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Gearheading

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 13, 2005

Last week I did a column about some of the changes in TV technology, including recent deals by CBS and NBC, which you can find here.


I worked hardest at making the changes understandable, to stay away from the sort of jargon gearheads love when talking among themselves. Still, it was not my favorite kind of story to write, since new tech is not my strong suit. I am most comfortable writing about what is on the screen, not what the screen is or the bells and whistles that bring the show to your eyes.


Oh, I like toys. I have an HD TV set, a relatively cheap one. I have an MP3 player, although it already feels out of date -- it's almost as big as the palm of my hand! I covet satellite radio and love the Internet. (Yes, the Internet still counts as a toy to a lot of people, given the readers who contact me and don't have access -- or computers, even.)


But I also identify with a old Bill Cosby routine about cars, where as much as he loved fancy ones, he admitted that his knowledge was so limited that all he could tell servicemen was: ''It's broke. Fix it.'' That's me with just about any technology -- it takes a lot of work to understand it well enough to hazard an explanation.


Yet tech stories are unavoidable, not only because so much is changing, but because what is happening offscreen affects the kinds of shows you see. (I've already talked elsewhere in this blog about what tiny-screen TV might do to the way shows are produced.) In fact, I've already gotten involved in another tech story for later this year. Even the early research feels like baby steps into a swamp. But I expect to slog on; I can't hope to explain something if I don't understand it first.

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