Last night, in watching a rerun of The Screen Savers, we came to a realization: the show isn't for viewers like me & D. The "TechTV" part of G4TechTV really isn't there anymore: the channel is all about video gaming. Not just one or two shows...ALL of it. The Screen Savers seems to be the "other geeky stuff for gamers to do when latency interferes with their MMPORG," and that's about it.
I can see why -- gaming companies have a lot of money to pump out for advertising. Of course a channel should go where the money is! However, it leaves the viewer out cold. Are there really that many gamers out there watching TV? Shouldn't their XBox be dominating the TV time?
It's surprising how much computer-oriented television there really has been: this site has a long list, some of which are still on the air. Computer TV shows were nice -- they showed you neat stuff without having to go find it. I remember seeing the BeBox for the first time on some PBS computer show, heard about MP3s...tech TV shows were a place to learn a little something without already knowing what you wanted to find.
The first computer TV show I remember is "The Next Step," an obscure TV show with very little internet presence, other than to be noted as the launch of Richard Hart's TV tech empire. I thought I was crazy at first, because I couldn't find any information on it. I still think I'm kinda crazy, because I could swear that Soledad O'Brien was on the show, sort of a 'field correspondent' who existed only in a TV near the host's desk. OK, that does sound crazy - but I swear that's how I remember it. It aired on Discovery Channel and KRON in San Francisco (Ha - Soledad worked at KRON; I might not be so crazy), and covered basic 'cool tech' stuff for the time.
Richard went on to start C|Net, which, in turn, spawned much of what we now know as computer television. For a while my Sunday morning ritual was to sit in front of the SciFi channel and watch shows about computers. As time passed, it evolved from a news-digest format into a series of focused shows.
A few years later, Ziff-Davis started ZDTV, a channel I sadly did not recieve here via North Dakota shabby cable. ZDTV was spun off as TechTV, around the time Ziff-Davis and C|Net merged up. TechTV went on to merge with G4, becoming G4TechTV, and is where I'm at now, sitting in front of the TV watching twentysomethings ramble incoherently about video games and hipster websites.
What happened to C|Net? Honestly, I've sat here for almost a half hour running a variety of searches. Nothing. C|Net apparently died without fanfare. The shows apparently weren't making money, despite an early appearance by Ryan Seacrest(!) as tech host. Sadly, the lack of interest in C|Net's departure is probably a sign of why it went away; technical TV shows aren't worth much.
So, it seems G4 took cues from the Create Your Own Marginally Successful Cyber TV Show in Nanoseconds! manual and generated a bunch of mildly entertaining shows that put money ahead of content. I don't blame them; focusing on content didn't get C|Net or ZDTV anywhere. Too bad, though; I'd much rather watch a smart, intelligent show than one with witty banter and cool clothes.