I do. I hate television. I don't mean the shows here -- Buffy and Angel and Futurama and The West Wing and reruns of Sports Night enrich my life and enliven my days. What I hate is television as an entertainment delivery system.
For one thing, there's this thing where they schedule shows opposite each other. See, you can only watch one TV show at a time (unless you live somehere with decent reception and own a VCR, in which case you can tape one show while watching another on broadcast, but my broadcast reception sucks, so I'm stuck with what comes down my cable), and the networks like to deliberately schedule shows with similar audiences opposite each other.
And if you miss an episode (not home, misset your VCR, the power went out, whatever) you're screwed. You can't just download it from a server or something, you have to wait till they feel like broadcasting it again, and who knows when that'll be.
Imagine going to a bookstore and being told that there was only one title from each publisher being offered for sale each hour, and you could only buy one book per hour, so that if there were books from two different publishers being offered at the same time you had to choose between them, and you can't just go back in an hour and buy the other one afterwards, you don't buy it then you're out of luck, maybe we'll offer it again in a few months, can't tell you when more than a week in advance.
And cable companies, oh fuck! I mentioned up top that I'm fond of Sports Night, the sitcom Aaron Sorkin wrote before The West Wing. Comedy Central runs it at 1:30 AM Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights. Well, last Thursday my reception suddenly cut out at 1:35 AM; it seemed to be affecting all non-broadcast channels. I called Cablevision tech support three or four times, and each time I went through their voice mail only to be told that they were automatically resetting my box, and to call again if things weren't OK after five minutes. At no time was I given an opportunity to talk to a human being, or any indication of whether the resetting was the cause of my problems or a response to my call. My reception didn't clear up till 1:55 -- the outage was ideally timed to keep me from watching the one thing I really like to watch on Comedy Central. Today it happened again: At 1:35 the sound cut out (but not the picture), and it only affected Comedy Central. I phoned, and got the same thing I got last time. After a few minutes the picture cut out as well, and didn't recover till shortly after 2 AM.
Now, this may be Cablevision's fault, or it may be Comedy Central's fault, or some combination, but how the hell am I supposed to find out? Comedy Central doesn't have any kind of help line, and Cablevision's is useless. And they're my only choice for cable TV -- cable providers are generally neighborhood-level monopolies. Even if I could afford one of those digital satellite dishes, I don't think I could install one -- I'm in a second-floor apartment with no southern exposure.
I was so waiting for broadband Internet to blow broadcast TV out of the water as a delivery mechanism. Not fucking likely now, with DSL providers going bankrupt left and right; maybe in two or three decades.
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