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Mónica Guzmán

Stories at the intersection of tech and life from a boldly connected city.

May 27, 2014 at 10:46 AM

‘Is there a winner to this race at the end?’ Your take on the TV speedwatching habit

tvtimes“Seriously, is life intended to be led on fast-forward?  Is there a winner to this race in the end?”

That was one of the more provocative comments you left on my Sunday column on speedwatching, the little-known trick that for a few avid TV watchers has become a habit: Why watch a long TV series at normal speed when you can crank up the playback and save hours of time?

To some of you, the idea seemed revolting.

“Gross,” Josh Bis posted on Facebook.

But even Huffington Post TV critic Bill Mann speedwatches. Thoughtfully.

“You can go even faster with a DVR by skipping establishing shots, interstitials, etc.,” Mann wrote me via email. “I got thru all 26 episodes of House Of Cards In about 10 hours.”

Of course, binge-watching itself is already fast TV. When you can watch episode to episode on your own schedule, it’s more likely you’ll skip the biggest TV time wasters of all — ads.

“The best way watch a favorite TV show is to forgo a year of watching your show weekly on regular TV and buy the DVD,” emailed reader James Morris.

“Liking the sitcom ‘Big Bang Theory’ I was subjected to 29 advertisement spots in a half hour show. If this show had been ‘CSI,’ ‘Person of Interest’ or ‘Heroes,’ etc. the interruption by ads happens so often that the show becomes uninteresting.

“Yes, I have been told that the ads pay for TV’s existence. It has just got out of hand!”

The big trend here: The viewer is taking control. It started with video and DVDs wrenching control from movie houses and TV schedules and continues with the asynchronous schedules of online. People want their shows on their time — and have more and more tools to define it.

And yet: The best TV series are extraordinary creative acts. Take too much away from the designed experience, and something gets lost.

“It is not some chore I need to just get through,” wrote Marcos Martinez on Facebook. “I’m going to pretend you never brought this up.”

Previously, on TV and movie habits…

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