Finding something to watch on Netflix.

We in the viewing audience had this crazy idea that ultimate choice would be ultimate freedom. No more racing home to have your butt in the couch to not miss starting time, or setting the VCR or DVR and hoping the power wouldn't flicker and screw up all attempts to record your show while you were at work.

All freedom all the time.

Whatever show we'd want, when we wanted it.

Perfectly recommended shows based on our revealed preferences.

"Why in the heck is Netflix recommending that horror movie to me?"

"I watch one documentary, and I can't get a decent piece of fiction to show up in my feed now."

"Why are the trending shows different than the ones I see in my account?"

So let's say you set aside two hours to watch a movie. You've already failed. It's not enough time. You need about an hour to figure out what you're going to watch and as you can see, the math won't work out for you.

"How about this one?"

"Only has two stars."

"This one looks good."

"Yes, let's watch it."

(It's in a foreign language.)

"Why don't they let you choose a setting that let's you hide non-English films if you want that?"

Basically what you end up doing is choosing a few favorite shows that you watch an endless number of times because they've become your fallback shows that, after 40 minutes of not finding something to watch and endless clicking of your Roku remote and exclamations of "there's nothing to watch" you watch the fallback show and sort of fall asleep.

"Midsomer Murders" for example.

Then you find yourself signing up for Sling, a service that has some on-demand shows but is mostly sold as live TV programming, and then, when you can't make a decision about what to watch on Netflix (or Hulu, or Amazon Video), you go to Sling and just watch whatever is playing on the network now.

You've literally come full circle, shaking off the bondages of network TV and some Hollywood honcho dictating what you'll watch and when, and then find yourself with unlimited video freedom completely paralyzed, running back to previously scheduled programming.

I guess just read a book.

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