August 15, 2004

Rage against the cable company...

When it comes down to it, I'm a big TV fan. I especially love channels not offered by basic cable. I enjoy the Food Network, HGTV, Bravo...these are channels that provide programming that can fill in the blanks of otherwise boring TV shows. Do I care for most reality programming? Nope. Do I like Sundays full of sporting events? No. Have I watched a minute of the Olympics yet? Take a guess.

That said, I have cable Internet, so I'm not spending a gazillion dollars on my TV too. Ergo, I have bargain-basement cable, as my bunny ears weren't picking up much because of my concrete walls.

However, my "local" channels are ridiculous. I'm fine with Pittsburgh's inferior PBS station that mostly shows pledge drives and infomercials (central PA has much better PBS programming, but I pick my battles). I also don't mind ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. Perfectly normal. The WB? Okay. TBS? WGN? Okay. I also get the weather channel, which is usually wrong. The website says I get UPN, BET, Hallmark and Discovery. That's not fantastic. I'd rather TLC than Discovery, and I don't watch any of the other channels. But it's 12 dollars.

However, my problem is with the extra channels that the cable companies line-up doesn't inclue. I get "OLN" which is appearntly the Outdoor Life Network, aka watching men fish and hunt. The other bonus channel is the Golf Channel, which is bascially 22 hours of watching men golf, and maybe an hour or two of LPGA wrap-ups. Very lame. I have no desire to watch these. One could call them male-oriented stations. If I were to have extraneous channels, I'd at least want TLC, Food, Bravo...relatively unisex stations (okay, maybe food is more girly, but Rachael Ray has posed for male magazines, I hear). Why am I subjected to these horrible stations?

Why don't I have choice?

Because cable is pretty much a monopoly. Oh yes, and they bundle their products....Grrr. What I really want is a la carte cable. Nothing crazy -- most of the channels would still be intact. Had they just asked me to pick two bonus channels where OLN and Golf are, I would be a really happy customer who doesn't have to hear about Tiger, Phil and Ernie or watch someone catch a wide-mouthed bass. Call me a girl (you'd certainly be right), but I'd like to watch someone decorate a house or bake a cake or something. Is that too much to ask?

Posted by Julie Young at August 15, 2004 11:12 PM

Well said. Meanwhile, I enjoy the Food Network also as you know. But it seems every time I turn it on, it's the Good Eats episode about beef, or Iron Chef. I clearly need a TV guide.

Posted by: Donna at August 16, 2004 10:42 AM

I agree. Paying for cable during first semester last year turned out to be a waste of time because not only did I rarely watch the ol' boob tube but also when I did sit to be entertained I was let down by the lack of interesting programming. A la carte television--could you get a petition together and plague the provider with the help of some other advocating friends? :^)

Posted by: Karissa at August 16, 2004 04:41 PM
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