My parents and I just finished watching John Stewart debate Bill O’Reilly in The Rumble 2012. What should have been a great television experience ended up being a horrible television experience because of an unreliable video stream (Update: If you don’t believe me, check out #rumblefail on Twitter).

We watched it on their Samsung plasma screen TV which was connected via an HDMI cable to a brand new, WiFi-enabled HP laptop. Despite the fact that my parents’ cable modem averages 29 MBps, my father and I had to reload the web page playing the (Flash) video at least a dozen times.

On one hand, it’s great that the debate was available on the web for anyone to watch (granted you had $4.95). What’s unfortunate is how hard it was to watch it at home on a television. Even though the television is Internet-connected, there was no way to watch the debate natively through any of the ‘apps’ on the TV’s software.

The other options were to watch it via Boxee or Apple TV, and my parents have neither (note to self: get parents Apple TV for Christmas).

I’m happy my father and I were technically savvy enough to get everything set up to watch (and know what to do when things went wrong), but this experience proves how far we still need to go to make it simple for the average person to access the Internet through their television.

On a positive note, in between the stuttering video stream, the debate was great. Stewart, as I expected, demonstrated he’s still at the top of his game when it comes to clearly articulating his sharp thinking while simultaneously using the term “Bullshit Mountain” through the debate.