Sunday, August 02, 2009

ThisTV

So, for those of you who labor and toil through life with cable television or six or eight tacky grey little satellite dishes mounted to your homes, apartments, or vans down by the river you missing a truly life-altering experience. That experience, of course, is the digital television experience that is ThisTV.
I never really realized just how much the switch to digital television broadcasts revolutionized the American television scene until I started looking into ThisTV. Please allow me to explain. For whatever reason, the technology associated with digital broadcasting allows each station to broadcast subchannels, so like Channel 5 in your local area will broadcast on Digital Channel 5.1, which is usually the main network programming just like it always used to be in analog, Digital Channel 5.2 which might be the WB or something like that, and Digital Channel 5.3 which might be 24/7 weather or something, and so on and so forth. This is sort of revolutionary because now with your digital antenna instead of getting just one option from Channel 5 you get two or three, and it works that way for each channel. That is so many more choices. Just imagine if 5.3 was ESPN or The Weather Channel or CNN. See what I mean?
Anyway, for those of you who aren't acquainted with the little gem of a television network that is ThisTV, you need to check it out. It was developed as a joint venture between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which you might know better as MGM, and the Weigel Broadcasting Company for the purpose of filling up these digital subchannels. Basically what this "network" does is broadcast just about anything that they find in the MGM catalog to the masses, which is an exceedingly good idea for both of these companies. I would venture to guess that is why they did it. It's smart because Weigel gets a boatload of cash for running the channel, and MGM gets its movies and TV shows out in the public eye, so it's almost like a continuously running infomercial for MGM and their catalog of shows.
The greatest thing about all this is that they don't exactly screen the parts of the catalog that they put up there, so there are some absolutely terribly movies that go out over the airwaves. Seriously. If you are one of those people who are infatuated with absolutely God-awful movies, like most of us are just a little bit, it's the place for you. In the space of one afternoon while I was watching it they showed three movies that I had never heard of before, and I saw an advertisement for a fourth. The first movie was a sort of farce about some unknown gloved man killing obnoxious cheerleaders featuring Tommy Smothers, the second starred Phil Collins dressed as a sort of punk rocker who then went on to wear a pimp overcoat at the airport in Acupoulco and then black socks on the beach after that, the third starred David Carradine and I can only assume involved karate or the Old West or karate in the Old West, and the fourth was called The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave and I am sure was just as terrible since it was made the year I graduated from high school and is seemingly about me yet still I have never heard of it.
That's what you can expect from This TV. I am not knocking it because I won't lie, I sat there raptured and just watched the ridiculousness for quite some time. In the end it's entertaining in a sort of Mystery Science Theatre 300o sort of way, and I suppose that it's nice to always have a movie showing. It just makes me giggle. So thanks DTV, without you there never would have been a ThisTV, and without ThisTV I just don't know where I would be able to watch great films like Pandemonium, and I just don't think I could live like that anymore.

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