How To Ruin A Good Movie

May 30, 2012
Technology Editor Bill Wong watches way too much television and uses the web even more but lately that TV has been annoying him more than usual.

There is a lot of things wrong with television these days. There are too many commercials. Most of the content is really poor (ok, it is worse than that but I can't get too descriptive here). Channels are putting logos in the lower right that stay there all the time.

The latest annoyance is the Trivia Notes that AMC (American Movie Channel) cable station is putting on most of their movies.These are essentially popups that show up in the lower part of the screen. Worse, they are animated. If you really want to annoy someone watching a movie just throw up dumb stuff like this. Of course, this is now what they show most of the time so it is almost a reason not to watch or to find the movie using other unscrupulous means.

I'm watching Space Cowboys right now. Just saw something worse. The caption gave a warning about IKON. That is the name of the satellite they need to fix. Now if the director wanted to put something like that on the screen it might be ok and it would probably be done a bit more creatively. This is just plain annoying, stupid and a real turn off. I would watch a recording except it would have been on the DVR that would have recorded this mess anyway.

I do have a few Blu-Ray disks like Star Trek and Blazing Saddles. The latter is one I will always put on if it is on TV because it is always hacked to pieces on cable. Sometimes I wonder if they could turn it into a silent film as they blank out the audio on about a third of the film (ok, not that bad but close).

Unfortunately things may not be getting any better with any other video sources. There is already a bunch of stuff you can't jump over on a Blu-Ray disk unless you rip it. There was less on DVDs but no much. I don't even want to get on about the On Demand "feature" that is available on most cable or satellite systems.

Actually I will. There are two things that have showed up more lately including the ability to fast forward and SD "quality" playback. The lack of fast forward is sometimes attributed to not wanting people to skip over commercials but it just means you now hate whatever you have to watch because you know you don't want to. Likewise, you cannot jump to the spot you last watched or skip back to something because you accidentally left the room.

The SD playback is occurring more often with HD channels at least on Verizon FIOS that I have here. Worse, it records the original in HD layout but plays it back in SD form so you now have an image that is half the size of the screen with black all around. The quality is lower as well as would be expected with an SD video. This is essentially a lose-lose situation. Add to that these little AMC tweaks and you don't have to wonder why people are trying to drop these services as fast as possible.

Oh no. Blooper notes. I better quit while I am behind and find something else to watch. Too bad because I like the movie. Maybe I will just listen to it. I really didn't want to go out and buy the DVD.

I do actually use a laptop or tablet when watching TV and will often look this stuff up while watching some movies but it is on demand and does not mess up the video I am watching. AMC could have made an app for that. I just wish they could have an option to remove this "feature." At least you can turn captions on and off.

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