Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Television Interrupted

     One of my biggest pet peeves is when television stations do not allow us to watch an episode of a show, or the air time moves in some unpredictable, last minute way, and the DVR of your choice records the correct time, but the wrong show.  For us fans who carefully record each and every installment, missing an episode of a television show, especially a serial one, where each plot hinges on last week's action, it is a huge disappointment, and often a major source of frustration.  Here are the biggest offenders and what can be done:

     Power Outages - this is the most forgivable event, of course, as it is something not really under human control.  However, my beef is how certain networks take these instances into account.  ABC and NBC usually have their episodes online, for free by the next day, and keep them up for a good, long while.  Fox, on the other hand, can make you wait up to eight days to catch up on House, after the next week's episode has aired!  CBS is the worst offender, as practically none of their shows are online.  And if you miss a cable program, without resorting to illegal downloading, you are often out of luck.  Solution: Every network should take a page from ABC and NBC and post their stuff.  Or allow you to get it on demand, free of charge from your cable company or TiVo if it is missed.

     Other Weather Related Events - The most extreme was during one bad storm, an hour of weather coverage replaced Ghost Whisperer, and due to copyright laws, it was not allowed to be rerun, even though thousands of people didn't have it available in their area.  Ridiculous!  The most common problem, though, is the damn school and business closing, or even weather alert scrolls.  They have gotten bigger and bigger.  Here in Lexington, there is much blank space beneath the words as the words take up on some HD channels, plus it stretches the picture to a weird aspect ratio.  Most people have internet these days, so they're not as necessary.  Solution: Run scrolls small and see through at the VERY BOTTOM of the screen please!  And for goodness sakes, do not run them the entire prime time!  Twice or thrice an hour should be enough.  And if you are one of the few without a web connection, well... First of all, join us in 2010 and GET ONE! Or turn on your radio.

     Sports Games - I am not talking about a huge event like the Superbowl.  A normal Sunday NFL game can cause my American Dad or Brothers & Sisters to be pushed back and missed.  Because the TiVo only updates programming about once a day, it's not current enough to catch the mistake.  In the city that I live, Lexington, Kentucky, this week and last, The New Adventures of Old Christine is airing at 1:37am so that some stupid basketball game can be shown!  Two weeks ago, Saturday Night Live was pushed back 30 minutes, and it's supposed to go LIVE at 11:30pm!  Solution: Quit airing sports games over our shows!  Either cut off the broadcast at a given time, or schedule more time and just fill it in with post-game coverage if it ends early.  If it happened once or twice, it would be ok, but this happens WAY too often to be excusable.  Or get the DVR technology more up to date and adaptable.  For now, I just set my season passes of the aforementioned shows to run an extra hour.  An annoyance, but one that has come in handy.

     Bottom line, the weather and sports are not nearly as important to me, and many, many other television watchers as our shows.  If a tornado is heading for us, let us know.  Other than that, stay out of our broadcasts!

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