and Broadcast Television
Jan 20 2010
Enjoy an evening in front of a large screen, after dinner on a comfortable couch with popcorn and a box of candy, maybe beer and homemade nachos if that's what you like*. Your favorite weekly drama is about to air, or perhaps you found a good movie on HBO. There is nothing like it for most people, and certainly no desk chair in front of a computer watching a YouTube clip can compare. That's how most see it anyway.
Then there's me. I rarely watch broadcast television at all, though I do end up catching up with SNL, 1am reruns of South Park or a football game from time to time (over-the-air digital broadcast - free HD!), mute button in hand for the numerous commercial breaks. I prefer to use my TV as a second monitor and stream my shows from media storage or the Internet.
In the 30-something years since the advent of cable and satellite offerings, not once have I had a subscription. Comcast and the like haven't received even a penny from me.
Why is this? Well, in the beginning there was just no reason to subscribe: I was on the road too much, and I was usually broke. Hotels had cable and that was convincing enough. Now it's just habit not to subscribe.
Shoot, the number and length of the commercial breaks is enough to drive me crazy because I'm just not used to them. For every hour of programming, 20 minutes or so is some drug company going on about skin conditions and thoughts of suicide or some such thing. Not only does it destroy the continuity of a movie, the 3rd-grade propaganda is irritating as all get out.
Now when I want to see an episode of The Daily Show I go to their website. When I want to monitor C-SPAN I go to their website. For every 30 minutes of programming I get about 3 minutes of commercials in most cases. Compare that to 10 minutes. I get the content I want without being reminded that the show is just there to make me watch the advertisements. I know it is, but at least for now the website content makes me feel like the commercial breaks are comparative tokens within the show instead of the other way around.
I'll set the sofa up for you in front of the television next to the popcorn and we won't be watching from Comcast.