VCRs allowed TV audiences to time-shift their viewing for years, but programming them could be cumbersome, and you had to have a physical tape. But DVRs made recording shows easy for even technophobes; so easy that some of us might have forgotten where and when they were shown (making the concept of “airing” increasingly archaic). We also lost the discipline of paying attention to a show while it’s on, because we could now pop back eight seconds if we missed a piece of dialogue or pause it to go to the kitchen. You know how irritating it is to watch TV in a hotel room? We used to live like that all the time.
Tara Ariano, “Lost in Bonkers”, The New York Times Magazine (27 July 2014), 44.