Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dating My TV #1

I was staring at the TV in the living room...

Have you ever wondered why the goggle box has grown to become the centre-piece in the living rooms of billions of households around the world?

I grew up with TV and it used to be an important part of my life. I remember rushing back from school so that I could catch every minute of my favorite programs. Now, when I look back, the appeal of TV back then still amazes me.

Visually, TV programs have moved a million miles from the day-one black-and-white version to today's 'High Definition' (HD). I am not surprised if 3D is just tailing behind. With giant wide screens on sexy slim casings, the hardware is looking appetizing too.

The number of channels and the choice of TV programs have exploded over the last few decades. In fact, we no longer have to let the media companies decide when we should watch what. At a price, 'TV-on-demand' works like a 'concierge'. It offers us a wide range of choices and we get to pick and watch TV programs at our convenient time. No commercials to frown upon.

We also no longer have to be leashed to the TV set. Now, we can download videos (legally!) onto our PC and view them in one go or in a few installments. This is perfect for those who are unable to spare 90 minutes for a movie at a stretch.

All these sound great.

Logically, TV should be a dearer companion of mine today given that it has grown in its overall appeal. But... not really.

Ironically, in the past few years, I find myself alienating TV increasingly. In Singapore, we get 7 basic channels and hundreds of pay TV channels. I am spoiled for choices now and yet TV is taking a lesser space in my life. Thanks to all the modern distractions such as the Internet, gaming devices and mobile gadgets, all fighting for a slice of my attention, all the time.

So, me and my TV... are we over?

What if I can bring my TV with me in my pocket and watch it whenever I want? Will I ever rekindle the fondness I used to have over it?

I have just been given a cool Samsung OMNIA II (i8003) mobile phone (courtesy of Starhub). It is for me to experience "Starhub TV on Mobile", a mobile service offered by Starhub. For the less informed, it is simply a service that allows me to watch TV channels using my mobile phone. In other words, I get to watch TV programs on the fly.

Getting used to the new mobile phone was not so hard but accessing the "Starhub TV on Mobile" needed some getting used to. I would need to log on to Starhub's 'Gee! WAP portal' and click on the 'StarHub TV on Mobile' link. It took me awhile to get things sorted out. Once that was done, the rest was easy.

There are altogether 17 channels in 6 categories: Sports, News, Chinese, Entertainment, Kids and Ethnic. The channel line-up includes CNN, CNBC, ChannelNewsAsia, Goal TV and Animax. Three of these channels, Asian Food Channel (AFC), Bloomberg and JimJam were just added recently in May.

Compared to the number of choices I get from conventional TV, the variety looks pathetic. For it to be more attractive, the choices got to be wider. Anyway, compare to "mio TV on Mobile, Starhub's 'TV on Mobile' has 6 more channels. Meanwhile,
there are enough stuff for me to kick off.

I will take the next couple of months venturing into this new playground. Do come along with me on my journey too. I guess two months is sufficient to let me know if my old bond with TV can be renewed.

This shall be the first of my new "Dating My TV" series. Let's give the both of us another chance. OK?

For now, I am going to do a little channel surfing. Shhh.

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