|Saudi Version of the Oprah Winfrey Show|
I grew up and spent the majority of my adult life in the U.S. which has been the epicenter of television programming since Philo T. Farnsworth, an American scientist, first transmitted a scratchy image of Felix the Cat in 1927 to his "image dissector". The rest is history.
|First Televised Image, Felix the Cat|
It naturally follows that the U.S. would take the lead in producing and programming television shows, for better or for worse. I became accustomed to having access to many quality channels. Just before I moved to Abu Dhabi, I had a big screen Sony TV connected to a Dish Network 500 satellite system, This allowed me access to over 400 channels, many in High Definition. Multiple HBO, ESPN, Cinemax, Showtime, and many others were available to me at the push of a remote button. I was in Hog Heaven. I even had Tivo!
In Abu Dhabi, I first stayed at a hotel that had limited access to English speaking channels. It seem exotic at first but I quickly lost interest. Then I moved to a flat that had a satellite feed. I went to the local version of Walmart and purchased a Chinese satellite receiver that was insanely cheap and hooked it up I got a few English channels but it was not enough. Much to my delight, a byproduct of this was that I stumbled upon some unscrambled Italian "sex chat" channels that got very gynecological at times. It was all free.
In my new apartment there is sadly no such potential for the satellite feed. The local communications monopoly has provided a glass fiber connection and that is it. So I had to subscribe to their service. I decided to take a premium package at around $75 per month. It included sports channels, movie channels and English speaking channels. Well, the sports channels only have cricket and soccer and the movie channels only show 20 year old movies. There is no viewing guide so one ever knows what they are watching or what comes on next on what channel. Sometimes the same exact shows are repeated several times a day. The only saving grace is that adverts are thankfully rare.
So maybe I am spoiled with American television and my expectations are too high, but I am bummed. In Abu Dhabi, I have a state-of-the-art glass fiber system delivering stale crap programming to my state-of-the-art digital flat screen television. One thing I miss about the U.S. is the quality of programming. Here we get the scraps and have to pay a premium for it. I have to give credit though, the picture is absolutely crystal clear. At least that is done right. I get to see shitty programs in a flawless resolution!