Internet brings new innovations every day

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Unlike the days of long ago when we connected our battery operated radio antenna to a nearby tall tree for broadcast reception, today’s radio and television entertainment is beamed to us by a signal from far up in the universe. In fact, modern technology cannot become complacent because innovations and changes are quite common, with changes occurring almost daily.

That which I tell you today applies only to those who have DSL or fast Internet affiliation. You will soon be bombarded with news about this new concept and some of you may or may not find it interesting. It depends on whether you want to continue making costly payments to watch TV. It also depends on whether or not you want to become more knowledgeable about it.

There will soon be two ways to watch TV – the way you are doing it now or through the Internet.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

One thing to remember is your reception of local stations will always be free and can be picked up with a simple room antenna. In my case, I have an amplified ($49.95) antenna, which looks like a beautiful book placed face down on a bookshelf. This “book” brings in all my local channels in HD and they are as clear as daylight and totally without cost. If your home is too far from the local stations, you may need a similar outside antenna. But they are inexpensive and can be attached to the side of your home or fixed on your rooftop.

I also attach my computer with a cable to my Visio HD TV and I am able to watch most any show carried on cable or satellite. This includes shows like ESPN3 (football games) and Fox News. Google TV and Apple TV, which you will be hearing and reading about in the next couple of weeks, will provide these same TV programs without having to use a TV connected cable. In fact, in some cases, a computer will not be required. You probably will need to make a small investment for a “set top box” to connect to your TV. But, then again, if you don’t have monthly payments, this investment would well be worth the cost.

Those of you who scan the Internet should “Google” in “Internet TV,” “Google TV” or “Apple TV.” Or stay tuned to your favorite TV station or read your daily newspaper where news of this concept will be flowing fast.

Most networks have gone online with their programs which, of course, are free of charge. One of my favorite networks went online last week and I was greatly disappointed to learn a fee will be assessed to gain entrance to their Web site. I am talking about RFDTV.

According to their Web site, they will charge $15 a month. Personally, I am not sure viewers will pay a fee like this especially since many want to get away from monthly payments and this channel is available on the Dish Network Family Package for only $19.99 a month. I will say that RFD offers some additional perks with the purchase of their Web site. This includes discounts to RFD shows in Branson, special magazine offers, video on demand and other good features.

This package really may be a great plan. With Google TV and Dish family you will get everything you need without a huge monthly payment. I also am learning that DISH and Google TV have some plan working “hand in hand.” I don’t have enough information on this because I want to get away from a monthly premium.

To better describe Google TV, Fox News ran a very good story on their Web site this past May. “…Google TV …will pull Web video, and broadcast….into one tidy search box……. and successfully bring Web and TV together.” Intel, Sony and Logitech will have a role with Google. Firms like these almost ensure success in this venture. Even as I write this column today, I am reading of Apple’s plans to make a similar announcement very soon about their Internet TV.

So, simply stated, when Google TV and Apple formally hit the market you can watch most of your favorite shows without the high cost of monthly payments. These shows will come through your Internet to your set top box. A compatible interface on your TV will allow you to change channels and scroll the Web, while sitting in an easy chair in the comfort of your den.

But, you know what I enjoy most of all is going to “You Tube” to watch those nostalgic entertainment clips. You can go back in time to watch Jackie Leonard sing “Marie” with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra, replay clips from Alabama or Auburn football games, listen to J.D. Summer singing with the “Sunshine Boys” in those old Saturday matinee Westerns, watch Captain Marvel serials, John Lair’s Renfro Valley Sunday morning shows or the narration by Dr. Vernon McGee as he takes you “Through The Bible.”

Much more about IPTV is available on the Internet. You may just find it to “your liking.”

In some local news, an annual gathering of former Monsanto-Chemstrand employees was held in Pensacola a couple of weeks ago. Staged at The Marcus Point Baptist Church several from here were in attendance. According to Johnny Coker, a retiree, some of those in attendance included Dewey Janes, Jettie and Gordon Everette, John Smith, Larry Carrol, Eve Goldsby, Jimmy Biggs, Carlos Albritton, Eddie Albritton, Ray Hodgen and Betty Watson. Johnny said he was sure there were others from the area in attendance, but their names escaped him. He said those former employees wanting to get on the email list should contact him at

More, next week.

Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

This week Lowell's column talks the TV on the Internet. | File Photo