. Do I delete a show I’ve planned to watch? Am I willing to give up on the relationship and just move on? If I do, am I directly responsible for it being canceled?

    It’s pretty sad when monitoring the capacity of your DVR’s hard drive occupies more of your thoughts than the actual shows on it.

  2. Ben

    I recently had to make a similar decision when I saw my DVR was nearly 90%. I wish that, at a minimum, all DVR manufacturers would allow you to add on storage via external hard drives. This isn’t that difficult to do and would go a long way in the consumer good will department.

  3. slearl

    I’m extremely displeased with Sony’s decision to kill Damages on Blu-ray. I bought season 1 and love the show, but I refused to purchase the DVD … and watching it online is not an option (snob? perhaps); Netflix streaming is awful.

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