Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dear Cable.

Last January, I took the plunge and called the cable company to disconnect my Cable services: Digital Cable (third tier), High Def Programming (only available on the third tier and above), two HD DVR and an approximately $150.00 bill. That bill does include my high speed Internet connection of about $50.00.

I can remember when mom and dad first subscribed to Cable back in the eighties. The company was Columbia Cable Television (CCTV), and it came with a handful of channels (TBS, MTV and Nickelodeon were my favorites) and a remote control that was tethered to the cable box. I have no idea how much it cost, but, comparing with the four channels we got "OTA" (over the air) it was amazingly cool. The quality was vastly better.

About a year before we disconnected, we elevated our services from the bare basics ($9.00) to the full Monty. We disconnected Direct TV and started enjoying watching commercials for Direct TV telling us how superior it was to cable. For the first month or so, I was in love with Cable. I could come home and just watch for hours. Discovery HD was my favorite. But, after the courtship, we kinda just got use to each other. Days would go by without even turning on the TV. But Cable didn't mind. She dutifully recorded my shows onto the DVR and I watched them when they were convenient for me. Ironically, I was mostly watching Network Television (you know, the stuff that comes for free OTA).

Then I bought a laptop. I discovered TED and uTorrernt and xTvi and learned how to download the same network programming that I was paying $100 dollars a month. Using Roku digital video player and my Netflix account I had access to a vast library of programming. Then, Netflix went and joined up with Microsoft to allow Xbox Live Gold Members the ability to stream Netflix to their Xbox 360 units. With my Xbox 360 and my Archos TV+ (great price from Circuit City) I can stream my downloaded media to either unit (this translates to upstairs and downstairs). Finally, this week I discovered PlayOn which allows me to stream HULU content to either the Xbox or Archos. This has allowed me to decrease the amount of shows that I have to get from Ted and uTorrent. Also, I feel a bit gray about downloading TV bit torrents: I keep it to stuff that I can get OTA.

So my TV life has been ok ever since writing my "Dear Cable" letter.

1 comment:

Martha said...

I remember that remote! I thought that cable was the most exciting thing in the whole world. And I remember when my sister discovered MTV - that was cool. Remember when HBO would only start their programming at 1 pm or so on the weekend? It was a few years before they went to 24 hours programming. And how at first they did not have the rights to show Star Wars? That was the most pressing issue of the day - when would HBO get Star Wars.