Wednesday, April 14, 2010

CBS: Crappy Broadcasting System

Pardon the lameness of the title of this post. I’m sure there’s something much wittier that can be constructed from the letters CBS, including some more colorful options that I omitted in order to keep my blog family-friendly. Nevertheless, the given title will suffice for the purpose of this post, which is to complain about the absurdly difficult activity of watching CBS television.

For several years now, CBS’ The Amazing Race has been one of only a few television shows that Melanie and I have consistently watched. However, this seemingly simple task has become much more difficult in the last two or three years. You see, The Amazing Race is scheduled to air on Sundays at 8 p.m. (Eastern). However, because CBS almost always broadcasts sports programming during the daytime hours on Sundays, and because sporting events rarely conclude at the appointed hour, The Amazing Race is basically guaranteed not to begin at its scheduled time. Quite honestly, I’d guess that the Race begins on time less than 10% of the time. The aggravating thing is, you have no idea when it will begin. It could be 8:10, it could be 8:40, it could be anywhere in between or later. Trying to watch the show when it actually airs is pointless.

“So watch it online,” I can hear some of you saying. Brilliant idea. In fact, that’s what Melanie and I do now. But that doesn’t put an end to my frustrations with CBS. I’d be more than happy to watch The Amazing Race online if I could watch it through Hulu or Netflix Instant Streaming, both of which I find to be quite satisfactory services. I’d even prefer to watch the Race online if I could watch it through one of these services, since it would reduce the amount of commercials I’d have to sit through. But, as it stands, online viewing of The Amazing Race is (legally) available only on CBS’ own website. And, wouldn’t you know it, CBS’ online video player sucks. I’ve used NBC’s several times and been relatively pleased. But CBS’ video player has lower quality resolution, does not stream in widescreen, and somewhat regularly malfunctions, forcing me to refresh their website and figure out exactly how far into the show I had watched so I can skip ahead and not re-watch everything. What’s more, their commercials are quite the nuisance. Often, I get identical commercials back-to-back, as if watching the same commercial twice in a row makes me doubly likely to buy the advertised product. (Never mind the fact that every commercial break is likely to feature the exact same commercial, almost always played twice.) In addition, the commercials almost always kick the video player out of full-screen mode, meaning that if you want to watch your TV show at its maximum size, you have to resize the video player every time you sit through a commercial.

These are petty complaints, perhaps. The reason I get so aggravated with CBS is because they are so much worse than any other online movie/TV-watching service that I’ve tried. It’s offensive that CBS won’t offer the same quality of online viewing that you can get from most everyone else. It suggests that they don’t really care that much about their viewers, as long as they’ve got them.


  1. I hate all the inconvenience that comes with these so-called wonders. It just isn't always worth it. And I hate being bumped off my favorite programs for sports, as if they are just so almighty wonderful and EVERYBODY wants to watch those.

  2. This sounds SO frustrating. We are getting quite spoiled on t.v. by who we live with. Fast forward, rewind, record... It makes you wonder why they don't care more about their viewers. I think if I kept seeing commercials twice in a row, I'd be sure to NOT buy the product just out of protest :)