Is this the best there is?

A Little Perspective column by Pat Kelly, May 26 Boundary Creek Times.

I got hooked up with cable TV over the weekend. Haven’t had a cable package for the past couple of years. Back in 2013 or 2014 when I was paying a cable bill, it suddenly hit me that I hadn’t turned the TV on for months. So I canceled it.

Because Mom and my sister Ginny are moving in here, we will need TV. Two must-haves for Ginny are The Price is Right and Food Network shows like Chopped and Cupcake Wars. That is what is on literally all of the time at their house; and Ginny is in charge of the remote.

The cable company was here on the weekend to do the install. I was eager to get my hands on the remote just as soon as the tech left (this being one of those rare times when I can play with it when Ginny isn’t around). She is in charge of the remote at their house and I have no doubt that she will remain in charge of the remote over here at this house too. That’s the way it is going to be done—because that’s the way it’s easiest done.

Shhhh! Don’t tell Ginny but I think I read in the booklet the cable guy gave me that I can get an app for my cell that will turn it into my own personal remote. That’s going to be fun.

For the past year I’ve been watching Netflix and streaming major league baseball. I was also using an antenna that brings in the PBS type channels. One big advantage of getting your signal this way is you can be your own producer to some extent—the content you watch is the content you have chosen.

But still it is a rabbit hole and you can get lost for hours. This is one of those times when I need to remember the old saying “be careful what you ask for” because it is possible to stream season after season after season of some of the most popular TV series. So you have to be careful that you don’t fall off the wagon and wind up on a flick binge. Never pretty, and known to be quite mind-numbing.

It was the commercials that stood out for me as I roamed through my new cable channels. I had totally forgotten about commercials. But they served a useful educational purpose: I quickly learned how to use the MUTE button.

We subscribe to the basic package—after all, we only really need The Price is Right and cooking shows. It’s not like we needed the premium package where you can get shows like Topless Midget Mudwrestling at 2 a.m. from Australia.

We still pull in a lot of channels but as I sat there surfing through them I came to the conclusion that television has really gotten a whole lot worse since the last time I subscribed to a basic cable package.

Maybe having all those hundreds of channels available is part of the problem. Every network and all of their network directors have to keeping filling up the part of the broadcast day that falls between the commercials. Quality suffers, because in order to always be broadcasting something they will broadcast anything.

But I have come to appreciate my sister’s taste in programming; the reason she loves to watch The Price is Right and Cupcake Wars is because they may well be the best that is available—unless maybe we upgrade to the Australian networks.


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