Friday, February 11, 2011

57 channels and nothing on - why it may be really easy to dump satellite/cable

Why am I paying large amounts of money for satellite service?

Oh yeah, I remember. If I cut the dish, I will be limited to my local channels, and even though Los Angeles has more local channels than most areas, I would still miss out on a lot of programming.

Or would I?

Now I'll grant that my TV watching tastes are atypical. I don't tune in to the latest sitcom or drama. In fact, sports are the only thing that I watch, so if I cut the dish, I'll miss out on regional Fox programming (which has now been restored to my system after the temporary blackout) and on the ESPN series of networks. And I'd miss out on the all-news channels.

Or would I?

I got home on Friday night after listening to part of the Lakers-Knicks game on the radio. I had to install some software on our family desktop computer, and I happened to visit the ESPN website while doing so...and noticed that the Lakers game was just wrapping up on ESPN3. Now ESPN3 doesn't show everything, but it does seem like more and more sporting events are being shown online, for free.

Later in the evening, I thought that I'd check on the latest news from Egypt, which (after Mubarak's resignation) is undergoing the most dramatic changes that it's witnessed in the last 60 years. It was 10:00 pm Pacific time in California, 1:00 am on the east coast, and probably around mid-morning Saturday in Egypt. So what was happening in Egypt right now?

I started at CNN, and saw a picture of Anderson Cooper talking to some Egyptian experts - all of whom were surrounded by the dark of night. So either Anderson was talking to people who weren't even in Egypt, or (more likely) I was watching a show that had been taped several hours earlier. The most important changes in Egypt in a half century, and CNN couldn't bother to show it live.

I went to Fox and Greta, but I already knew that was a tape delayed show.

But hey, there's Headline News, the channel that shows live headlines. Well, that channel was showing Joy Behar talking to someone with an animal. I don't think he was Egyptian. Let's face it, Headline News shows as much news as Music Television shows music.

So in the end I went to my netbook and found BBC World Service. Granted they were talking about Denmark populist parties, but I knew they'd get around to Egypt within the half hour. News Corp and Time Warner's so-called news channels were asleep at the switch.

So why am I paying for satellite service again?
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