The case for cutting the cable cord

CordCuttingTitleImageWhere we live, it is difficult to impossible to pick up anything other than WMUR over the air..  When we moved into our house, we had to wait a week for the Comcast guy to come and hook up our cable TV and internet.  All we could pick up over the air was WMUR (channel 9, ABC affiliate), ME-TV (channel 9.2), and a couple of Spanish channels, which do not count since we do not speak or understand very much Spanish.  No CBS, no NBC, no FOX, no PBS, nothing but ABC.  So after many years being cable-free when we lived just north of Boston and could pick up lots of stuff over the air, we signed on with Comcast for TV and internet services.

The services are actually very reliable, and we are especially happy with the speed of the internet,  The only other option here is FairPoint, which involves having to put a fugly DirecTV dish on the house, and having their lousy DSL internet service.  From what I hear, it goes down all the time and is slow.  No thanks.  Comcast may be more expensive, but the service actually does work as well as it is supposed to.

But more and more, I am wondering why we even bother to pay for the TV part of our service.  Not only are most cable channels shit, but we can barely even watch the broadcast channels that we need cable in order to receive here.

I used to love the Food Network and the Cooking Channel.  But now, they are mostly unwatchable, because they have almost nothing but idiotic competition shows.  The Food Network show that i hate the most in this world is that idiotic Cupcake Wars.  Do I REALLY need to see this shit on Cooking Channel AND Food Network?  And I have little use for most other cable channels, especially since TNT was dumb enough to cancel the Dallas reboot.  That’s another channel that is taking away good shows and putting on stupid reality show crap.

As for the broadcast channels – I record and watch the four daytime soaps that are left – The Young & the Restless and The Bold & the Beautiful on CBS, Days of our Lives on NBC, and General Hospital on ABC.  That is, if they actually SHOW them and not pre-empt them with bullshit news and weather crap.  This seems to be getting worse and worse lately.  WBZ is awful, the break in with news if the governor sneezes.  I was very surprised they weren’t showing the Aaron Hernandez trial today, as WHDH was, and probably will for the next six weeks or however long this circus goes on.  I want to watch Days of our Lives.  I also don’t want to turn on ANY channel unless it is called The Weather Channel, to watch reporters on the side of a road telling us that it is snowing outside.  I have a goddamned window, I can SEE if it is snowing or not.  I watch the regular newscasts to keep up with this.  I WANT TO SEE MY SHOWS!

Not even PBS is safe any more.  The other day, Mike was watching this American Experience show about Thomas Edison.  The stupid government broke in not once, but TWICE, with winter storm warnings, complete with godawful noises, muting out the sound of the program and someone talking about the weather alert, AND a ticker on the screen.  Isn’t just the ticker enough?  Oh, and in this case, this alert was for a storm THAT ALREADY HAPPENED.

And today, I was watching a show on another PBS channel, Create, and they broke into half hour show TWICE with the same kind of weather alert.  I’m sorry, but weather is something they can predict, and if you do not watch the regular news and weather reports and have no idea that it’s coming, you are a fucking moron and deserve whatever you get.  Don’t break into my shows to protect the stupid.  Let Charles Darwin continue to do his very important work.

The government does this shit on newer cell phones, as well, and the noise it makes would wake Helen Keller from the grave.  At least cell phones give you an option to turn these things off, which I did after I managed not to die from a heart attack when that noise came blaring out of my phone the first time.  With TV, there is no OFF switch for this shit.  Yet we have to pay for it.

So why are we even paying for TV at all, if it is getting more and more unwatchable?  Let’s start with my soaps.  I have a Hulu Plus subscription, which is where I watch a lot of my shows.  They have General Hospital.  I can use Apple AirPlay to beam Days of our Lives from the app on my iPad to my Apple TV in the living room.  Works flawlessly.  As for the two CBS soaps, there is no way to stream them on a TV, but they can be watched online, either on a computer at CBS.com, or on my iPad via the CBS app.  Right now, this is free, but CBS has recently rolled out a paid subscription service.  I refuse to pay for it, but I am afraid that they may start charging to watch ANY of their shows online.  If that happens, then it’s bye-bye to these shows.  How can I keep up with a daily soap if I have no way to watch it every day?  I will NOT pay CBS six bucks a month for just their content, especially since there is no app for streaming it to a TV.

On both the Apple TV and the Amazon Fire TV stick, there is a free PBS streaming channel.  It has the latest episodes of the main prime-time shows, the day after they air on TV.  That Thomas Edison show it there, I watch Downton Abbey there, and they also have shows that Mike likes such as PBS Newshour and Washington Week with Gwen Ifill.  No McLaughlin Group there, but they are on YouTube.  And guess what?  Apple and Amazon TV support YouTube.  Problem solved.

I’m already watching most of the shows I like on Hulu Plus.  Sure, I can’t get all of the content from PBS Create via streaming, but them’s the breaks.  I can live without it.  I also would not be able to get the Saturday PBS cooking show lineup without cable, but they have so many pledge drives that they are not on half the time anyway.  The pledge drive shows are shit, why pay for cable to see them?

I do love HBO, but they will be coming out with HBO GO as a standalone streaming service soon, no cable subscription necessary.  Will other premium channels like Starz and Showtime follow?  They will, if they want the money from the cable cord-cutters.  Once they see what a huge success that standalone HBO GO will be, they will want to jump onto that bandwagon.

The only holdout?  Major League Baseball.  Sadly, there is no way to watch Red Sox games in New England without a cable subscription.  The streaming MLB.TV service has blackout rules.  There has been talk of lifting the blackout for 2015, but from what I can gather, this would only allow streaming of local games on a mobile device, and you still have to have a cable subscription to do that.  What is the point of that?  If MLB ever allows people to buy the MLB.TV streaming subscription, and watch ANY GAME THEY WANT, without cable, sign me up.

Yep, so it’s just baseball that makes me keep paying too much money for a service where I can’t watch 90% of the stuff I want to see, in peace and without rude interruptions from the government and the news/weather people.  And i really don’t want to give up the baseball games.  Maybe someday MLB will get with the program and court the cord-cutters of the world.  We can always hope.