Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Getting reconnected

Now that we are living back in a place that is really too far from broadcast transmitters to get television over the air, we found ourselves back in the cable / satdish market if we were going to have television at all.  So we had three options but finally went Dish—mostly because the house had a Dish high-def receiver already installed on the roof.  But this move changes the reality I can access—we'll see what it does to my writing.

Initial impressions of Dish are mixed.

  • The whole-house DVR system is sweet.  My partner really likes the fact that she can watch her favorite shows on her iPad anywhere in the house.  The whole electronics package has advanced quite dramatically since our last satdish experience.  The remote is actually pretty well laid out which is a BIG accomplishment.
  • The "filler" channels that Dish uses to run up their package numbers are right up my alley including Current, Link, RT, and CCTV.  I'll get back to you on the actual value these channels have in understanding the world but I am guessing I'll find a favorite program in there somewhere.
  • That's easy—the picture quality ranges from mediocre to unwatchable.  Part of my problem is that because I work with video editing equipment and am well-read on the subject of compression schemes, I am sensitized to the visual problems of over-compression.  And they are all there—smearing, loss of detail, artifacts around graphics, etc.  We got three months of "premium" movies channels for signing up and the files are so ugly, I am pretty certain we will not pay for that service.  It's like they are trying to get five channels in the room for a really good channel on the satellite.  Over-the-air was MUCH better!
  • Maybe I have evolved, but considering I ran financial programs in the background throughout the whole dotcom bubble of the 1990s, I must note how hopelessly shallow I now find financial coverage.  Moneyhoney Maria Bartiromo who spent the dotcom bubble gushing over nerds turned billionaires is still on the air but has become middle-aged and her enthusiasm now for the Masters of the Universe seems so forced.  The nerds with interesting ideas are gone and have been replaced by folks who must pretend that the financial services business isn't run by criminals.

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