Roommates Sharing TV: Pros and Cons of a DVR

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Roommates Sharing TV: Pros and Cons of a DVR

Staff Writer · Oct 4, 2010

Sharing TV with roommates can lead to a number of conflicts. After all, not everyone will want to watch what the others want to watch at the same time and there’s bound to be a roommate who feels that other people are unfairly monopolizing the TV. Before you consider the expense of purchasing separate TVs, consider the pros and cons of a DVR to help solve these conflicts.

Pro: Recording One Show While Watching Another

There’s bound to be conflict when sharing TV and there are two shows on at once, each of which at least one person in the apartment wants to see. Having a DVR on hand can take care of this problem. While one person watches one show, the other show is being saved to the DVR so that the other roommate can watch it at a later time.

Of course, there may be conflict over who gets to watch the show she wants as it airs and who has to watch it later. This can be solved by rotating who gets to watch the show as it airs from week to week or agreeing that neither will watch the show as it airs and using a DVR to record both shows at once, which is possible.

Con: Easy to Fill up a DVR and Not Watch the Shows

DVRs make it easy for you to record a program and worry about watching it later. However, it’s also easy to forget to watch the show or think you’ll get around to it later. Before you know it, another week has passed and another new episode is airing, so you record that episode to watch later as well. This pattern can continue for weeks and months, perhaps even causing you to max out the space on a DVR before you’re able to watch all of your shows. You can try to avoid this with your roommates by sharing the allotted storage space evenly and making sure you rotate access to the TV so that everyone has time to watch what they want to watch.

Pro: Usually Relatively Inexpensive

Many cable and satellite providers provide DVR at very cheap costs—sometimes as low as $5 per month. Even if a DVR doesn’t solve all of your conflicts regarding you and your roommates sharing TV, you won’t be wasting much money and you’re bound to get at least $5 worth of use of the system each month regardless.

Con: May Not Be Necessary

However, although a DVR can be relatively inexpensive, it really may not be worth any additional cost when you consider that you can access most shows legally online for free not long after they air on TV. Shows you can’t access online legally, you may be able to rent for free from the library when they’re out on DVD. If you and your roommates argue about sharing TV without compromising, there may be more important issues between you to consider.

If even a DVR doesn’t seem like it will solve the conflicts you and your roommates have about sharing TV, then you should consider having your own TVs in your bedrooms. Some cable and satellite providers don’t charge additional fees for adding new TVs in the same household, so you’ll only have to worry about the cost of new TVs and making the space for them.

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