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DVD is a Wake-Up Call for TV Networks

4 Nov, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

I'm a TV network executive's worst nightmare.

That's part of what I learned at TV on DVD. I engage in almost every behavior, save TiVoing (it says something that TiVo has become a verb), that they hate.

But DVD lets me do the same things with the sidecars I already have in the house: I gleefully pop in DVDs of a TV series and watch my episodes any time I want, commercial-free and without those annoying network crawlers.

Worse, since my satellite provider, DirecTV, charges an extra $6 or $7 a month to give me local broadcast channels, I don't get them. Most of what's on network TV stinks, and I can watch “24” on FX and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” on Bravo, something I also did when NBC ran “Kingpin.”

I pretty much had to stop watching local affiliates after Sam Rubin on channel 5, the day Ice Age streeted, trotted out those poor little penguins with Ice Age DVDs strapped to their chests like suicide bombs. You can tell me no penguins were hurt in the filming of the segment, but I have a feeling that doesn't take their dignity into account. Not to mention the fact they would probably have been much happier in a cold pool than under the hot lights on a TV news set. But I digress.

The only thing I can get on local channels that I can't get from my satellite package or DVD is local weather and traffic reports, so I have a 5-inch black-and-white TV that gets its three minutes of fame every morning when I look at the traffic and temperature maps. Besides the flat $20 price tag, the set also has the added benefit of running on batteries, in case of a power outage or disaster.

As a consumer, I've already made my choice of clutter: I'd rather have piles of DVDs around than watch the tripe the networks strew all over the few good programs they offer us. In the end, I have to wade through a lot less junk with a houseful of DVDs than with a setful of network TV.

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