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It's TV, Jim, But Not As We Know it - nhpeacenik
It's TV, Jim, But Not As We Know it
I'm not a big TV watcher, and haven't been one for years. A year ago, when I watched TV, it was to see weather reports and school/work closing announcements during stormy periods or to see Bill Moyers and the other news programs  on Friday nights on public television. The transition to digital TV has meant that the one commercial TV station in Manchester that actually carried weather reports for our region is just an interesting red-worm-like collage with staccato bursts of screechy sound, the public TV station in New Hampshire has disappeared from our screen  altogether and the public TV from Boston requires a lot more activity than is comfortable if I want to concentrate on the news.

To give you some idea of what it takes to watch Bill Moyers on WGBH at our house now, picture trying to follow the intelligent and witty dialogue between, say, Bill Moyers and Robert Reich while holding your left hand in the middle of the antenna assembly and waving your left arm back and forth  in the air whenever the sound or picture falters. Imagine watching the faces of the people on the screen melt periodically into caricatures that Picasso would have been hard pressed to come up with. Go into the kitchen for a cup of tea, and the sound cuts out in the middle of the most fascinating sound-bite of the evening. It's much harder than listening to Radio Denmark on short wave on a frequency right next to Radio Moscow, in a tent in Alaska with dogs howling outside (the closest comparison I can make). There is no chance of just  lying down in front of the screen as if it were a fireplace and drifting off to sleep watching Dr. Who; that's just a fond memory... sigh!

Our house is beyond the range of cable TV, so even if we wanted to fork over an extra 30 to 60 dollars a month for a decent selection of programming, we couldn't. I don't think a satellite dish would be much cheaper than cable, and the trees around our house would probably make it impossible to install successfully.

We already have DSL, and since we are already paying for that connectivity, adding another monthly expense would seem foolish and unsustainable. I keep thinking that if only the TV stations (or at least the ones I care about) would start streaming live programs the way most radio stations now do, we could watch our TV on the computer screen. In the meantime, we still have radio and DVD rentals and "Democracy Now" to fill in parts of the gaping hole left by over-the-air-TV. The Fire-Sign-Theater phrase "Oh well, there goes the buffalo, but we still have our land and our family and the black stuff coming up out of the ground... Black stuff coming out of the ground!!!"

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alphistia From: alphistia Date: June 27th, 2009 03:06 am (UTC) (Link)
pbs is streaming more of its content online now - it's at
includes Bill Moyers and the Newshour, as well as Masterpiece (Theatre)

alphistia From: alphistia Date: June 27th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
and more here, including Washington Week in Review:
nhpeacenik From: nhpeacenik Date: June 27th, 2009 03:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Washington Week is one of the big ones for us.
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