We’re so overwhelmed with entertainment options today: Hundreds of cable channels. Hulu. Netflix. Lovefilm. On-demand. An abundance of choice can leave us paralyzed with indecision. The insubstantiality of those options — we no longer even need to physically possess a DVD to watch any given movie whenever we want — can make it even harder to make a decision. As TV critic Robert Lloyd wrote in the Los Angeles Times this week:
Consumer storage technologies such as record players and VCRs made what had been ephemeral arts — music, made of air, movies, made of light — into actual possessions. I come from a time when books and records and videos were valued as objects, as the bits and pieces out of which one constructed a private and even public self. But that wheel is turning again, back toward the insubstantial: Objects matter less now than information does, whether that information consists of an encyclopedia entry, a song, a movie, a television show or a photograph. What the Age of the Cloud sells is not stuff but access — access and abundance.
There is less psychic and practical responsibility in possessing the digital reduction of a book or CD or DVD than there is in owning the thing itself, which not only requires care in the present but disposition in the future to other temporary stewards. And there is even less in watching a television show beamed in from some server that will not even occupy space on your hard drive let alone your shelves, closets and garage. What you need to bring to this party, as choice multiplies upon choice, is discretion. You become not what you own but how you choose: You live in the moment, you are what you click.
So how do you decide what to click? Out of all the many options: a century of movies, 60 years of TV… How do you chose which movies and TV shows to watch?
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