I don’t watch “television,” but I might…

I don’t have cable…Nor do I have satellite. And I haven’t had it for over a decade. That surprises some people. But truthfully, I don’t miss it at all, and I miss it less and less. But I think we’re about to see changes—and that is kind of exciting.

Okay, how did I get to no cable? Well, thanks for asking. Lemme tell you.

For those of you who remember the 2000 elections, they were pretty nasty. Now I’m sure all of the … ahem … wiser readers of my blog might remember previous elections being just as nasty as that one, but to my memory, that was the worst one. And while there was certainly nastiness on both sides, part of my problem was that every time I turned on the television, someone of self-importance was condemning everything that I held dear (or at least that I believed) and applying all sorts of nasty labels to me.

Now, having grown up a white dude in Mississippi, I’m accustomed to the labels (my most asked question when I moved from Mississippi to California? “So, you hate black people? Are you in the Klan?” I kid you not) but I started noticing the attitudes and labeling started to spill over into my personal and some professional relationships. I couldn’t get away from it

Additionally, as a fairly new parent at the time, I was repulsed by all the advertising we were forced to sit through while watching cartoons and football games. It became such we didn’t really want to watch programs with the kids and the kids were such a huge part of our life. I actually blogged at greater lengths about this once before. It’s here if you want to go see what I said then.

But we turned it off and just didn’t turn it back on.

But I think what I really wanted to get at here is that I’m excited because I think the way television content is delivered is changing. I’ve always said to the salesfolks trying to convince me I need cable is that I’d talk to them if I could pick my channels. They always remind me that I can pick my “package,” but that’s not what I want to do. I want the History Channel, not the 400 channels that run infomercials. You can give me the ad channels for free if you like, but don’t put them in a package. Give me a checklist with a cost per channel per month, and then I’d consider getting television again.

I watched every college football game that I wanted to this last season. I watched many of them on European websites—which I’m sure the cable providers here don’t like. I’d even PAY ESPN to subscribe to their channels. But I’m not going to pay Comcast (or whoever) a subscription fee to get all the other channels I don’t want JUST to get ESPN. And since ESPN won’t take my money, I have to watch them on international websites.

But HBO offering their service to subscribers on the internet is a game-changer. Oh, I don’t know that I’ll subscribe to HBO, but I think it’s a great thing and that many other channels will follow. Yes, I’d consider subscribing to the History Channel for a reasonable fee if they would offer that via the internet. They don’t yet…but I think that time is coming.

Yay for all of us!



Filed under General

4 responses to “I don’t watch “television,” but I might…

  1. Gayle

    Roland, I haven’t had television for about three years, for many of the reasons you mentioned, and for the most part don’t miss it. For a while, I found that I could watch some of my favorites on-line, but that changed ( now you have to have a ‘subscriber’ number…in other words, if you don’t already have cable television, you can’t get it on-line, either….) I do have Netflix, and find some of my old favorites as well as a lot of Indie movies there, and have enjoyed watching a few things that I never even knew existed. This tides me over if I really need a television ‘fix’ a couple times a week. I, too, look forward to HBO’s offering – and just might try it.

  2. ant'ny

    The History Channel has changed, and not for the better, my friend.


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