Broadcast TV needs to realize “We have Choices”.

Just a modest bit of snark…

So I’m trying desperately to have a shared time with the spouse. We are watching a bit of TV between washing the car (and my BBQ of dinner) and whatever is later in the evening. We have “Cable” (DISH TV) that is not significantly different from broadcast TV.

After a couple of cycles around the dial, (earlier in the day, it was an infomercial for Ed Sullivan DVDs that was the best thing on. Honest…) we decided that it was a toss up between a poor Robin Williams movie (that we’d never seen about being the father of some kids from a ‘single mom’ ) and some relatively boring ice skating. (Can you think of much LESS interesting that watching folks doing the same formal program of movements a dozen times on ice? The only real change being the costume and who falls down when?) Really, it was a stark dry boring wasteland.

So, I’m now back at the computer composing an article on WAP (West Antarctic Peninsula) and she has decided that a shower is more interesting than anything on TV. Sigh.

Television has become a wasteland of empty when it is more interesting to take a shower or leave it behind entirely and head for the computer (as a guy who must be paid to use a computer 40 hours a week…)

But “Reality Just Is. -E.M.Smith”, so we are ‘going with it’.

Still, I really must question the astounding stupidity that has ‘reality TV’ (that is universally anything BUT reality) and not-quite-news repeats of the same old same old political nattering as nearly the BEST things on; with watching ice melt… oh, pardon, watching ice skating… and infomercials with snippets of Ed Sullivan as absolutely THE best choices out of 50? some channels. Sigh….

OK, I’m going to take a bit of solace in some Tequila (and home grown Meyers Lemons… yum!) and make a posting about why the WAP is WARM….

Maybe I can find some paint to watch dry…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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20 Responses to Broadcast TV needs to realize “We have Choices”.

  1. omanuel says:

    Yes, TV might have been used to benefit the public. It is instead a vast wasteland that I refuse to watch.

  2. Sandy McClintock says:

    Have you tried Netflix yet? I have returned my Foxtel box to Rupert and now rely on Netflix which, in Australia, costs one tenth as much. You start the program when it suits you and resume where you stop. Netflix relies on MS Silverlight or on HTML5.

  3. Larry Ledwick says:

    I have recently just pretty much dropped watching broadcast TV all together. I got rid of cable about a year ago and went to free over the air broad cast TV (have very good local over the air reception) but only find 2 or 3 shows a week that are worth the electrons to watch.

    Lately I have started buying box sets of the older good TV series and some of the major production special productions which I happened to like and when I get home from work late in the evening I just grab a random DVD and watch an episode or two while I eat dinner, after doing a quick trip around the broadcast TV dial to see if they might have accidentally aired a good show.

    In the long run much cheaper than any other alternative and even works if my internet connection is down.

  4. Graeme No.3 says:

    You need the “benefit” of our publicly funded ABC. Not only will you get endless repeats of political point scoring (all slanted against the current Government) but you will get ‘nature’ programs which often feature ice melting.
    Their highest rating shows are repeats of BBC programs involving Stephen Fry. (Oops, I forgot that children’s program – name escapes me). For some reason their share of viewers is dropping sharply. And that’s against channels featuring ‘Reality’ or cooking shows or repeats of old ‘soaps’.

  5. Eric Barnes says:

    Not sure about you EM, but I get MeTV http://metvnetwork.com/ and Movies! http://moviestvnetwork.com/ . Older sitcoms/dramas and movies, but they are generally better than currrent programming. Combine that with MythTV http://www.mythtv.org/ and Schedules Direct http://www.schedulesdirect.org/ and you have a very cheap alternative to cable. MythTV front ends will run on most computers or laptops. I’m very happy with my setup and am urging my wife to drop cable.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Thanks for all the suggestions! The rent we pay here includes the “cable” (that is a group feed from a Dish commercial downlink) “for free” so no money saved if I don’t want it… The internet is WiFi and generally good, except at about dinnertime when it looks like it starts to saturate with folks all watching video
    ;-)
    I’m leaning toward watching internet stuff too, now that I’ve got the Chromebox that seems to work better than the old HP or the RaspberryPi boards. (It seems somewhat optimized for media as a first guess).

    Interesting that DVDs were mentioned. We don’t have a player here, but the spouse was suggesting just buying a bunch of them as an alternative ( IF we got a player…)

    I’ve found myself watching YouTube sometimes when the spouse is watching something she wants on TV. Works reasonably well, and lets me avoid endless repeats of “Murder She Wrote” ;-)

    What’s very clear is that I’m being trained to not bother checking more than 2 or 3 channels ( and them mostly news / weather ) and then move on. Soon I’ll not even be turning it on… The Chromebox is live in 18 seconds, does media nicely, and with the 19 inch screen at arms length has more degrees of visual arc at the same resolution as the large HD TV on the other side of the room. Frankly, I’m tempted to plug that TV into it and call it done…

  7. Power Grab says:

    My main reason for keeping cable and a conventional TV that I bought for $12.50 at a second-hand store is the live weather coverage — when it’s in season. Second reason is the “local” morning news show that helps me stay awake in the mornings when I’m getting ready to go to work.

    I can’t justify buying a new big screen TV, partly because I would have to get something to replace my entertainment center. I don’t really want to replace it because it holds so many movies (VHS and DVD). Where would I put them? I don’t plan to watch everything online. It’s just creepy to think that the PTB can track everything you watch if you do it that way. I also choke at the idea of having to pay for everything every time I watch it. If I like a movie well enough to watch it more than once, I don’t want to have to pay every time I watch it.

    I also prefer to buy CDs and LPs instead of streaming everything. Again, if I like something well enough to want to listen to it repeatedly (often for rehearsal purposes, because I play for musical productions), I’d rather pay for it one time and listen to it whenever I jolly well please.

    On the other hand, I totally agree with you that all those channels that are available are practically a worthless wasteland. It’s amazing that TV technology has come so far, only to have almost nothing but drivel to offer insofar as entertainment is concerned. Reality shows are incredibly boring. I hate soap operas, and reality shows are just another type of soap opera as far as I’m concerned. I don’t surf channels even once a day, but whenever I do, I can’t get past the garbage fast enough.

    Oh, and recently a network got into a squabble with our local cable company and dropped many channels, including one of the few that I would actually let play while I cook dinner and putter around the house. But that channel had killed some shows that I actually kept up with and had to purchase DVD sets to watch, so I tell myself it was no great loss to lose that channel. What a shame. They’re really just shooting themselves in the foot. I’ll just watch less TV in total, not shift my habits to watching online.

    It seems like such a pity to me. Back in the day, having only 3 or 4 channels of broadcast TV to watch, it was actually a unifying force for the population. Nowadays, entertainment is so fragmented that it’s no wonder our population is so at odds with each other. I guess the “watchers” tell themselves they’re using our watching habits to better market stuff to us, but at what cost to the unity of the population?

  8. Zeke says:

    Upcoming earth-asteroid encounter – .4 Lunar Distance

    This is going to be close. There will likely be a very large explosion or electrical response from the earth when this goes by. Both the previous low solar activity, and the sudden X-flares from the sun, will make this an electrical transaction between the earth and the charged asteroid.

    Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
    2014 UF56
    Oct 27

    0.4 LD

    15 m

    Examples of electrical explosions and arcing between bodies in space:

    Footage from the Siding Spring encounter with Mars showed an exceedingly bright flash.

    Flash from projectile hitting Temple 1

    The near earth asteroid of February 14, 2013 was also very energetic.

    Shoemaker Levy broke apart and struck Jupiter with many flashes of extraordinary intensity.

    I do not have Java to look at where UF56 will pass. See asteroid table here: http://spaceweather.com/
    http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=2014%20UF56&orb=1

    This will leave a mark.

  9. M Simon says:

    We do have a TV. And I do like to watch it. With the video and sound off. That does get boring. So I play my favorite video game. Designing Schematics and PCBs.

  10. Speed says:

    Read any good books lately? Our local library supplies e-books using Amazon/Kindle and other formats. I’m currently reading Chaos by James Gleick. The same library supplies magazines via zinio including Aviation Week (which is too expensive to subscribe to unless your employer pays) and all the usual automobile and motorcycle mags. One plus is that you and your wife can spend time together reading different books.

    Netflix, of course. $9 per month is cheaper than dinner for two at McD’s and better for you. And you watch on your schedule, not “theirs.”

    I’m not sure why anyone watches TV news — local or national. Most of what is reported as news turns out, after a few days, to be nothing. Just infomercials disguised as stories and “reality” TV with even more commercials.

    What did people do before TV and microwave ovens? Read. Hobbies. Die young.

  11. Speed says:

    Separately but related … I get my audio via the internet as well. Many stations (especially “public” radio) have free feeds to not just on-air but all news and all music (classical, folk etc.) as well. It’s a little like the old days of short wave radio but without the static.

  12. philjourdan says:

    I was fortunate enough to tape the Centennial Series and have been watching it as I have time. It is one of the best ever made, but at 12 episodes covering about 25 hours, not many watch it a second time. This way I can.

    I agree, the rest is schlock. And I think I saw that RW movie. If so, it is definitely not one of his better ones, and not worth watching a second (or even a first) time.

  13. Gary says:

    Even ineptly searching for bigfoot by intermittently screeching while bumbling around in the dark or hillbilly gingseng hunting is more entertaining than figure skating.

  14. cdquarles says:

    TV has been a ‘wasteland’ as long as I’ve been living. The occasional ‘nature’ show or live sports, excepted.

  15. punmaster52 says:

    Y’all don’t watch the Khardasian channel? I simply can’t imagine anything more interesting.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Punmaster52:

    I missed the /sarc; tag… nice one, though ;-)

    I also don’t watch the “Pawn Shop guy running a pawn shop” nor the “all WWII all the time” channel. ALL the “reality shows” are tossers IMHO. Why do I want to watch ether some guy at work, or some artificial un-reality ‘social voting game’?

    Story telling looks like a dying art on TV. Just saw “The Big Sleep” with Bogart and Bacall and loved the way the story unfolded… Some of the TV directors and writers need to be forced to watch just old B&W movies for a few weeks….

  17. philjourdan says:

    The “WWII all the time” channel (now the military channel I think) was awesome in its beginnings. It actually ran the footage from the war with narratives. But like all start up channels, it branched out and lost me. I long ago stopped watching it except for an occasional show they have (the tank battles was one such).

  18. punmaster52 says:

    @E.M.Smith
    I have always assumed everyone who comes here understood exaggeration for humorous effect. Sarc tag seemed like a slap in the face to me. :-)

  19. E.M.Smith says:

    @PhilJourdan:

    They recently changed the name from Military Channel to American Heroes Channel or some such. Well, if you limit yourself to the history of military where the Americans won, it gets limiting… So now, every night it seems, when flipping channels I get a shot of a Nazi in a tank or some such. Sigh. How about some Greek on Persian action, or a review of Samurai life styles or…

    @Punmaster52:

    And you didn’t notice MY lack of a /sarc; tag as humor? Oh Dear! ;-)

    /irony; /sarc; /humor;

  20. Paul Hanlon says:

    Gah, I go away for a little while and look what happens. Oh well, I won’t have to worry about what’s not on TV now. I’m looking forward to going through all the new postings (I’m also going to start from the beginning and read all prior posts here).

    TV over here is pretty much the same. I’m currently setting up a Freeview satellite dish, which will give me Al Jazeera, RT, and CNC (Chinese news in English), and Saorview. Yep, we’re back to the aerial on our chimney for that, but it will give me all the Irish channels.

    This, along with getting broadband in on ADSL, means I can save nearly €1000 (~$1250) per year to the cable company. I don’t know which I’m looking forward to most, kicking them into touch, or all those extra channels (~140, mostly crap).

    The only regular thing I watch is repeats of Big Bang (latest is series 7 now showing), and Friday nights on BBC4. They have a really great music night then. I’ve seen old stuff about Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream (Krautrock / precursor to modern day trance music), David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Mike Oldfield. Last night they did Kenny Rogers and Glen Campbell. I wouldn’t call myself a country fan, but man, I knew every song. Also, I like Deadliest Catch and Gold Divers. And that’s about it.

    So I spend my time on “useful” stuff, like messing about with Raspberry Pi’s, and home automation. I have my little BananaPi webserver at paulhan.noip.me (just an Under Construction page there atm). That will eventually be my way of taking back my internet (Dropbox / Spotify clone, mail/web/ftp server, calendar/task manager, might even see about setting up a blog on it).

    Found a 4″ touchscreen and a GPRS/GSM module, which I’m hoping to connect ot a Pi as a vehicle tracker and TomTom using Google Maps. After the “road trip” I did with my daughter through England, France, Belgium, Holland (with a brief in and out to Germany and Luxembourg, just to say I was there :-)), I realised this is something I could desperately do with.

    So I suppose we have reason to be thankful that TV is so God-awful.

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