Thursday, March 31, 2011

TV Guide

We've been cable-TV free for a month or so now, and in addition to saving $85 a month to see not a damned thing I'd actually choose, I've discovered a number of equally significant benefits. First and foremost, watching Netflix on demand movies and shows, there are no commercials. Big deal, you say, but when a third of a network or cable show is made of commercials, that's a huge amount of time to recover.

If you watch three hours of cable/network TV, you're actually getting only two hours of show. With Netflix you get all three. How is this not a fantastic development?

Secondly, it comes a step closer to a la carte programming, the idea that a cable subscriber can choose which set of channels they actually get in their subscription. Cable companies say people don't want it, but in Giant Corporation-ese, that means they don't want to upgrade their equipment in order to make that happen.

But now I can see British television shows (like BBC America), documentaries (The Documentary Channel), independent films (the Indie channel) etc. No, you don't get all the programming available on those channels, but you get to choose, and what you choose won't have commercials. The math works for me.

When I was a kid in Illinois I used to watch Creature Feature on some local television channel. Every Saturday they'd show some classic monster or science fiction movie. I always thought that the largely disappointing SciFi channel (now SyFy) would have done a great thing had they done a Friday Night Monster Movie kind of thing. Not their Megashark vs. Superoctopus crap, but The Creature from the Black Lagoon or Attack of the 50-foot Woman or Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. How cool would that be?

Now, thanks to the magic of Netflix and Roku, my six year old son knows about giant radiation-spawned ants in Them and who the hell Klaatu is from The Day the Earth Stood Still. Springing the kids from the clutches of the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon has been wonderful. I'd much rather them watch Steve McQueen run away from the blob than the next Hannah Montana or Wizards of Waverley place installments.

That's my quick cable cutting update. I still miss baseball, and if MLB ever decides to charge you for a subscription and leave off the commercials (you bastards), I'm there. Otherwise, if I never see another commercial again I will be a happy guy.

Now back to season 2 of Wire in the Blood. Damn, that's good stuff...


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