It's hard to put into words just how cool this is.

Here's what you're going to see when you click on the link: A crappy television set complete with rabbit ears, a remote control with only five buttons (channel up/down, volume up/down, and an option to make the playback fullscreen) and a classic issue of TV guide.

For those of you who might be a little too contemporary to get the joke, here's how it works. Much like days gone by, you check the TV Guide to see what's on, and then you use the buttons on the remote to try and find the appropriate channel. Some of them show up, some of them don't (which was always the worst part of being a part of that era in technology -- knowing something you might like to watch is on, but having no possible way where your house was situated to tune it in).

The volume controls work. The commercials are awful. The static won't go away. And, as many of us remember -- during Christmas season the only thing you got to see was ultra-schlocky Christmas versions of the shows that were normally on (a practice that still happens today on the networks, but with the vast expanses of cable isn't a month-long trap the way it used to be).
The other day all I could tune in was the Christmas episode of Perfect Strangers.
And just like the old days, instead of going outside and playing or, I don't know -- reading a book, I watched Balki in a Santa suit butchering every joke.

The only thing missing is a way to hit the side of the set to try to "help clear up the signal" (or perhaps the broken channel-changing dial with the pair of vice-grips attached to it).

Another cool feature that I've discovered since I've first stumbled across this thing is that just like old-time TV, the shows that were on last week aren't on this week, and unlike modern programming practices, there's basically no chance to see them on repeat broadcasting later in the day. In other words, if you missed it -- you truly missed it, which then (for some reason) you actually felt bad about when you realized all the other kids at school had seen it.

Let me be clear about something, though. Watching TV like this sucked ass. But it was all we had, and we fought tooth and nail for the chance to do it. In that sense, what makes this site great is that it recalls that suckiness and somehow makes it feel nostalgic and sweet.

Fortunately, after about 10 minutes I remembered how frustrating TV like this was, and came back from the visit with this particular ghost of Christmas past with a renewed appreciation for the improvements in equally vapid programming that we have today.

1 comment:

Jeffery said...

Play with the antennas, yo.

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