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04/06/2005 Archived Entry: "I just want to watch TV, dammit"
Posted by CKL @ 10:07 AM PST

Today, PVRblog.com talks about DirecTV's HD problem: to wit, the impending obsolescence of current HD DirecTiVos and the inability (due to an FCC ruling) to receive HDTV signals from your local stations anyway.

It really should not be this difficult to watch TV. The only reason for the current morass of crippleware is media companies' short-sighted, reactionary paranoia about new technology. Lawsuits have never prevented progress.

The best thing about the current entertainment revolution is the increasing availability of TV shows on DVD-- often, complete seasons are released mere months after they first air. I was just talking to some co-workers at lunch yesterday, one of whom is now hooked on Arrested Development through NetFlix. I'm still working on the first season of Alias, myself, and we've been accumulating past seasons of Gilmore Girls at home.

At some point, this distribution channel may even eclipse TiVo for convenience: wait to see if a new TV show is any good, based on critical and popular response, then rent an entire season at once so you can watch at your leisure, without having to skip sit through commercials or wait a week or more between episodes. For example, I have a friend who's certain she'll like Lost, but is just waiting to watch it on DVD.

On that note: You may not remember Murder One, the 1995 ABC drama that tried to do a single, coherent, season-long story arc. It wasn't just a continuous, soapy serial, but a "novel for television," as the producers called it. It was ahead of its time and infinitely better than 24. It's now available on DVD. Check it out.

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