Digital Culture


April 7, 2014

The way we use television has changed forever. Image

It’s not just what your antenna can pick up, in fact your antenna is a museum relic at this point.  So, selecting a TV has become as complex as picking a tablet or choosing a SMART phone.  In fact, they now have SMART TV.  Quite frankly, the TV is smarter than I am because I needed to create a glossary on Evernotes just to figure out what all these things did.


I started by figuring out exactly what we needed our TV to do.  Then, I had to prepare my partner to translate all our needs into Czech.  We were still on the fence about satellite vs. cable.  Satellite offered the promise of English language television if we could get the thing hanging off the side of our building pointed in the right direction.  Our review of the cable options had revealed little hope for anything in a language other than Czech.  Some countries, including many we visited in South and Central America, leave American programming in English and add subtitles.  They want their citizens to learn English as the key to their economic competitiveness.  Apparently, Czech people don’t give a damn.  They want it in their native tongue.  So access to the outside world was key to our features list.

What we needed:

  • HD – because let’s face it – technology has moved on to UHD and 3D – so this was a minimum requirement.
  • Netflix + VPN – at least the capability to allow me to see Orange is the New Black when the second season is finally released.
  • Satellite – just in case that is our only hope.
  • Wireless – nobody wants to be a prisoner of cables and wires
  • 2 USB ports (at least one capable of USB Recording) – you never seem to have enough USB ports and DVRs are apparently passé.  It’s USB recording now.
  • Ethernet – just in case I need the strongest signal possible to stream my English language television.
  • 2 HDMI – I never like to have just one of anything.
  • All the DVB possibilities – I had to look this one up – it goes like this – satellite(DVB-S), cable television (DVB-C) and DVB-T for terrestrial television.   DVB-T2 is the most up-to-date type of digital signal.  Apparently there is nothing for extra-terrestrial television.
  • SD Card slot (optional) – this is handy for viewing photos – but you can put them on an USB as well.

Armed with an overwhelming amount of choices and an infinite number of possible combinations we marched over to the electronics store to talk to the macho Czech tech men who sold TVs and such as smoothly as any young gun in Best Buy in the US.

We discovered yet another layer of complexity – even TVs have an ecosystem.  Now that TVs are routinely connected to the internet they have made content deals and everyone is not playing the same tune.  Sony had Sony Entertainment while Samsung claimed to offer a NetFlix interface.  No explanation of whether that would bypass the geographic content restrictions that had blocked us from watching Netflixs already.



We just stood in front of 100s of screens blaring content, wringing our hands, perfect targets for a tech salesman with any game.

We left the store with a Sony KDL-50W656 and a numb feeling of sticker shock – still a long way from seeing anything remotely in English but finally with the potential to connect with the GLOBAL MOBILE WORLD.


Now on to the choice of a VPN and finally to my NetFlixs.

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  • Jeff Pilisuk (@ienso) April 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    That’s a big TV. As a mobile worker, how are you planning to travel around with that thing?