Just Want to Watch Television? Revisiting The Changes To The Way We Watch Our TVs…


So much has changed over the last few years in the way we watch our entertainment on our TVs and other devices, I just had to take the time to include this update and rewrite of an article I did a while ago. The Original title was, “Just Want To Watch Television? There’s A New Day Dawning…” It is definitely a new day that is dawning on us and you need to be ready for the changes that are already here and the ones that are coming.

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(Well, at least that’s what this old TV guy thinks anyway.)

I’ve been watching and experiencing the changes over the last several years and I really have to say things are only going to change more and the changes are going to happen even more quickly than ever. The problem with change is that so many don’t want to make the changes necessary at first. Then those changes become something that the consumer doesn’t have any choice but to make and that is when frustration can set in. That’s just a normal problem of dealing with changing technologies – we all have to either adapt or abandon it all together.

So, go ahead… think back just few years… Do you remember when Cable was new and Satellite was just beginning (and expensive?) You know, people had that big dish in the yard (usually 10 ft across diagonally or larger, in this area), and people wondered why anyone would need more than 5 channels? (Even at that, if people got more channels than their neighbor from their antenna, they would brag to everyone about how many channels they got.)

Well… maybe that’s going back a little too far.

How about, you used to get 36 channels from your cable company and wondered why anyone would only want to watch just the locals on their TV while you could get CNN, ESPN, HBO and a bunch of other channels (whether you watched them or not.) You know; it took a couple of minutes to scan through all of the channels you were getting instead of a few seconds?

Well… I’m sure you know what’s happened since I wrote those words just a couple of short years ago and it is happening again. New methods of delivering programming are becoming visible all the time and, honestly, it is becoming even harder to keep up with all of it, (even for those of us directly involved in broadcast and reception and all of the technology that goes along with it.) It is no wonder, at least to me, that people – at least many of the older ages – are not only frustrated but also confused with much of what is going on in this new day that is dawning.

All of these changes raise more than a few questions, like:

  • What do you really know about watching TV from the internet on your TV (as opposed to watching it on your computer screens)?
  • Do you know what ways of receiving programming are available rather than just Cable or Satellite?
  • Have you purchased a TV lately and found it has an ethernet connection as well as wireless capabilities and USB ports, possibly an SD card slot and a whole host of ways of inputting programming to watch and you have no idea what they are?

Well… if any one or all of the statements above leave you with confused looks on your face and a lot of questions you’d like to ask, then you know exactly how confused many  people are these days and you don’t need to feel alone (or dumb as some of my customers have bluntly stated to me.)

If that is the case, the next few articles here at the Norman TV View will, hopefully, bring you up to speed and remove much of your confusion and help explain where it is all headed, unless you want to keep on paying a lot of money for things you never watch.

You see, I am one of those that thinks the way programming is delivered to our TVs and other devices needs to change. Bundling of services is what most providers use these days to make their offerings look more affordable to the average consumer. Bundling means they offer several services over the infrastructure they have in place to deliver their service. In this instance, I’ll use my own household as an example.

Although there is nothing wrong with bundling programs and services together, it has become very expensive to watch TV, have a decent internet speed for doing the many things we do online now and also have a phone service of some sort.

As I just mentioned, at my house we have 200 plus channels of HD and SD programming, an internet download speed a little faster than some (10mbps) and a land line telephone that is never answered. The reason we never answer it is because we have tried all of the ways available to keep those obnoxious telemarketing and appeal for money calls to a minimum and none of them work or at least hardly work at all. The only reason we have the telephone land line is because we have DSL internet service and 99.9% of the calls we receive on that line are from telemarketers or, worse yet, politicians wanting us to waste more money for them to get reelected (and believe me, they don’t get a dime from us.) Besides, we only give our number to people that need to get in touch with us via the phone and now they do so through our cell phones. (We have much more control over those calls and which ones we will answer.)

Since they have added fiber to our area, we now have faster internet speeds available and the service has become quite a bit more reliable whether we talk about consistency in speed or how it works mostly trouble free compared to the way they used to deliver it. They added the ability to receive TV programming service to their package and it works well to. I have to admit, even I was surprised how well it has worked for us over the last couple of years. Still, my biggest complaint about any “pay TV service” is having to pay for so many channels we never watch.

In my humble opinion, when it comes to the TV service, that is where all of the programming providers need to make changes in how they deliver services their customers want to watch. Although there have been some changes to how those services are packaged and delivered, it is and has been a slow process. Of those 200 plus channels we have to pay for, we only watch 12 – 20 channels with regularity and we hardly watch any of the others. That is why so many people want to “Cut the Cord” when it comes to their TV entertainment.

Even though the providers tell us we are getting a great deal for all of those channels, it isn’t a great deal for consumers and there are a number of reasons so many of the older generations are wanting to join the younger generation in “cutting the cord” and are doing so in increasing numbers or, at the very least are trying to. The problem is, many don’t understand what they might not be able to receive when they actually do.

You see, technology is changing whether or not you keep up with it. No matter what you think, and how positive or negative you feel about it, it’s going to continue to do so and the only encouraging news I can tell you about it is, fortunately, they are making it easy for the consumer to use so you don’t have to be a “Geek” to watch what you want when you want. (Now, come on, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to learn something new along the way.)

Over the next several articles, I want to give you some usable information so you can begin to understand more about this new technology and the delivery of information and programming to your television (and not just your computer screen…)

If you thought  Digital, HD and 3D was the the biggest and best thing to happen for the viewers of content of all kinds and the end-all of the changes that are coming… think again… Trust me when I tell you, those are just the beginning. So tune in right here next time to the Norman TV View and find out more.

Remember, this is just the beginning of several articles on the newer modes of delivering programming to you…

Next time, we’ll talk about some things you may, or may not know about your TV (especially those new ones…) and what some of those new inputs, ports and slots you’ve never heard of before do for you.

See ya next time…

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© July 3, 2015 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman, The Norman TV Vantage, Norman-TV.com, Rusty Norman and Norman TV & Video Systems
(All audio and video productions by www.Podcastnorm.com and PCN Productions)

All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Rusty Norman – PodCastNorm 

All music Two Buck Themes by Mike Stewart (Royalty Free Collection) unless otherwise stated