So, at my house we’ve ditched cable TV — not for Lent, but forever. (Maybe.)
Our reason is simple: we just don’t watch enough cable stations to make it worth seven hundred dollars a year, and in a time of personal (if not national) austerity measures, the spending of seven hundred bucks needs justification. My sixteen-year-old son watches almost all the TV he is interested in — which isn’t much — on his laptop. My wife is a politics junkie but is fed up with what the cable news stations bring to that table. I have historically watched almost nothing except sports on TV — and my interest in sports in general and televised sports in particular has waned dramatically in the past few years. I also realized not long ago that I simply rely on my RSS reader to alert me to cool stuff that’s on TV, most of which I can see on YouTube or Hulu within a day of its original airing. (Plus I don’t have to sit through an entire episode of The Daily Show to get to the good stuff.) So, goodbye Comcast.
A couple of weeks into this brave new world — it occurred to me the other day that I have had ESPN for thirty consecutive years — here are some thoughts:
• I may be getting digital content, but I’m fiddling with the position of my high-tech antenna like it’s 1963.
• Reception for Chicago’s Channel 2 is awful — just twenty-five miles away! (I’m told that this will be fixed soon. A likely story.)
• Since there is absolutely nothing on broadcast channels during the day, the murmur of the TV, which sometimes created background soundscapes in our house — say, when we’re folding clothes, or prepping meals — has been replaced by the sounds of Pandora, usually the Mozart channel, via our Squeezebox. This makes us feel elegant and cultured.
• Turns out I miss watching Pardon the Interruption when I come home from work.
• When I have watched sporting events, I have watched them more closely and with more pleasure — perhaps because of their relative rarity. I will be interested to see how invested I get in March Madness — though if I see it t home it will be through the blurry offices of Channel 2. Alas.
• Our Roku player arrives in a day or two. We’ll see how that changes things.