This post is about a consumer electronics technology problem that hasn't been solved for twenty years. I recently experienced it, and remembered vividly how I had also suffered from the same problem exactly 20 years ago just about now. I will get to this amusing problem in a second, but I have to digress for a little while, because 20 years ago, just about now, was a very memorable moment in sports history that needs to be mentioned.
Mexico 1986. The first World Cup I was old enough to thoroughly enjoy and remember. It was the world cup where I saw the greatest goal ever scored, on June 22nd, by Diego Maradona against England. It's not the "hand of God" goal, but the other one. I still remember it like yesterday. I was sitting on a couch when Maradona took the ball at midfield and was about 2 centimeters from the screen by the time he passed everybody and scored over Shilton. You can watch that goal again and again here. Argentina beat England in the quarterfinals, Belgium in the semis (with another amazing goal from Maradona) and played Germany in the Final. Brown and Valdano gave Argentina a 2-0 lead, but Rummenigge and Voeller tied the score and Buruchagga "the son of the wind" scored the winner for Argentina. What a game that was.
Now fast forward 20 years and tomorrow Argentina is playing Germany again. 20 years ago I was living in Europe watching the game in North America, and now I live in North America and will watch the game in Europe. Well, not exactly watch, I'll have to record the game using a DVR, which brings us back to the technology problem I wanted to mention in the first place.
Couple of days ago Ukraine beat Switzerland 3-0 in penalty kicks. Wasn't a noteworthy game until I got an email from my Brazilian friend Eduardo saying that "we could kick better penalty kicks than the Swiss team" The game became interesting after that comment and I went to a friends house to watch the penalty kicks. He had programmed his DVR to record it, but alas! we had a problem.
When a soccer game goes overtime the DVR doesn't know to continue recording and after regulation play it promplty cuts the recording short and misses the overtime. Therefore we couldn't see the penalty kicks. What a bummer. Funny thing is, this was the exact same problem I had 20 years ago with a Betamax video recorder. You program it for the length of the game and are out of luck if it goes over time, since it has no way to know. After generations and generations of technology and innovation, this exact problem persisted, just as unsolved and equally disappointing.
I don't know if it is VOD that will fix it, or network PVR, or personalized TV, or IPTV, or BitTorrent, or Youtube, but I just wish for my son's sake that in the next twenty years, this problem can be fixed once and for all.