Television Sucks

Television is our base line for home entertainment. Our parents (if I broadly presume the age of everyone reading this) probably grew up with it, and it's so astoundingly popular as to be a ubiquitous feature in homes across the developed world. If you know friends that don't have a television then I'd wager that this is due to a deliberate choice on their part that they will happily describe at some length when queried. It's actually a little socially abnormal not to own a TV in the English-speaking western world.

TV is damned awful. Everything about it is user hostile. Every single aspect of the modern television viewing experience is designed to make you want to spend more money just to make it suck less. Not only is broadcast TV virtually all advertising and no content at this point, but you're generally forced to buy into subscription packages that are designed to sell you more of what you don't want than what you do want. What you do want is spread across packages such that to get more of what you do want, you have to buy even more of what you don't want. But this is just the hostile behaviour that we most easily recognise.

Hardware is also open season for bad behaviour. How many boxes, each essentially a computer, are sat under, above, or around your television set? I count four if I glance over at ours, and this was recently reduced by one. Each of these boxes is designed to be a pipeline for which you pay to access entertainment; the reason you need so many is because they each engineer exclusivity of content. They each so tightly control their media safe in the knowledge that the TV has sufficient hold on us that we will gluttonously invest in several distribution channels, each piping multiples more stuff that we don't want than stuff we do want. Every time someone comes along to make the viewing experience palatable, by employing new subscription, distribution, or recorded viewing models they get legally pounded into gobbets.

Some of these channels then even have the audacity to punish you for being a legitimate customer; aggressive DRM on your videos and your games are an easily recognised facet of this behaviour. Some games' DRM is so belligerent that it actively interferes with the operation of the game software. But it's more insidious than this; how many DVDs force you to watch through a lecture on good consumerism before allowing you to actually watch the stuff you paid for? Why does a paying, legitimate customer ever have to be patronised about exercising the good conscience they have already engaged?

Then there's your TV set itself, which is obsolete. Unsatisfied with the rate of consumption in this hideously saturated and over-commoditised market the media companies have decided that the must-have TV of two years ago, their last "best thing ever' — well it's crap, totally unenjoyable. You need a 3D one now. The sheer brute force with which the industry attempted to hoist 3D upon us made it physically impossible to see some of the biggest releases of the last couple of years in 2D locally to me.

When you think about it, these people fucking hate you.

Substitute for Knowledge