October 1, 2010 | 3 Comments

We cancelled our cable TV subscription yesterday. For years the only thing I watched was Turner Classic Movies; pretty much everything else was, in my opinion, complete garbage. In addition, the kids were starting to just sit at the TV and watch shows indiscriminately, instead of doing something more constructive such as reading or playing games.

The economics of the entertainment industry are interesting. I find it offensive that cable TV companies try to charge us four times for the same pipe – for basic cable, digital cable, internet service and phone service. Not to mention Pay-Per-View movies and movie channels. Many of us have gradually become accustomed to paying for “services” that we didn’t have twenty years ago – mobile phone service, mobile data, cable, movie channels, etc. If you add up what you’re paying for these services you might be shocked.

I believe it’s ludicrous to pay for movie channels on cable when you can watch a vast array of old movies online and current releases on DVD for $15 a month on Netflix, or pay $1 to rent a DVD from RedBox. Why on earth do the cable TV companies think that consumers will willingly pay $5 for an inferior viewing of a movie on Pay-Per-View ? Even Apple is getting in on the game with their online movie rentals that are exorbitantly priced. Not content with gouging the consumer in that regard, their latest entrepreneurial venture is the peddling of online TV program rentals. Talk about the scraping the bottom of the barrel… Who in their right minds would want to pay to rent an episode of a typical American television program ? Perhaps there is an audience for it, but I am glad not be be among that great unwashed.

All of us enjoy having our family movie nights, where we watch movies on our big screen (120 inches), munching on popcorn, pie and ice-cream, and (for the grown-ups) sharing a bottle of wine, but for the last few years these films have been either on DVDs or, more recently, movies viewed over the internet. We haven’t watched a Pay-Per-View or Free-to-Air movie in years. The development of services such as Netflix’s on-demand streaming, Hulu, and Roku means that there are now viable alternatives to cable, through which the kids can continue to watch their favourite shows, but now as the result of a conscious decision rather than being interspersed among an avalanche of junk such as cheap cartoons and reality shows.

Jenn and I, meanwhile, plan to spend a lot more time reading and writing. I have a large library of unread books by now; it’s about time I started working through it. Watch this space.


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3 Comments so far

  1. ian on October 1, 2010 1:45 pm

    “Complete garbage” – a catch phrase up there with gubu, if intoned as only the author can. Must look into ways to further simplify start up and access control. Is Orla a qualified sys admin or are there several minutes of boot time preceeding most showings?

  2. Brian on October 3, 2010 12:01 pm

    Actually the kids are pretty good on the computer – even Conall !
    With Netflix, Jenn just sets up movies for them in a queue and they watch them sequentially. It’s great because there are plenty of the old Disney-style movies (a kid and an animal, typically) that they would never have chosen to watch if they had access to TV. Now, they enjoy them…

  3. Akilah on October 6, 2010 5:33 pm

    Amen, I inadvertently was bumped to this website as I was thinking exactly the same thing. I just checked my checking account and decided I cannot give them anymore of my money. I have school bills to pay and plenty of reading, homework and what not. My children are busy and I have already subscribed to netflix. I think we should boycott. I am an older person going to school with young people and I mentioned that television use to cut off at a certain hour and they looked at me with amazement. It was the funniest thing. This generation has not a clue about that experience. I will keep my internet, switch to skype, vonage or something like it and stop being gouged. Let’s start a revolution. lol We’re fed up and not going to take it anymore. It reminds me of that movie the time machine. My cousin use to say when the people were following that strange noise, that it represented the television. Good luck!