Internet fragility

I switched from cable TV to internet TV (Slovene SIOL provider – ADSL) a while ago. At the time it looked like a good move, but not everything is evident at beginning. Here is my list of pros and cons:


  • plenty of channels

  • switching to future standars might be easy


  • plenty of useless channels

  • picture quality is problematic, specially on scenes with lot of changes (you know, the usual decompression story)

  • forget classic VCR – there is no way to let VCR change the channel with my STB (Amino that is)

  • no support for anything else besides Amino (i.e. Windows Media Center)

And the biggest problem out there, the one made me write this post, is incredible fragility of this technology. It isn’t mature by any means. Occasionally modem freezes (needs a reset), sometimes Amino freezes (needs a reset) and today at evening there is no picture at all on any channel. Apparently infrastructure provider messed something. Since it is late the problem won’t be repaired until tomorrow, hopefully. And there goes my show.

If you worry that eventually the internet TV technology will gain maturity and will stabilize, fear not, there are new problems on the horizon. Competition is pushing for even faster speeds, either ADSL2+ or VDSL, or new HDTV standard which will probably translate in even more problems.

So, instead of simply watching TV one has to deal with providers and technology, resetting gadgets and staring at blanks screens sometimes. Ah, the beauty of new technologies. Did I mention my PocketPC? The story is strikingly similar. Once upon a time I had a simple Nokia 6210 mobile phone which didn’t have a single problem. Until it died on me one day. Then I went with Qtek 2020 PocketPC (pocket pc with Windows). Soon I found myself resetting the thing once per day, since the phone part has frozen at least once per day (with no obvious signs of course – the only sign was that the caller got “not available” message or you got it if you wanted to phone somebody). And of course upgrading ROMs here and there.

I guess the bottom line is that better the gadgets are and more work they do for you, more work you have to do to keep them doing more work for you. I fear the day I will have to deal with ultra intelligent elevators…

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