The days of just three TV stations are ancient history. ABC, NBC and CBS, and that was it. Sure, sometimes you could catch a faint whiff of PBS (if the air gods would allow), but that was pretty much it. Then along came cable, and before we knew it, there were hundreds of channels, and still nothing on.
The dial has turned once again, folks. Over the last half-dozen years or so, the field for your viewing hours has become chock full of options:
- Subscription and/or streaming TV (AKA “streaming”) like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
- Cable replacements (sort of like having cable through the internet) like Hulu and Playstation TV.
- And for the really frugal, an HD antenna, which is an updated version of the ol’ rabbit ears.
I’m not going to go neck-deep in the weeds with side-by-side comparisons, because frankly, I don’t really care all that much. I have my preferences and so do you. I won’t judge if you don’t. Suffice to say, there are options for everyone from the binge-watcher to the sports freak to the “I only watch the local 6 o’clock news” guy. The reality is, all have their shortcomings and many options require a Ph.D. in remote-control programming.
Unless you’re going hardcore with an HD antenna, you’re really not cutting “the” cable, you’re cutting “a” cable. You’ll still need an internet connection—and you’ll be shifting your dependency from a cable company to, in all likelihood, a cable company. Depending on your choice, and the cost that goes with it, you’ll either have a more expensive, reliable internet service, or a cheaper one that buffers and disconnects to the point that your anti-anxiety medication cancels out any savings in service fees.
I admit, even though 97.5 percent of TV programming is useless, I still watch too much. And while I’m all for individual choice, I sometimes long for three stations, a test pattern at midnight, and a good book.