Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Glad I don't have cable anymore (G4TechTV troubles) 

A while back we decided to drop cable, mostly for financial reasons. One of the things I hated getting rid of was TechTV, since I watched The Screen Savers on most days. Screen Saves was pretty fun, a live tech show that was a bit rough around the edges. I know some people scoffed at it, but they had some decent news and features and encouraged a lot of people to get into technology a bit more actively.

I got rid of cable right before the the merger of TechTV and G4. Now, I also did like watching G4. I wasn't so much into their original programming since it felt pretty flat to me (like Pulse), but they ran a lot of shows made by others. For instance I seem to be one of the few people who likes Judgement Day and Filter was a pretty fun way to spend some time. Nerd Nation had a couple of good shows (I especially liked the original one), though it was kind of annoying that they tried to shoe-horn disparate canadian standalone specials into one show. I can't remember if Icons was original or not, but I'm a sucker for pop culture history, so that was great as well.

But G4 also had quite a lot of dead space. Tons of re-runs and stuff like Cinematech. TechTV also had its share of padding, though not nearly as bad as G4. I was hoping that the merger would let both of them get rid of the fluff and make a more solid content-rich network, but it certainly doesn't sound like it panned out that way.

First they lost both Leo and Patrick as the hosts of Screen Savers, both of which was a great loss. Leo had a tendancy to go a bit weird and say innapropriate things at times, but he had some good knowledge and enough clout to get some good guests on the show. Patrick I think had become a real heart to the show, with solid knowledge and very strong views against things like the DMCA. Kevin and Sarah both seem like good people, but I don't think would really have the clout/authority the same way as the others. Like I couldn't see Kevin getting away with some of Patrick's strongly stated opinions...

I never had the chance to see Alex, who would become the new co-host with Kevin. It seems like that doesn't matter now, because neither are hosts anymore! I mean geeze guys, talk about a lack of stability. I can understand Kevin wanting to get back to doing more content development, but why get rid of Alex not long after hiring him and having him move to the area? Why shake up things for an audience already unsettled by the merge and host changes? And Periera might be fine as the new host, but since he already does hosting on other G4 shows, that takes away from some of the individuality of the screen savers. There's also the fact that he's known more for game expertise, which fits in with the seeming elimination of most tech stuff for gaming. I'd heard from a friend that SS already wasn't as tech-centered as it used to be, having more fluff spots and less important guests. I can't say this additional shake-up is boosting my confidence..

The second big thing of late is that Unscrewed is now gone. I never actually had a chance to watch the show, but lots of people unhappy.

It just seems like there is barely anything of TechTV left in the line-up. IMO, it was pretty silly to just buy up another station and then use barely any of the content. Maybe they wanted to remove the competition, but it seems like TechTV was really filling a niche. If they just destroy what there was, I'm guessing someone else will just start up a new technology channel to compete. It is only a matter of time really....

Oh well, TechTV was nice while it lasted. Here's hoping either G4 gets its act together or new competition isn't too ong in coming...

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