Sunday, 24 July 2011

Day 23: Television Substitutes

What to do when you have a cute little unconnected television complete with DVD player?  Why, watch DVDs, of course.  I have a collection of precisely 47, neatly categorised into Action/Thrillers, Quirky Comedies, Intelligent Dramas, Children's (sub-catgegory: Animation), and Far-Too-Violent-And-Nasty-But-Purchased-For-An-Academic-Paper-I-Had-To-Write.  (These last I watched out of the corner of my eye with the screams turned down and the subtitles on.)

I admit that compared to some collections, it is not extensive.  However, I pride myself on the quality of each and every entrant.  With the exception of the final category, they are a delight to watch over and over.  But my problem with films is that they are a delight to watch over only in the company of some other person.  For films are meant to be sociable experiences.  You are meant to be able to pause, go get some more nachos, have a toilet break, laugh at your companion when you catch them dashing away a tear, or, as in the legendary 1998 viewing of Elizabeth, spend half the film hiding in the kitchen and asking, "Can I come out yet?" 

In  short, films are no good for those lonesome evenings when one is all on one's ownio.  For that, one needs the iPlayer.

I freely admit that the iPlayer is not quite the same as having the whole range of cable TV at the press of a button.  But it is not a bad substitute.  The Frugalist knows she has to compromise on quality and convenience, which is what we pay our money for.  The journey will take longer by bus.  The cheaper shampoo will not be as luxurious as the more expensive one.  It's how it goes, and one is rewarded instead by the warm glow of virtue.

Some people mistakenly believe that you need a TV licence to watch BBC iPlayer, but this only applies if you want to watch the programme as it is airing.  If you try to do that, a warning box comes up and asks if you have a licence.  But if there is no warning box, then go ahead and watch it: you are not going to be caught out accidentally, and you are entitled to watch it absolutely free.  See here for confirmation.  And there are no such issues at all with the other channels.

This won't help people outside the UK (at least, I don't think it will - I'm guessing other countries will have their own versions).  But for those within, the links you need are:
Channel 4
Channel 5

Now excuse me while I catch up with The Killing.

1 comment:

Jason said...

See, if you'd watched the original (and best) version of The Killing [Forbrydelsen] when it aired on BBC4 earlier in the year you wouldn't have this problem.

Also, charity shops are a great way to get (often quite new) DVDs for around the £3-4 mark and you're giving money to a good cause. Then if you don't want it you can give it back - I think we need to get you up to the half century. How's your French, cause I've got some without subtitles.

The best anecdote on this subject was an ex-girlfriend whose flatmate got up to answer the phone during the original From Dusk Till Dawn (when everyone still thought it was a Tarantino movie) and came back and asked "Have I missed anything..?"

Oh, and I welled up with patriotic something during the Tilbury speech in the second Elizabeth movie... :-)