Tonight, I broke down and purchased “Lost” Season 1 from the iTunes Music Store. The time had come to start serious testing Apple’s new video service. I wanted to see if the shows really could be watched (and enjoyed) from the new iMac’s Front Row. Yup. Quality is a tad VHS, but w-a-a-y better than I expected.
The download put the Verizon Fios 15Mbps DSL service to its toughest test yet. Surprisingly, the nearly 5GB of data—that’s 25 episodes—downloaded in well under an hour. I timed the first couple programs at about two minutes each, then left the PowerBook G4 downloading while I washed dishes.
Live TV withdrawal prompted the download. I checked my watch at 8:08 p.m. and saw that “Alias” was on TV. I almost watched the new episode, but decided on “Lost” downloads instead. Last week, my Dell Media Center recorded “Alias,” which I watched later that night. But the Media Center is gone, swapped out for the new iMac. So, it has been a week of no TV in the living room, and my wife asks why are pay $50 a month for Comcast cable. That’s an excellent question.
Pretty good chance I’ll reduce Comcast to the bare-bones $17 a month service, which will at least pipe the Networks into my daughter’s room and to the two Macs with Plextor ConvertX PVRs in my basement office (a.k.a. “the dungeon”).
So, the new iMac in the living room is as much about ditching the TV as anything else. It’s a strange situation. Because just a few months ago, we had a Comcast cable box with two TV tuner/DVRs attached to a projector pointing to the wall; fortunately, it’s white (OK, more or less when adding the grime marks and kiddy fingerprints). And we could project HDTV programming on the wall, too. Woo Hoo! It was movie night every night.
Now, there’s just an iMac, with 17-inch display, perched on a desk.
But, that’s what I wanted, and so there’s no complaint. Just adjustment. And the benefits are clear, because the whole family has become more discerning about watching anything. My daughter got “Di Gi Charat” after watching 18 Cardcaptor Sakura DVDs. I’ve increased DVD rentals, too, last night watching “Crash,” starting around 10 p.m.
The family seems to congregate more together now that the TV is gone and replaced with the new iMac. Today, my daughter stretched home school well into the evening. She has been studying Japanese from an audio book she downloaded from iTunes and practiced in the living room. Her Japanese learning comes from interest in anime and manga.
Anyway, while I listened to Microsoft’s 2006 first quarter earnings call down in the dungeon, my wife lay on the couch reading, throwing in her own phrases to match those my daughter recites in Japanese. My wife has been studying Korean. She bought actual audio CDs (no iTunes downloads), which I put on her iPod mini. Me, I speak English. Well, there is something else. I chose to study dead language Latin in school. Yeah. Yeah. No sarcastic comments, please!
One more thing about the new living room situation. I’ve discovered another shocking new activity. Reading. Everyone should try it.