MY 50-INCH SECRET
Okay, I'm going to tell you guys this because I know you're my friends and you wont judge me.
I bought a 50" plasma TV. That's right I bought a gi-fucking-gantic flat screen TV in the middle of a Recession -- nay, perhaps even a Depression. And not just that. I also got a Playstation 3 and an HD TiVo.
This is the most exciting news I've had in years and yet I can't tell anybody.
Everybody at work is getting laid off, or their hours are being cut back, and here I am dropping mad coin on high end home electronics. And I couldn't announce it to all my Facebook friends because most of them are freelancers, like me. But unlike me, most of them aren't working right now.
It's hard to read the "I NEED WORK!" status updates and follow that up with, "Will is watching Lost in HD on his 50" plasma and trying not to cum in his sweatpants."
I'm serious, though. This HD thing is the real deal. The difference between standard def and high def is like the difference between a girl from the Emperor's Club VIP and and an 11th Avenue trannie with Lupus. (That, of course, is a purely hypothetical comparison, just in case anybody I work with is reading this. I've never fucked anybody with Lupus.)
The first movie Maggie and I watched in HD was WALL-E -- ordered on demand from the Playstation Network -- and it looked sharper, crisper and more colorful than the projected image at a movie theater. (And trust me, that wasn't just the weed talking.)
Which leads me to my next point: the movies-on-demand issue. I've been writing about this for years, about how the technology exists for every piece of recorded media to be accessible on your TV, via a broadband connection to the internet. But because cable companies like Time Warner own the pipe into your house, they've done their corporate best to squelch these developments. Why? Because it means less profit for them, and their shareholders.
Once again, corporate greed fucks up America. Are we sensing a pattern here?
Time Warner did everything they could to talk us out of TiVo, and then, once we bought it, to make the installation process as difficult as possible. Basically, TiVo is a DVR your buy which replaces the DVR that you rent each month from your cable company. So Time Warner loses money there. With a TiVo box, you just insert a cable card from your provider to make it work, and you get rid of the cable box. More lost revenue. But most importantly, without your cable box you can't buy Pay-Per-View movies, sporting events or pornography. And that's where the cable company's lose biggest. And they are fighting that.
"Are you prepared to lose your pay-per-view?" a Time Warner rep asked me on the phone.
"No," I said. "I'm just prepared to stop paying Time Warner for it."
Because the fact is, with TiVo I get access to way more content on-demand than Time Warner ever gave me. Right on our box we have access to every Watch it Now title in our Netflix queue. Once we select it on the Netflix website, the movie magically appears on our TiVo box. We can watch it once or 1,000 times. And we pay nothing more than the Netflix membership fee we were already paying for the DVDs we got in the mail. Absolutely amazing.
We also get Amazon on Demand, with a far greater selection of movies and TV shows available for far less than the cable company charges for their limited content. In the last few weeks I've watched the rare, original pilot for the the 1960s TV series Lost in Space and the 1970 feature film House of Dark Shadows on Amazon. Obscure titles like those will never appear on Time Warner.
I also get You Tube on my TiVo, which means I have access to every video that I add to my You Tube playlist -- right there on my TV. From Betty Boop cartoons to cute kitty videos, it's all there. And also free.
Going from Time Warner to TiVo feels like it did when I went from AOL to my first internet service provider a decade ago. It's like a whole new gigantic world of possibility.
And yet, I can't tell anyone about it. So I must muffle my screams of joy, and drag my feet into the office each morning with an appropriately mournful expression. And all I do all day is watch the clock, waiting for the minute where I can rush home and watch Humphrey Bogart movies on-demand.
Those of you who know my financial history may be wondering how I pulled this off. After all, I have no working credit cards and nearly $40,000 in existing debt. The fact is, while I may have bought the TV, my father is the one who paid for it. It was my Christmas gift. But telling friends who are unemployed and can't pay their rent that, not only am I working, I'm also getting free 50" plasma TVs?
Trust me, that doesn't make it any easier.