Silence is (not) easy

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

I love television. Really, I do. Growing up, I fondly remember having particular television shows I would watch on particular nights, much like everyone else. There was no way getting past Friday without being sure to watch “Family Matters,” and Mondays’ “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” always made sure the week got off to a good start. Thursdays always meant “Seinfeld” and weekends weren’t worth anything if “Saved By The Bell” didn’t begin my Saturdays. To me, and to most TV watchers, television isn’t a mere hobby, it’s something of a lifestyle. Some people become so involved in television shows, they don’t know what to do when something gets cancelled or the summer season of re-runs begins. It can dictate the difference between a bad, good and great mood. It can be a common ground. And, more than anything else, television can be an escape from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.

To me, though, that escape can get in the way of way too many other things that I could be doing. I’m young. I just turned 27. The time between now and when I finally get to my mid-life crisis is enormous. It doesn’t really do me much good to use my obsessive-compusivle nature to fret over which couple is getting divorced (you are evil, Betty Draper); which “Jersey Shore” cast member is acting out again (you are obnoxious, Snooki); or, how many vampire shows a network can produce (you are lazy, The CW) during my waking hours, now does it?

So upon moving to the area recently, I decided to go back to a way of living I once endured a few years ago. It was a way of living I found myself recently longing for again, and it was an exercise aimed at making sure the part of my brain taken up by television thoughts was minimized. It was a way of living that entailed a life without a cable television package.

That’s right. No more “30 Rock” Thursdays or “Dexter” Sundays for me. The move admittedly had more to do with me wanting to concentrate on other things aside from wasting time watching silly television shows than anything else. But now that I’m three months into this venture, I’ve realized something now that most people haven’t even begun to consider yet: You don’t really need to pay for cable television anymore to watch cable television programming.

For instance, I recently found myself watching the University of Connecticut Huskies beat up on the Georgetown Hoyas during the first couple days of the Big East tournament on ESPN3.com, all while having an all-star tribute to Bob Marley playing on a television through a DVD player in my living room. Oh, and that tribute? Yep — it originally aired on TNT over 10 years ago. And this was all while being in the midst of starting to watch “Mad Men” again from season one each night when I arrive home from work because I recently received each of the first three seasons on DVD as Christmas gifts.

You see? The age of normal television viewing is over. Sony recently introduced the world’s first HDTV powered by … wait for it … Google TV, a fairly recent innovation that allows any viewer of television to surf the web, watch programming, and even mess with those silly apps that the world has fallen in love with since the invention of the iPhone. Couple those advances with the insanely popular use of DVR and TiVO; television stations’ own websites that offer clips of their shows; somewhat sketchy websites as JustinTV or UStream that allow you to stream networks or television shows (maybe or maybe not illegally); and the booming business that is TV on DVD, and what you have is a completely different world of television viewing than you did 20, 10, even five years ago.

And that’s why I’m here. Through this blog, I am going to share the unconventional uses of television-watching I utilize. Granted, this may spark discussion on seasons of shows after the fact, but it also allows the possibility of re-visiting shows that are 20, 30 or 40 years old that only now get the technologically-updated treatment. Also, this doesn’t mean I will be immune to live events (boy, if this blog only existed when the Grammys ceremony was broadcast …), and I’ll do the best I can to stay as updated as I can when it comes to current episodes of certain television programming.

But more than anything, this is going to be a blog about television and the discussion of television. The innovations in technology and the ways around actually viewing programming without relying solely on a cable television package will all be touched on quite a bit. But the idea that one doesn’t have to even own a television to, well, watch television anymore is an idea that is becoming more and more expansive by the minute and more and more common by the second.

So alas, welcome to my blog. Let’s turn on our computers, DVD players and smart phones, and see what we can find.

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