Being in between apartments put me in the position of having to wait for the cable guy (girl?) to come and hook me back up to the number one reason for America’s failing heath, indifference to politics and world events, and all-around time waster, television. Without TV I got so much done, the least of which was starting a novel I’d been wanting to write for the past two years.
At some point, though, I was growing antsy for the shows that have begun, those I have been addicted to since they first aired. I found that three of them are available on iTunes for a mere $1.99 per episode. Although Mad Men and Gossip Girl hadn’t yet made it to iTunes, The Closer had. I quickly logged in with my payment info and downloaded all 500 megabytes of television drama. I was sitting with a fresh episode of The Closer on my computer to watch, without commercials, at my leisure.
What I found, though, is the same thing I found way back when advertisers were trying to merge the television and computer experience into one profitable package. I discovered that my initial instincts were correct: I still like my TV experience on my TV, not on my computer. I have trained my eye not to stare at the computer screen but to get busy with news and information, to be on constant watch for email and updates on Facebook (hey, I never said it wasn’t pathetic).
Thus, I found myself wanting to click around The Closer and surf the web, check my email and yes, look on Facebook to see who still loves me. All of this to say that I’m not sure the in-demand concept will work that well with already aged folks like myself who have worn a groove with their online experience.
It will work better for those young folks who are already so used to having more than just a phone with their personal electronic devices–these kids will have no problem watching movies or TV shows on their iPods, and watching them on a computer will be a luxury. Finally, I can’t imagine why any college kid would need or want a cable connection, not when you have so much to watch either free or for a small fee online.
Nonetheless, I still downloaded those episodes of Mad Men and Gossip Girl when they found their way to iTunes, just a day or two after they aired on TV. I know that this disconnect I feel will one day be remedied. There are too many smart businessmen working on it and there is simply too much money at stake. One day, TV and Internet will comfortably merge. It will be easy for everyone to use. It will probably happen before everyone in America has, or has access to, a computer.
What remains to be seen is whether any of this will have any real value in our lives or if it is just filling out time needlessly, to no decent end. What we lose in this revolution is personal contact with each other, which means millions of years of evolution tossed out the window to be replaced by a different kind of evolution. It doesn’t really matter, in the end, whether it’s right or wrong. There’s no stopping it now.