Mid-Week Poll: Do You Watch TV Shows Live During Broadcast?

Last week, you told us pretty overwhelmingly that the majority of our readers prefer to watch TV shows on large home theater screens, rather than smaller televisions, computers or portable devices. Even in this age of iPads and Google Glass, quality still trumps convenience for some viewers. In this week’s poll, tell us whether you still watch TV shows live during broadcast, record them, or wait even longer to watch way down the line.

The invention of the DVR truly revolutionized the way that many people watch TV shows. Honestly, I can’t even imagine living without one. The ability to record multiple shows airing simultaneously, watch any time at my convenience, and fast-forward through commercials are all godsends. Yet, strangely, numerous industry polls have claimed that the majority of the TV viewing public still watches most shows live during their original broadcast times, commercials and all, without recording. That can’t possibly be true, can it? Have these people never tried to use a DVR? That’s a lifestyle choice that seems completely alien to me.

Perhaps it’s just a consequence of the fact that I watch so much TV, but I have to record every show that interests me. Really important shows (like ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘The Walking Dead’) I’ll watch on Day 1 close to broadcast, because I don’t want to have their plots spoiled for me later on the internet or at work the next day. For HBO or other premium channels, I may watch live, but for any network with commercials, I typically start 15-20 minutes late to give myself enough of a buffer to skip commercials.

Any series that I don’t deem to be “appointment viewing” will stick around on the DVR until I find time to watch it. Some shows tend to get backlogged this way when I prioritize.

Personally, I don’t stream anything from Netflix, Hulu or other online sources. I understand that some viewers prefer to wait until DVD or Blu-ray to watch a whole season in marathon sessions, but that’s just not the way I roll.

How do you watch your TV shows?

Do You Watch TV Shows Live During Broadcast?

View Results

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10 comments

  1. EM

    I am one of the few (so far) who chose “I still watch most shows as they air…”. I follow so few current series that they’re all appointment television, at least once they make it past probation. If they’re that important, I will still set the DVR to record them just in case of missed or interrupted appointments.

  2. William Henley

    I stream what I can. I am already paying $60 a month for internet, why pay another $60 for cable when I can pay Netflix + Hulu combined $16 a month? And of course, Amazon streaming is free with my Prime account. And the one or two shows that aren’t included in my plan, I can get a season pass for less than a month of cable television. So no cable, no DVR, and I stream or download (Vudu, not Bittorrent)the very limited number of shows I actually watch.

    In an extreme case where season 1 was on Vudu, season 3 was available on Vudu and Amazon with a Season Pass, but season 2 was not available at all, I picked up the season on DVD (whaaa!!! No HD version of season 2 available!)

  3. T.J. Kats

    I watch stuff on HBO and Showtime live usually because there isn’t any real time saving benefit to DVR. Anything with commercials gets dvr’d at least enough to skip the commercials and catch up by the end of the episode.

    I don’t currently stream anything.

  4. RollTide1017

    I record everything and sometimes it is days before I go back and watch things. The only thing I really watch live is sports and I normally put TVLand on at night when I just want something on (still love Everybody Loves Raymond and King of Queens even though I’ve seen every episode many times).

  5. skycracksopen

    Just like TJ Kats, I watch HBO live but DVR anything with commercials.

    Life is too short to waste time watching commercials.

  6. I only watch things via my internet on Comcast. But I refuse to pay for a Cable subscription even though Comcast has locked down everything with their threats to content providers.

    Will be getting Aereo soon, hopefully. Used to pay for Hulu but their increasing commercial count and frequency combined with their owners refusal to increase the number of episodes for the shows they do have convinced me it really just was not worth the money. Until they offer a version without commercials I will not be resuming.

    For now I “obtain” shows that are not available easily on streaming via a number of open source programs that feed an XBMC installation that reads the Media share on my mac’s 9TB drobo. Basically creating a local version of my own personal Netflix.

  7. Jeddick Reinhold

    I voted for, “I DVR everything, watch later and fast-forward through commercials.”

    I will add that I do watch the Super Bowl live, and Stanley Cup Finals elimination games live. But that’s about it.

    But … even when I DVR a show and watch it later, I will always check out commercials that I haven’t seen before.

    New movie trailers. The funny AT&T ads with the little kids (even though I have T-Mobile), the new Windows phone commercials that poke fun at Apple and Samsung (even though I don’t own a Windows phone, and I have both Apple and Samsung phones and tablets), etc.

  8. Kind of a ridiculous poll, considering everyone on the site is well, ONLINE. I somehow think if the poll was given to people watching TV right now, the results would be completely different. What an exercise in futility.

  9. Les

    I DVR just about everything and watch it later when I have time in HD. I have a 2T hard drive on my DVR so it holds lots of HD programs. Just like the other night, on Monday, I was recording Castle (ABC), plus the other (2) new shows at the same time slot, The Blacklist (NBC), and Hostages (CBS).

    There are some shows like Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy that I may DVR but when the shows are about half recorded, then I may start watching them and fast forward through the commercials.

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