Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Apple TV: More Cult Hype or the Future of Home Entertainment?

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

So the big deal with Apple TV is that you're able to watch Netflix on your TV instead of your laptop? Am I missing anything else? I guess that's worth something, especially if we rotate the small device between the living room and bedroom. Watching Netflix in bed is a lot easier with the TV instead of a searing-hot laptop sitting awkwardly in the middle of your bed.

Nicky dropped $99 for Apple TV, which is not a TV, but a tiny little black box. It's a state of the art gizmo that I'm convinced Dick Cheney and his cohorts at the NSA uses to spy on everyone. She'll probably use 99% of it to stream Netflix and Hulu. I will probably use the other features more than her, such as access to MLB.TV and NBA Season Pass. I have subscriptions to both services, so I have an added bonus of streaming games on our TV without hooking up my laptop. I previous watched baseball games on my laptop and once in a while I'd hook up my laptop to the TV during NBA season, usually if I had two or more games I wanted to sweat. The quad box (displays four simultaneous games) should be renamed the "sweat box." It is a fucking amazing invention and it's one of those advancements in technology that gamblers adore.

We finally embraced Apple TV after Nicky used some birthday money to buy it. That's the future right there. Netflix and Hulu (or a new streaming site like those) will eventually dominate the entertainment market and become bigger than TV companies and film studios combined. That's a scary prospect, but it's theirs to dominate so long as they don't fuck it up.

Like radio, conventional TV is dying off. In a decade, we'll be watching all our TV shows on demand via the internet. Only old people will still be watching the TV to get their news. With the exception of sports or any sort of national tragedy, there's no reason to watch TV in real time unless you want to be bombarded with commercials. Of course, if you live in LA, then you get every car chase broadcast on local TV. Some day there will be a special station dedicated to live police chases from around the world. There's a Twitter feed devoted to live car chases and they send out a tweet whenever there's one on TV somewhere in America. In the last few months I watched chases from Dallas, Miami, Phoenix, and somewhere in Kansas.

Movie theatres will never die off because there's something exciting about the big screen experience. More indie films are being made and big studios are making fewer films, but those few films are raking in most of the dough.  In the next decade or so, we'll have ginormous thousand seat mini-coliseums to see Fast and Furious 16, or they'll be tiny little theatres for low-budget indie flicks that cater to the artsy fartsy crowd.

Today, you have the plenty of options to see a big budget blockbuster (think 3-D flicks or sequels), whereas unless you live in a hip city, you have limited options to view indie flicks. Theatres are either a multiplex a part of a corporate chain, or its super tiny indie theatres that are relics of the past. When we lived in San Francisco, our apartment was around the corner from the Vogue, tiny neighborhood theatre that opened in 1910. Holy shitballs, it was a small one screen theatre and the seats were stiff and uncomfortable, but they changed films every week and it was awesome to walk around the corner to see a flick. I caught over a dozen movies in the short time I lived nearby. A couple of times I was one of three or four people in the theatre.

I wish I had a similar theatre here in LA, but instead I have to go to a fucking mall to see a flick (either Century City or The Grove). When I was a kid growing up in NYC, I had access to two different theatres -- The Dale and Riverdale Twin -- neither of which are around. One was turned into a porn theatre for a brief stint in the 1980s before it became a bingo parlor. I saw Rocky IV at that theatre. I also smelled weed for the first time in that theatre. The local hoods would sit in the balcony and blaze up. The Twin was shutdown due to lack of customers. I hung out there a lot and saw Ferris Bueller and Wargames like a dozen times at that particular theatre.

Nicky and I dropped our movies package on cable. We had everything, but barely watched those channels. Like we had a hundred versions of HBO, Cinemaz, SHO, Starz, etc. We trimmed our cable bill by 1/3. I love being able to stick it to major corporations, especially ones that profit off of other people's boredom. Let's face it... fucking Time Warner is not going to miss my $50 a month.

But shedding those extra movie channels comes down to not giving into the fear that you'll miss something (FOMO) and reducing the amount of time you waste watching cable. It's hard not to find something to watch on those superfluous channels (like I have a theory that one of the Matrix movies or a Robert DeNiro movie is playing at any given time on cable). But sometimes you get sucked in and its a dangerous drug and you cannot turn away and the next thing you know it... you wasted six hours getting blazed while watching Pineapple Express and one of the Bourne Identity flicks for the 237th time.

1 comment:

  1. Been reading your blog for years, and also seeing 11:11 ever since I was 11 or 12 years old - what gives?