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Cable TV: Too Much For Too Little?

Cable wireHow many cable channels do I subscribe to? Or more importantly, how many do I really watch?

The answer is discouraging. About a hundred channels pour into my house, including a number of music channels on a family tier.  I watch about a dozen of them.  My grandchildren listen to few more. Is it worth the cost? Probably not. As a matter of fact, definitely not. But cable comes in “packages.” All or nothing.

Because I consider myself “remote challenged,”  I have my grandchildren delete channels for me. I had them program out the mainstream networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) altogether. I like to skim Fox, CNN and MSNBC regularly, but opted out of every shopping and sports channel, religious channels (I get my spirituality my own way), BET, MTV, E, and their ilk. I programmed out the stations with the daylong, inane teen-oriented sitcoms. I don’t tune in the music channels, but my grandchildren, when they are home, watch a few of them constantly (Disney Music etc) on the only “cable box” in the house. Music channels, though, require extra vigilance, because far too many of the videos are offensive, excessively sexual, frequently degrading to women, filled with bad or suggestive language and just too vulgar or violent. Though the grandchildren would have loved it, I certainly wasn’t getting a cable box for every old, beat up TV in the house, and I may not keep the one I have. My part-time title is “Cable Cop.”

Given the volume of channels I don’t watch, I don’t have much left in watch-able cable: the oasis of Nashville Public Television, AMC and Turner Classic Movies, Animal Planet, History Channel, Food Channel, Bravo, A&E, and a few other channels that are my guilty pleasures – Law and Order reruns, or more old movies. Slim pickings, since most of these channels become non-stop infomercials overnight, a bleak picture on those nights when I can’t sleep.

I realize that my TV preferences aren’t everyone’s. And that’s the point. Millions of sports fans love having multiple sports channels to choose from, and could care less about watching the old black and white movies that are my passion. Other people can’t live with a dose of the Comedy Channel, Family Guy, South Park and such. To each their own choices.

As I finger my cable bill, I find myself resentful of the fact that I have to pay so much for so little; that I am billed for so many unwanted channels and am paying for so much unwanted trash TV in order to get the few channels I actually want.

I want to be able to scan a list and pick and pay for the channels I want, the channels I am going to watch, the channels that do not offend me, bore me, or beg me to spend still more money.

I would happily pay a price-per-channel for the privilege of choice. That would make me a happy customer.



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