On Demand

In living rooms all around the world, there has been a remarkable change in recent years. Already for a long period of time, people gather around the TV screen in order to have a cozy evening before bed time. A film on DVD or videotape, or less known; a Blue Ray might be hired from the local cinema store, possibly from the ‘comedy’ section. Once a film was chosen and paid for, there was no way back. Popcorn or crisps are bought, completed with a bottle of coke or some beers. But on the vast majority of evenings, the preference is to passively take in whatever is scheduled by a limited amount of TV channels. In this, hides a certain laziness and the absence of pressure to entirely follow the TV program. You can chat about the foregoing day and not be afraid to miss out on something. By far, this way of enjoying before bed time leisure, has my favour.

Streaming services already exist for a longer period of time. Yet, they only became increasingly popular in recent years. So of course, smart on-demand distributors have seen this too, and simplified the acquiring process. And doing so, they drastically changed the entire living room experience.

It goes like this (and I use an average family as an example). Generally, when visiting family for an evening, the TV is already turned on. Nothing special, just some trivial programmes running on the background while discussing some recent life events. But at a certain point, somewhere between 8 or 9 PM and briefly out of interesting topics to discuss, the TV screen takes its chance and starts to regain attention of those present in the room. By then, the chatter has lessened and the room is filled with the sounds, pounding from the TVs’ speakers. Nowadays’ digital receivers are good for some 250 channels, of which usually 220 ones are totally neglected. The preferred thirty are the traditional ones, already available since the nineties. They have the unthankful task to entertain the spoilt audience.

Thus, it is time for a radical intervention by whoever has control of the remote control. Following shortly, there is a spine chilling silence, as the master of the remote control skips to channel 200 and a selection menu comes into view. It displays the unmistakable red colour of a certain streaming provider, offering thousands of programmes and films.

Subsequently, the gathered family members start to fire suggestions at the remote control master, regarding the film choice. Generally, this part of the process is very time consuming. This has likely to do with the fact that a movie is a time investment, and therefore should be guaranteed to have grand entertaining value.

But ironically, picking the movie takes averagely as long as a movie itself. Moreover, choosing a film, on the worst of watching days, might cause an ongoing 2 hours cinema-worthy arguing experience, leaving everyone exhausted. When later, a film has ultimately been selected, another danger is lurking. As the selected movie has been carefully chosen, the possibility of it being somewhat mediocre, is indigestible for the demanding crowd. And so, the omnipresence of choice often results into the remote control master returning to the main menu to start the choosing process all over again.

© Stefan Hoekstra/The Social Writer, 2019. Unauthorized use/and or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full name and clear credit is given to Stefan Hoekstra and The Social Writer with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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