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Streaming frustration

January 5, 2023

I hate technology. Well, not all technology, obviously. I mean, wind turbines are fine. In fact they’re excellent, as are many other things. I mean computers and related technology.

Yeah, e-mail’s nice. A good way to share information with colleagues without having to actually speak to the ones you don’t particularly like. A good way to get in touch quickly with friends and family. But, really, what’s wrong with the phone? What’s wrong with letters? Letters were great. Letters were something special. An e-mail generally is nothing special. And delivering letters provided a lot of good union jobs. 

Yes, okay, it’s nice to be able to look something up quickly without needing a bookcase full of encyclopaedias or having to make a trip to the library. Handy. Dictionary online? Great, but you know what? I have an Oxford dictionary beside my desk and it’s usually quicker.

Typewriters were just fine. Okay, having to retype an entire manuscript after revisions sucked and I am the first to admit that having to post press releases a week before an event was a pain. But faxes took care of the latter. 

Oh, who am I kidding? Computer and related technology has made life easier in many ways. When it works, that is. When it doesn’t, it’s just infuriating.

What’s brought this on? Streaming.

DVDs were fine. And before them videos. You could buy them if it was something you knew you’d want to watch more than once. Or you could rent them. Dropping them off wasn’t a hassle. But, just as video killed the radio star, streaming killed DVD rentals. I hate watching things on the computer. I like to sit comfortably on my sofa and watch things on the television. So streaming was no use to me until I had to replace my DVD player and decided to go with one that also provided access to Netflix and YouTube. Lots of stuff on both. But then others wanted to get in one the act (and cash cow). Things that were on Netflix disappeared and were only available on other streaming services. Services I could not access on my television, services only an option on my computer. Facebook (another thing we could really do without) would throw up tantalising ads for things available on BritBox or Acorn – things I actually really wanted to watch.

I have a perfectly good television, so I certainly wasn’t going to cough up hundreds of dollars to replace it with a “smart” TV. Instead, after Joe explained how they work to me during one of our walks, I invested in a gizmo. A Roku gizmo.

It works fine for Netflix and YouTube and first Acorn, then BritBox, and Prime (to which I had to subscribe briefly after the series of Reacher appeared there). Then Slow Horses became available on Apple TV. Well, I was going to have to briefly subscribe to that, wasn’t I?

It was fine (it was great!) for three episodes. Then, when I clicked on episode four, a notice came up on the screen informing me that the video was unavailable and I should check my internet connection. Nothing wrong with my fucking internet connection. All other streaming services work just fine. I managed to figure out that if I started again on episode one and fast forwarded to the end, the next episode would start. Did this again with episodes two and three, then just binged the remaining three. Same problem with pretty much every other show or film I had any interest in watching: Video unavailable. Fuck that. I cancelled the subscription.

That was then. Of course I’d forgotten about the problem when a friend mentioned series two of Slow Horses was now available. Right. Time to renew Apple TV subscription. ARGH!! Video not available. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Clicked on series one, episode one, fast forwarded through that and the remaining five. Got to series two, episode one. Video not available. FUCK!!!!!!!!

I’ll give Apple one thing: you can actually talk to a person.

Yesterday I spent an hour on the phone with the Apple helpline trying to get to the bottom of – and find a solution for – this problem. Unfortunately the conclusion was that the problem is not at their end, but with Roku. Needless to say Roku does not have a helpline. As far as Roku is concerned you can fuck right off. Gah.

At eleven o’clock last night, instead of going to bed with my book, I bit the bullet and went to bed with my laptop. Figured I’d watch the first three episodes and get my head on the pillow around 2am. Fine. Instead I watched all six episodes and my head didn’t touch the pillow until 4:30am. Not so fine. I did consider stopping after three, but having to watch the show on my computer was pissing me off so much I decided I just didn’t want to have to do it twice.

Last thing I did before switching the light off was cancel the Apple TV subscription.

I guess I might need to buy a different gizmo before series three. Argh.

__________________________________________

PS Just has a comment from my friend Jane. Apparently I need to learn how to pirate. Oh, ha, ha. This is as close to “pirating” as I’m ever likely to get.

From → Blog

One Comment
  1. janeshead permalink

    You need to learn to pirate…

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