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Peggy Shinn Blog - Remote wars

July 03, 2008, 5:42 p.m. (ET)

 I’m gearing up for an epic battle this week. Not between Ian Crocker and Michael Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly. Or Allyson Felix against anyone who can catch her in the 200-meter sprint on the track. Or even Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.

No, this battle is between Phelps and Manny Ramirez, Felix against Serena or Venus Williams, Federer at bat against Dustin Pedroia.

With two Olympic Trials on TV this week — swimming and track & field — plus Wimbledon, it’s a squirmish over the remote control. Add the Red Sox into the mix — they are playing both American League East division leader Tampa Bay and the dreaded New York Yankees this week — and it could get ugly.

With remote in hand, I am charging into territory that my husband, Andy, thinks is his.

Last year, while I was away on business, he replaced our perfectly good 27-inch Sony TV with a flat screen version that’s larger than our daughter’s bed. He ordered the high-def package from Comcast and announced that we “needed” this TV so we can see the ball during tennis, baseball, and football games. (And we often see more than that too — do we really need to see sweat dripping off Nadal’s hair? Or the wads of bubble gum in the Red Sox dugout?)

We have two other TVs, but they don’t have the high-def channels. Nor do they have the DVR (digital video recorder — Comcast’s version of TiVo). They are only useful for watching live TV — news, the weather, and the like — and with busy lives, we usually record what we want to watch.

Since I don’t often watch TV, the shrine of high-def digital viewing has become Andy’s. On the DVR this week? ESPN’s daily coverage of Wimbledon — all five hours per day — that he began recording last week when the All England Lawn Tennis Championships began. He has spent his evenings watching Federer’s and Nadal’s relentless marches to the Wimbledon finals.

But this week, I have become an unwelcome intruder. Last night, I got to the TV first, and I turned on swimming trials. But I made the crucial mistake of leaving the remote lying unguarded on the coffee table. A few minutes later, he swooped into the room, grabbed the remote, and changed the channel.

“Hey, I’m watching swimming trials,” I protested.

“But it’s Wimbledon,” he argued back, “and it’s an ad.”

He finally did change it back to swimming trials, but he never relinquished the remote.

Thank goodness no major sporting event will coincide with the Olympics in August. With NBC advertising 1,200 hours of network coverage from August 6-24, it will be hard enough to decide what to watch. That’s over 63 hours of Olympic coverage each day. Add to that the online offerings — NBCOlympics.com will offer “3,500 hours of exclusive video, including 2,200 hours of live streams, plus full-event replays and extensive highlights, all free and on demand throughout the Games.”

We won’t even need the remote.


Peggy Shinn is a freelance contributor for teamusa.org. This blog was not subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee or any National Governing Bodies.