Television experiments

In February of this year, i went to Dubai and decided to buy a Chromecast there since it wasn’t available in India at that point and the ones available were pretty expensive. Many factors went into this decision. I had resisted buying any kind of streaming devices and subscribing to streaming services for as long as i could. They were too expensive, too few and apart from Netflix and Youtube, nothing really existed that was worth the time and money. Another reason for my resistance to stream was lack of an internet connection fast enough to support not just my streaming but the 7 or so phones in my home used by everyone since everyone latches onto the wifi.

Another huge reason i decided to try streaming was that Indian English movie channels were starting to mess with the aspect ratio of English movies, even in the HD feed! That was grating for me. Surprisingly, the Hindi movie channels keep the original aspect ratios intact! This did not compute in my head and i tried a lot to understand why this was so but found no rhyme or reason behind this.

After a few months of Chromecast, i switched to a firestick simply because Amazon Prime doesn’t work on Chromecast and the firestick, with its own remote and software inside the device, doesn’t require my phone at all. Its infinitely better.

Netflix came, Amazon Prime came, Youtube was always there and Hotstar was becoming better but it was my least favorite of the lot. I got the chromecast and started streaming as much as possible. Eventually i realised i was not even using my Tatasky DTH. I had completely moved to streaming all my television content. I was only paying for Netflix in the beginning though. Youtube was anyway free. A couple of movies from Google Play Movies here and there but that’s about it. The only reason i kept Tatasky was live sports. I hate streaming that and i prefer watching that on Tatasky in HD.

Now after 6 months of this, i am watching more independently created content and less of conventional TV Shows that used to be my staple earlier. I am addicted to good Youtube content. I fire up Youtube on my firestick more than any other app. I have discovered so many channels and vloggers in this period than the last decade of Youtube. I used to passively watch stuff on Youtube, now i do it actively.

Apart from this, Amazon Prime is a steal. Its so cheap i find it hilarious. Same goes for Hotstar. I subscribed to their yearly pack. I thought Hotstar would be a major disappointment but it’s turning out to be really really good! Netflix is the odd one out here. Hotstar, Prime and Youtube have so much Indian and regional content apart from Hollywood and Western content that you don’t really need Netflix anymore. It is already expensive when compared to Hotstar and Prime. I paid Rs. 500 for Prime for the WHOLE YEAR, Rs. 700 for Hotstar for a subscription for the whole YEAR. In comparison, Netflix costs me Rs. 650 PER MONTH for Netflix. This is supremely expensive.

Regardless of all this, this is a great time for anyone who does not want to get DTH, and still wants to watch all the TV Shows and movies. DTH can be expensive and despite paying a lot for HD Channels you still get cropped movies. The Firestick and the 3 main streaming services in India – Amazon Prime, Netflix & Hotstar should serve your needs. Get a decent internet connection and you won’t feel the absence of traditional Cable/DTH. Worth every penny.


Heavy on Nostalgia

Yesterday i was home alone for a fair bit of time and being alone, it usually leads to boredom and headaches which in turn always triggers memories of the past. I was remembering the 90s and childhood and everything related to it.

The first memory got triggered because i was listening to the X Files (Terrestrial Mix). It somehow reminded me of one image that’s burned in my memory like many others from my childhood. I don’t know the time or date. Its morning and during the monsoon season. I am home and eating a late breakfast maybe, i am in my living room, sitting where i usually sit and watching CNBC on the huge 32 inch Philips CTV we had in the corner. And my uncle had just arrived from our native. The reason i was watching CNBC is because the Tonight Show with Jay Leno was on. I used to watch that show for the first half hour and then skip the rest usually checking the end for more jokes. Funny bit is i used to understand the jokes. Especially the Headlines segment. No matter how much i tried week after week, i could never get the time or day right for when they used to air it. No such luck checking the papers too. But that day is somehow etched in my memory. I don’t know why or how. It just is. Its a random memory. But its there.

The second memory that got triggered is also a monsoon memory. I am in the building compound playing cricket and the image that is burned is me looking at my house. Maybe i am looking because mom is calling or maybe i am just looking up to the sky. I don’t know. And i am recalling the color blue with something. Just not able to associate it with something. Maybe an umbrella?

The third memory that i recalled was i had just returned home after playing in the rain. I remember i used to watch Tu Tu Main Main on TV. And i had missed it because i had got late. I remember mom making me take a bath and i was annoyed and i keep telling her ‘can’t you tell the cablewala to repeat it?’. I always smile at this because i did not know how TV worked back then and i am just throwing ideas to just watch my favorite show back then. I somehow forget it and remember watching something else with Satish Shah in it.

Its funny how all 3 memories i recalled have monsoon as a recurring element. Monsoon or Monsoon like weather always makes me nostalgic. I do not know what is it about monsoon that triggers so many memories of the past. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the new school year used to start right about when the monsoon started. It’s such a big trigger for me. I go so deep in to nostalgia that i forget what i am doing and also lose the connection with the present. Its ‘depressingly uplifting’ if i may say so. Its depressing because of obvious reasons: Those days were golden and are not coming back.

It is uplifting because I realise where i have reached after all these years: The Present…only to look back again and again.