This may get rant-y.
I hate Cable TV. Hate it. I hate skimming through the hundreds of channels looking for the Weather Channel when it storms. I hate Comedy Central’s two-hour blocks of It’s Always Sunny in Danny DeVito’s Career and The Roast of Some Poor Sad Bastard From the 80’s Who Needs to Cover His Mortgage when what I want to watch is South Park and Tosh. I hate every reality show that’s ever been on, ever, going back to The Real World.
Meanwhile, I can’t watch Sons of Anarchy when it comes out this season, because I’m not caught up. F/X refuses to play the last season except in the immediate build-up to this season, late at night, and I keep forgetting to DVR it, and they won’t let Netflix have the fourth season until the fifth season is done airing, so I will always be a season behind (yeah, I could buy the DVD, but I only buy things I know I’ll watch more than once). It’s the one show on F/X worth a damn (aside from Archer), and they act like they’ve never heard of it. FAIL.
Mostly, I’m tired of paying through the nose for channels I never ever watch. The History Channel might be worth my time if I was an illiterate who needed everything explained to me real slow and then repeated. The Learning Channel has taught me nothing except that some women don’t realize when they’re heavy with child, but you can be a raging, soul-sucking, child-pimping, social climbing psycho hose beast control freak for eight seasons and the whole world will forgive you if your ex-husband puts on an Ed Hardy T-Shirt.
The pleasure are just not enough anymore. The Soup is not enough; reruns of How I Met Your Mother are not enough. Mad Men and Breaking Bad are not enough.
And more to the point, I can’t afford it anymore. $150 a month is too much for a man in my position to be forking over for the privilege of financing the next unfunny thing Chelsea Handler does. There are other, better things I could be doing with that money.
So I’m with this guy. It’s time to cut them loose. It’s time to be satisfied with an Internet single and Netflix on on the Wii (or Roku Box, if I decide I must have HD). It’s time to tell the big boys that I only want the TV I want, and I’ll be damned if I pay for the rest.
The solution is an à la carte subscription service: consumers choose the channels they want and pay for only those channels. It’s more Dim Sum and less buffet.
TV superpower HBO has announced that it’s launching an à la carte service (just pay for an internet stream of HBO, and nothing else), but only in a few European countries. Here in the U.S., a cable subscription is still required to access HBO internet streams.
The subscription system has been hotly contested for years and even the government has gotten behind the idea. In 2006, former FCC chairman Kevin Martin released a report that concluded that à la carte purchasing would likely lower monthly cable bills by 17 percent. Senator John McCain had promised to push legislation in 2006 that would bring à la carte pricing to the cable industry. As of press time, queries about the senator’s plan had not been answered by McCain’s office.
Being a scurrilous right-winger who eats babies and craps raaaacism, I don’t want the federal government mandating a service. I want the cable companies to bleed money like a BP oil well until they, like me, discover that they have no other intelligent choice left.