Netflix Over Cable

I haven’t had cable TV for more than five years. I got annoyed with the lame commercials, terrible sitcoms and the 100 different versions of “Law & Order.”
I remember listlessly surfing through channels one night, trying to find something that would catch my attention.
I had a moment of clarity. I hated 99 percent of what was offered to me, and the programs I did enjoy usually were on when I had to work or had a night class.
This was also combined with my rage with the series finale of “The Sopranos.” I have already expressed my thoughts on that in a previous Buzz.
So, in the past five years I bought TV shows on DVD (I worked for two different record stores that deal with used DVDs, so I never paid much for them). While I enjoyed this, they did take up a lot of space (still in storage at my parents’ place).
So one night last month, having been reimbursed by my bank who made a $200 error which caused me trouble to no end at the time, I decided to replace my broken XBox 360.
Through this new gizmo of mine, I was offered a free month of Netflix and if I chose to continue, it would only cost me about $10 a month.
To my surprise, just about every show I have enjoyed in my life either streamed through my console or I get get it mailed to me.
Which brought me to a new revelation: I had been paying $50-60 dollars a month back in my cable days and decided I am done with it.
Strangely enough, besides TV shows, I mostly watch documentaries. I watch all kinds. Political (both liberal and conservative) oddball ones like “King Of Kong” which has become my favorite documentary due to the fact it is about the world record score for the arcade game “Donkey Kong.” It was surprisingly interesting and intense as two people figuratively battle for the prestige title of holder of the highest score.
Just a few nights ago, after work, I saw that one of my long forgotten favorite shows was streaming online. I had stayed up most of the night watching “News Radio,” a show which the premise is in the title.
It was also the final show the late, great Phil Hartman was on and his character on the show will forever top my list of fictional people on TV that made me laugh more than anything else.
One of his best lines on the show was when his boss tells him the ancient advice of when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.
Hartman’s character response: “Then you take that lemonade, splash it in the face of life and demand the oranges you originally asked for!”
That is perhaps my favorite quote from pop culture with a strong second being Homer Simpson’s sage advice to Bart “Trying is the first step towards failure.” I like my humor to be on the dark, cynical side I guess.
With this visual and audio buffet of stimuli at my disposal, I have no desire for cable television again. I like getting my news from newspapers, my pop culture information from the Internet and to follow the unraveling of Charlie Sheen’s mind through his Twitter account.
And if I wanted to stay up to date with current shows I enjoy as they air, I could pay another ten bucks and get a Hulu account for that.
$20 versus $50-60? There is no question in my mind of what I would prefer. Plus (sans the brief ones from Hulu) no commercials! I can’t stand commercials. They take up too much time of a program’s slot. A half hour show is more likely to be 20 minutes, and shorter once in syndication. An hour show means around 45 minutes.
Plus, commercials are usually obnoxious and annoying. Even on a rare occassion one is funny or clever, it is run into the ground by repetition. I don’t recall the last time I saw a commercial and was inspired to buy a product. In fact, if a commercial annoyed me enough, I would avoid the product in a private protest.
So, this is were cable and I part ways for unforeseeable future. I might be interested when “Beavis and Butthead” come back this summer, but I doubt it. In this era of Lady Gaga and that thing called a “Bieber” not even their sardonic humor could make me sit through their videos. But who knows? It might.

  • Steven

    AT&T in the forefront, many internet companies going to be following with caps on throughput, so expect to pay more for internet(in the near futer) if you go the netflix route…..at&t I beleive is gonna do 150gb a month, then additional charges….thats oh about 5-10 HD movies….cheers!

  • Cheeky

    There is this new fangled thing called a DVR that you can set up to record shows and series. You can even record multiple shows that are airing at the same time, and you can zap through all the ads. There are some shows that are not available through Netflix that I enjoy watching. I DVR them and watch them later to skip through all the ads. I agree there is a lot of crap on cable. A lot of favorite programing is available for free on tv.com as well. It’s mostly CBS shows. I think I could survive without tv all together, but not sure my family is ready for that. Something like Google tv might change cable tv viewing in the very near future so that more shows air on the internet. The cable companies are putting up a fight on that though.

  • katie

    The only time I see paying for cable smart is if your sitting around all day watching t.v. You are sure to get ur 50 bux a months worth. Even still, Your “video on demand” is super limited to what content you can watch for free. I am trying hard to convince my hubby that channel surfing for an hour is costly when you can surf hulu or net flix for a fraction of the price.