I don't have a TV (ok, we do, but it only plays DVDs, it doesn't get any channels). I miss it every October during the World Series, and I miss it at times like now when hot news is breaking. Many fortunes have been lost betting on the notion of "convergence" and it was always silly; the Web doesn't need to be more like TV and TV doesn't need to be more like the Web.

TV on the Web

MSNBC has Peter Arnett live from his hotel room with shots of the Baghdad sky during the Thursday-night raid. My link via Windows Media Player won't stay up, and I don't want to miss the start of the war, so I go to a bar with a TV for lunch to watch the action. It becomes apparent that this isn't really the start of the main assault, and instantly TV's limitations become obvious; they have to fill up the time even though basically nothing is happening.

First conclusion: people have been trying to make a go of video streaming on the Internet for at least a decade now, and it still sucks, and this is good evidence that maybe it'll just never work.

When things are really happening, though, you just can't beat TV. When the Tienanmin square events were in progress, I sat in front of CNN hours and hours at a time. Similarly for really major sports events: they, like news, are distinguished by the fact, unlike everything else on TV, you don't know at the start of the show how it's going to turn out. The major-sports-event broadcast, as currently practiced, I think is near Platonic perfection as a form of entertainment; it is what it is, and what it is is just fine. So is a major news event when CNN or the BBC points their cameras at the sound of shooting and keeps the video feed running till they have to duck and run themselves.

So, I have a war to watch and the Web to watch it with. So far I'm happiest with the BBC collective reporters' blog.

I'm pretty disappointed with the US political blogs that are springing up like mushrooms. These guys are wusses; they mostly post once or twice a day, and rarely on weekends, don't they know this is the Internet dammit?


author · Dad · software · colophon · rights

March 20, 2003
· Technology (87 fragments)
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