Survey says: DVR could improve your relationships

More than 80 percent of Americans with a DVR can't live without it, according to an NDS survey.

Get a DVR, and maybe you won't need couples counseling anymore. NDS

More than 80 percent of Americans with a DVR can't live without it, according to a recent survey commissioned by NDS, a provider of technology solutions for digital pay TV.

The survey (PDF) was conducted in July 2008 in the U.S., U.K., Italy, and Australia, with more than 1,000 DVR owners participating. Overall, the device ranked as the third most indispensable household item (62 percent), just after the washing machine (97 percent) and the microwave oven (86 percent). In the U.S., however, a higher number of people (81 percent) cited their DVR as their most crucial gadget. It trailed only the cell phone (91 percent).

DVRs (also called PVRs--personal video recorders) let you record TV in digital format to watch at your convenience. You then can fast-forward, rewind, skip commercials, and even pause live TV, something that was impossible before the birth of the DVR. DVRs include TiVo, other proprietary DVRs, or in my case, a computer running Windows Media Center.

The survey also reveals that owning a DVR can lead to a happier, less stressful life. Eighty-one percent of respondents said their DVR has made life better by allowing for more time to do things together with loved ones and fewer arguments over what to watch. In fact, having a DVR around seems to improve relationships, 79 percent of respondents claimed.

The survey also offers other interesting tidbits. Italian DVR owners care more about their hair than their DVRs, for example, and on average, Americans watch TV 4.5 hours a day, one hour more than people in the U.K.

I'm not surprised by how much people love their DVRs, as personally, without my Media Center, I might not watch any TV at all. However, these results do bring up a question about how a TV show's popularity should be rated now that a lot of people don't watch TV the way they did prior to the age of DVR.

Maybe this explains why my colleague Eric Franklin's favorite show Battlestar Galactica's Nielsen ratings have dropped as DVRs get more and more popular.