The Best Tech on TV

by Dan

Last year we wrote about how streaming media and the web are all helping to kill network television as we know it. Even so, that hasn’t stopped the networks (and the web and streaming media services) from putting together some pretty stellar programming about technology, its advances, its history, etc. And no, we’re not talking about the next Steve Jobs movie that Aaron Sorkin wrote.

Here are some of the best shows to see and learn about technology on television (traditional and not so much).

Mythbusters

Are you surprised? Really? Like any list of shows about anything having to do with anything remotely science and tech related wouldn’t include this awesome show. For the uninitiated among you, Mythbusters is a show in which hosts Jamie and Adam (and their regular cohorts) use science and technology to prove or disprove myths that people have sent in.

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For example, remember that video that made the rounds a few years ago, where a guy slid down a massive water slide and landed in a tiny water ring in a floaty pool? They proved whether or not such a thing would really be possible. The hosts and the rest of the cast are good natured people who love to joke around as they build the things that will help them prove/disprove myths (like whether duct tape can stop a car) which helps keep the show interesting and fun to watch.

Modern Marvels

Modern Marvels is the History Channe’s longest running series and it looks in depth into many of the modern conveniences and structures we take for granted (and some that we really really don’t). For example, in one episode they go in-depth to teach viewers how coffee goes from being a bean on a plant to being the delicious drink in your cup, with a special focus on the technology involved in the roasting and brewing process. They also look at how the Panama Canal’s locking system works, and last summer they did a retrospective on the most interesting modern gizmos out there.

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How It’s Made

Like Modern Marvels, How it’s Made looks at, surprisingly enough, how things are made. Unlike Modern Marvels, which tends to focus on one subject at a time, How It’s Made will often illustrate a few different items in a single episode. For example, they might show how technology makes a bunch of different types of candy. Or they’ll look at kitchen gadgets and tools like tinfoil. Other times the things they’ll look at won’t seem to relate at all, like the episode that featured Alpaca Yarn and Pickup Truck Caps.

These, of course, are merely the big kids at the table of network television. There are also a lot of great webcasts and videos too. GeekBeat.TV has always been fantastic. The Nerdist has a long running history of being great at covering technology.

Over on YouTube, This Week in Tech is at the top of everybody’s list. Sci Show–while not exclusively about technology also has some really great programming and, believe it or not, PBS has been making some waves lately with the digital programming it has been producing. “It’s Okay to Be Smart” is one of their hits.

Of course knowing these shows exist and finding a way to watch them are two totally separate things. While everybody agrees that the web is full of great programming, and some networks will make portions of their catalogs available online, what if you want to binge watch some current Mythbusters or Modern Marvels? Or what if you just want to spend the afternoon in front of Discovery or Science or heck, even SyFy? (Yes, we really miss G4 too.)

For that you’re going to need a cable package–preferably one with OnDemand so you don’t have to pay for a DVR. If you hate your local cable provider (and a lot of us do), it’s worth switching to dish. A quick search for Satellite TV at Satellite-Deals.com, for example, turns up a DirecTv package for under $50 a month. That’s not too shabby. What does your local cable provider charge?

There are a lot of great shows and videos out there that center on tech, tech reviews and exploring how tech is used to get things done. Once you’ve found a way to watch your favorite, it is time to sit back and learn as much stuff as your brain can handle. Watch out, though! If you’re not careful, you could spend all of your time watching them and not ever get anything done yourself!

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