Thursday, October 24, 2013

AT&T U-verse — solution to a problem you don't have.

  
   Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!
     A scream is hard to convey on paper. A little more guttural, a little more Linus-with-his-head-tipped-back, mouth an enormous "O":
     Arrrrgggggggggggghhhhh!
     Better.
     AT&T U-verse "In my day" commercials. You've seen 'em. I've seen 'em and I don't watch television, except for Bulls games. Everybody's seen 'em. They're everywhere. The same set-up. Older kids, early teens, adopting a fake sage tone, watching younger kids enjoying the key U-verse feature, apparently: the ability to move your television from one room to another. Commiserating how they couldn't do that when they were small. (To watch an AT&T U-verse commercial, click here.)
    'Cause that's a big regret in a kid's life: not being able to move the family's gigantic television around.
    Now I'm asking you—yes, you, personally—if you have U-verse, have you ever dragged your HDTV outside? Who the hell does that? And most TVs are what, 50-inches across.  Enormous plasma flat screens. Half the time they're bolted expensively to the wall. They're as portable as stoves.
     And really, why should they be moved outside? Why would anyone want to do that? For a kids party? Really? These commercials always show little kids hopping in front of the conveniently moved U-verse-bundled TVs at a birthday party. Have any of the chuckleheads who conceived these commercials ever hosted a party for kids? Chaos. Disorder. Destruction. Mob madness. When my boys were of the age to have big birthday parties, we hid away beforehand any heavy objects that one sugar-crazed child might use to bludgeon another. Barely helped. Once, the boys pelted each other with boots.
     The last thing I'd do is drag my TV outside so some child could knock it over, probably onto another child, killing him. Not that moving the TV was anything I ever contemplated. Because where's the television, typically? Biggest, most kid-friendly room in the house, right? Finished basement. Rec room. Living room. It's already where you want the kids to be sequestered.
    Besides, giant televisions cost, what,  a couple hundred bucks nowadays? Families already have them in every room large enough to hold one and in a few that aren't. No moving around necessary.
     There's pathology lurking here. Huge corporations have a grim track record of failure when it comes to mistaking what they would like to sell to the public with what people actually want or can be made to think they want. The prime example of this of course is the Picturephone which ... AT&T has been trying to foist on an indifferent public for 50 years. Because really, what do you want less than for whatever person is calling you to also be able to see you? AT&T is still at it. Here's a thought: try hawking your stuff on a selling point that means something to somebody. Say U-verse is ... oh I don't know ... cheaper. Cheaper is always good. And it would be cheaper, too, if you didn't waste a fortune on those "In my day" commercials.
     Or am I wrong? Have you wheeled the TV out to the deck? I am open to the possibility that there might actually be actual people who actually do this. Are there? Hello?


Photo above: At the Art Institute of Chicago; atop blog: viewing the Art Institute's Thorne Rooms.

13 comments:

  1. Couldn't those commercials be relevant for any new technology? "In my day, I just used my phone to make phone calls", "In my day I used to have to wait over a minute to connect to the Internet." My point being that they are not super creative coming from what one would assume is a big time ad agency. Anyway, I watched tv outside once about eight years ago. We watched a rented dvd of "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou " with my wife. She wanted to watch a movie, but it was a pleasant summer evening and I wanted to sit outside. However, we haven't put the tv and dvd player outside again, for some reason. Probably because it is too much of a hassle. In other tv outdoors sightings, there are neighbors that throw up a backyard screen and project Bears games if there is a night game during the first part of the season.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed. "I used to have to lick a stamp..." Still, I'm glad you did it once. I'd hate to think nobody had, ever. Thanks for writing.

      Delete
    2. Made in the USA: "SkyVue Outdoor TV makes the outside fun again. Whether you're on your patio, deck or boat there is a SkyVue LED outdoor TV that will fit your space." http://www.skyvue.com/

      Delete
  2. I don't think it's about MOVING TV's, it's about having one cable service that serves all the TV's in all the rooms, with different channels on each one. Instead of having to watch one show in the room where the cable-attached TV was, you get the magic of every TV getting whatever show people want whenever they want it. I've seen these commercials (during sports also!) and hadn't noted the actual movement about giant TV's to other rooms, just kids in other rooms. Nonetheless, they are stupid and annoying. Like most commercials. Hence, reading books, which also can be moved from room to room.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not only are books portable but, unlike TVs, they are actually often interesting.

      Delete
  3. Hey Neil--lots of us who have cable TV DON'T have giant TVs or even digital TVs. I have my same 19" square analog television that I've had for about 30 years. It works fine as long as it is hooked up to the cable box. If t should ever die (not likely, I'll probably die first) I would seek out and buy, probably on craigslist for $20 or so, another small analog TV. You could not give me, even forv free, a digital, giant, or HD TV, and I think so-called "widescreen" is an abomination. (I still have a flip phone, from Consumer cellular, with no Internet access and texting disabled, you couldn't give me a smartphone. It has a camera built in as you can't buy a phone without a camera these days, but I disabled it).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't understand. When you say you "don't" have a huge TV, you mean .... you don't have it, YET, right? Or that you call it something else? A monitor. That's it, correct? I mean, you can't actually not have one. That isn't allowed.

      Delete
    2. Don't turn me in Neil. I would not do well in the technology reeducation camps. I have never even sent a text message on a phone. Not even once.

      Delete
    3. That's okay -- I'm looking over your data sheet now -- the whole "Anonymous" thing is just a ruse, to lull you into a false sense of security. I think, at your age, you have nothing to worry about. : )

      Delete
  4. Interesting photo on top (Thorne Rooms).

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've never wanted to haul my TV around, thank you, but come to think of it, a nice summer day on the deck, watching a ballgame, the best of both worlds, actually. Too bad my TVs weigh 80 pounds each. It's a nice fantasy.

    Actually, I think U-verse is missing the boat on the advantages of their service. The best thing about it is, to me, that you can put your TV where you want it, without being tethered to a cable outlet on the wall. When I moved into this place, my furniture placement was entirely dependent on where the cable boxes were. I would have had a very different layout without that consideration.

    I just got an expandable phone system, where only one phone needs to go into a jack, and the rest go wherever there's an electrical outlet, like wi-fi for phones. I love it, not being limited to where the half-drunk, totally insane people who built my place installed phone jacks. Would I be sold on doing that with TVs? Absolutely. Much more than rolling the tv around the joint, like a dum sum cater waiter.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well what they are really saying to me at lest is that can out your tv in spots that were hardto put them in in many houses. For example on the wall opposite the windows...without havin wires crossing the room. Or in the spot in the kitchen where the comcast guy has told you it's impossible. Some houses don't have this issue but the architecture of others make the u verse thing very tempting. The ads to me are just a clever way of making the point.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I find these ads to be incredibly insulting.
    They're telling people that a bunch of 8 year olds are smarter than everyone else.
    That's not a great way to win friends & influence potential customers.

    Then there's all the junk mail that AT&T, Comcrap & RCN send me every week to sign up. At least two pieces from each per week. No wonder they charge so much.
    I have a friend who's on a condo board & the price the cable companies give to condos is less than half of what they charge smaller buildings & single family houses.
    So it's obvious that the single families are subsidizing the condos.

    ReplyDelete