Friday, May 04, 2012

Why Satan Owns the Cable Company

Like many of you, I've been trying to cut expenses. One bill that I hate paying is the cable TV bill. I have one of those deals where it's phone, Internet and cable. The cable company gives you a discount for having all three services with them.

We've had some sort of "Family Package" Cable TV channel now for about ten years. It worked out to a lot $$ for this channel package (which did not include any premium channels like HBO). I recall the irony that when we first got this package, a gay channel was included. This was probably 10 years ago. At the time, I thought they had a much different notion of "family" than I did.

The other thing the "Family Package" required was the rental of a digital cable box from the cable company. That would have been fine, but the way the box works, you really can't delete any of the channels like you can with your regular TV. I simply learned to deal with that. If they gave me 200 channels, I probably only watched a small percentage of them. I simply skipped to the ones I wanted to. I did though despise the fact that I had to sift through all their junk channels and couldn't delete them.

Over the years I've greatly decreased my TV watching. Sanctification? I don't know. It could be that, I guess. It could also be I rarely found anything I wanted to watch. That might have to do with getting older, and perhaps a bit more jaded. In fact, I realized I didn't really need cable TV anymore, nor was I even watching TV. So, I decided to begin cutting the cable bill. I recently dropped the Family Package and got Basic Cable. Basic is about $12 a month, and I still have the invasive cable box. It's an odd lineup of stations with Basic Cable. They probably do that to force you into a better package. They offer me the basic channels (ABC, NBC, FOX, etc.), a number of Spanish channels, a few shopping channels, some PBS channels, and oddly, EWTN, TBN, and Harold Camping's Family Radio TV channel. There's probably a few others, but most of it is worthless.

Now here's where Satan comes in. I still have the box from them, and I still can't delete channels, they set which ones I can tune into to. The Basic Cable package includes certain channels that can be paid for on demand: pornography channels. That is, they choose which channels I can tune to, and some of them are pay-pornography channels. Of all the garbage they can advertise, they make sure to include at least four pornography channels, complete with the names and descriptions of the filth they're attempting to sell. And, I can't simply delete these channels from the box. Shame on them.

Like probably some of you, I've also picked up a Roku streamer. If it were up to me, that would be good enough (by the way, I'm looking for a way to Roku stream the Dividing Line Way Back Machine, so far no luck). I can only assume that cable companies are losing a ton of money because of the Internet. I think this is a good thing. There shouldn't be any reason why I simply can't pick the stations I want to watch, and pay for those.


Andrew said...

I too have questioned whether I need cable at all. If we cancel early we owe something lie $200.00 as a fee. I thought about telling the phone company that they can cancel our cable, and not charge the fee and keep us as customers. I think they;ll play ball.

steelikat said...

I've never been a "cable person," and have never understood why people think it's worth all that money when TV is free.

I do understand the appeal of having a lot of choices, but there is something new you guys might not be aware of, and maybe this will make a difference for you: Broadcast television is much different than it used to be. Whereas there used to be a handful of channels, with digital TV there are now many, not as many as cable, but still a lot. Where I live, there are 35 broadcast stations which you can pick up free with an ordinary antenna. Some of them are broadcast from over a hundred miles away, and--because it's digital--TV reception is fine, except sometimes during a thunderstorm. Ten of these channels are religious stations and five are "family" stations.

None of them have porn per se, but I think you had better stay away from the major network prime-time stuff as far as I can tell.

James Swan said...

"Where I live, there are 35 broadcast stations which you can pick up free with an ordinary antenna.

Unfortunately, that's not always the case for everyone.

The Roku streaming box has been a pleasant surprise. I've enjoyed watching old episodes of Groucho's "You Bet Your Life".

I also don't want to give off the impression that I'm some sort of "I hate TV and I'm more sanctified than you" type of sentiment. I enjoy watching films. I'll watch anything typically that's a 5 star movie, in any language.

I also rarely watch sports which is a big reason why most people need cable. I would guess that many people have no choice but to pay some sort of provider to be able to watch their favorite sports team.

steelikat said...

There used to be 5 stations. When digital TV came, the number of stations proliferated--but this hasn't been well-publicized. Don't assume this hasn't happened where you live. When I tell cable people I know who live here they have never heard of it.

In the Philadelphia area, for example, where there used to be just a handful of stations, there are now several others "piggybacking" on the high-def main channels. Where there used to be a channel 6, there is now a 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3. Where there used to be a channel 10, there is now a 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3. Where there used to be a channel 35, there is now a 35.1, 35.2, 35.3, 35.4, and 35.66!

In some cases, the additional channels just mirrored the primary channel in lower-resolution, but with time that is changing. For example, where I live there is an ABC affiliate that has the typical programming, but piggybacking on that channel there is an old-TV show channel, a classic movies channel, a channel rebroadcasting the local news all day long, and another channel that has a variety of movies, reruns, and local programming.

In addition, you can now get distant stations (also usually multiple stations piggybacked on each other) that you never used to be able to get with the old-fashioned TV format.

Anonymous said...

I doubt Luther would have been so scrupulous. After all didn't he say to "Sin boldly?" Didn't he break his solemn vow of chastity and get a nun to break her solemn vow of chastity as well when he married her?

James Swan said...


I see no difference between unwanted ignorant spam and your comment.

Ken Abbott said...

In southern Maryland (SE of Washington) television reception without cable is so poor it is unwatchable. I, too, could do without much of what is on basic cable but in its absence we get snowy versions of the three major network affiliates in DC and not much else.

pilgrim said...

We have the three combined, but that's because we had only phone & internet with separate companies and one of them offered us all three for actually less than we were paying for both of them combined--so we actually saved money by going with all three with one company--and we got some freebies.

Worked out for us.
If we drop cable we wind up paying more--and that's the regular price, not a cancellation fee.