surfing simply means sitting back in front of the television
and flipping channels every few seconds, trying to find something good
. 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.