We live in a veritable cornucopia multi-channel universe. Progress, technology, and a big pile of corporate cash has made it possible to find almost anything you want on TV. Internet streaming has made it possible not just to watch what you want from around the world but launch your own show if you like. It would stand to reason that all these choices could make life easier, but the opposite has happened.
For the past two years, I subscribed to a streaming service that only streamed sports. It was great. I could watch most of the English and European soccer I wanted to. Fast forward through games, great highlights packages if I just wanted the “Coles Notes” version, super simple to use and it worked at home and on my phone.
I belong to the school of “if it works, don’t change things” and of course, things changed. Thanks to broadcast rights bidding, consortiums, country rights and other business nonsense, to watch what I did last year I now have to subscribe to three different services. The yearly fees for this are insane and the new service offering what I really want to watch the most, has few features. So I pay more to get less.
This isn’t just a sports TV issue. How many streaming services are there now? Each of these offer different programs, and none is compatible with the other. Add in local cable offering, and my “smart” TV barely has room for all the apps and gizmos. I wonder if buying a larger TV would help?
Try finding something to watch on TV with this multi-channel, multi-platform, super TV universe – I dare you. Between loading and logging into different apps, apps crashing, clicking through the channels, and constantly pushing buttons, it can take most of the evening just to find something to watch on TV. By the time I search through channels and streams, and finally settle on what to watch, the urge isn’t there anymore to zone out and watch TV.
Some nights it’s “analysis paralyses” time. Having so many options sometimes means I have issues picking just one. I know there is the whole “save for later” option, but who uses that? I bet if I look at my saved list, there’s lots of stuff I’ve never seen but thought it was a great idea at the time. “I’ll get to it.”
Searching for a specific show also is problematic. Phil’s Law when it comes to streaming TV is that if I want to see a show, it will be on the one system I don’t have a subscription for. For example, I wanted to watch the 1990’s movie “Ronin” with Robert De Niro and Jean Reno – nope. Not on any service I subscribe to. It wasn’t worth $18.99/month to watch that movie.
There must to be a better way. Let’s agree to one platform or service that houses everyone’s channels, content, listings, streams, and miscellaneous items. A simple app that makes finding a show, or searching for something specific easy to do. I’m not asking for rocket science, the reinvention of the wheel, or world peace – just one place to watch what I want when I want. Is that too much to ask?
Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan is known for the phrase “the medium is the message” when he wrote about communication including TV. Based on the landscape of our giga-channel internet-multiverse at present, the message delivered is mass confusion.