The Unbiased Eye

A scientist's commentary on events and culture

Declaration of Independence

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Jim, who heard about it from someone, told Nancy, who told Zina, who told Jackie, who then went on to tell someone else. That’s only the small part of the chain that I can see. This is going to be a trend.

What a gleeful revelation it was to find out that for $40 and a phone call, we could be free forever from $100, or even $200, monthly cable television bills and never be sucked into wasting an entire afternoon or evening watching the most inane junk food for the mind known to mankind. That’s a one-time cost, and will cost zero next month, next year. It won’t keep rising ever upward.

The $40 is for a digital indoor TV antenna — preferably amplified. This is for watching the network shows, news, weather, happy talk, a good deal of what anyone could expect from television. Don’t worry about the reception. Since the government and industry lurched into the modern world, the signal is digital, and crystal clear, and it never breaks up and disappears the way the wired cable system often did. I just bought any brand by the look of the device. I guessed that they’re all generic, with one much the same as another.

By all means, not everything televised is sent over the airwaves, but a good deal of it is.

And a fair amount of the other stuff we fill our heads with in our spare time can be found for free or at low cost on the web, all perfectly legal. And when we use those services, we buy what we want, not what the big entertainment companies decides to package together. Check out the options at the big streaming web sites. Once the public is convinced that streaming is a better “content delivery system”, there will be some serious competition.

If you’re compelled to see the Real Housewives of wherever, the DVDs are available, but of course you’ll have to wait for each new season. If that’s unacceptable, then … there’s nothing I can do. If you’re a serious sports fan, that’s really tough. Cable has spoiled you, but if enough of us non-sports heads quit cable, they’ll lower their prices.

I know they’ll try to scare you into believing that no one will make the investment in hardware — the wires, satellites, switches and computers — but I don’t believe that for an instant. Television, movie and radio executives are completely focused on their mansions, their cars, and their expense account lunches. The future consists entirely of the next fiscal quarter’s results, and that’s it.

They’ll also tell you about their particular genius for knowing what entertainment floats in our culture, but consider the spectacular flops that we’ve seen recently on television and in the movies. The bill for these productions runs into the hundreds of millions, and their advertising budgets could support a few third world countries, and still they make flops.

I say all this without getting into my own tastes and preferences in entertainment. I try out maybe a dozen network shows a year and many of the cable series. Some are good, and some are awful. The flops and the hits don’t line up with my opinions; I liked Prime Suspect a lot, and I hated The Paul Reiser Show, but that’s not the point. Both are history. I admit I’d be a poor television executive, but that in no way excuses the miserable failures of those who get unholy salaries and perks because they’re good at covering up that they have no clue.

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Written by theunbiasedeye

April 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm

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