Saturday, September 11, 2010


As the FCC is embattled between consumer advocates and media corporations for net neutrality, that access to broadband should not be controlled by private profit interests, the media itself is changing. Yes broadcast TV mostly delivered by cable, remains the dominant source of information and entertainment. But how people access the content is no longer so much with a traditional TV set in the living room, but with cell phones and most recently the iPad. But this popular media source is also rapidly shifting to access through the internet. TV programs, movies and music are now streamed live or downloaded over the internet, making broadband access by computers evermore important to many Americans.

Now you can get all kinds of media content in every form from an on-line source whether it is Apple iTunes which now has much more than music, even digital books, TV programs, and movies. A similar kind of catalogue of content is now available from internet vendors like Amazon,com. And recently the USPS purveyors of movies on DVD’s has more and more that can be live-streamed over the internet. Even the cable companies like Comcast are making access to media content via the internet to TV programs, as well as cable channels and movies through their own web sites. Then there is Hulu and I don’t know how many new on-line services that are offering both movies and TV programming, some of it free, but more is expected to be available for moderate fees. I won’t even mention how much of politics is available in every format on-line.

Not long ago I mentioned that I turned in my cable TV box and replaced it with a basic model Mac Mini and now get as much TV as I want and all the movies I like from all over the world , mostly supplied by my membership with Netflix. And I just went a step further, with a retired Mac Mini that had been used for my office work and had been turned on 7 days a week all day for at least three years but developed a video output problem, so I replaced it with one of the new model Mac Mini’s. Even without any LCD screen output the old retired Mini still ran and I could access it with any of my other computers on my WiFi network. So I cleaned out ll of the office applications and the data storage on the hard drive to make it ready for another job. 

I got a mini stereo to RCA cable, usually used by iPod people to connect there stored music and play it through a regular stereo amplifier and speakers. So I connected this old cleaned-out Mini to my stereo system. And now with the latest version of iTunes installed I am in the process of putting all of my music CD’s in its iTunes library. So now another Mini replaces an old media device, my stereo system’s decrepit CD player. What’s the advantage? With itunes I can connect and control what is playing on the stereo from all the computers in my house and arrange a playlist that will run all day without any further attention. Of course if I want to buy some new music recordings, I can just connect to the iTunes Store and download whatever I want for a reasonable fee.

For me it is a convenience as well as a use of an old retired computer. However, I bring this to anyones attention and interest who would like to get more use and value from their computer. And for me it has been a kind of savings as well, as in the small town I live in, the cable company TV box access to traditional programming, and far too much advertising, costs much more in fees each month than I pay for a fast business-rate broadband service.

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