Be more productive… with MythTV?

Where I admit I have a problem

Hi folks.  My name is Josh, and I’m a TV addict.

Sunday football notwithstanding (and even that needs a little tempering now and then), I usually watched 3-4 hours of TV a day in college.  With over two hundred channels of digital picture and Dolby 6.1 sound, there was always something on that I thought I would like.  Between endless loops of Sports Center (which by the way could be the greatest time waster ever), Rachel Ray (I do thank her for teaching me how to cook as a single college guy), and Law & Order, I was never at a loss for any on-screen entertainment.  Looking back on it, I shudder thinking how much I could have accomplished had it not been for that glowing tube of distraction.

Now that I’ve cut off everything but standard cable (meaning I only get national networks and a few odd stragglers like Bravo), the field is a lot narrower.  But still, there’s lots of stuff on, especially come the weekends.  After all, it’s college football season, baseball season just ended (go Phils!), and the NFL is in full swing.  So I still find myself surfing the endless array of sports being shown.  That, and with my favorite Bravo show Top Chef ready to start its new season, I’ll soon have even more fodder at my disposal.  So what’s a guy to do?

Enter MythTv

For those of you who aren’t aware, MythTV is an open-source project that is designed to replace the likes of Windows Media Center.  It allows for you to watch, pause, and record live TV, using a Linux based computer as the recording device.  It’s certainly not that easy to set up, but I’ve found it to be a nice challenge and quite a good system once it’s configured.  I’ll leave the setup instructions for another post though.

So, you might ask, how on Earth could a DVR system possibly help with productivity?  Simply put, my new rule of TV is that I can only watch items that I’ve recorded previously, and any items older than a week are deleted, regardless of whether or not they’ve been viewed.  The idea behind this is that it should eliminate that mindless “browsing” style of TV-watching that I’ve picked up over the years.  I find that this is the main time-wasting practice, as opposed to A and I watching our favorite shows.

This new rule goes into effect immediately!  There will be a few exceptions (no, I did not watch the Phils win the Series after the fact, nor would I want to watch the Super Bowl on a delay), but overall I’m hoping this will drastically reduce my needless TV time, when I could instead be clearing items off that ever-growing “to-do” list of mine.  I’ll report in on how it works!

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