Three Stupid Things About TV

Yesterday I exchanged my normal cable box for one that handles HD signals. I didn’t need to do it before now because until my birthday recently I didn’t even have an HDTV and rarely watched a “channel” at all.

First thing I noticed with the new box is that stuff looked *really* different. In a good way. Clarity and vibrant colors. The trade-in was definitely worth the extra $8 per month.

As cool as the enhanced picture is, during my TV watching session yesterday I noticed three things that made me realize (once again) why watching TV is mainly just a waste of time.

1st Stupid Thing

Some of the commercials BLARED out of the TV so much louder than the main program it wasn’t even funny. I don’t actually blame the producers of the commercials so much as I do the cable company. Why don’t they normalize the volume of the content they push down their pipe?!? I simply don’t believe they don’t have the technical ability to do so — I think they just don’t care about their customers.

When a company cares that little about their customers they don’t deserve to be in business.

And if I’m wrong and they DON’T have the technical ability to normalize the volume, they could always refuse to air commercials that are volume boosted. That would be the right thing to do for their customers.

2nd Stupid Thing

We’ve not been a “TV family” for at least the last 7 years. We’ve usually had a set but used it for movies, not TV itself. But a while back we won an Xbox 360 which got a bit of use (mainly by my son) and then Skyrim came out. And I wanted it but knew I wouldn’t be satisfied playing it on an old-fashioned tube TV. So my family all chipped in and bought me an HDTV for my birthday — and Skyrim.

That was cool, but now that I had an HDTV I wanted to experience Bluy-Ray so I bought a player.

And I’d always wanted an AppleTV so I could play around with AirPlay from my iPad and stuff, so I bought one of those.

So now we have a remote for the TV, one for the cable box, one for the Blu-Ray player, one for the Xbox, and one for the Apple TV.

Yes, I have heard of universal remotes, and we have a couple of them, but every one I’ve tried has *something* missing, that one function that I use often enough to make me have to grab more than one remote.

I’m not sure there’s a good answer to this problem, although a single standard that all entertainment equipment manufacturers would implement would be a good start. My Sony Blu-Ray player and my AppleTV can both be controlled using my iPhone or iPad, but they both use different apps. As more and more pieces of equipment become wi-fi enabled maybe this problem will solve itself.

3rd Stupid Thing

While watching a show the lower third of the screen was obscured for about 20 seconds by an advertisement. Are you kidding me?! We just got out of a commercial break and you’re going to hide part of the program I’m watching in order to fit more promos in?

In the past I’ve seen little blurbs on the bottom part of the screen, but a full third? And for such a long time? I’m already paying for my cable* so why are you even showing commercials in the first place?

Why I Keep My Subscription

Stupid Thing #2 above isn’t the fault of the cable company, but the other two things are. * We have cable because the landlord pays for it, but at some point we’ll be in a position where we have a choice, and when that comes I can’t imagine paying the cable company a penny (unless it a requirement in order to get internet service).

With all the options available where I don’t have to watch commercials and I don’t have watch when the cable company airs a program, why would I choose something so inferior? I won’t.

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