I don't live in Norfolk, or have cable, but I must chime in.
The issue isn't as simple as "start it early" or have it "go a minute late". With most DVRs (Except the Genie/Hopper types) only can record 2 shows at once. Many people record multiple shows in an evening. If NBC, for example, schedules a popular show from 9:00 to 10:01 AND you are recording a show on ABC and they do the same, you wouldn't be able to record a third show from 10:00 to 11:00. Even if they don't "officially" schedule it that way, with the example that domino is presenting, which is the norm, forces people to record from 8:59 to 10:01, effectively eliminating the DVR user from recording in those other time slots, unless they are recording from the specific channel for the entire evening. I wouldn't go as far as to call it a conspiracy, but it's certainly obviously a trick by the networks. They all do it.
This is eliminated with a bigger DVR like a Genie or Hopper, but not everyone has those. I doubt cable has something similar. It shouldn't be allowed, but it happens nightly. My parents complain about it all the time and ask me how to make it stop. They can't. They have a Dish non-Hopper DVR. I have a Genie, so I don't run into this problem anymore. The only solution I have is to find out if Cox has a DVR with more tuners, or to switch to satellite.