rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,

It's Video Magic!

My mom tells the story of how, when I was only about two or three years old, she was listening to the one Spanish language radio station that then existed in Los Angeles, while I sat in my high chair eating lunch. It was one of the stations she listened to most frequently during the afternoon, as she was fond of the Mariachi music which was their staple programming. I had already learned to recognize quite a few of the popular Mexican songs of the era, and my favorite was Cielito Lindo. The big Silvertone console whit the radio in it also had a record player, and I hadn't quite learned the difference between these functions. On this particular afternoon, I'm told, I asked my mother to tell the man on the radio to play Cielito Lindo. She explained that the radio didn't work like the record player, and that I couldn't request a particular song, but had to listen to whatever they chose to play. As soon as she had explained this, the very next song the station played was Cielito Lindo. The same sort of thing has happened to me a few times since, but it's pretty rare.

Earlier tonight, I was about to turn off the television and turn the computer on when I discovered that I had an entirely new way to waste time. No, not entirely new. It's still television, but it's television on demand. I've been seeing little tabs on the program info for some stations for about a week, but had no idea what it was. We weren't told about it... it just appeared one day. So, I finally figured out how the little tabs worked and fetched up at channel 1, which didn't used to be there, and it's a guide for the new on demand service.

It works a bit like TIVO, except there's no box in your house. I think the programming is all stored on servers somewhere, you can order it up anytime, and you get to use functions such as fast forward, rewind, pause, etc. There are some pay-to-view programs, but there's also a goatload of free stuff. I was quite surprised to see something like this suddenly added to the regular service without any additional charge on the bill. So far, their servers only hold about a thousand programs at any time, but I suppose that will be expanded as the storage medium gets cheaper.

So far, I haven't watched any of the movies available (there are about forty of them at our service level), but I poked around the guide (which is not very convenient to use, but will do for now) for a while, and I watched a couple of short programs and a few music videos. I have to say it was fun to tell the machine to show me something, and then have it actually happen. After all this time, a gadget that's something like a radio actually behaves the way I'd like it to. Only in a limited way, of course, but it's a start. While it refuses to play Cielito Lindo for me, I'm pretty sure I can find something else I want from it. Ah, all the time to be wasted! I can hardly wait to begin!

Another new icon, by the way.

Oh, and the rude Yahoo News headline that everybody will be quoting for years to come. It's almost as good as "Ward, don't you think you were too hard on the Beaver last night?"

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