by Kung Fu Zu
Over the last few years, I have found the programming spewed out of the 24/7 cable universe to be of ever-decreasing quality and interest. The cable providers stream several hundred channels to each customer, of which perhaps twenty are worth watching. This is completely ignored by the cable companies. As a result, viewers are confronted with expanding rubbish and increasing fees on a regular basis.
Like many others, I sat back and accepted this state of affairs, not paying attention as quality content dropped and prices rose. It took two unannounced price hikes, within about six months, to finally shake me out of my trance.
Once I did wake, I decided to change cable tv suppliers. I looked around and found that I had three possible options. One option for cable tv and two for satellite tv. I called Verizon to cancel my cable tv and maintain my internet connection and e-mail address. They told me that if I cancelled their cable tv programming, the cost for my internet connection would go up by about $50 per month to over $80 per month for a connection with a slightly slower speed.
After the conversation with Verizon, I sat back and thought about my situation and came to the conclusion that I did not need cable tv. In fact, I only watched about ten channels and half of those were broadcast locally. I particularly liked channels like MeTV and the Antenna Channel, which broadcast old tv shows like Perry Mason and Leave it to Beaver. I went on line to see if I could somehow receive these without cable.[pullquote]Furthermore, after some checking I found that, in my area, there are about fifty different channels broadcast via the open airways.[/pullquote]To my delight, I found these and many other channels were broadcast locally and I only needed an old-fashioned antenna to pick up their signals. Furthermore, after some checking I found that, in my area, there are about fifty different channels broadcast via the open airways. In addition to those channels which showed repeats from the 1950’s-2000’s, these ranged from the local affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox to movie channels and channels with local content.
So, I called TimeWarner, booked internet services with them for the same amount as I had previously paid Verizon. I then called Verizon and canceled my connection with them. (In fact it took several months to go through the cancellation process as they make it very difficult to cancel any service. I started the process at the end of May and only received my final correct invoice a couple of weeks ago.)
I checked the internet for the best antennas and bought an RCA product online at Amazon.com for about $65 which included a booster, plenty of connector cable, and delivery to my home. I removed an old satellite dish from its base and placed the antenna on that same base. Hook up time was about 15 minutes. (I was lucky as the original satellite connector cable was still in place so I could simply plug it into the cable on my new antenna.) I turned on the tv, let it boot up the new channels and presto! I had tv.
Since that day, not only have I saved $80 per month, but I have watched less tv, my blood pressure has dropped and I talk to my family more. So while Dr. Leary’s invocation might have a certain appeal, I believe he got it somewhat backward. In today’s world if one wishes to expand one’s mind I think “Turn of, Tune out, Drop in” is the prescription. Aummmmmmm.
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