Daze of My Life: Apparently I'm Not Very Cableable
Daze of My Life
Apparently I'm Not Very Cableable
Compared to the formerly mundane television-viewing worlds of VHF and UHF, Cable Television, and most recently, Digital Television, and to a growing degree, Satellite Television have brought hundreds if not thousands of programs previously unreceivable and some even unimaginable, directly into our homes, places of business and in some luxury models, into our automobiles, too. Throw in the enhanced pixel quality picture available with High Definition and you have a television watching experience unlike any you've ever had before. I remember what the Comcast customer service person said when I called in to make the arrangements to upgrade my everyday cable to digital high definition (thanks to an extremely generous gift by my father-in-law), "You'll never leave the house." Well, I have left the house, but it's very difficult now to watch non-high definition programming.
That being said, I don't think I've been given the tools necessary, however, by my digital cable provider to fully enjoy and appreciate my expanded service. Specifically I am referring to the schedule of available programming (it's not in the television guide provided by the Sunday newspapers). Certainly Comcast provides cable menus and guides on the television with ample buttons to press, arrows to follow and selections to highlight, to direct viewers to a variety of programming: movies--free or pay-per-view, by category and/or if on a premium channel or on "On Demand" (Comcast's in-house video rental-type service)--as well as sports, music, and programs listed by time or title. Really it's quite extensive, and to tell you the truth, quite useless. And to procure a popular phrase of the current generation, t.m.i. (too much information).
These guides are not exactly unwieldy since they're paperless but they are unmanageable nevertheless. Between the numbers of stations--hundreds--The paragraphs of information provided for each program; and the amount of time it now takes to channel surf, by the time one reviews his options and decides what program is of interest, you're either too late or too bored with the entire process to even care what show is on, when.
What I would like, and what I am now officially suggesting which, so far as I know, and I don't know all that far is, for Comcast to make available an email of the day's or evening's programs to those who request it, formatted to print on a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of copy paper. So that those of us with tactile needs can feel, and see, a spreadsheet-type page to give us televisioners the means to determine what the heck is on and when. And if we're interested in learning more about a program that's listed on our spreadsheet, then we can use Comcast's television menus to find out the additional details. Give me a menu I can relate to, not one that makes me hate you.
I love our new television and when I find/stumble on to a program of interest, especially one in high definition, I certainly enjoy watching it and sometimes do indeed find it difficult to leave the house. But that doesn't happen as often as it could, or rather as it should because, I can never find what I'm looking for; it has to find me, and that's frustrating, and disappointing. And though I don't mind being found, my television-watching experience would be more rewarding and fulfilling if I knew what program I was looking for before it had started, not after.
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.