In broadcasting, time shifting is the recording of programming to a storage medium to be viewed or listened to after the live broadcasting. Typically, this refers to TV programming but can also refer to radio shows via podcasts.
In recent years, the advent of the digital video recorder (DVR) has made time shifting easier, by using an electronic program guide (EPG) and recording shows onto a hard disk. Some DVRs have other possible time shifting methods, such as being able to start watching the recorded show from the beginning even if the recording is not yet complete. In the past, time shifting was done with a video cassette recorder (VCR) and its timer function, in which the VCR tunes into the appropriate station and records the show onto video tape.
Certain broadcasters transmit timeshifted versions of their channels, usually one hour in the past, to enable those without recording abilities to resolve conflicts and those with recording abilities more flexibility in scheduling conflicting recordings. (See timeshift channel.)
In the United Kingdom and Ireland
History in the United States
The idea of a consumer pausing a live television broadcast was depicted in popular media as early as November 1966 at the end of Season 2, Episode 12 of I Dream of Jeannie, when character Major Nelson asked his genie to pause a live broadcast of a football game so that they could continue to watch it after making a trip to the supermarket. With the advent of digital video recorders ReplayTV and TiVo, launched at the 1999 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, it became possible in practice for consumers to purchase devices that supported pausing live television broadcasts and Chase Play (playing back a delayed version of a recorded live stream while simultaneously continuing to record the live stream).
The major legal issue involved in time shifting concerns "fair use" law and the possibility of copyright infringement. This legal issue is first raised in the landmark court case of Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. or the "Betamax case". In 1979, Universal sued Sony, claiming its timed recording capability amounted to copyright infringement. The Supreme Court of the United States found in favor of Sony; the majority decision held that time shifting was a fair use, represented no substantial harm to the copyright holder and would not contribute to a diminished marketplace for its product.
By 1985 cable movie channels encouraged time shifting by broadcasting films subscribers wanted for their home libraries overnight, so their VCRs could record them while they slept. Some providers, such as satellite TV companies, have introduced digital video recorder (DVR) features allowing consumers to skip over advertising entirely when watching a program which has been recorded to their DVR. The legality of this service, for which an extra fee can be assessed, has been challenged by television broadcasters, who assert that this form of time shifting is a violation of their copyright.
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- Timeshift channel
- Space shifting (also known as place shifting)
- Format shifting
- Personal video recorder
- "What is a PVR?". wiseGEEK – clear answers for common questions. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
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- "Supreme Court ruling on the Betamax Case". Caselaw.lp.findlaw.com. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- Holsopple, Barbara (1985-06-05). "Pay-TV looks elsewhere as theatrical movies lose their appeal". The Pittsburgh Press. pp. C12. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- De Atley, Richard (1985-09-07). "VCRs put entertainment industry into fast-forward frenzy". The Free Lance-Star. Associated Press. pp. 12-TV. Retrieved 25 January 2015.