Channel surfing simply means sitting back in front of the television and flipping channels every few seconds, trying to find something good to watch. It is more effective on cable systems with a smaller number of channels; modern systems with hundreds of channels can take forever to surf through; the signal to noise ratio tends to be reduced.

Another problem plauging channel surfers lately is digital cable boxes and satellite receivers. These units generally take 2-3 seconds to tune in a channel, which greatly slows channel surfing, turning it into a laborious affair. Of course, the built in channel guide in such systems helps find stuff to watch, but will never substitute for real channel surfing.

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