Skip to main content
digital home

According to recent research by the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM), Canadian adults currently watch about 29.5 hours of television per week which equates to over 1,500 hours of television viewing each year.

Researchers tell us that approximately 80 per cent or 1,200 of those hours are spent watching commercial television while 20 per cent is spent watching non-commercial television such as Video-On Demand, DVD, pay television and commercial free broadcasters such as PBS and TVO.

In Canada, a typical hour of conventional television programming contains 15 minutes of commercials while specialty channels carry about 12 minutes of commercials. Using the more conservative 12 minutes per hour, I calculate that the average adult Canadian watches over 14,400 minutes of commercials annually. Since most television commercials are 30 seconds in length that 14,400 minutes of commercials equates to 28,800 30-second commercials watched annually.

The numbers are staggering. It means the average Canadian adult spent 240 hours last year watching television commercials. That is equivalent to the number of hours worked in a month and a half by the average Canadian worker.

I'm not going to sermonize about the evils of watching too much television but imagine if there was a magical device that could eliminate or vastly reduce the 240 hours of time wasted watching television commercials each year.

The truth is that it's not a magical device, rather it's a Personal Video Recorder or PVR. Consumer electronic devices which have been available from cable, satellite and IPTV providers for over a decade.

Incredibly, despite being available for so long, the Television Bureau of Canada reports that just one in five (20 per cent) of all Canadian adults own one.

I think every Canadian household should have one and here are five reasons why:

Reason No. 1: Skip 28,800 commercials a year

Imagine having an extra 240 hours a year, the equivalent of six weeks at the office, to yourself. With a PVR, you can simply skip or fast forward through those commercials and free up valuable time that could be spent fulfilling all those New Year's resolutions.

In addition to freeing up time, you'll also be able to watch an hour of television in about 45 minutes, freeing up fifteen minutes an hour to take the dog for a walk, put on a load of laundry or get to bed a little earlier.

Reason No. 2: You'll always have something to watch

How many times have you sat down to watch television, flipped through all the channels and found there was "nothing on"? With a PVR, you can search out programs to record or you can set it record your favorite program every week, even if you're on vacation or away on a business trip.

The result is you can build up a library of your favorite shows, movies and interesting programs, stored on the PVR's hard drive, which you can view the next time you turn on the tube.

For many PVR owners, the biggest problem becomes "what to watch next?"

Reason No. 3: Skip the Boring Parts

If saving 240 hours a year of your time watching commercials is not enough then use your PVR to skip through all the boring parts of a show.

Sure the Academy Awards and the Emmy Awards are fun, but wouldn't be great to skip some of the bad musical numbers and boring acceptance speeches? With a PVR, you can still find out who all the winners are and watch the awards show in half the time.

If you're a football fan, just pause the show at the kickoff. Come back an hour later and as you watch the game, simply fast forward through those endless coaches challenges, time-outs and half-time shows. The result is you can watch a football game in an about hour and a half instead of the normal three or three and half hours.

Reason No. 4: Never Miss your favourite show

Admit it, you love watching The Young and the Restless but you work during the day or maybe Entertainment Weekly is more your style but by the time dinner is over so is the show.

With a PVR, you can timeshift. This just means that you can record a show that runs earlier in the day or week and watch it later on when it's convenient for you.

Reason No. 5: Pause Live Action

Imagine, you're at the climax of your favorite television show and the hero is about to announce who the killer is and the doorbell rings. Do you: Pretend like you're not home or miss the best part? With a PVR, you don't have to, simply press pause and the show stops and the hard drive continues to record.

Once you've gotten off the phone with your annoying mother-in-law or dismissed the guy trying to sell you something from your doorstep, you simply press play and finish watching your show.

Now is the time to get a PVR

While I've given you five solid reasons to get a PVR, in my opinion, the ability to skip those 28,800 commercials a year is reason enough.

PVRs are available from your cable, satellite or IPTV provider for as low as $399 so do yourself a favour and buy one today.

Hugh Thompson is the founder of Hugh Thompson's Digital Home , a consumer electronics news and information website. As a voice for the Canadian consumer, Hugh is a frequent guest on radio and television programs across the country discussing the latest in consumer electronics and the business of convergence in the Digital Home.