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story.lead_photo.caption To watch or not to watch? Elisabeth Moss stars in "The Handmaid's Tale."

Once again, staring at my electronic device, I pondered one of the monumental choices facing today's 21st-century woman.

Did I really want to catch up on those episodes of The Handmaid's Tale?

I've been tempted to take a peek at this much-ballyhooed depiction of a train-wreck situation for the female sex ... a dystopian, fertility-deprived, theonomic society in which women have been stripped of all rights and the few young women capable of having babies are forced to be sex slaves and produce children for the men in charge and their infertile wives.

Dre and I now have access to the series, having signed on to the streaming service that offers it.

We'd spent the fall and the beginning of winter navigating the wilds of free-TV ... flicking back and forth between channels whose nomenclature include Point 1, Point 2, Point 3 and such; discovering networks we'd never heard of before and constantly shifting around our rabbit-eared and square, flat TV antennas for best reception of these channels. Along the way, we got caught up in careworn episodes of the reality TV show Most Shocking, corny Chuck Norris action flicks and seemingly every-other-day showings of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vanessa Williams in the movie Eraser. Many times we've mourned the fact that there's nothing on free TV, only to stop and realize that we made the same complaint when we had access to 200 cable channels with a couple of premium channels thrown in.

Streaming services allow viewers, via app, to check out "thousands" of TV shows, movies, and exclusive programming for a few bucks a month. Unlike the cable companies, no two-year contract is required: Just give your card information, be billed for a new month at the beginning of said month and, if you're not satisfied, call up and cancel anytime.

The service we decided, at the end of a weeklong free trial, to explore a bit further is one of those that offers a live-streaming component. For a bigger price -- which promptly went up $5 after we decided to check it out, but still beats cable-subscription prices by a country mile -- we get a fair amount of the channels offered on cable ... ESPN, TruTV, the Cartoon Network, Animal Planet, FX and, yea! HGTV, which I had sorely missed. (Alas, no TV One, much to Dre's chagrin, and no MeTV, much to mine.)

But there's a big downside to the live-streaming component of the service we're trying out. Well, two.

One, it can take awhile to figure out how the heck to even operate the dang service ... the usual problem facing us over-50-ers in a 21st-century world in which instruction manuals are increasingly elusive or downright nonexistent.

Two, we can get the live-streaming component of the service on everything but, well, the TV. "Plus Live" can be seen on phones, computers/laptops, tablets, game consoles and certain TVs ... that ... don't ... include ... our brand of Smart TV, which is stuck getting only the service's nonlive-streamed offerings.

(This situation made me think back to our former microwave oven, whose door-latch assembly went out last year and was of the very brand whose door-latch assembly couldn't be fixed. And our former printer, whose print head went out a year or so ago and whose replacement print head would cost significantly more than a fair number of printers. We gravitate to just the wrong brands!)

Doubtful that we'll continue the service, we have not yet scraped up the wherewithal to try to connect the laptop to the TV and watch live-streaming that way. For now, we find ourselves watching it on a cellphone, which we prop up on the arm of the loveseat, on the coffee table, on the small bookcase flanking my side of the bed, or precariously on the bedcovers. Every once in a while, I'll remember to at least use the Smart TV to peruse the nonlive-streamed movies and past TV-show episodes.

One thing we now know for sure: A frequent lack of anything to watch is a problem that rears its head no matter what kind of TV one subscribes to.

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Style on 02/10/2019

Print Headline: Live-streaming has old complaint: Nothing on TV


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