Pondering the new TV

I’ve been gradually organizing the channels on my new TV, so that TV channels I actually watch are at the front of the channel list, the German language channels I don’t watch except under certain circumstances come next, then the international news channels, foreign language channels (French, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, etc…), duplicates (usually regional variations of the same program), shopping and porn channels and finally radio stations and then open slots. All of those encoded pay-TV channels were deleted altogether. I pay my license fee and nothing more. Never mind that I doubt I’ll ever get the hankering to watch Spanish or French pay-TV.

I find it very depressing that I can get approximately twenty free porn channels on my new digital satellite TV, but channels that specialized in TV drama are encoded and pay-TV only. Okay, so those porn channel are more like endless loops of those annoying late-night phonesex ads, but it is porn and there are approximately twenty satellite channels specializing in that sort of thing. Back when I last had digital satellite television, there were only two or three. I mean honestly, how many nigh identical porn channels does anyone need?

Lots of channels that used to be free are encoded these days. For example, MTV is encoded. Do they honestly imagine that anyone would pay for MTV? Especially MTV as it is now, a wasteland of stupid reality shows? Though I’ve found two music channels that actually still play music, which is a pleasant surprise.

Even more absurd, Fox News is encoded. I thought you’d have to pay people to watch Fox News, not the other way around. Honestly, when Fox News first showed up on the Astra satellite network shortly after September 11th, 2001, lots of people thought that it was supposed to be a parody of the US-biased and overly patriotic news coverage of CNN. And as a parody, it was absolutely brilliant. Quite a shock to realize that they were dead serious.

Though it seems to me that Russia Today, a new-to-me channel, is even worse as a news program than Fox News. Because every time I land on Russia Today, someone is peddling some new utterly insane conspiracy theory. Yesterday, it was that old standby of Muslims waiting to overrun Europe, today it was something about the Chinese trying to poison the world with fake plastic rice.

Finally, the most depressing thing is that of the hundreds of TV and radio channels broadcast via the Astra satellite, there’s maybe only twenty or so that are actually watchable. Honestly, if I didn’t already have the satellite dish, I would have stuck with digital terrestrial TV and missed almost nothing. I initially got the satellite dish to be able to watch English language TV, but the only free English language channels left are news programs, everything else is encoded. And they wonder about illegal downloading.

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