I finally did it. I canceled cable. The combination of a writer's strike, and generally lousy programming drove me to do it. You can only record so much on your TIVO, before you realize that cable is full of truly horrible shows that cater to, well, I'm not even sure who would watch them. This, coupled with the threat of an upcoming actor's strike could really take the wind out of television ad sails/sales. Do you really want to watch season 4 of " I Love NY" over on VH1? I didn't think so.
If you are looking for an alternative to the drivel that passes for entertainment on cable, perhaps you should peep some of my reasons for dropping it.
They are as follows:
1. High-Speed Internet - So, this falls in the category of “Yeah, I knew that already. " It's important to mention, because it is the basis for some of the reasons I will supply you with. There are also people who are still using dial-up. I can think of at least two people I know, who don't throw down the $35-50 a month for the service. They have the money to do it. They are just proud that they are paying $7 a month for internet access. I guess that's cool, if you can wait 5 minutes each time you want to read your mail. If you fall into this category, please just pay the extra money and get it over with.
2. “Over the Air" Digital Television - Hey, it's free. If you have a TV with an HD tuner, then you can get up to 4 channels at the time, for each channel you are watching. Currently, our local CBS affiliate is running their regular definition broadcast, high definition broadcast, a classic tv channel, and a weather channel. That's 4 channels for the same station. Now repeat this for each over the air channel you get reception on in your local area. Chances are, you are looking at 16-20 separate channels of content. As an added bonus, the HDTV will probably look better than it does on cable, as it comes through uncompressed. Imagine that. You get the best signal quality available, along with digital stereo sound, and you don't even have to pay for it.
3. Netflix and RedBox - Everyone has a movie package these days. These two companies have something unique going for both of them. Netflix offers movies on a subscription basis, and will mail DVD's to you. In recent days, they have added a “Watch it Now" feature, for about 10% of their films. Now, they have added a box that can stream these films direct to your television, and they aren't even charging an additional fee for this service. If you would rather not pay for a subscription each month, but you don't want to pay the outrageous rental fees at Blockbuster, then RedBox is for you. They have what amounts to a very sophisticated DVD vending machine. It's $1 a night. You can rent the DVD, return it in 24 hours, and it's only $1. Since the vending machines are connected to the internet, you can return that DVD at any other RedBox, nationwide. It's one of the easiest services I have ever used, and I am a thrilled, unpaid evangelist for the service.
4. Hulu - Are you still afraid of missing your favorite network and cable shows? Look no further than Hulu. They have content agreements with FOX, NBC, MGM, and a ton of others to provide their shows and movies for free on their site. They even have classic shows from the 60's and 70's available, in case you're having cravings for “Nick at Nite". This is not lame content, either. 30 Rock, The Daily Show, Arrested Development, plus too many other shows from other networks are available 24/7. This is the biggest Cable Killer the world has ever seen, the only downside being that you can't watch it full-screen on your current tv, just yet. They'll make a way, trust me.
5. Time - How much time do you spend surfing cable, looking for something that is even halfway engaging? Even if you have the most premium of all premium accounts, there will still be times when you will force yourself to watch “Gigli", just because you can't find anything more interesting. Cable is a time drain, especially if you have TIVO. Look, I don't care how much I love it, I will not be watching the last 4 seasons of “Deadliest Catch" in one sitting. Cable gives you an excuse to waste time. If you want to bleed time slowly, that's fine, but you shouldn't be paying extra for the privilege of doing it.
Now that Cable has left my life, I can afford to waste time wholesale. I could write the “Great American Novel" , join a drum circle for peace, campaign for Barack Obama, or do something equally dumb.
I think I'll go watch another episode of “Deadliest Catch". Man, I love that show.
Kurt Hartman doesn't miss Cable, not even a little. He is currently Head of Employee Training at BuyBigTires.com.
They specialize in off the road tyres . No, we don't want to join your drum circle, but thanks for the offer.