Friday, September 29, 2023

TV everywhere & not a drop of stream

C’mon, now. Raise your hands. How many of you actually thought at one time the word “streaming” meant going to a fancy water park, grabbing an innertube, and floating down the lazy river looking for a little peace of mind with hundreds of other like-minded folk?

Or maybe “streaming” was grabbing your fly-fishing rod, putting on some fancy waders, and wading into a lazy river, looking for a little peace of mind while catching (and hopefully releasing) hundreds of unsuspecting rainbow trout who themselves were “streaming” down the same river?

Or maybe, you of the high-tech ilk, knew that “streaming” was just a hip term used for turning a clunky, non-aerodynamic piece of equipment into a fancy sleek machine, able to slice through the air like hundreds of starlings forming an ever-changing lazy river of patterns in the sky, giving us all peace of mind that we’re moving from one place to another as efficiently as we possibly can in order to save the planet?

STREAMING: “The continual transmission of audio and video files from a server to a client. In video streams, content is sent … over the internet and is displayed in real time.” – some website that knows.

“Unless, of course, you have terrible internet reception, and STREAMING becomes an ongoing battle between infinite BUFFERING and deciding to just read a book instead.” – Me, because I know.

In the “good old days,” we didn’t use such fancy terms. We just watched television – a device that caught a continual transmission of audio and visual analog signals sent from a broadcast studio along modulated radio carrier waves. They were sometimes snowy-looking, but if you wrapped your antenna in aluminum foil or held it with your right hand while performing the Single-Leg Wheel Yoga Pose, you could still watch your favorite shows without a hint of BUFFERING.

BUFFERING: “Refers to downloading a certain amount of data before starting to play the music or movie.” Not to be confused with TO BUFF: “To polish or shine.” Or LOOKING BUFF: “Having a physique enhanced by bodybuilding exercise,” which makes you look more pleasing while IN THE BUFF: “Without clothes on.” 

I haven’t watched “broadcast television” since June 12, 2009. That’s when broadcasters switched their analog signals to digital TV. We had an analog TV that couldn’t catch the digital signal. The “black box converter” which was supposed to make the signal catchable, didn’t catch a thing. And I was too cheap to subscribe to a satellite service for something that I had been getting for free. 

So, on that fateful day in June, we as a family gathered around the TV set to see our analog signal turn into snow and static. But since we were basically only getting one channel in the first place, there really wasn’t that much of a difference. 

“But how do you survive?” I imagine you asking after you find out we missed the recent coronation of King Charles, have no idea who won the Super Bowl or the World Cup, and have never watched an episode of “Yellowstone,” “Ted Lasso,” or any “NCIS: name your city.”

“Fourteen years without watching TV? I’d go nuts! What do you DO?”

Talk. Herd little kitty cats. Cook. Walk the dog. Read. Play music. Write. Complain about not having good internet reception like our “big city cousins.” Chase Chupacabra off the porch. But mostly, sit in quiet and listen to the beautiful sounds of wind chimes and bird song without any annoying commercial interruptions. 

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