It’s amazing how much my family has grown to rely on both our DVR and On Demand. There are certain time slots during the week where we fight over who gets to DVR what. It made hubby and I laugh last night as we reminisced about how television was when we were kids.

Now, we’re not talking Ed Sullivan/Howdy Doody television – we’re not quite that old. Our TV times spanned from the mid 60’s to the early 80’s, and boy have things changed since then. Even the advances in TV viewing made during the last 10 years amaze me. Let me tell you, our kids are spoiled rotten.

The TV of my childhood was comprised of 7 1/2 stations. Of course you had the big three – ABC, CBS & NBC. Then we had WNEW on channel 5, WOR on channel 9 and WPIX on channel 11. These three played all the good old time movies, reruns of shows like “The Odd Couple” “The Honeymooners,” and “The Brady Bunch.” Then there was PBS – channel 13 – home of Masterpiece Theater, Monty Python, and of course, ZOOM.

And the half? That was the fuzzy, grainy UHF dial. This was used when there was absolutely nothing else worth watching on the other seven channels. It was mostly local programing – homemade shows of no interest whatsoever. However, every now and then I could find an episode of “Speed Racer” running, which was always a thrill, and the UHF dial was also the home of Uncle Floyd.

If you’re not from Jersey, you probably have no clue who he is, but I’d tune into a grainy channel 68 on the UHF dial to watch “The Uncle Floyd Show” most weekday nights.

And these 7 stations were all we had until around 1980 – that’s when cable television came to my hometown. My mom insisted we get it the second our block was outfitted, and it was a miracle that my dad consented. Hell, we didn’t get a color TV until a few years before. But we were among the first families on Oakdene Avenue to jump from 7 1/2 channels to 37. Our viewing choices more than quadrupled!

Our first cable box

Enter the world of TBS from Atlanta, WGN from Chicago, and eventually MTV. Lifetime soon became a favorite of mine with shows like “It Figures,” a true 80’s style workout show starring annoyingly thin Charlene Prickett – ugh I was so envious of her! Cable was also home to crappy yet thoroughly entertaining game shows like “Supermarket Sweep.”

This new and fabulous era of television viewing got even more exciting with the introduction of the VCR. I can recall being in a school play back in 1980, and one of the nightly rehearsals fell on a Wednesday, which was” Little House on the Prairie” night. Usually, I would’ve missed it with some disappointment, but this was the episode where Laura and Almanzo were going to kiss for the first time! My mom and I fought over my wanting to skip rehearsal to watch this episode. In the end I won out.

But once we bought our first VCR, problems like that were solved. You just popped in a tape, set the timer and you could watch any must see tv at your convenience the following day. Once we got HBO, I became a tape-a-holic. I would record any halfway decent movie that came on, determined to build a collection large enough to stave off boredom for the rest of my life.

And that was it for the longest time. Our cable channels did increase from 37 to 70 or so, but other than that, TV remained the same. Then our cable package offered even more channels, and we had close to 200 channels, too many of which were sports, religion or shopping. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

When DVD’s began to emerge, it was too expensive for us to consider, and we went without one for the longest time. My husband finally won us our first DVD player on a radio trivia contest about 8 years ago. Our first DVD purchase was “Spinal Tap” and “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.”

Just last year when our entire area switched to digital television, we needed to get a new box for our main set, and viola! We now had DVR capabilities and on demand – and life just got a whole lot easier. Now, I can fall asleep during “Project Runway” because I know I can watch what I missed the following day. I don’t need to stay up for “Real Housewives on New Jersey” – my DVR is staying up for me.

It’s a wonderful, convenient new way of watching television. And I don’t know how I ever managed without it. My kids are addicted to it as well. My oldest daughter has discovered “Friends” in re-runs – 65% of our DVR cache is comprised of old episodes that she hasn’t watched yet. And Hubby? His new favorite is “Everybody Hates Chris.” We watch a few episodes of that a day.

As for me, I’m just happy to come home from work and know that I can take 40 minutes to watch the episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” I missed, or to catch up on the Gatsby Gang of “Jerseylicious.” It’s funny – I find I get annoyed if a movie I feel like watching or a missed episode is not available to me. How quickly I have forgotten the days where I had to fight for the right to watch Laura and Almanzo share their first kiss.

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