The Wall Street Journal has an article about Netflix queues. It discusses the rental habits of people, especially how they watch high brow vs low brow movies.
It’s a paradox of abundance,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of culture and communication at New York University. If people aren’t pressured to see a movie in a specific time frame, he said, viewers tend to put it lower on their priority list. “When you have every choice in front of you, you have less urgency about any particular choice,” he added.
I experience the same thing with my MythTV box. With channels like Turner Classic Movies, there are a ton of 3.5+ star movies that are on all the time that I would like to see, so I tape them. Actually sitting down to watch them is a different story though. I have a ton of movies that are waiting for me to watch, like Gone With The Wind, or Yojimbo, that I just don’t get around to. On the other hand, if I have spare time I will end up watching 5 episodes of Food Jammers or Iron Chef, which take just as long if not longer than a movie.