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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Random Thoughts – TV watching habits

  • We sure don't watch TV like we once did.
    Thanks to DVRs, DVDs and the Internet viewers are no longer limited to the time restraints once put on them by the “Big 3” networks. Today, you can watch your favorite TV program movie, or sporting event at home, on the road, any time of the day or night.
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  • We sure don't watch TV like we once did. Thanks to DVRs, DVDs and the Internet viewers are no longer limited to the time restraints once put on them by the “Big 3” networks. Today, you can watch your favorite TV program movie, or sporting event at home, on the road, any time of the day or night. If you are a member of the over 50 generation, you might recall that CBS, ABC and NBC went to great lengths to work out the annual fall lineup of programs. The perennial favorites were placed in a time period where they would draw the largest following. “Gunsmoke” was Saturday night staple. People literally set their clocks for Sunday evening and the arrival of “Bonanza.” Loyal fans literally dropped what they were doing just to sit down for 30 minutes or an hour to watch their favorite program. Since the early 1950s, television has become a part of American culture. In many cases, we are defined by the shows that we watch. Unfortunately, many Americans began to set their personal schedules around the infamous “boob tube.” How many times have you heard the excuse for not going to church on Sunday morning or Sunday evening was the “big game” was on that day? The old devil must hate video recorders because they tossed that lame excuse right out the window. Today, just set your DVR for high noon or 3 p.m., whenever the NFL kicks off, and you won't miss a single play or word of the preacher's sermon for that matter. There are many other reasons to enjoy the modern marvels of TV watching. Get busy and forget to watch “NCIS”? No problem. Just go online. The programs are streamed and can be watched another time. Better yet. You don't like what's on the air tonight? Despite the increase in the number of accessible networks, TV is still a vast wasteland of largely trash and nonsense. If you are a “Baby Boomer” like me, just go to your library of DVDs and pick a program from the past that was entertaining, taught a lesson and wasn't full of sex and violence – well, sex anyway. “Have Gun, Will Travel” and “Wanted: Dead or Alive” could be quite violent at times. Over the years, television has attempted to recapture the older audience with networks such as TV Land, Nick at Nite, The Hallmark Channel and The Inspirational Channel. And they are all well and good. However, the programs are so chopped up that occasionally you lose your grip of the plot. Got to get in those extra commercials. Speaking of commercials, was I just dreaming or once upon a time weren't TV programs longer. It seemed like during the breaks you had to rush at break-neck speed to take care of business before the program resumed. Half-hour programs frequently ran for 26 of the allotted 30-minute time period and hour programs were 50 minutes in length. Today, you might be lucky if a half-hour program is 22 minutes in content. One-hour programming might make it to around 42 minutes. Despite program quality, frankly I like the many ways we can view our favorite programs. You don't have to feel like you're handcuffed to the “one-eyed” monster. Watch what you want, when you want.

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