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Wake me up when Frictionless TV viewing arrives

By December 20, 2011current affairs, web-tech

I have three TVs in my house, and I subscribe to the local cable service (Cox). I pay way too much for TV and I’m itching to cut back on what I pay. Of course it’s too expensive. That’s a given. But the main gripe I have these days is the annoyance factor.

Everything about watching video or TV is infused with friction and annoyance.

Blueray movies? I have a player, and stupidly bought some BlueRay movies. Waiting for the mandatory announcements to finish is torture. If I suffer through them it’s not uncommon for the video to stall because there’s a smudge on the DVD. Then I have to take it out and wipe it down. At that point I’m asking myself: do I have the patience to suffer through the announcements again?

I get rentals from Netflix, but I unchecked the “send BlueRay” option. I get regular old DVDs and then rip them to my iTunes program so I can stream them at my leisure. Once I’m done with them I delete them because I don’t really want to store movies I’ve seen. Is this illegal? Probably. Anything you do to try to circumvent the Weapons of Mass Annoyance that content providers are hoarding is almost certainly illegal. If it’s not now, then it will be soon.

I have a zillion channels provided by my cable company, but I can’t watch hardly any of them. I only watch live sports, and that’s limited to football. When I watch I have to keep the remote in my hands at at all times so that I can immediately mute the sound when a commercial comes on. The sound volume jumps so much that it’s impossible to think when a commercial comes on.

Thinking during a commercial is probably illegal, and muting the commercial is probably a petty offense. If it’s not it will be soon (yeah, I know about the law that Congress is supposedly passing to prohibit volume jumps in commercials, but how long do you think it will take before that becomes a widely adopted practice?).

My daughters both watch TV, but they do it on their computer in their beds. They don’t like to watch live TV, or anything with a commercial. They’ll find stuff on the Internet that’s free. Are they violating federal laws with their computers? I wouldn’t be surprised. But, mostly, they avoid dealing with traditional content because it’s “predictable and boring.”

I hear that Apple is supposedly working on something that will make watching TV more convenient and easy. Unless that involves secretly replacing every network TV executive with a teenager I’m not sure they can really do anything significant.

It’s funny that we live in a world where 3D and BlueRay quality video is possible, but people would rather watch degraded content (or nothing at all) than to suffer through the steady stream of annoyances created by the content providers. They’re sitting in their fancy boardrooms with sycophants who assure them that hoarding their content like Scrooge McDuck makes perfect business sense.

I can’t wait until my daughters’ generation gets a little older and the TV execs start trying to figure out why their revenue fell off a cliff.


P.S. If you appreciate my observations, you might want to join my inner circle.

2 Comments

  • rosalea says:

    Until last month, I never had TV content I had to pay for, but then I heard it was going to be a very wet and windy winter, so I signed up for U-verse, which is delivered over my residential phone line.

    Why did the weather matter? Because I get free-to-air broadcasts and weather conditions severely impact my reception. In fact, even before the switch to DTV, I had difficulty even in good weather getting some of the national networks–networks that get their spectrum for free in exchange for providing coverage to the entire nation. Or am I wrong about that arrangement?

    Also, AT&T conned me with false advertising. I decided on their service because of a tv ad for their wireless set-top box. The final tag of that ad was for a cheap rate, dvr included. On their website, you're told to ask the installation technician about the wireless box. Turns out you can't have both a wireless decoder and a dvr but that's not mentioned anywhere on the website or during the sign-up process.

    I doubt that Congress or any Administration has ever been or will ever be serious about enforcing the laws and regs that already exist or creating new ones with any teeth.

  • jeff says:

    Ironically leaving a comment and then having to wait for a moderator to post it is ALSO annoying.

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