Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Watching cable

I cut the cord in 2011, at the end of the college football season. Since then, I've watched cable ... not at all.

Well, that's not true. I actually watched cable this past week. Only, I didn't really want to. Let me tell you about it.

I took one of my grandson out of town to a baseball game, and stayed the night to visit an attraction in that city the next day. That night, when we got to the hotel and got ready to call it a night, my grandson, who is six, wondered what was on TV. Being a good Papa, I found the remote and turned on the set.

He asked me to find the kids shows. That makes sense, as he is used to the Apple TV that my son uses, and knew that the remote wasn't the same, and the display wasn't the same. So, he wanted me to find them. He really didn't know nor care that it was cable. It was TV, but it wasn't Apple TV, but he figured Papa knew how.

Well, yes Papa did because I remember the days of cable. It was different, using the cable guide, and only vaguely familiar. The remote wasn't exactly set up for it. Or there were no arrow buttons, but it was an Xfinity remote and the little Xfinity box, so yeah, they go together. Just not a good experience.

I didn't recall any issues with the Xfinity cable setup that long ago. Maybe it was awful the whole time, but I didn't know any better. Or, maybe this hotel just had same-branded but mismatched equipment.

So, assuming the equipment was mismatched and it should have had a remote with arrows to navigate the menu, how was the experience apart from that? Not good.

I am used to on-demand content. Sure, live sports, I get it. You're going to watch any live event in real time. But non-live content? A TV show? I don't want to join in the middle. But, with cable, that's what I had to do. And I didn't like it. That's why, way back when, I used a VCR to record shows, then replaced that with a TiVo. Then, I could watch a show in full if I didn't drop everything and turn on the TV to that show when it aired.

Now, with Hulu, Tablo, Air TV, and other I can watch on-demand, including not even having to set up the recording with Hulu.

Now, there are lots of people that like cable, and if you're one of them, and if you're happy with it, then you have exactly what you want. But, it's not for me. And that is something that I never really thought about when I decided to cut the cord.

You see, my goal was to save money. That's it. Nothing else. And when I ran the numbers and concluded that it was more cost effective to stream without cable TV, that was all I cared about.

Yes, I already was doing on-demand because of TiVo, and hooking up an antenna let me keep doing that, I never really considered how much on-demand would become important to me. It is. I really don't like the idea of having to watch content at a time others set. Yeah, live sports or news is one thing, but there really is no way to control that without a TARDIS, and I don't have one of those. No one does. They don't exist. Except on TV.

For regular TV shows, I don't want someone setting my schedule. If I can set my own schedule, I want to. Streaming lets me do that.

This whole thing about using cable in a hotel hasn't come up before because I don't go to a hotel to watch TV. But, I did this time because my grandson, the reason for the trip, wanted it. So, I finally watched cable.

Next time I go to a hotel and make the decision about cable -- that is, the grandchildren aren't wanting it -- I won't be watching cable. I won't be streaming either, because I don't go to hotels to watch TV. But, if I did want to watch TV, I'd put a Roku Stick or a Firestick in the suitcase. I'm not doing cable if I can help it. It's so last century.

My cable TV life is behind me. I'm living a Streaming Life, and I'm loving it.

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