Thursday, May 23, 2019
No more keepers - recording from digital TV
Digital high-resolution television allows us to see every tiny flaw in the human face, and large-screen TVs let us see them really, really big. It's a kind of metaphor for the highly technological world we live in: the flaws and cracks in society are exposed, but with greater speed and convenience. And cost.
Personally, I was okay with a 13-inch black-and-white TV to watch old movies on back in the day. I considered myself lucky to have a second TV in the house when somebody else wanted to watch football. When VCRs came out -- any old movie fan of a certain age will tell you that was nirvana. I could collect my favorite movies and keep them "forever." No more waiting for Christmas to watch White Christmas. Then DVD, and the AMC and TCM channels and it seemed like the world was your oyster.
Now we have entered a Twilight Zone world where one cannot record off digital TV without a DVR. It is another sign of our growing service economy, where we do not own; we rent. A DVR is very convenient to use, but it is just another monthly bill to surmount. We cannot own our favorites "forever" anymore, and we have a limited number we can keep at one time, and recording anything off TV has become a decision of what do I want to jettison to catch this program for watching later?
For those of you who have become curators of your own classic film libraries, what is your reaction to discovering a rarity on the lineup of TCM and not being able to record it if you don't have DVR, or if your DVR is getting a little full? Wait for the entire "Joe McDoakes" series of shorts to come out on Blu-ray? (Okay, bad example. Nobody kills themselves scrambling to record Joe McDoakes.)
I wonder if there is more purchasing of titles on DVD and Blu-ray, or renting, or other services like Netflix? In using Internet services, are you concerned that your movie choices will ultimately be tracked and not just for advertising purposes? ("Watch this lady, Agent Smith -- she's seen White Christmas six times this month. Must be a radical. Keep an eye her.")
Do you feel as classic film fans this has reduced your autonomy, obviously your anonymity, if not your options?
What do you think about this, and what do you do?