Sunday, December 18, 2005

Taken to a New Place, by a TV in the Palm - New York Times (Excerpts)

Last Tuesday night, I took my place in the bus queue for the commute home. Further up the line, I saw a neighbor - a smart, funny woman I would normally love to share the dismal ride with.

With the new iPod, I could start at the beginning of the series and view "Lost" at my leisure. The average episode lasts 44 minutes, about the length of my commute. Watching "Lost" on the bus next to a large man working his way through a crinkly bag of nuts is a deeply satisfying media experience. Goodbye crinkly nut man. Hello Claire and John Locke. (It is a bonus that the man can't see the image from the side, as hard as he tries.)

The iPod, on the other hand, gets charged, programmed and used almost every day. I have missed my stop on the bus because the video iPod is a completely immersive experience. The act of peering at a small hand-held screen with headphones on blots out the rest of the world - even more than the experience of listening to music.

Still, what kind of idiot would pay for shows that are otherwise free? I am paying a so-called convenience charge. I could go to BitTorrrent or some other place where video content is there for the taking, but I'm not interested in the moral and technological somersaults required to get free - I think the technical, legal term is "stolen" - programming for my iPod. Instead, I have become the gift that keeps on giving for Apple. The company has my credit card and I will continue to fork over $1.99 an episode to find out what is around the bend in season two of "Lost." When that ends, I will probably give "Monk" a try. (more)


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