Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Broadcast Television, Digitized and Compressed to Practically Nothing

I love digital television. I'm crazy about it. Snow annoys me so much I'd rather have nothing than a compromised signal. Which, as it turns out, is what I'm getting lately.

I live in the West San Fernando Valley, just a few miles from the porn capital of the world, Reseda. And as a single guy who doesn't watch a lot of television, I refuse to shell out a $100 per month for cable. I just refuse! Thus I'm gettin' all my hi-def TV terrestrial-style. However, since the official switch date when nearly everybody in LA went digital, channels I used to receive have vanished.

Let's be specific. As of early June, I no longer receive Fox. Which is a shame, because the only show I ever took the trouble to watch was HOUSE.

I don't get Fox 11, I don't get MYTV 13 (which is owned by Fox and presumably using the same transmission infrastructure), so this leaves me with the other 3 major networks. Though if it's hot, I also can't get ABC 7. So major-network-wise, I can reliably watch CBS or NBC; minor network-wise The CW 5 comes in like a champ, so my hunger for TWO AND HALF MEN reruns need never go unsatisfied. PBS is great too, but I'm not even sure what PBS is.

What it amounts to is that the digital changover has forced me to become a less passive viewer. If I want to watch House I have to turn to HULU or Bittorrent (the season finale was pretty interesting with French subtitles). If I want movies, I can bring in a Blu-Ray from Netflix. I have hooked up my iMac to the TV (I live in a studio apartment, and it's all pretty close together) so if it comes down to it, I can watch a whole evening of YouTube.

This is bad for the commercial televsion industry.

Everything I do to substitute for broadcast TV has this in common - vastly reduced commercial sales. I'm getting plenty of entertainment, but the providers are getting practically nothin'. My recommendation to Fox 11 in Los Angeles - look into that transmitter. Once the advertisers learn that a huge chunk of the city can't watch, they are taking their reality show money back to SURVIVOR. Which I will never, ever, EVER watch.

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