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Corn Flakes: About Those Over The Air Channels

This is a follow up on the Cord Cutting article I did earlier. Watching OTA channels is... well, it’s an adventure.

For the past two months I've been watching over the air TV. If you'll remember an article I did about a month ago about cord cutting, I was using a Mohu antenna that resembled a piece of cardboard. After that article I was contacted by a company, Antennas Direct, but offered to send me what they felt was a better antenna, the ClearStream2MAX™. I accepted. Their antenna is certainly more robust than the earlier Mohu I was using, but it is also more intrusive.

It's not that much more expensive, and it comes with a outside mount, but being the lazy guy that I am I simply hooked it up to the cable that was formally connected to the Mohu and started watching over the air TV. It did a better job picking up channels than the Mohu, but it's a little more expensive and like I said earlier, a little more intrusive. Here's a photo compared to the Mohu. Notice that it has a stand.

Watching over the air channels has been rather weird. It's weird because you have no control over what's happening. Anymore, when you're watching TV through a satellite or cable connection, you are typically using a DVR. You can pause whatever you're watching, get up and go get another beer, sit back down and continue. I don't have a DVR with the over the air channels. It's like watching TV from about 40 years ago – you actually have to watch the TV. You have to watch the commercials as well.

I've come to enjoy this, but I think after a month or two it will become very old without a DVR.

One of the first things I watched was a Barney Miller episode. Barney Miller was a cop sitcom in the mid-70s. It was a great show. The casting was incredible. It featured Hal Linden as “Barney Miller”, Abe Vigoda as “Fish”, Jack Soo as “Nick Nemana”, Ron Glass as “Detective Ron Harris”, Max Gail as “Detective Stan ‘Wojo’ Wojciehowicz”, and a gob of other guys. Greg Sierra played a Puerto Rican detective named “Chano Amenguale”. (Yes, I had to look some of these up…)

The episode I watched was one when Chano is called to a bank robbery. Two bank robbers hold hostages and Chano kills them both. We see a scene in which Chano comes back to the station and we have already been told that he killed two men. Keep in mind that this is a great comedy from the mid-70s. Chano comes into the station, and he's clearly upset. His hands are shaking, he is moving at 100 miles a minute, and it's clear that what is happened has affected him. Barney sends him home. Later, Barney comes to see him in his apartment. The two have beer, and the following dialogue takes place:

Barney: Did you ever wonder why the sperm whale, which is the largest mammal on the face of the earth, has a throat about that size? [forms a circle with his thumb and fingers]

Chano: Yeah. You know, I always did wonder. Why is that?

Barney: Because that's the way it is. And there ain't anything you can do about it.

Barney then leaves the apartment and Chano sits down at his kitchen table and cries. That episode first aired on May 1st, 1975. I remember it from the first time around. That last line hit me like being punched in the gut, just like it did Chano. Dad had died of cancer in September, 1974. He wasn’t coming back. Because that’s the way it is. And there ain’t anything you can do about it.

There are a lot of old shows out there over the air. Kolchak: Night Stalker, Police Story, Columbo, different versions of Star Trek, Stargate SG-1. Comet TV is… well, odd. It’s all the cheesiest science fiction stuff you never knew you wanted. The original Godzilla (Gojira, 1954) was on the other night. How could I not watch that? There’s new stuff, too, since you get whatever the networks are currently broadcasting, but since I haven’t watched regular TV in quite a while I am completely unfamiliar with it.

Even watching commercials is an adventure, probably because I haven't done it in a while. I certainly haven't done it for anything that was a nonsports channel. I am convinced that I need that bowl that will keep your food hot for hours, and I can get two for one? How have I missed these deals?

The lack of a DVR, I admit, is very annoying. You get so accustomed to pausing whatever show you're watching. Without the DVR, I missed the ending of an Alfred Hitchcock episode because I took for granted that I used to just pause TV and get up and it would stay that way until I came back.

I wouldn't want to do this forever. I am so looking forward to football season starting, and I will be reactivating my Dish Network account. As I stated before, I will be trying to use PlayStation Vue on a trial basis, but I don't have a lot of faith that it can work that well because right now our Internet sucks. Hopefully between now and the beginning the season I can get that fixed.

Until then I'll stick with the over the air channels.


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Then There’s This

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A new startup wants to revolutionize how we travel long distances using pretty simple technology: a bus with beds. Only, they're called pods.

I can see where this could be successful. There are a lot of people who really hate flying. I don’t hate flying, but this would be an interesting way to travel.

Advantage us?