Play that again. And again.

Despite having more than 100 channels to choose from, you’d always end up with reruns of episodes of the same programmes, over and over again

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WHILE the main concern at the moment is the possible spread of coronavirus, it would be best for everyone to stay indoors.

This could also be a good time for you to catch up on all the books that you might have bought but never really had the time to read.

For all the parents who had to rely on gadgets like tablets and smartphones to keep the children busy, perhaps it is also time to bond with family via more traditional board games like Monopoly or Scrabble.

For children who are envisioned to be great problem solvers and strategists, test them with a game of chess.

No? Okay, perhaps you could just stick to the easiest form of escapism.

It involves sitting (or lying) around the idiot box, with the clicker in hand.

Still, your children might already be attuned to mainly the cartoon networks and channels. Then, this could be time to induce them to move on to “smarter” (if not cerebral) channels.

If you have Astro, you might be able to gauge your children’s real interest and inclinations via channels like Discovery, National Geographic or History.

If they are not moved by the programmes, try enticing them with other “hobby programmes” that are shown on HGTV or Asian Food Network.

Either one of these channels is a good indication of your children’s interest which could be a clue to how they might turn out in the future.

Boys who like to watch Project Runway are usually more sensitive and more keen on the arts. However, if they happen to enjoy Dr Pimple Popper on TLC, they might not necessarily be dermatologists in the future.

They might just love watching the gory “popping action” that at times, could be rather, err, mesmerising.

Your children might also be too young for some of the adult contents on AXN, FOX, FOX Life or FX.

So you have to be firm about who’s controlling the clicker.

Now that you are pretty sure that you’d have a great time with the family, without much worry about your children being exposed to the dreaded virus, it would also be fair to place this disclaimer or warning: You have the potential of watching the same programmes over and over again. On ALL the channels.

Yup. Any self-respecting television (TV) addict would share this very same grouse.

Despite having more than 100 channels to choose from, you’d always end up with more or less reruns or repeats of episodes of the same programmes, over and over again.

Heck, even if you try to entice your children to watch HBO, Star Movies or Cinemax they might tell you that they had seen most of the titles, TWICE at least (some might not understand the storylines the first time around).

The most updated channels that you could enjoy will surely be one of the news channels, but since all are very much focussed on Wuhan these days, your attention span would be a little challenged.

Now, imagine those who could not afford any additional entertainment outlet like say, Netflix. Their lives could be even more challenging.

Despite being the platform for several free-to-air digital channels, MyTV is more like a shell that is still waiting to be filled.

While programmes from stations like TV1, TV2, TV3, NTV7, TV9, Al-Hijrah are predictable and mainly comprise dramas and serials that might stunt your children’s mental growth. You might just go insane watching the shopping channels with hosts trying their best to outdo each other in selling many items that we might not need.

BES and TV Okey, which were originally intended to perhaps offer that alternative and more edgy local programmes that are targeted at the younger audience, seem to be flailing with pretty lame contents.

Needless to say, whatever expectations you might have during the earlier days of the digital TV platform following its launch should be just stashed aside for a while, until the management and production teams of the new channels could really figure out what’s good for the viewers.

The more creative people who know what the market wants are more inclined towards placing their shows on YouTube and other social media platforms, it seems, and the more innovative Malaysian filmmakers are making their names in other parts of the world including China and Hollywood.

Perhaps it’s time for the new digital channels to entice new names to fill up all the gaps that are now getting too obvious. After all, the ministry did promise an increase in the procurement rates for all the TV series and programmes. Just saying…

Zainal Alam Kadir is the executive editor of The Malaysian Reserve.