I had a conversation with some colleagues recently about an interesting phenomenon: Have you ever noticed that you find yourself watching movies or shows on TV despite the fact you own the DVD?
I propose there are a few reasons for this. The initial thought is laziness, right? I mean, it's on TV now
and to watch the DVD, I'd have to go get it, and put in the player. But that's rarely the reason: You wouldn't really put up with commercials, lousy video and audio quality (compared to DVD's, at least), etc., just out of laziness. Or maybe you would, but I wouldn't.
There's an intangible quality to watching it over "live" TV. When I was in High School, I was talking with a friend about why he liked listening to the radio as opposed to putting a bunch of CD's on shuffle. His response, "I like the radio because you get the feeling that someone else is out there."
This, my friends, is why. It's the same reason why recording a sporting event, and watching it later, is just not the same even though we don't know the outcome (hopefully, at least) and the content is new to us. Sporting events in particular require that "live" factor. If this weren't true, I'd suspect sporting venues would be empty most of the time.
I'm not sure if the "someone else out there" means other audience members; that is, others that are watching the same thing, or, meaning an entertainer who provides the entertainment. The DJ at a radio station is entertaining us; it's passive for us to be entertained. It doesn't matter that we can provide ourselves the same content. We've all laughed at a comedian's joke despite knowing the joke and seeing what's coming.
For sporting events, though, this "live" factor I suspect is the first definition: the idea that others are rooting and cheering along with us or against us. Thus, "someone else out there" is being entertained, too. When watching a taped sporting event, the audience just seems fake or emotionless, doesn't it? You don't get the same energy.
When we choose to watch a DVD, we are choosing to entertain ourselves; no one else is out there. Somehow, even if the content is the same, it's not as satisfying. Is it psychological that we cannot entertain ourselves as much as others can entertain us? Maybe it's a similar phenomenon as to why we can't tickle ourselves. It's just not the same thing.
Comments/feedback? Leave it here. I tried googling for some actual, bona fide studies on the topic, but found nothing. Let me know if you have better luck!