“13 channels of **** on the TV to choose from…”

This is an article I started in the Fall of 2011, but forgot to finish and post.  Oops.. 

Lately it seems like there’s less and less good content to be had on cable. I’m sure most will agree with that sentiment, especially towards the end of the month. (ie: when the bill comes) This isn’t a rant against cable specifically. The same could be said of Satellite as well. Heck, even the selection on Netflix leaves something to be desired. It’s not a lack of creativity as I see it, but a management issue. Sure, we’re in a major recession and some of this is fallout from the economic realities of the day. I get that, but it’s not that simple. This summer was amazing in terms of movies. There was so much good content. So where are the good TV shows?  If you’re into comedy, there’s certainly no shortage of that, but what about the rest?

Star Trek:  Enterprise, Stargate Universe and AMC’s intelligence drama Rubicon are 3 of my favorites that were cancelled in recent seasons.  Of those, Rubicon is the most difficult to explain.  This was perhaps the most original new suspense thriller in some time.  The fact that it was so well written and acted also makes one wonder why it was left on the cutting room floor.  Unfortunately ratings are king and if the show doesn’t produce them in the number required by the network to justify the cost, the show is simply not going to make it.

Why are good TV shows cut?  I believe that many of these shows are the victims of poor management.  All too often, the people in charge of scheduling these shows don’t properly research the optimal viewing times for the show’s target audience.  Other times a previously unknown star outshines their show.  In either case programming managers need to be able to react quickly to put the show into a better performing timeslot.

In the case of Star Trek and Stargate, their most recent iterations were so different from what most fans had come to expect that many of them didn’t like the new versions.  That’s acceptable and if a large enough number of the potential viewers don’t want it, there’s not a lot you can do.

So what can we do to improve the situation?  The internet is one of the best things to happen to TV in a long time.  Many shows are now available essentially a la-carte.  Devices like Apple TV, Roku and even newer digital TVs make watching online content a breeze.  If you only watch a few shows, it’s probably more cost effective to just pay for a broadband connection and watch just the shows you want.  This is the way I intend to go as I just don’t see the value in a traditional cable plan any more.

Lost ARG clues…

Sadly it seems this ARG is unofficial.  That’s not to say it’s not worth playing.  I’ve enjoyed the creativity shown by the writer(s).  Just don’t expect this ARG to have any bearing on the next season.

I’m slowly getting into the new Lost alternate reality game currently running on Twitter and various sites around the internet. This is what I’ve learned so far.  I’ll continue to update as I learn more…

@FleurDeNoir = Jacob?

  • Jacob’s Bio is simply: “Genesis 27:41”
  • Genesis 27:41 reads:  So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing that his father had given him. Esau said to himself, “The time to mourn for my father is near. Then I’ll kill my brother Jacob.”
  • Jacob seems to be hinting at his return or rebirth

@elliotgraves = Elliot Graves

  • an overworked Ajira Air employee whose brother recently disappeared (like his father and grandfather before him…)
  • Simeon Hobbes is somehow linked to the disappearance of all 3
  • all 3 Graves men appear to have joined a secretive group (dharma?) related to Widmore Industries

@simeonhobbes = Simeon Hobbes (follower of Jacob?)

  • involved in the recruitment of members of the secretive group mentioned above
  • exceptionally long-lived (dharma life extension program? or gift of Jacob?)

@epithetalpha = Aidoneus (Jacob’s nemesis)

  • Aidoneus is a pseudonym for Hades

Links gathered so far:

lostarg.wordpress.com

http://whoissimeonhobbes.wordpress.com

http://www.27project.org/

Going HD with the Samsung BD-P1500

I’ve been dying to get an HD media player for the home theater for a long time now, but the format war between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray and high prices have kept me away until now.  I noticed a few weeks back that Blu-Ray players had been coming down in price lately.  With a number of units dropping just below the $300 mark and a few even coming close to $200, I started looking around.  After looking at all the models available I set my sights on the Samsung BD-P1500.  The 1500 is a midrange BD player that isn’t too expensive (generally about $269 at the time I wrote this) and has most of the features of the higher end players.  It also doesn’t hurt that I found it at the local Best Buy in an open box for only $199.  Factoring in my reward zone discount and credits, I was able to walk out the door with the player and a copy of Iron Man for less than $200.  Setup was a snap.  I’ve had a progressive scan JVC 7-disc DVD changer for a while now.  I sacrificed the component (and therefore the progressive scan) connections for the Samsung player, added an optical connection to my reciever and had it all working in about 10 minutes.  After watching Iron Man last night, my only complaint about the system so far is the heat the BD-P1500 produces.  (and it produces quite a bit)  I’m going to try propping the unit up on some rubber feet for better airflow (the unit is passively cooled) and see if that works.  If not, an Antec USB-powered laptop cooler may be the way to go.  Since all of my components are housed in an enclosure, the heat is a huge concern.  I know the DVD player doesn’t take well to heat, so hopefully this is a problem that can be solved easily.  Having already experienced HD picture quality, I wasn’t too surprised with that aspect of it.  The sound was what blew me away initially.  Being something of an AV snob, I’ve been accustomed to turning up my nose at anything less than DTS.  Dolby Digital never could match the performance of DTS on DVD.  While that may still be the case, I was quite surprised by the level of detail in the Dolby Digital True HD track on Iron Man.  Hopefully this will prove to be true of DTS on BD as well.