Screaming While Streaming

By Ernie Witham   |   December 8, 2019

I pressed the microphone icon on the Apple TV remote and said with emphasis: “Siri. Turn. Off. Voiceover.” Siri responded in text on the screen: “Voiceover is already off.” I chuckled. “I can still hear it Siri. Listen.” I pressed play and the detective series Bosch came on. There was a bit of clever dialog then: “Bosch frowned, scratched his ear, then walked across the room.”

“See Siri, that’s voiceover, telling me all the details as if I was listening to a book on tape. I don’t want the details. I. Just. Want. To. Watch. Bosch.” Siri typed: “Searching for Bosch.” Then she reconnected me to the show. “Bosch heads for the door, turns the knob, and heads to his car.”

I pressed the microphone icon again: “We. Have. Talking.” Siri typed: “Searching for talking.” She brought up half a dozen movie options with the word talking in them. “No Siri. I. Still. Want. To. Watch. Bosch.” Siri typed: “Searching for Bosch.” Then she reconnected me to the show. “Bosch drives through Los Angeles. He’s thinking about the case.” Arrghh!

Maybe it’s not called voiceover, I thought. I pressed the microphone icon. “Turn. Off. Narration.” “Searching for narration.” A second later, movies with the word narration came up. “Turn. Off. Descriptions.” “Searching for descriptions.” “SIRI,” I yelled, “TURN IT ALL OFF!” The TV went blank.

“Ernie’s calmness starts to fade,” the voiceover in my head said. “He heads for the patio and throws the Apple TV remote over the wall. Then he beats up the evil television and starts his couch on fire.” I decided to walk away for a minute. Freshen my wine. Maybe bite down on something hard.

Jon, who works for Disney, gave us a subscription to the new Disney+ steaming service. We already had Netflix and Amazon Prime (the Bosch network) but Disney has an amazing library so we were really excited. All we had to do was download the Disney+ app to begin.

So we tried to find it, but with no luck. Jon analyzed the problem and discovered we had an old version of Apple TV and needed to buy a new version. “The good thing,” he told us, “is that the new one has voice command. You simply tell Siri what you want and she gleefully responds.”

I spit out the remains of the wooden spoon I had been chewing on, took a large swig of wine directly from the bottle and decided to try again. Technology can’t win. I’m a human with abstract thought. “Siri, you are merely a robot,” I told her. “Searching for robots,” she typed and brought up a few titles. Arrrrggghhhh!

The other thing we quickly learned is that when you buy a new Apple TV box, it comes with no apps. “Please download Netflix,” Siri had told us. “We already have Netflix,” I told her. “Please download Netflix,” Siri said. I tried Amazon Prime. “Please download Amazon Prime.”

Pat took over at my first melodic string of expletives. With patience and fortitude, she got all the apps downloaded and after watching a few things on Disney+, she went to bed and I turned on Bosch, which I could only watch after she retired as she’s not a detective fiction fan.

“Siri. Restart. Bosch.” Siri did. “Bosch walks into the LAPD and talks to his partner.” Maybe I don’t need sound. I muted the television and tried reading lips. Let’s just say I’d never make a good spy.

I started frantically pressing buttons. The International Movie Database (IMDB) came on and gave me info on all the actors in the show. Then another screen came up and offered me the option to reset my password. “SIRI,” I said in all caps, “THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE…” Before she could respond a screen came up with a subtitles option. English AD was checked. I unchecked it, then unmuted the TV. Bosch walked across the detective room. I could only tell because I saw it. No one told me. “Wahoo!” I yelled. “Searching for Wahoo,” Siri typed.

My iPhone dinged. The message said: “Good news! Because you bought a new Apple TV, you get a free year’s subscription to the brand new AppleTV+ streaming service. Simply download the app to begin.”

I went to bed.


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