A year ago I did a price comparison between keeping satellite service, or dropping it and getting shows via the internets, and it was absolutely clear that there was no good reason for me not to ditch the live TV. And still, like a junkie who keeps pledging to quit, here I am a year later, paying even more in monthly fees.
Because I live in the San Francisco Bay area, I’ve psycho-analyzed myself, and I think it goes back to when I was much younger and would come home from school before my parents got back from work. I’d turn on the television just to be reassured that there were still people left, and the Rapture hadn’t occurred and left me behind. (Later I realized that if the Rapture were to occur, the people on television would be the last to go). Even now, coming home to an empty and quiet house gives me the creeps.
But now there’s the internet to reassure me that there are still millions of stupid people all around me. And I haven’t been watching much television ever since I stopped freelancing. I hardly have any free time outside of work. Netflix keeps sending me movies I don’t have time to watch. I’ve bought movies that I was absolutely convinced I had to have, and they’re still in the shrink wrap. I frequently find myself making the asinine complaint that I’ve got more videogames than I have time to play. I’ve got a folder on my Mac called “Projects” that mocks me with half-or-less-completed programming projects I’ve abandoned. And even though I keep pledging to become more literate, I’ve got stacks of books I haven’t read past the introduction. Something’s got to give.
I wouldn’t give up TV shows, of course — that’s just crazy talk. I’m not even embarrassed by that, as I might’ve been ten or even five years ago; TV is where all the good stuff happens these days.
But I did the whole price comparison again last week, and the numbers are even more damning of cable or satellite: I could be saving a little over $300 a year. And that’s buying full seasons of everything I watch, even the series I don’t like that much, and in high definition. That’s right, I could own an entire season of “Heroes” in HD for less than what I’m currently spending to not enjoy it.
And get this: that includes the cost of an Apple TV box. Something is seriously messed up when buying stuff through iTunes and getting an accompanying piece of Apple hardware is cheaper than the alternative.
So I’ve pledged to finally cut the cord for good. No, for real this time. I can do it. I know I can. You’re the one with the problem! Now, whether it means I’ll instantly have more time and become instantly enlightened and read more and learn languages or how to play an instrument, that remains to be seen. If nothing else, I can think about how many cigarettes I can buy with all that extra money.
Update: When I called to cancel this morning (I got up in the morning! See, it’s already working!), as part of the usual customer retention spiel, they offered to give me “free” HD and “free” DVR for a year. That would’ve cut the bill by $20 a month and all but negated the price advantage of going all-internet, and let me keep Sci-Fi channel original movies and those weird “America’s Most Haunted Theme Parks” specials in my life. But — BUT — if they could do it when I threatened to cancel, they could’ve done it all along. And that sense of righteous indignation is far more valuable than $240 a year.
But in case anybody in the Spectre Collie Army is balking at the high cost of your media feed, it might be in your best interest to threaten to cancel.