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Watching While Waiting

Over the past four years every visit to a doctor or hospital has involved some time spent in a waiting room, in the case of hospital visits it has often been more than an hour waiting. Each of those waiting rooms has had a selection of bad magazines and a TV. If I ever visit a hospital after 8PM then I might have a chance of seeing something that I want to watch on TV, but otherwise it’s all awful.

Fortunately there are better things that they could do. It would not be difficult to get a basic PC and install all the content from ted.com (and possibly other sites with quality free content) and have some sort of video juke-box program running. TED not only has lectures about arts and science but also performances by musicians and dancers. The chance that a random person can find something they enjoy in TED’s archives seems significantly greater than the chance of finding something worth watching in the daytime-soap TV segment.

But TED is far from the only option available, there are quite a number of free video sites and the ones that include advertising in the video stream would probably be more than happy to have their content copied on to juke boxes.

10 comments to Watching While Waiting

  • kl

    “But TED is far from the only option available, there are quite a number of free video sites and the ones that include advertising in the video stream would probably be more than happy to have their content copied on to juke boxes.”

    Could you share few links to those websites?
    I got to know TED only because you mentioned it.
    Thanks for that!

    The only _quality_ video content I could give link to (other than TED) is

    which contains Buddhist talks (CC-licensed :-)

  • umh… Well, I have to tell you -without even trying to compare your situation to mine- that in this regard you are lucky. I just took my wife to a public hospital (nothing important, just some bycicle-caused bruises). Your idea just would not work – We were maybe… A hundred people in the waiting room? With old, uncomfortable chairs, with a semi-broken TV with terrible image but worse shows… Bah :-/

  • etbe

    kl: OK, I’ll have to find or create a good list of such video sites. I’ll watch some of the Buddhist talks too, their philosophy has some good ideas.

    Gunnar: Actually most of my hospital and doctor waiting has been done on old chairs and with unreasonably large numbers of people.

  • I’d love the idea that hospitals use the captive audience to educate their patrons with preventative health care info or something more useful than generic tv shows. One place I went had a video of a copyrighted movie playing presumably to be entertaining to the kids. I assume they weren’t aware of the prohibition on public performance of copyrighted material. But if you have useful material, folks might complain enough. bah.

  • craig

    TV in hospital or doctors’ waiting rooms isn’t meant to inform or even entertain.

    it’s meant as a soporific to keep patients and their relatives/friends quiet and docile.

    otherwise, they’d have the TV on ABC which emits far less moronic radiation per unit of time than commercial TV (especially during daylight hours).

    anyway, anyone who wants something better than the trashy & out-of-date magazines or the garbage on TV brings a book or, these days, an ipod or hand-held DVD player or laptop.

  • etbe

    Kevin: Maybe educating them about copyright would be a good way of introducing them to other possibilities. Of course there are ways around those copyright issues. One thing you can do is act as an advertising agent for a video store, then you can have a TV showing rental videos and DVDs all day long (with no rental fees) and a sign on top telling people where to rent them.

    Craig: TED.com material would keep people quiet too.

    Few people think to bring books to the hospital emergency room…

  • I’ve heard of people using Webconverger in waiting rooms. Why not help your doctor get something running? :)

  • craig

    etbe: TED.com stuff would keep people like you and me interested and quiet.

    i think you greatly overestimate the intellectual capacity of the general public. they’re not interested in anything that might require them to think. in fact, they’re actively hostile and resentful towards it. they want trivial mindless crap like big brother and the plethora of competitive dance and cooking etc shows, bulk quantities of celebrity trivia, and soap operas and hours and hours of mind-numbing details about sport, and similar garbage.

    anything that had any danger of requiring any thought would just annoy the general public. the exact opposite of the soporific purpose of TVs in waiting rooms.

    (about the best you could hope for would be nature documentaries, as long as there were pretty pictures of mountains or lions or whales or something to go “ooh ahh” about, and there weren’t any disturbing ideas about how all the cute critters will probably be dead soon because multi-national corporations are trashing the planet)

    just take a book or a laptop. it’s simpler, and you wont have to risk sitting in a waiting room with pissed-off neanderthals.

    btw, i almost always bring a book. i’ve usually got one with me in my bag anyway, or in the car.

  • etbe

    craig: Once you have one PC installed for such a purpose it’s only a small jump to go to several PCs with different sets of content on each. One PC with youtube videos in the “best Jackass imitators kicking each other in the crotch” category would do well. ;)

    Don’t knock the competitive dance and cooking shows. Lots of people who didn’t previously recognise the artistic value of dancing are learning from “so you think you can dance”. “Dancing with the stars” however is pure drek.

    Maybe they should just follow the example of “Fahrenheit 451″ and supply only pr0n instead of books etc. :-#