|Stardate 63122.9: Why are you paying for bad TV?
||[Dec. 29th, 2009|10:22 pm]
So a year ago Erica and I decided to drop cable TV for several reasons. The primary one being the massively high cost. Basically we looked at the number of shows we really wanted to watch that was only provided by cable. It came out to this:
Mythbusters (not time sensitive) on Discovery Channel
The Daily Show (time sensitive) on Comedy Central
Doctor Who (not time sensitive), Torchwood (not time sensitive) and The Sarah Jane Adventures (not time sensitive) on BBC America
Eureka (not time sensitive) and Ghost Hunters (not time sensitive) on The SciFi Channel (this is before they changed their name to the awful SyFy Channel)
Robot Chicken (not time sensitive) and The Venture Brothers (also not time sensitive) on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
An occasional special on The History Channel or something similar.
Since most of these shows had short seasons, we were often left with hundreds of channels with nothing to watch. A lot of the other stuff that we were watching was already shown on local channels.
This was not worth about $100 a month. By the time you added the taxes, higher costs for upper tiers (the only way to get BBC America), fees, DVR charges and everything else that Comcast could nickel and dime us to death with, the bill was outrageous. If we had the option of ala-carte and selecting the channels we wanted, we may have stuck with cable. Instead we would have been stuck with cable channels that are shedding the niche market and becoming clones of each other (example: movies on The Weather Channel, live programing on Cartoon Network, sports on the SciFi Channel, etc.)
Once we had cut the cable, we realized we would never be going back again. The new Digital Transition has added a lot of new FREE choices and we are supporting our local channels (that put local people to work). Some of the new digital subchannels are not even available on cable or satellite.
So besides the regular line up of CBS (KUTV 2.1), ABC (KUTX 4.1), NBC (5.1), PBS (KUED 7.1 and KBYU 11.1), Fox (KSTU 13.1) ION (KUPX 16.1) and CW (KUCW 30.1) (for some reason there is no over-the-air broadcaster for MyNetwork TV in the Salt Lake metro area) we also have the following.
This TV (2.2) shows classic movies and Stargate SG-1 every Sunday. KUED also airs Real Salt Lake MLS matches on this channel.
Untamed Sports TV (4.2) for outdoor and sports programing. Some interesting shows on airplanes and boats have been seen on this channel.
Universal Sports (5.2) Olympic sports including hockey, water polo, speed skating and more.
KSL Weather (5.3) Utah weather when ever we want it.
PBS World (7.2) more PBS and KUED specials. (replacing a lot of items found on History and Discovery channels)
Worldview (9.2) News from around the world plus music videos and specials. I think that the BBC America audience would enjoy this one.
Home Shopping Network (10.2) if you still need something to buy over TV.
BYU TV and BYU TV International on 11.2 and 11.3 LDS related items but a lot of sports as well.
Create (11.4) replaces your Food Channel and H&G TV style channels.
Qubo (16.2) 24 hour cartoon channel that my daughter watches a lot.
ION Life (16.3) Movies and lifestyle programing.
Worship (16.4) Mostly religious but has some music and comedy.
There are also several independent, religious and Spanish channels in Salt Lake that are looking to add digital subchannels (most in English). There are also stations in smaller regional markets (Logan, St George, etc.) that have (or soon will be) re-broadcasting along the Wasatch Front. I did some research on possible over-the-air channels that they could add:
Retro Television Network- Classic TV replacing TV Land. I would love to see this one the most since it is not over-the-air locally.
RTV2- New network planned from the Retro Television Network folks. Rumored to air classic B&W TV shows.
Funimation Channel- Anime Anime Anime!!!
.2 Network- New network launching soon with movies and TV. Specifically built for the digital subchannel niche.
Tuff TV- A network dedicated to Guys like Spike TV.
White Springs TV- Classic movies.
America One- Sports with some classic TV
PBJ- A kids network planned by the RTV folks.
Classic Arts Showcase- A classical MTV
TheCoolTV- Music videos like before MTV went to smeg.
Bohemia Visual Music- Another channel dedicated to music videos.
NASA TV- Gotta love science specials
Research Channel- More science.
Documentary Channel- Independent films and documentaries.
Pentagon Channel- Replaces The Military Channel.
ImaginAsian- More anime and TV from the orient.
Colors TV- More worldwide programing like Worldview
@SportsTV- More sports
Plus there are more networks that I haven't listed and I understand that more are in the works. I would love to see a network dedicated to classic Science Fiction/Fantasy TV shows and a local Utah sports network (Kentucky has one now) dedicated to high school, college and minor league sports.
Another note about digital subchannels, several markets have used them for special programing. Everything from constant coverage of the funeral of the police officers tragically killed in Washington to local emergency weather to local sporting events as well as live political election results. If they did this on regular channels the networks and viewers would be screaming.
I've talked with a lot of people who have left cable. They love it as well. According to the Television Bureau of Advertising 39.2% of the SLC market does NOT subscribe to cable. You add satelite into the mix and that number rises to 47.2%.
Now you are probably wondering if I would miss the shows I listed at the top of this long entry? Nope. The rare quality programing that just happen to eek out of the slime of cable can be found much more economically via Netflix. Compare $9/month vs nearly $100 a month. We have also discovered that our local library system has a ton of DVDs from The History Channel, National Geographic, Biography and more (Full seasons of TV episodes to Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog) all for free. Plus every once in a while I'll catch up on some shows with Hulu. However most of these are free TV shows that I may have missed for some reason or another (late night or we were gone that day).
So is it my goal to get you to drop cable? Well that's up to you since only you know what is best for your budget. But if you want to see your local stations survive you may want to drop cable (and let the local stations know that you are supporting them and watching their ads). I've volunteered at KUED (and purchased a membership). I'm also writing to the FCC about how I think that Comcast buying NBC Universal is a very bad idea.
Thanks for listening to my long and wandering rant. I'm off to bed.