10. July 2015 · Comments Off on On Watching TV – 2015 · Categories: Domestic

We ditched cable TV a little more than two years ago, partly out of exasperation with the pap, piddle and trivia on offer at that time, and suppressed fury every month, regarding the manner in which the cost of internet and a slightly more than basic cable kept insidiously climbing upwards, month by month. 150+ channels and nothing much on any of them that we wanted to watch; we time-shifted and skipped through the commercial breaks for years before we cut the cable entirely. (The charge for internet access, alas, has been climbing insidiously upwards since that blessed day: once about $40 a month, now it is close to doubling that, and I am considering giving Time Warner’s main competitor a look-in.)

We invested in a Roku box, and subscriptions to Hulu, and Acorn on line – my daughter already had Amazon Prime, and so … really, we have been spoiled for choice in the last two years, watching or re-watching series which we missed in part or entirely when they originally aired: Northern Exposure, for one example, and Babylon 5 for another, and the original Poldark series. (Of finally watching all of Upstairs, Downstairs, I have written in previous posts). Original Poldark – I missed it entirely on original airing, although I do have the novels. My daughter despises the character of Elizabeth, by the way; silly, mewling indecisive female, always making the wrong choices and blaming everyone else for them.

Otherwise, we have been pigging out when it comes to British imports. Quite early on, we had discovered certain shortcomings in our local PBS channel which aired those particular imports; lacks which also seem to have been shared by the PBS channel favored by my parents – in that they seemed only to have a certain number of episodes of shows available to air, long, long after having complete seasons available on VHS/DVD in catalogues. As God is my witness, I swear that a single season of shows like Are You Being Served? and Keeping Up Appearances aired in constant rotation, over and over and over again. This was an improvement over San Antonio’s PBS station – they seemed to have only six episodes of Vicar of Dibley and aired them incessantly, apparently assuming that the audience would have forgotten everything about plot, characters and gags in the space of a month and a half. That  is why I declined to ever support them;  that and they wouldn’t hire me in any capacity for which I applied upon first retiring from the military after twenty years of professionally committing acts of radio and video production.

Bitter – moi? Come to think of it, yes. Couldn’t even scrounge a temp job,  rounding up donations for their once-yearly charitable auction.

Anyway – between the Roku box and the various subscriptions – we do not miss cable TV at all. Anything current that we want to watch – well, it will turn up eventually. We can wait. And doing without incessant commercials is fantastic. Last fall, we had a business trip down to Brownsville, where we stayed in a nice hotel and watched … I can’t remember what it was that we watched, but the barrage of commercials interrupting the story every ten minutes or so was quite horrible. Yes, I know that selling advertising time is the name of the game, and it pays the freight – but it also drives discriminating viewers away after a certain portion of the program hour is taken up by them: the law of diminishing returns and all that.

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