TagTV

Beautiful Dumb and Fast

Maybe it’s getting older or my life’s work in repairing and fixing broken things but it drove me to this simplicity. I want something simple. I want it to work and work well.

Reading The Daily Zen #2 “Beautiful, Dumb, & Fast”, a line from the post stuck with me. It puts my own feelings about the new race of smart televisions.

what I personally want out of my TV is very simple and can be boiled down to a phrase – beautiful, dumb, and fast.

iPod TV
iPod video from Alexandre van de sande

When I see a 3D TV I see a gimmick that gives me a headache. It fixes a problem I don’t have. And 3D implementations I’ve seen have given me terrible headaches after a few minutes.

When I see a smart TV I see a device that will never see software updates or fixes. I better love every feature and issue because it’s never going to change.

That’s the problem with buying into something. I’ve not only bought that TV. But I’ve bought into its ecosystem of applications. I’ve bought into its design. I’ve bought into everything that TV wants to be and nothing it doesn’t.

I’d rather buy into something more flexible. My entire home media setup is based around Plex, a Roku box for the bedroom and an Xbox 360 in the living room.

Plex powers both the Roku and Xbox. I can stream video to either device. Plex sits on an iMac, the last desktop left in the house. It’s always on so it manages the Plex media library hosted on a small NAS hooked to it. It also manages my wireless iTunes syncing for my iDevices.

The Roku and Xbox have also been actively developed for and even before Plex was officially supports on Roku, there was a way to add it as a custom channel. While the Xbox is a closed box, it’s a wildly popular and fairly well supported one.

There are moving pieces to this setup for sure. But it also allows for cheap replacements, upgrades and flexibility. Can take my Roku box with my on vacation and still access Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and HBO Go. I can’t do that with a smart TV.

And if my Roku box dies, it’s a $50 fix. If my smart TV dies… I’m out a television and all of its smarts.

Give me something dumb any day.

Unique Screaming Proposition

I hate television. I hate how loud commercials get. The explosions in Burn Notice are nowhere near as loud as the screamer yelling at me about the new Mazda Blahblahblah.

BUY THIS BEER! IT WILL MAKE YOU FAMOUS AND DESIRABLE TO WOMEN!
THIS CAR IS THE BEST CAR EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!
ONE DAY CURRENT HOLIDAY SALE! GET THE BEST PRICES EVER!!!! ((Until our next holiday sale!))

Do advertisers feel a louder ad makes people more likely to buy the product advertised? It does nothing for me except hurt my head and constantly lower the volume to a tolerable volume.

The dilemma remains. Do I turn the commercial volume down then turn it back up when my TV show returns? Do I sit through the screaming advertisers at higher volume then return to enjoying my show?

I wish I had a third option. I wish commercials were the same volume as the shows around them. This is an issue with live TV because Netflix has no ads in their shows and Hulu has ads but the volume doesn’t go up drastically. Even the Tivo’d programs can be fast forwarded. On the rare occasion TiVo fails or misses the last few minutes I can go looking for the episode online, there are no commercials at all there.

Am I the only one that is so turned off by the screaming ads that watching live TV my last option for entertainment?

Misery Porn

With all these “reality TV” shows on TV that supposed show the real life of all these various people do any of them benefit from it?

At the moment, “True Life” I support my family is showcasing the lives of these various kids who are dead broke and caring for their siblings and trying to make ends meat. Do any of them benefit from thee show or does MTV take all the money for themselves?

Do any of the advertising dollars get sent to the family to help them dig their way out of debt and improve the quality of their lives? Or does it all go to feed the bottom line of a television network?

If not, then how can’t these networks show the lives of these people who are struggling day in and day out just to have enough money to have a place to live, clothes to wear and food to eat? Is there any conscience left in television today? Is it all about exploiting people for the most money? In this commercial break alone, there have been ads for the following:

* Just Dance 2
* Starburst
* Dove
* New Big Momma’s House Movie
* Kotex tampons
* Clearasil
* Samsung Galaxy Tab
* Taco Bell
* Playboy perfume

That was just one commercial break. That is a lot of commercials during just one break! I don’t understand how these shows are as popular as they are. What does someone get by watching another human being suffer and face adversity at every turn?

I don’t understand the appeal of these shows or the entire genre behind them. I know they are cheap to make and you can generate a thousands variations without any planning or thought going into it. Just find some people who are bad off and pair them with other people who are bad off in a similar way then lump them all together and you have a show to sell to the advertisers!

Perhaps I am just old and jaded and remember a time when television was story-based and actually had a plot to what you were watching. Instead of broadcasting this misery across the air waves, there were characters to follow and either love or hate. Instead, now we have human suffering broadcast for entertainment.

And don’t even get me started on the “Real” Housewives of everywhere. Never have I seen a more vapid and fake pile of surgeries in one room.