I chose to illustrate this Flickr Photo uploaded by the user SenseiAlan from a 1978 RCA SelectaVision Advertisement in Playboy, April 1978.
When I was browsing through the vintage pictures on Flickr this one immediately grabbed my attention, I saw the parallels between cable TV and streaming services. My partner and I's media consumption and internet services has really been on my mind lately. I recently received my internet bill, and yet again for the the third year in a row, it has increased another $10 without any service changes or upgrades. I called my service provider and they responded that this is just what my internet has always cost. My internet cost has been contingent on the advantages of these "internet only specials" and they don't have any new specials at this time. On the same day I received an advertisement from my same internet service provider, "Good news! My bill could decrease $30 a month if I bundled in cable services." I sighed and let my daughter rip up the letter in toddler frustration, mainly because it mimicked my own. I don't want cable TV, we have ENOUGH streaming services that seemingly increase with wacky charges every year. I haven't paid for a cable service in over a decade but why am I still beholden to this seemingly archaic industry? In the following remixed versions of the vintage ad, I illustrated my favorite parts about streaming services.
See if you can find the "RCA Selectavision Guy" from the original ad in the remakes.
We have all driven past a yard sales that are piled high with dusty old DVD and CD towers, maybe even cassette tape holders. We seemingly don't need hard copies anymore, the information database of the "cloud" systems hold all our data for us (again for nominal fees).
The original ad highlights how recording TV shows with the Selectavision device will get you to bed on time. Streaming services also provide the convenience of recording shows it also can give you the opposite convenience, binging.
I am constantly in wonder and frightened by AI and data analytics and the amount of information a company can collect about you by just knowing what you watch. I am sure that in 1978 when the original ad was made the idea of recording a show that your partner or roommate or parents or whomever you shared a TV with didn't have to suffer through WAS the future. Now you can build whole profiles, get recommendations, and advertisements that are tailored specifically to you, it's great and also scary how well these companies know you.
I love streaming although it's financial feasibility directly relates to internet access. As my internet bill creeps up and my streaming services start hiking their prices, am I really better off without cable? As I pondered my internet choices and let Netflix lull me into my partner and I's Sunday night tradition of Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act, the answer to my query appeared.
"The Man" big cable business' control the internet, since I live in the largest city of the Western Slope, Grand Junction, I have more choices than the communities surrounding me luckily when we moved here I could choose from either Charter/Spectrum OR Comcast. I was happy to see my the state I live in as a leader in "fighting the cable man" but bummed about my own choices. As I was driving down my neighborhood street the next morning singing "Jingle Bells" with my daughter (a classic tune that transcends all seasons) I saw a billboard that said "High-speed LOCAL broadband now available in YOUR neighborhood!" After a couple failed google searches, I found a company with better prices (albeit almost comparable prices), higher speed, unlimited data, no price hikes for services, and owned by a private local company. The hopeful future for me, is municipal broadband and internet access as a human right - but that is another story for another day. I found my solution to finding a way to enjoy my modern day SelectaVision, I hope you can unshackle yourself from "The Cable Man" too.
Check out the links below to learn more municipal broadband: