Internet Television Test, Week 1: I miss TV
I gave away the TV/VHS/DVD combo player and in an impulsive move gave away the TiVo, too. I didn’t want to have to carry anything up the six flights of stairs that was just going to go away again. Normally, this would have caused panic – but I was too tired to care.
For the first time since my mom bought me a set for my bedroom when I was five, I don’t own a television. My wife pointed out we are CRT-free for the first time ever, as well.
It was a liberating feeling to not own a television until the end of the first day of moving when I realized I couldn’t just turn on something mindless and vegetate on the sofa. The computer was still in boxes and what would become the entertainment center was still in pieces. I would have to “lay like broccoli” with nothing to distract me from my aching bones for the first three nights.
Friday, July 4, I finally get the computer set up and want to watch something. Randomly, I choose CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother”. I zip over to the CBS-run “InnerTube” site, follow a maze of menus, only to find the video for the episode I want to see is no longer available.
I’m way too tired to be working this hard for 22 minutes of entertainment.
I decide to switch networks and head over to ABC Family’s website. Up front and center is an ad for The Secret Life of the American Teenager starring Molly Ringwald. Being of the John Hughes Generation, I decided to give it a go. (OK, while it was a good enough show – definitely tame enough for ABC Family – Molly Ringwald should NOT get top billing. She was barely IN the show.)
The show played with minimal buffering and stuttering, but was pretty blocky when blown up to full screen. It was OK for “instant gratification” TV and was watchable from 10 feet away, but it won’t replace bittorrent for my favorite shows.
Where each “commercial break” would be on TV it played a 30 second ad for Carnival Cruises and then made me click the screen to continue. Weird.
After that, I decided to watch the Pilot episode of Burn Notice. USA Network’s website is much easier to navigate than ABC Family and I am watching the episode with minimal effort. Burn Notice looks much better scaled to 1080 than American Teenager, but would get “stuttery” from time to time.
The USA Network show had twice as many commercial breaks as the ABC Family show, which was only exasperated by the fact that it was the SAME commercial every time. After the show, I hated Outback Steak House. They even put their logo in the black space under the show – and left it there the whole hour. It looked like I had an Outback Steakhouse branded TV, or was watching The Outback Steakhouse Channel. Luckily, it wasn’t on episode 2.
I hoped to watch a little of Monk from where I left off (somewhere in Season 3), but USA Network only has a few episodes online and they’re all from the most recent season.
Week 1 was a short one. With only two actual days of watching TV online and not much exploring, I really wish I still had my safety net for while I’m unpacking. Oh well…