With my busy schedule here at the C-I and being a dad to two rambunctious boys, it’s sometimes hard to watch what I want when I want.
That’s OK, because here comes technology to the rescue.
In addition to owning a first-generation iPod Touch and pretty decent laptop computer and subscribing to local cable TV/Internet service, I also subscribe to Netflix, which happens to offer online streaming of movies and TV shows.
There have been situations recently where either due to competing schedules or family business, I, my wife or both of us have missed shows we enjoy.
For example, we’re big fans of the new “Hawaii Five-O” on CBS. But I’m also a fan of ABC’s “Castle.” They’re on at the same time and even though I could record “Castle,” it’s actually easier to jump over to the Hulu website where I can watch it for free with just a few commercial interruptions.
Same goes of CBS’ “NCIS” and ABC’s “No Ordinary Family” (which I highly recommend, by the way). “NCIS” is a show that my wife and I both like, while “Ordinary” is one only I care about.
Hulu helps again, thanks to ABC being one of Hulu’s partners.
In some ways, watching certain shows on Hulu (and if there’s a good competing service, someone let me know) using my laptop is better than watching on TV anyway.
That’s because my TV happens to have a standard 20-plus-inch screen while my laptop has a 17-inch “wide” screen. Most movies and TV shows just look better on it.
I mentioned Netflix. Some of the movies in our cue waiting to come to the house are also available for instant streaming.
That’s especially come in handy when the boys want to watch something with Batman or Scooby-Doo (yes, what a combination).
The quality’s pretty good, although it could be better and always improves as we get close to our home’s Wi-Fi node.
Recently, the boys noticed that a new animated “Superman” movie was available to rent. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available for streaming and I’m going to have to check its rating, anyway, to see if it’s appropriate.
In the meantime, I wanted to share my love of the character. Sometime back, I let them watch “Superman II,” which I have on disc, but it lacks a bit of context without seeing the original “Superman: The Movie.”
For a long time, the first movie wasn’t available with a “Watch Instantly” option and I haven’t been able to find it in stores.
If they were a little older, I’d let them watch “Smallville,” but it focuses so much on Clark Kent that, even with powers, I think they’d miss the cape.
Then I thought back 17 years to the excitement I felt when Dean Cain and Terry Hatcher graced the small screen in “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”
The show could be cheesy at times and the special effects of the early ‘90s were a bit behind today’s, but Cain did a great job balancing the Clark/Kal-El personas while Hatcher was the perfect Lois of the times.
I played back the pilot episode on my laptop and soon discovered the boys might have to wait -- all because of one character.
Catherine “Cat” Grant, as portrayed by Tracey Scoggins, is a bit too sexed up for 9- and 10-year-old boys. Oh well; they’ll be in their teens soon enough, right?
Anyway, I only got partway through the second episode one night when I decided to go to sleep. I later found myself in a situation where I had the time to play it back, but where the laptop was impractical.
Netflix offers a free iPhone/iPod Touch app for subscribers that lets them stream shows and movies to their mobile device.
I decided to try it out, headphones in hand, and play back the rest of the episode.
Due to the quality of 1990s videotape, “Lois & Clark” can look a bit grainy. But on the iPod it was amazingly clear.
And it picked up right where I left off the day before. Cool!
Plenty of other writers, mostly techie bloggers, columnists and journalists, have said this before, but I can now envision when most of the shows and movies we watch are on computers and mobile devices rather than what we think of as traditional TVs.
In fact, there are already examples of where folks merge the Internet with their flat-screen HDTVs for really “big” movie experiences.
So, depending on the situation, folks will watch in three ways: big screen HDTVs, laptops to some degree and hand-held devices.
Will people still even go to the movies? Sure. For the same reason you still read this newspaper or read a printed book: tradition and a love of the experience.
Without a giant HDTV -- with 3D capability no less -- I couldn’t imagine watching James Cameron’s Avatar any but in a movie theater.
I mentioned the printed book. I’ll be honest, I’ve been doing a lot of reading using my iPod thanks to a Kindle app from Amazon. The books tend to be cheaper and the reading experience is actually pretty good.
Google just entered that arena; it’ll be interesting to see where they stack up price and experience-wise.
In the meantime, I just learned that “Superman: The Movie” is available to stream through Netflix. Now I’ll be able to see if they “will believe a man can fly.”
Now, that’s entertainment!