I am thinking that this weekend I will get rid of my cable, well sort of. I am going to keep cable, but just the most basic package. This package has 20 stations, which are mainly the local stations and a few others, and will cost me about $12. I thought about getting the standard package, but then the price jumps up to $50 and I figure if I am going to spend that much, I might as well keep the digital cable that I currently have, which is $65. I sat and counted and the digital cable has 146 channels and that doesn't count the On Demand and all music channels. I figure I probably use about 12 or 13 (I counted these too, so this is not really guess) of those 146 channels semi-regularly and will miss some of them like ESPN and Versus (for hockey season) and BBC America, but it was not worth me paying that much money for channels that I just don't use. What I really want is a way to pay only for the channels I use. I figure with the new digital boxes, the cable companies probably can limit access to specific channels, thus allowing me to pick which channels I want and then only pay for them. I am even willing to pay a premium for this service, I would pay $2 a channel to be able to pick, we do not pay nearly this much right now, so why not let me pay more and then have choices in what I watch. Or they could say pick 20 channels and then charge me a flat rate like they do with the basic plan, even if that rate was like $35, I can justify that because I would pick channels that I would actually watch. But they do not want to offer this service, so I am stuck dropping their coverage.
Since I am saving so much money, I thought I would look at other services so that I can still see most of the things I will be giving up. I found out that on iTunes I can watch Jon Stewart for about $10/month, so this seems worthwhile to me. The real issue is with sports. I can see most of the ACC college basketball games and that is what I want in terms of college basketball and really college football is pretty well covered between NBC, CBS, ABC and then at the end of the bowl season, Fox. Hockey is of course an issue, but I wasn't seeing that many games anyway, since only Versus carries games along with NBC occasionally. This is disappointing and I have thought about getting the pay per view hockey package, but I am not a big enough hockey fan to want to spend that kind of money. But I found out that I can listen to most of the hockey games on the internet for free, so that was good. The NFL is the real issue, I talked about this before here and basically the NFL is greedy and knows that they are the biggest sport in America, so they have me over a barrel. I have no choice in terms of watching games other than the ones on CBS or Fox except to buy another radio package since they do not offer the TV package on my cable company. I thought iTunes had a way to watch NFL games, but it is just the highlights that they want to show you from all of the games, which is of no interest to me. I love football, so I guess I will miss the Monday night games which are on ESPN, but if it is my team, the Steelers, than I can go to a bar and watch it. So, in the end sports are not even a real issue.
Satellite TV does not seem to be a real option as it is still a lot of money for the same channels I get now and do not watch, so that seems to be worthless. I honestly believe that I am not the only one who would pay more for channels I actually watched if I could pick those channels rather than having 130 that I do not watch. If someone reads this and know of a way to get and pay for only the channels I want, like an alternative service than let me know. I guess that means more movie reviews and hopefully more book reviews and a lot more time reading blogs and writing on this one.