It's Fun Being Queen

The pause factor and other wonders of the digital world

At the end of each workday, I stop by my apartment before going to the gym or out with friends to catch a few minutes of the nightly news. Well, actually, the nightly news from the night before or, to be precise, the news according to Jon Stewart.

With a few perfectly choreographed touches of the remote, I prime my digital video recorder (DVR) to seamlessly record "The Daily Show," which airs at 11 p.m. EST on Comedy Central. I watch it the next day during the traditional news hour -- quickly. Before the Big Three have signed off their newscasts, I've already fast-forwarded through the commercials, filled my daily snark and "moment of Zen" quotients, and booked out the door. (Ed. Note: Jennifer lives just two blocks from the MediaPost office and does not have time-shifting powers.)

My media and tech habits have changed in other ways since I became a DVR queen a few years ago. If my home phone rings (a rarity these days) and I'm watching "How I Met Your Mother," I let it go to voicemail on my VoIP line and wait to hear the familiar chime of a new e-mail. Then I do a quick e-mail check to see if the number identified via my VoIP caller ID is a telemarketer or not. Though landlines are becoming obsolete, having one is vital to me as a female living alone in New York City. Vital and cheap: I pay $25 a month for unlimited long distance calling, which helps keep my cell phone bill down.

If I actually decide to return a call, I can gently pause my DVR, the best part of being the queen. Never again will a call from a long-lost friend stop me from finding out who caused the bus crash on "Veronica Mars." I can always pause Ms. Mars for a few minutes or finish watching later in the evening.

Believe it or not, I welcome the summer TV drought; daylight still trumps TV viewing, even in my high-speed digital world. But just in case I need a quick TV fix this summer, I can pop in the first season of "Weeds," which a tech-savvy friend recorded from her DVR onto a DVD for me a few months ago. I think she was disappointed when I told her I was saving it for the summer, but even the queen must ration her entertainment fixes.

My days of DVR rulership may be usurped shortly, as my boyfriend and I are moving in together in July. I expect he'll want to record all manner of sports shows, which may conflict with the space required for my CW, Food Network, and Animal Planet shows. Hmm -- we may need to consider his and hers DVRs.

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