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What does real time mean as it relates to TV and movies?

Sometimes while I'm talking to someone, and I mention the term *real time*, in reference to TV and movies, I get a puzzled look. And that's because people who are older than me usually consider that to just be what TV and movies are supposed to be, and people my age and younger have grown up with a mix of real time, and not real time.

Real time just means that in order to watch a television program, you have to be in front of your TV at the exact time that it is being broadcast. You could compare real time to going to a movie theater and watching the 10 pm showing. The opposite of real time would be watching a recorded version (whether VHS, DVD, Apple TV, or anything else) at whatever time you want.

I was an early adaptor to time-shifting. I liked the idea of watching *The Tonight Show* while I ate breakfast. I rented movies all of the time. I recorded TV shows, but just to watch them once. I didn't have to wait for a particular channel to show a particular TV show or movie at a particular time. For me, watching TV shows and movies was like reading a book, I did it when I wanted to, and if I needed to put a bookmark (pause it) in it until I was able to get back to it, I did.

Some things, of course, are critical to watch in real time. If you're a sports fan, you want to watch The Big Game while it's actually being played. Since I'm not a sports fan, it never mattered to me.

I have a nice widescreen TV in the living room, a smaller one in my workout room, a computer screen large enough to watch on in my home office, and an iPad. From any of these devices I can access anything from Netflix to the movies that I own on iTunes. I also have a Blu-Ray player, and old DVDs, if I care to use them. But I don't have cable TV, nor have I felt the need for real time TV for many years. I don't go out to movies. The idea of my having to look at my watch in order to watch a movie just seems ridiculous to me. I will hurry to get to the airport at a certain time, not to watch a movie.

I wish that I had some excuse, like a hectic schedule, that made me get used to watching stuff not in *real time*, but I don't, I just like it. So, if I forget and call you during the Big Game, or when you're watching a real time movie, I'm sorry, it's just not part of my reality, just tell me you're busy. And if you call me, I'll just hit the pause button, and we can talk.