Sunday, December 25, 2005

Dropping a Line

There's nothing like surfing my favorite blogs and finding a post by one of my favorite bloggers who says exactly what has been on my mind for a while. That's why I don't post as often as I might like; I don't like the whole "echo chamber" feel of a lot of blogs that are in agreement with one another. Why bother reiterating what someone else has already said, and said better than anyone else (especially me) can say it?

There is just such a post up at Mitch's Shot In the Dark site, but I am going to throw in my two cents anyway. Basically, Mitch is opposed to a movement that seeks to turn cable television into an "a la carte" style service. Currently, cable systems consist of a pre-set package of channels that the viewer can turn on and off as he pleases. Some people don't like this. Someone I know used to stay up late calling her cable company to complain about Cartoon Network running 24 hours a day. Why, she asked, do you show cartoons in the middle of the night? No one watches cartoons that late. Why should I pay for this?

Silly. First, there are people who can and do watch anything at whatever time it is on, including cartoons, and second, if the cable provider could manage to make Cartoon Network go away between 11 PM and 6 AM, it wouldn't make your cable bills go down. Some people just don't get the idea of a package deal. Pick and choose would make it more expensive. I'd rather get fifty channels that I never watch than have to do everything on a pay-per-view basis and run up a high tab if I (or my family members) watch too much TV.

On the other hand, that could end up teaching us a valuable lesson.

For about eight years now, I have had Digital Cable on my TV. Hundreds of channels! More premium and pay-per-view selections than ever before! And recently, an "On Demand" menu of programs (some free, some PPV) that allows me to watch what I want when I want, or however the slogan goes. It's lovely...if you actually watch a lot of television. Problem is, I don't. And neither does my family. The kids would rather pop in a tape or DVD than have to worry about having me find something for them to watch on cable. Why should I bother paying for a cable package that I rarely watch? It's a waste of money.

So I downgraded from digital cable with hundreds of channels to basic cable, which has less than 25. And I feel so much better, and I'm sorry that I didn't make this decision earlier. Someday, if I feel more "tuned in" and I don't mind paying for the excess of programming, I might upgrade back to digital. I can take it or leave it. As nice as it would be, I don't want the government to force cable providers to do something that's going to make cable television more expensive.

I gave up my favorite programming by choice. Lucky for me that Battlestar Galactica is available on DVD. But everything else? I won't miss it.

1 comment:

jipzeecab said...

Last April I upgraded my digital cable to another tier for $ 10 just so I could watch one show (Mike and Mike ESPN news). On January 2 Mike and Mike is moving to ESPN 2 which is on my basic cable.
I can see the a la carte thing only buying channels you realy want to watch. Trouble is the cable company will want a lot more for those individual channels than the package deal.

You can make a deal with Adelphia now to watch individual channels that aren't in any of the cable lineup packages. An Asian Indian friend of mine gets a satellite channel from India in his service and he is paying an extra $ 75 a month for it.