Me and TV

I had been a DirecTV subscriber for years, mostly so I could watch sports, which is the only reason I have a television. I’ve gone long stretches of my life without a TV, but it is a nice convenience for when you’re stuck at home with nothing better to do. I do enjoy watching baseball and football. Some of the long form dramas produced by the big cable channels have been good too. Otherwise, I’ve never developed the habit of following sitcoms and serials. I doubt I could name one show popular in prime time.

Back in January I decided to cancel my subscription. The cost had reached the point where it no longer made sense. The game DirecTV plays is they slowly jack up the monthly fee until you decide you’ve had enough and call to cancel. They haggle with you and offer a discount if you stay with them. It is a crazy way to do business, but I suppose it works for them. Most Americans hate confrontations over money and most Americans hate haggling. My Arab friends love DirecTV.

The haggle to finally get free took exactly 25 minutes. I knew what was coming so I was prepared to enjoys it. I allowed the customer retention rep to think he had a real chance to get me to change my mind. We went back and forth for about ten minutes and then he threw me a curve by transferring me to his supervisor. He and I did the dance for another ten minutes and I finally prevailed. The remainder of the conversation was going through a surprisingly long list of details in order to cancel television.

The funny thing about cutting the cord, at least for me, is I’m probably watching more television now than when I had a subscription. I have an Amazon Fire and I have a Prime account. I no longer go to stores, other than for groceries, so I get good use of the Amazon account. I’m one of those people who gets more than his annual fee in free shipping. That also means I have access to all sorts of video content on the Fire. Amazon does offer a lot of video content on their system.

I also loaded the Kodi app on the thing so I have the underground streaming services for just about anything you can imagine. I’m fond of Pakistani cinema so it is nice to be able to get that whenever I want. The Kodi app is to television what Napster was to the music industry. It is a tool to allow the black market to undermine the oligopoly controlling the US television business. At some point, Big Cable will figure out how to shut them down, but the damage will have been done and the cost of winning will kill the cable model.

Anyway, the reason I’m probably watching more television now is that I have more to watch. It used to be that I’d fruitlessly scan the channels looking for anything that caught my interest. Unless a game was on, I’d end up leaving the TV on and wandering off to do something else. Other than sporting events, it was mostly just background noise as I got tired of the process of finding something worth watching. Throw in the excessive commercials and the whole process was more punishment than pleasure.

Now, I have a whole list of programs I’ve queued up so when I want to watch a show, I turn on the show or movie. The fact that it is commercial free makes the experience more enjoyable. I’m binge watching, as the kids say, the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. It’s nice to watch two episodes back-to-back. By the time I settle into watch TV, it is around 8:00 PM so I watch two episodes then go to bed. I usually read or write for a few hours before bed so it works out well, so it works for me to do both.

It sort of reminds me of what television was like when I was a kid. We watched TV in the same way people went to the movies. It was a planned event. After school, we only watched TV when the weather was bad. My dad would watch the evening news on occasion, but usually, the TV was off until after dinner and some popular prime-time show that we watched as a family. In other words, television was not the center of life. It was just one of many cheap entertainments.

It’s not hard to see where it is heading. The days of the cable subscription are nearing an end. Old people will continue to prefer that model, mostly because it is simple and familiar. In time, the on-demand model will figure out how to appeal to geezers who don’t like change. I’m not quite a geezer, but I appreciate that going cordless is a bit of hassle. I had to fiddle with the Fire and load the Kodi app onto it. Just as Facebook is now dominated by seniors, these cordless services will soon be common among the geezers.

The other change on the TV front is I had to get a new XBox. The old one died, mostly from lack of use, I suspect. I’m not much of a gamer, but on a rainy day or when I have people to the ghetto for drinks, it is a nice to have item. I bought a new one and it has a Blu-ray player, which is something I never experienced. Having watched my first Blu-ray disc, I’m not seeing the big difference. It’s a little better, but I suspect you have to have an Ultra-HD TV to really appreciate the higher quality.

The comical part of the XBox was that I had to download 1.5 GB of updates before I could use the thing. I’m old enough to remember when computer storage always had the letter ‘K” in it. Once that was done, I loaded my first Blu-ray only to learn that the  Blu-ray app need to download an update. Then the controller needed a firmware update. I bet it took three hours of prep just to use the stupid thing. A big part of modern life is waiting for your electronics to prepare themselves for your use.

Like a junkie just out of rehab, I’m off TV and I swear this is it for me.

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62 Comments on "Me and TV"

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Member
It’s hard to escape the “entertainments,” isn’t it? Whether it’s some geezer cable company or online streaming, someone is always profiting. (Except there are services that provide free HD movies and TV serials – I wonder who is paying for the bandwidth to give that away for free?) But Zman – one thing you don’t really mention – is how “escapism” plays a role in most people’s lives. Movies and TV serials must have all studied Bernays. Because it always works. You ought to delve into how these entertainment programs or annual sporting rituals manipulate us psychologically. Even books have… Read more »
karl hungus
Guest

you sound deranged; John Brown deranged.

also, your post is self-contradicting.

Alien
Guest
@hoboken411 – A number of years ago I stumbled across a fascinating bit of information technology that has come to almost completely replace my motion-enabled photoscreen device. It’s a data storage and retrieval mechanism that can contain anything from small to large amounts of data, it allows data access either serially or randomly (the data are usually well indexed just for that purpose), data groupings are available in every single category I’ve ever searched for, the licensing process is so simple as to be nearly nonexistent, it has extremely low power requirements – in fact, the only power necessary for… Read more »
Anonymous White Male
Guest
DirecTV is now owned by ATT. They force their representatives for technical and bill support to try to sell DirecTV to every single customer that calls in. If they do not do a sales pitch, they will not be working long. And they don’t really train the people to handle Customer Support. That is why when you call ATT Customer Support they can take up to 30 minutes or more to solve your problem. They have to put you on hold and ask other people how to solve your problem. American business certainly has become very scummy in the last… Read more »
p.g.t. beauregard
Guest
On top of that, since ATT purchased Direct TV, customer service has meant dealing primarily with Dindus. They have a long way to go up the bell curve to match their white counterparts in pleasantries and usefulness. Three months ago I called in to complain about a receiver not working. Despite having paid for the option of a free service call, the customer service rep (Dindu) insisted on walking me through a series of steps to fix the problem – which was fine- but then got surly with me when I insisted they weren’t fixing the problem. It was her… Read more »
John the River
Member
Got to the point that if I walk into a store (say a T-Mobile store) and all or most of the workers are them (you say Dindu’s I say Negros) I turn around and walk out. Too many of them together and it’s f’you whitey. ” Arrogant, stupid and lazy is no way to go through life son.” On the other hand, one Negro in a store is usually indistinguishable from their co-workers. About TV, canceled cable about five years ago when Comcast/Xfinity decided to encrypt the local channels (which required everyone to get a decoder from them), after which… Read more »
Doug
Guest
With a hi grade Yagi type antenna, on as tall a pole you can manage, you can get an amazing number of channels you are charged for on DTV, for free. We live on a ridge at 3000 ft elv which helps get lots of channels. We cut the cord getting on 2 years now. Since we built an off grid system for our house, and my wife wanted to have a little bit of TV, mostly for watching DVD’s, so I got her a 12 volt dc LCD. It is a really nice unit. It’s customary here in this… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Any you guys see Ben Carson discovered 516.4 Billion in fraud at HUD. Like gone-Poof! Down the gay mulatto Chicago shakedown rabbit hole slush fund.
I read the Inspector General Audit, it is dry reading full of all sorts of Fedspeak, but it looks like some pretty serious corrupt management. It’s so bad, the auditors can’t determine an opinion, like in they don’t know where to start if I understand the legal jargon. Half a trillion in 2 years alone, 2015-16.
https://www.hudoig.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2017-FO-0005.pdf

John the River
Member

They really (REALLY!!!) didn’t expect to lose that election.

Go Ben! Go!

Doug
Guest

Everything hinged on the “orderly transition of power” as the Gay Mulato put it.
He never really lied even when he did, lot of people just where not really listening to him, they where listening to their emotions instead of using their brains.

Besides. like you hinted, how could they have covered it all up? The corruption, the malfesense, the treason and greed, everything?

Member

I watch the occasional movie and play the occasional game on PC, the Pirate Bay works for me

Member

Yes, the cable/satellite model is toast eventually. The future will be online delivery of specific shows. If it were up to me, I would have axed the DirecTV account already. The Netflix/Hulu/Amazon model is the future.

Brian-guy
Guest
Z I own the boxed set of B. E. How far into it are you? Unless you don’t wish to say. It’s probably my favorite series so far. I’ve reduced my Dish bill to under $100 till July. Down from about $175. Then I’m cutting it out altogether after that. I use my blu ray more than anything. Another good series is Breaking Bad. When it came out I was like “I don’t want to watch anything regarding meth heads.” I was wrong, good show. I’m finishing season 5 of Game of Thrones. I could do without the perversions but… Read more »
Member
Back in the day if you had multiple homes and a cooperative cable or satellite guy you could get all of them put on the same account. Other people in your family can use streaming apps available via whatever service you are using. These are ways you can achieve some savings in the current system, which is dying. My wife and I watch a little local TV in the early morning to check on the weather and road conditions. I just realized that the news/propaganda breasts are there merely to introduce the middle aged guy in a suit who presents… Read more »
Member

It’s good to swear off TV. Just be sure you also swear off the propaganda-disguised-as-news/sports/entertainment. It’s just as pernicious.

Guant
Guest

That’s why they call it “programming”

Drake
Guest

The real difference between blu-ray and dvd is the sound – if you have a good surround system. My system in the basement now looks and sounds better than any theater not IMAX.

Dan Kurt
Member

Don’t any of you guys read? I suggest you give it a try. IMHO reading gives the most bang for the buck.

Dan Kurt

Drake
Guest

On the way to work this morning I was thinking it’s Thursday – so Cosby, Cheers, and Seinfeld tonight I joked with myself.

I’m getting closes to cutting that cord. I need to access my unbundled internet options. Unfortunately Verizon stopped laying fiber-optic cable about a mile from my house.

My other problem is that I live in the hills of Northwest NJ so there is no reception with broadcast stations in NY or Philly.

jeffronimo
Guest
I was exactly the same kind of DirecTV customer a few years back. Sports and movies and the occasional series like “Rome” and “The Sopranos”. What made it all the more addictive for me was the DVR. But, it got to be so damned expensive. And the understanding that a majority of that expense funded so much cultural degradation always gnawed at my sensibilities. So, when I made my last call to DirecTV, I demanded they let me go a la carte: “Look, I don’t want 250 channels. Let me pick 30 channels and pay 75 bucks a month.” No… Read more »
Dutch
Guest

Sports play-by-play done well on radio is one of the best entertainments of all.

Drake
Guest

Z – Have you watched “The Expanse”? Prime has season one.

I love the books and they’ve done a good job with the television version.

UKer
Guest

The Expanse: a series I enjoyed so much that I went and bought the books. Not giving anything away, but you are in for a treat if they get round to making more of it (the first series goes only halfway through book one, called ‘Leviathan Wakes.’)

Sure, the TV series can’t cover what the books do but they have done pretty reasonable job of not butchering the storyline too much.

DrTorch
Guest

Just cancelled CaTV last week. Hardly watching it, can barely find shows to DVR.

Once married, we went years w/o TV, only getting it when FiOS price was very low. Glad to be w/o again.

karl hungus
Guest
You can buy USB tv receivers, that turn your PC into a DVR. you attach the olde style antenna to it. there are online program guides and everything. I worked at Directv for six years, in the engineering division. One day shortly after I had started using Netflix’s (at the time) new streaming service, I was in an elevator with one of the VP’s and I mentioned how effective the Netflix streaming service was. Well that set him off on a rant about how Directv’s streaming service was blah blah blah. Fast forward to now and satellite delivered tv seems… Read more »
notsothoreau
Guest

Just to let you know, Netflix employees get everything for free too. And nothing is ever their fault. Directv was charging us about $80 a month. When my husband was talking to the rep, he was asked about what he likes to watch. He likes to watch old shows, and most were free OTA. I did buy him a season of NYPD Blue, just to wean him off that. It’s nice watching old westerns like Bonanza.

Amazed
Guest

PlayStation Vue – apps for Roku and Amazon Fire (I prefer Fire), and Windows and Android. $35 a month, much sports, all the major newsies. I like it.

I used Sling for awhile, but their price and delivery model is the same as cable, just for a different price. PlayStation Vue gives everything useful that Sling does, plus a few, for cheaper. Just a nuggat……..

Tim
Guest

I have directv and decided it’s too much trouble to get rid of it. Makes me a geezer I guess. I’m too old to argue that point. The one thing that makes it useable is taping to the units hard drive. Then you store stuff and fast forward through the commercials when you watch it. Tim

jwm
Guest

Haven’t had any TV of any kind in the house for years. In fact, I have never even seen an episode of Seinfeld, much less any of the newer drek. Internet, Kindle, and real books suffice. We do not lack entertainment at all.
Going tubeless has some strange side effects. Now, if I am in a house where a TV is running I find myself actually horrified, and disgusted by the garbage spewing out of the thing. How. Can. Anyone. Stand . That . Shit?
It’s a mystery.

JWM

Dutch
Guest
Funny how you get some distance from TV, and it is so easy to see how awful most of it it is. Same with movies, same with magazines and books. Same with a typical person’s ideas of what is going on and what is important. IMHO, when the history of the 20th century is written for real, it will be considered the time when the public was buttered up with the idea that it intelligently held some sway over events, but actually the powers that be had instead mastered the art of manipulation, in a manner and depth that had… Read more »
MadMax1861
Guest

Cancelled the cable TV 2 years ago. Got a few ROKUs and YouTubeRed (no ads for $9.99/month). I have many playlists and don’t miss cable at all.

revjen45
Guest

As a seasoned citizen (70 in June) I resent your reference to mature Americans as “geezers.” I am officially an Old Shit and proud of it.

Anonymous White Male
Guest

Old Fart is the preferred title when children are around.

J Clivas
Guest

Too much personal information.

notsothoreau
Guest
You had better luck than we did. We called Directv on 12/31. Both my husband and I spoke with the rep and told him we wanted to cancel at the end of the current billing cycle. They didn’t cancel it, of course. They charged us for another month. We called again in February. They told us we hadn’t gone through the right procedure to cancel. I told them they were doing this wrong. I explained that some day, we might decide to get tv again and it would be better if they treated us decently. They were rude and it… Read more »
Member
Don’t feel bad. Our kids come up about six times a year and one of the little ones has been free to do as he likes regarding iPhones, iPads, etc. Well, we were making a change in our Directv account because we had to put MIL in the nursing home and did not need it. Found out that we had been subscribing to the Playboy channel for one year now to the tune of $600 bucks. We like sex as much as the next guy, but Playboy is not us. Directv was so nice. They gave us $5 off.
tamaleman
Guest

Noticed this thing after reading today’s post: https://slickdeals.net/f/10022316-500gb-tivo-roamio-ota-dvr-renewed-w-all-in-service-plan-250-free-s-h

It’s a TiVO (apparently still a thing) that as far as I can tell acts as DVR and program guide for over the air channels, has no subscription fees, and has streaming apps baked in too. Seems very mod-able too.

The old lady and I are moving next month. Not sure what we’ll set up but I’m in no hurry and know for sure I’m walking away from Comcast and AT&T for good.

Fuel Filter
Guest
I have prime as well and a Fire stick but I looked all over and found no trace of a Kodi app at all. Did I misunderstand you? Anyone here have ChromeCast? How is it? I’m pretty picky about what I watch and have hesitated with the Roku thing. Anyone here that could give more detail on it I’d appreciate it. Oh, and I just ditched Netflix over their “Dear White People” bullshit. The director of that crap, Jack Moore, tweeted “Fuck white people” when he started to get some blowback, so that’s $10 more for me to spend per… Read more »
YIH
Guest

Stopped doing cable back in ’98. Pretty much quit TV altogether in ’05.
Now if there’s something I want to watch I find a download or rummage around YouTube for the most part.
Sports (NFL football) is still problematic with streaming video. Internet usage can cause jitter, blur (looks out of focus), pixellation (at worst it looks like Minecraft) and even freezing (video just stops for several seconds). Fox mostly did alright with the last Super Bowl except for an old-style ”technical difficulties” screen just when the Patriots were turning the game around.

Fred B
Guest
I got one of the new 4HD TVs. It’s great for gaming, but only for games made for it. But for TV, not so much yet. Problem is TV stations (news, sports, etc) apparently don’t broadcast in 4HD or have those cameras yet, but I was assured it’s coming. In the store the TVs that are hanging have these beautiful cityscapes and landscapes, ocean scenes that are specific programs running to show you the TV at it’s best. Content providers (TV, Movies, Netflix etc) haven’t caught up yet, so what you see is just a bit below par. But still… Read more »
ambiguousfrog
Guest
Were those updates for the Blue-ray done with a 3600 baud modem by chance? Nice to remember those days when it was spent waiting. We thought we were spoiled then. I cut the cord years ago and haven’t looked back. Using roku with plex media server. My next step is to pay a couple dollars for an offshore vpn to configure my open source dd-wrt router and then maybe attempt Kodi thing. $60 for internet is all I spend. Then through in the $7 for hulu, $8 for netflix (or whatever today), and $100 for Prime. I feel I’m more… Read more »
Steve Ryan
Guest

Curiosity Stream is my only device vice. That and Google Play Music, though I’m struggling to figure out why it keeps shutting off when my screen locks. Pre-geezer problems…

Just found your site via VD, enjoying it so far!

Doug
Guest

I think of all the things, it was the commercials. 30 minute program, you pay for, and 15-20 minutes of it is for something you definitely do not shell out hard earned bucks for?
I’m old enough to remember the claims of Cable back in the 60’s up in northern NH. “Commercial Free” I think it was.
Think about it now. As a subscriber, you are paying for a media complex, so it can make money from advertisers who get more time than you get a product.
It doesn’t get any more FUBAR than that, regardless of the brainwashing and “programming”.

CaptDMO
Guest

Oooo…that hour+ “We need to upgrade your X-Box (and mine it for ALL new data)for some inexplicable reason!”
Get used to that, about once a month.
Keep it in mind when you’re tempted by the “for a small fee-give us your card #…”, and “free” access options to assorted
“new friends”, and “special shopping deals” on the net.
If you can get a copy of the original “Watchdogs” game, it MAY explain it all to you. (I have no idea about Watchdogs II)

El Polacko
Guest
I killed my Dish account about three months ago. Same complaint. My bundle included about 250 channels and I only watched about ten of them. Now Amazon Prime and HULU provide more content than anyone can ever watch. I’ve been binging lately on “Jay Leno’s Garage” and the “Peter Gunn” detective series reruns from the early sixties. Whatever kinds of cable or network news programming that spins your prop is freely available thru the source’s apps the next day or a few hours after broadcast, or often available in real time on what appear to be pirated lives feeds in… Read more »
c7
Guest

Z–ever read Jerry Mander’s ‘Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television?” The improbably-named Mander was a former ad exec. A good book, even if 30 years old now.

Allan
Guest
Recently I encountered a document titled “The Occult Technology of Power”, which purports to describe a meeting and series of lectures arranged by a wealthy elitist for his son with the father’s advisors and professors. It’s arguably a hoax, but it does have a few insightful points which ring true. For example, in a section about public education, one reads as follows: “Therefore, we discourage education that would develop the potential powers of students to their fullest…Education that prepares students to accept a cog-like existence in our military-industrial-social-welfare-regulation complex is ideal. Progressive education with its stress on ‘social adjustment’ also… Read more »
vladdy
Guest

Doesn’t sound like you’re off TV. Books and the net are a much better substitute than Hollywood (or Pakistani) products “when there’s nothing better to do.”

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