According to this new survey by NDS:
Americans rank the DVR [digital video recorders] as the third most indispensable household item (62%), after the washing machine (97%) and the microwave oven (86%) -- Americans rank the DVR as the second most essential household technology item they can't live without (81%), beaten only by the mobile phone (92%) -- 3 out of 4 respondents with partners say that having a DVR makes for a happier home life
When you think about, it is incredible that DVRs only came on the scene in the late 1990s and yet now -- less than a decade later -- they are considered an "indispensable" technology by most people.
This has some important policy implications for debates over content regulation. In a paper I penned last October entitled, "Parental Control Perfection? The Impact of the DVR and VOD Boom on the Debate over TV Content Regulation," I outlined how new video technologies, such as digital video recorders (DVRs) and video on demand (VOD) services, are changing the way households consume media and are helping parents better tailor viewing experiences to their tastes and values. I provided evidence showing the rapid spread of these technologies and discussed how parents are using these tools in their homes. Finally, I argued that these developments will have profound implications for debates over the regulation of video programming. As parents are given the ability to more effectively manage their family's viewing habits and experiences, it will lessen--if not completely undercut--the need for government intervention on their behalf.
If you are interested, I have embedded the paper down below. Today's survey results from NDS make it clear that the process I discuss in my paper is happening at an even fast pace than I originally predicted.