Managed TV

There are so many ways to watch TV these days you’d think it would be easier to stay on top of your favorite shows. However, with more choice comes more complexity. If it’s important enough we will look for or devise a solution to help manage it or simplify and reduce our choices.

Since I watch most of my TV online, I’ve employed this low-tech, manual process for managing what I watch. The sticky you see to the right includes entries for all the shows I follow that includes these details:

  • name of the show
  • last episode I watched
  • link to where I watch it
  • when the show returns from hiatus

It works well for now, but many of my shows are on hiatus. When they start airing again and I start to watch them with my husband and friends, this will quickly become more work than it’s worth.

I patiently wait for the day when Fancast can do this for me.

Long List of Movies

I love movies and for the past year I haven’t really devoted much time to watching any. There always seems to be another obligation to attend to and I can’t seem to find 120 minutes of relatively continuous free time.

Last night I began surfing iTunes to find movies to rent for my upcoming trip to Croatia. I love having my own personal media service when flying. I was amazed at the number of titles I wanted to see. Here’s the list, in aphabetical order:

  • 27 Dresses – watched
  • 2 Days in Paris
  • Atonement – watched
  • The Bank Job
  • Be Kind, Rewind
  • Bella – watched
  • The Bucket List
  • Chaos Theory – watched
  • Charlie Bartlett – watched
  • Dan in Real Life – watched
  • Drillbit Taylor
  • I am Legend
  • In Bruges – watched
  • Kite Runner
  • Lars and the Real Girl
  • Mama’s Boy – watched
  • The Other Boleyn Girl – watched
  • Over Her Dead Body
  • Run, Fat Boy, Run
  • Semi-Pro
  • Stop-Loss
  • Vantage Point

I’ve rented about half of them from iTunes. I can’t wait to watch them on my various flights and train rides :)

No On Demand, Now No Cable

It’s been approximately 8 months since my On Demand has been broken with my Digital Cable. Every time I’ve called for service in the past I’ve had such a horrible experience. Since we have TiVo, we haven’t really missed On Demand that much until recently.

Dinko’s been reading the Harry Potter series getting ready for the 7th book. Over the past few weekends we’ve been renting a Harry Potter movie to be ready to watch the 5th one that comes out next week. We still have to see 3 and 4. We’ve TiVo’d #4, but #3 was not on air, but it’s On Demand.

This weekend I decided to finally call Comcast to get my On Demand fixed. The first call was brief. The guy on the phone sent two signals to the box. The first signal failed, but the second one reached the box and shut it off. He told me I might need a new box but that I should wait at least 20 minutes until the box is “refreshed” before making a decision.

So, I waited and 20 minutes later I had no picture at all. Smart me has another dvr digital cable box that I figured I’d try before calling again. The dvr box works, but I can’t get the TiVo to work with it. Online searches reveal that my dvr box is cheap and terrible and is difficult to get working with TiVo, so I revert back to the old box.

Second call to Comcast. I get a woman who says she has no record of my previous call that day. She is not as nice as the first guy and basically performs the same process he did. Both signals she sent failed. She said she couldn’t send anymore signals because she’s not allowed and that I just have to get a new box. Fortunately I can drive to the local office and not try to set up an appointment with a technician.

Sad that I have no cable and no On Demand, only recorded TiVo programs and DVDs, I decide to hop on to the Internet for some troubleshooting. Internet’s now busted.

Third call to Comcast required a few attempts to get through the automated system to finally get a guy for High Speed Internet. Fortunately that experience was much better and I’m not writing this post.

I just can’t understand why getting cable to work is so complicated and why support is unable to help resulting in the answer always being to send a technician. Who has time for that? I’m regretting messing with the service in the first place. Now what was supposed to be an hour or so on Sunday afternoon is now a frustrating multi-day ordeal involving travel.

Canceled Shows on Network TV

TV networks really need to get their act in gear to find a way to properly track and monetize their shows. They are canceling tons of shows simply because their ratings are poor. But the numbers these networks are getting are inaccurate. They don’t account for folks that don’t watch the shows live.

I watch most of my programming from TiVo recordings or online from network websites. Most of my favorite shows are being cancled. I just learned that Traveler, my new favorite show for the Summer, has been canceled. Only 2 episodes remain for the series. The other TV shows that I watch that have been canceled are:

- The Black Donnellys
– The Nine
– Studio 60
– Notes from the Underbelly

Fortunately, ABC has decided to air the remaining 6 episodes of The Nine starting August 1.

The Pogues!

I saw the Pogues last night at the Electric Factory. Dinko and I were crazy enough to venture out into the snow and ice storm to see them. The last time we saw them was at Friju Briju in Zagreb in 1998. They put on a fantastic show. We had a great time despite the numerous fights that broke out around us.

Shane was his usual slurring self. Cigarette and alcohol in one hand, microphone in the other. The only difference is that he sang from a wheelchair. A couple gigs earlier he fell on stage and broke his knee, but he still rocked out.

Watching TV on my computer

I never used to watch a lot of TV. I grew up with cable and loved watching movies. It was my favorite, at home relaxing activity, still is. If I don’t have anything pressing and no one else is around, I can watch 4 movies in one sitting.

Lately, I haven’t had the time to sit an watch movies and I’ve been less enthused to run to the video store for a movie that is sure to be out of stock when I want it. So, I’ve started to watch more TV. It started when I moved into my new house and didn’t have cable (or antennae) for over a month. I spent a lot of time at Hollywood Video renting movies and when I ran out of movies I started renting TV shows. My addiction to LOST and Desperate Housewives began.

Unfortunately, I’m super terrible at a sticking to a live TV schedule and I don’t have any recording devices (DVR or VCR). I should be a prime candidate for TiVo, but I can’t commit to the expense yet. But, now I can buy TV episodes from iTunes and watch new shows and episodes on network stations for free.

What used to be an addiction to a few primetime shows has now increased to many
I’m now watching…

LOST
Desperate Housewives
Heroes
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Jericho
The Nine
CSI:
CSI:NY
Dexter

…and I can’t wait for Medium to start after the New Year.
*I’m a little slow to catch up with the rest of you early entertainment technology adopters.*
The networks have got it going. They’re reaching out to people like me, the stragglers who are impressionable given a nice swift kick. I’m convinced that a little while longer watching TV shows for free on their websites will totally convince me to get TiVo to sit back at my TV instead of my uncomfortable computer chair.