Monday, December 6, 2004

CinemaNow and television

When I got my Zen Portable Media Center back from Creative's repair department, they included a coupon for two free movie downloads from CinemaNow. I could pick any of the download-to-keep movies that were specially pre-resized for the Portable Media Center's display, which is almost all of their download-to-keep movies. I quickly became disappointed with their selection, which encompassed maybe 150 movies. The only one that I remember seeing in the list that I had even heard of before was Bumfights. So much for renting a classic that I haven't seen yet, like Citizen Kane or Magnolia, both of which have been recommended to me many times. The best I can hope for is homeless people beating the crap out of each other, which would probably be entertaining for a few minutes and then really unpleasant and depressing, like a Tarantino movie.

To their credit, their rental movies are much more extensive and current, like Saved! and The Day After Tomorrow. I could even rent them as pay-per-view from my remote, if I didn't want to walk the nearly four feet from my comfy chair to the desk. I might try it out sometime. But, for about the same price as three downloaded movies I could have significantly more through a DVD rental service, with presumably better video quality. Oh well; it doesn't matter in the meantime, as I have a vast horde of TV on DVD that I've already paid for and would rather be seeing.

And speaking of TV, I watched last week's episode of House tonight. It's on at the same time as Scrubs, so I've missed every episode but this one. I experienced something that I don't think I had before... I was enthralled by the main character, Dr. House, but didn't really care for the rest of the show. The show is a medical drama, which we certainly don't need any more of. The writing was decent (except House's lines, which were hilarious), but it's just not a genre I care about. Dr. House, though, is an excellent character. He's basically what Dr. Cox from Scrubs would be like if Scrubs were a drama. House is an extremely sarcastic, realist bastard. But, as long as it's on during Scrubs, it doesn't really matter in the end.

This Windows Media Center Edition has really made TV more pleasant... and, now it's really easy to save a show that I think was particularly excellent. I found a program that lets me trim commercials out of shows with a couple clicks, and then I can convert them to Windows Media 9 Video. Now I don't have to be content with snatching up more TV on DVD than I can ever manage to watch; I can save copies of the shows that I do watch too. Technology in the hands of obsessive people is a dangerous thing.

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