The more things change, the more they stay the same. In the good old analogue days, I would amass piles of VHS tapes with recordings made from the mainstream TV channels and the fledgling satellite services (hands up those who remember the excitement when a young Sky channel went free-to-air after years as a cable TV service?). I would studiously snip descriptions from programmes from the TV Guides and pop them in the VHS case, in the sure knowledge that I would return to view them when shortly thereafter. I still have many of these tapes, unwatched, somewhere in my garage. Today, I no longer have to cut up my TV Guide. I have swapped VHS for Sky+ and paper for EPGs and metatags. But I still don’t seem to be getting around to watching what I record. I guess like many, I no longer feel the need to archive material. But I still compulsively record.
My Sky+ box is perennially stuffed to the gills, with never more than a few per cent free space. I’d upgrade the hard drive (yet again, from 80GB to 120GB), but I’ve not yet managed to clear it of recordings. And that’s when it records what it’s told. At least with my VHS, hitting the Red button usually meant I’d caught my show. My Sky+ has a tedious tendency to screw-up. The Series Link function should mean I never miss my favourite show. So why them does the box decide it no longer wants to record Enterprise for me? Does someone turn off the series link function for fun? Does a failed recording mean that Enterprise is deemed to be have flunked out of Starfleet Academy, and not worthy of my attention? Perhaps my box is trying to tell me something? When asked to save My Name Is Earl, the unit glowed recording red, but there was nothing playable for me the next day. It must be Karma! I’ve also learnt never to trust an EPG. Sometime ago, I instructed my Tivo to record Sumo from Eurosport. Tivo used its own EPG to identify the timeslot. Trouble is it didn’t tally with Eurosport’s schedule on the Sky EPG. I got an hour of figure skating instead. Maybe I should just rescue my VHS from the loft and play those garaged videotapes instead!