Last week, I joined a growing number of Americans in becoming a cord cutter. What that means is that I have gotten rid of cable TV and I have signed up for a streaming service that bring me television programs over the internet.
This change had been a long time coming. I frequently had billing issues. The internet service, while fast when it worked, often didn’t. And calling customer service usually was a blood-pressure raising experience.
The final straw, though, was the fact that my bill for cable TV was nearly $200 a month. Now I love the “Today” show, ESPN and reruns of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” as much as the next guy, but not enough shell out 200 clams a month for it.
The problem I have with cable TV – and the problem I’ll probably one day have with my new provider – is this. I get more than 500 channels of TV, yet I can’t ever find anything worth watching.
It’s a far cry from when I was a kid. We only got three channels – NBC, ABC and CBS – and the way we got those was we put up a big antenna on the roof and pointed it in the direction of the nearest TV station.
And even though we only had three channels, I don’t ever remember thinking that there was nothing to watch.
We didn’t have to pay anybody for it, except maybe the guy who put the big antenna on the roof. We didn’t have a remote control with more buttons than a computer keyboard. In fact, we didn’t a remote control at all. We got up off the sofa, walked across the room and turned the dial on the front of the TV.
Tell that to a child today and he’ll look at you as if you’re old enough to have walked the planet with the dinosaurs.
Of course, parents back then had a version of a remote control. Instead of getting their rear ends up off the sofa to walk across the room and turn the dial on the front of the TV, they’d get their kids to do it.
“Mitch,” my mother would say, “turn the TV to Channel 10.”
My new provider is something called YouTube TV. For $40 a month, I get all my local TV stations, all the ESPN channels, all the Fox Sports channels, all the news channels and about 40 other entertainment channels. I’m don’t have a couple of the channels I used to watch, but so far that’s OK. I also have Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, which me you to stream hundreds of movies and TV shows directly to my TV for a small monthly charge. I can also watch TV on my phone or iPad, if I really want to watch TV that badly. All I must do is maintain an internet connection, which you just about have to do these days anyway.
YouTube TV also allows me unlimited recording on a cloud DVR, which means I can record show I like and watch them later.
I’m excited about my decision to cut the cable cord. My expenses are going way down, and I’m getting plenty of channels to keep me entertained. I won’t miss any news events, and I’ll be able to see any game I want. But I do have one nagging fear with this new endeavor.
I’ll bet you I still can’t find anything to watch.