Saturday, February 23, 2008

57 Channels (and Nothin' On)

With apologies to Bruce Springsteen, there's nothing on TV.

There is an interesting article in the current Atlantic called "The Revolution Will Be Televised." In short it is about how some people are getting rid of their TVs and are using their computers as television sets- they down load or You Tube everything.

This is an interesting idea, but not for me. This is what I want in a Television:

A BOX that I can move around and sync to my computer and have it wirelessly go to a flat panel HDTV. That box would be a hard drive (like Tivo) and I would get the following programming. Call it TV A La Carte:

Network shows- The Office, 30 Rock, Lost, 60 Minutes- live sporting events and breaking news. (Super Bowl, Oscars, 9-11 tragedy)
HBO (all their services but I pick the shows I want).
Sports- I would pick Red Sox and Celtics games.
PBS (selected shows).
Various cable- selected shows.

Also, I want all those shows to come downloaded to me one day a week. I watch them when I want. I also want all episodes of a series- not one a week. Why not. Give me at least 4 episodes of Lost.

That's about all I watch. And I almost never watch TV live or when it is scheduled to be on. I only caught up to the Super Bowl at the end of the 4th quarter.

Also, this box should also allow me to send the program as a quicktime movie to someone else. I would be willing to pay the privilege- say $200 a month- about my cable, internet and phone bill combined.

Why not? That's how I want to watch TV. One reason is that our subscription cable bill helps subsidize the smaller, fringe networks. BUT as I said, I will pay a premium to get what I want, how and when. The other reason is that it would be hard for new shows to break through to me. True, but advertisers would have a real sense of who I am, AND producers and networks would be free to send me trial episodes for my viewing pleasure.

The technology is there. Someone deliver.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

School Security

When I was in college, Security was the name of the most popular band at school, and thinking of them was the only time I ever thought about security on campus. But now I am on the other side of the classroom and it seems every couple of months there is a shooting on a college campus. Last week at Northern Illinois University, just 65 miles west of Chicago, there was a shooting, killing five and injuring more.

Security on campus means something very different to me now.

Yesterday was parents' day at Flashpoint and I spent time telling the parents of film students that one of the things we do is create a safe environment for their children to work in. I was speaking about emotional safety, the safety to be vulnerable and explore, but I could have just as easily been talking about their physical safety.

I don't have anything new to add to the violence on campus discussion. Yes, it's sad. Yes, it must stop. Yes, the emotional well-being of students must be looked after and help given when and where needed. All of the same things I wrote about last spring after the events at Virginia Tech.

Today, I just wanted to take a moment and reflect on the events at a college just down the road from mine.