Thanksgiving for Entertainment Choices

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Thanksgiving Day Macy's Parade
(Flickr/joiseyshowaa) Shrek at Macy's Thanksgiving Parade
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On Thanksgiving Day, it is appropriate to express our gratitude.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a day for food, family, and football. When it comes to football, a few will play, but most will watch.

Once the food and football are over, the brave will go shopping. A few might go to movie theaters to see the latest offerings. Many will retreat to their TVs, smartphones, and even to books.

Let us then give thanks for the many entertainment choices we have. Technology, particularly the internet, has a lot to do with this variety.

Indeed, technical innovation of the last few decades is breath-taking.  Apart from movies and music, technology has transformed books and the reading process.

Thanksgiving for Reading Choices

At the most basic level, one of the easiest ways to entertain yourself is by reading a book. Yes, supposedly reading is in decline.

Still, for those of us who read or consume books, the last few decades have been revolutionary. You can listen to books on audio players tor your chosen electronic device.

Twenty years ago, Amazon released a player “designed specifically for listening to audiobooks.” Now you can listen to books on your smartphone or tablet. The changes in capacity with the new devices are astonishing.

When I packed for international flights, I always worried about the weight of books. Now, I can carry enough books on my tablet without worrying about the weight or running out of books.

Similar technologies have also influenced movies.

Thanksgiving for Movie Choices

Remember those days when you had to rent video cassettes and worry about late fees? Thanks to technology, those are days of the past.

Technical advances have affected the processes and the quality of watching movies

For movie buffs, DVDs and Blu-Rays offer the possibilities of delving into all kinds of appendices for the film and superior visuals.

With smart TVs and devices like Roku and Chromecast, we are less dependent on the cable companies and networks.  We don’t have to put up with commercials to watch a movie.

Further, with both paid and free streaming services, the number and variety of movie choices are dizzying. Maybe I am not selective, but I never have a problem finding a movie to watch.  Instead, I have “analysis paralysis” on choosing a movie.

After all, watching a movie does demand your full attention. Music, on the other hand, is more of a background activity.

Thanksgiving for Music Choices

In the past, consuming music consumed space and money.  Our elders needed a dedicated table for their record player and stereo system, and cartons for the records.

Even moving to cassettes and CDs did not alter the physicality of music consumption. Neither did they change the cost that much.

It was the MP3 and streaming services that have given us so many music choices. Plus, the music comes in a compact form.

From iTunes to Pandora, Spotify, and iHeart Radio, you can pick the tunes you want for a negligible cost.  If you just want to listen, they can even be free.

Apart from offering our gratitude this Thanksgiving for these entertainment choices, let us hope the net neutrality changes will not affect our options negatively.


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Tom U is a trained political scientist who teaches history at an Ohio university. A keen observer of US politics since childhood, he has also worked with the United Nations. In his spare time, he watches movies, preferably non-Hollywood productions with subtitles.

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