TV’s New Technology, Really?

The Jewish News
Alan Muskovitz

Alan Muskovitz

For months, pop-up messages from my cable provider have been appearing on our home’s television screens urging me to, at no charge, upgrade my cable television system with their newest technology. I was directed to Channel 1995 for instructions.

First of all, how is it possible there are 1,995 channels to begin with? The handful of channels I regularly tune into have enough trouble filling up their 24/7 schedules. Why else would Fox Sports Detroit repeat every Tiger’s game several times prior to the next live telecast? I’d like to meet the person who knows the Tigers lost and still watches the rerun.

Your favorite nightly cable news shows are rerun at 11 each evening. Some channels air 24 consecutive hours of M*A*S*H or Friends. I’ve discovered that after four or five episodes, they actually start repeating the repeats.

ESPN has at least eight separate channels. That equals out to 1,344 hours of combined programming a week. How do you fill up that schedule? Look no further than ESPN2, which just last week began airing … drone races!

TLC runs nonstop back-to-back episodes of My 600 Lb. Life, the heart-wrenching series about people battling morbid obesity. Getting viewers to sit for hours on a couch “binge” watching a show about overeating can only serve one purpose. It’s TLC’s way of creating more 600-pound people for their series. But I digest … digress, sorry.

I finally ordered my new cable devices. I placed my order over the phone with a representative of my trusted American cable provider who ended up being a lovely young lady in a call center in the Philippines. The equipment arrived in a timely fashion.

In lieu of paying a cable representative to come to the house sometime between 8 a.m. and forever, I took advantage of the free phone installation assistance offered by a fine young gentleman in, you guessed it … the Philippines. He called himself John.

John patiently walked me through the process, which required untangling and removing 30 years of hidden, dusty old cable cords — as well as cords from a Wii game, Blue Ray disc player and a VHS machine; none of which have been used in decades. It would’ve been worse had I not recently removed our Victrola.

Next, John tutored me on how to sync the new cable boxes and remote controls with the company’s updated software. Prompts on the televisions asked me to choose what language I wanted my remote controls to respond to. As you may know, today’s voice-controlled TV remotes change channels on your verbal command. Amazing. Here I was, communicating with a man in the Philippines helping me instruct my Japanese-made television to speak English to me in our country that by the year 2065 will be 24 percent Hispanic.

Poor John, the Philippine Cable Guy. It was 6:20 a.m. Philippine time when we finally finished our (gulp) 2.5-hour phone session; a full hour past his normal quitting time. I asked if he was going home to sleep. This is the truth — he said he was going out for … a drink. Part of his normal routine with friends, he claimed. How I wanted to believe him, but, in my heart, I know our marathon cable installation drove him to hit the bottle.

I thought about John all night. If only I could have one more chance to speak to him, I would beg for his forgiveness .. .and ask him how to access Netflix using my new remote control.

Alan Muskovitz is a writer, voice-over/acting talent, speaker, emcee and a regular guest host on the Mitch Albom Show on WJR AM 760. Visit his website at laughwithbigal.com and “Like” Al on Facebook.

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