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Media Modality Disorientation Disorder

1/18/2008 7:48 AM

Turns out, I’ve really grown accustomed to all those trick-play features.

Having spent the last two weeks shuttling among New York, Las Vegas (for CES) and Los Angeles (for SCTE’s Emerging Tech conference), I’ve been consuming a lot of video and music the old-fashioned way – without any pause, fast-forward or rewind buttons.

In hotel rooms, I kept having the urge to back up the TV a few seconds. What did that Headline News anchor just say about Barack Obama? Let me see that SportsCenter segment again. Then, as if waking from a bad dream, I’d remember I was DVR-less.

My rental car had XM radio. Nice, big channel selection. No trick-play controls.

Same problem on the plane. Actually, much worse: In your typical coach section, there’s only one channel. On a washed-out CRT. With lousy sound.

Coming back from L.A., it was The Jane Austen Book Club followed by the ever-so-wholesome 7th Heaven – take it or leave it. I found myself coveting the JetBlue 36-channel lineup. Does that make me shallow?

There’s music on airplanes, of course, 12 channels on domestic American Airlines routes. But again, you can’t jump to hear only the songs you like. Not that I didn’t enjoy listening to the 1984 synth classic "AEIOU Sometimes Y" by Ebn-Ozn, once the program looped around to it.

I spent most of the flight time listening to music on my laptop and wishing I’d downloaded some kind of video entertainment.

And, I had a book, perhaps the original trick-play technology: instantly flip to any chapter or page; stop; go back, re-read a page. But if only I’d had an electronic book reader so I could search on keywords…

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