Innovate or Die, Cable TV Style

What’s my problem? Why does my stomach churn at the idea of watching live TV? Why does the idea of paying a cable or satellite company $100+/month for them to spew commercials and this reality TV crap at me disgust me?

We can only buy the cable channels we want in packages. So it’s like $80/month to get a couple desired channels and the rest of the lineup is filled with garbage.

This post is an exploration of my negative feelings towards paying for TV service.

Perhaps it’s because I like to watch video entertainment — movies, TV shows, video podcasts, and clips — on my own terms: on my own schedule, at my own pace, and with as minimum commercial interruption as possible. I can wait a year for the next season of The Big Bang Theory to come out on DVD. The writing’s not that great anyway. This year I bought a season pass to Mad Men. Was it worth the $35? In hindsight, no. I could have just waited to get it on DVD from Netflix. But what happens to talking about last night’s show with friends and family? Meh. I didn’t really do that much of that either. Our time was better spent talking about, oh I don’t know, things that matter, perhaps? The bottom line is that there isn’t a show on TV now that makes me anticipate its next installment. I can wait after all.

Okay, what about just mindlessly zoning out in front of the TV? If it’s absolutely necessary (and sometimes it is), I can zone out with Hulu shows or videos I already have on my media server. And, quite honestly, TV is low-quality background noise filler that completely wastes your time. It’s just so much noise designed to drown out the real thoughts in your head and replace them with the mindless drivel we are supposed to think. Meh. Maybe I don’t believe that last bit so much. But I do believe it’s the “bread and circus” of the 20th and 21st centuries. There are so many books to read, ideas to create, things to fix, and projects to do that TV sucks all my will and turns me into an inactive, unproductive, gelatinous blob.

Two Saturdays ago I spent quite literally the entire day doing chores. I was non-stop. I’d rather spend my precious little free relaxation time on a known factor: a favorite TV show, a highly-rated movie, a good book. Or, heaven forbid, doing something with my loved one. I’m still a media consumer but the core of media consumption is changing, and I changed it. There’s still a place for broadcast TV, but the traditional inflexible model of live, unalterable, and bloated cable TV network schedules has got to change or it will die. As it exists now it is rapidly becoming a relic, a quaint nostalgic throwback to what-used-to-be. I move and look forward. I innovate. And I want nothing to do with it anymore.

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Author: PhilRW

software engineer, pianist, polymath

One thought on “Innovate or Die, Cable TV Style”

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