Cultural Review Past, Present & Future


Intriguing account of my first innovative experience of internet TV in 2013.

After a quiet and reflective period, I embraced technology on New Year’s Eve (2012). It wasn’t rocket science by most people’s standards, but for me it was a bit of a tipping point. I’d been interested in internet TV for some time, but did not want to invest in a new TV given that they are currently changing so rapidly. So after some casual surfing I decided that a small WDTV box was the way forward. The reviews suggested how simple and user friendly it was. I purchased it on-line on Saturday evening with tracking and then watched it moving on-line until it reached my home on Monday morning. Imagine if they were tracking people like that – HoHo.

In the afternoon, I unboxed it, though this held no surprises as I had watched a film of it being unboxed on YouTube before deciding to purchase. I had done my homework and purchased a HDMI cable in advance, although this didn’t work the cable with red, white and yellow connectors they included worked and we were away. So a case of trying to be a bit too clever. It really was easy to set up. I have wireless and I just needed to let this little box know my wireless password. It downloaded a firmware update and then with a reboot installed it. The box was the size of my hand, yet performed in a manner similar to a computer. The interface was clear and user friendly. And then the exploration began. My motivations all related to spending my working days staring into this screen and I wanted to spend some of my evening leisure time in the lounge watching TV whilst reclining on the sofa and so far so good.

The WDTV had about 26 web enabled channels for me to access some of them a bit marginal, but they had what I was after. BBC IPlayer to watch catch up TV, YouTube so that I could watch those esoteric documentaries and Snag Films which appeared to have some indie content. Also, they had various commercial offerings. I decided to test the technology by downloading a blockbuster movie and watching it. Oddly, whilst I work with a computer all day, I have never watched a whole movie on-line. AceTrax had a promotion were you could download some trial content for free. I had nothing to lose, so I went for the apocalypse film 2012 which seemed right for New Year’s Eve. The quality was great, I had been prepared for stuttering, but the movie played better than the normal DVDs that I rent. The film was odd fun, full of almost unrelenting doom, all the usual reference points with redemption thankfully at the end.

My next New Year’s Eve excursion was to watch that old Face to Face documentary on YouTube focusing upon a interview with Carl Jung and ending with his immortal quote man cannot live a meaningless life. I look forward to watching many more of these odd documentaries, which are never likely to be broadcast on mainstream TV again. I was creating my own audio visual New Year’s Eve, which is nothing new, but great fun. Finally, I watched on You Tube Videos a full Portishead concert recorded by Canal + in 2009. The quality was great and the band were on top form entertaining me in my living room, they played a wonderful set and I was happy.

I witnessed last night a wave of technological innovation which isn’t new, but for once it engaged me, 2013 is going to be interesting.