HGTV is fun to watch. So is C-SPAN. In fact, a bunch of the cable channels are interesting depending on my mood.
In late August of 2001, we decided to significantly cut our expenses, so we cancelled cable TV (among other things). Comcast stopped charging us for TV services the day of our phone call, but they didn’t actually turn off the TV access until mid-day on September 11. That was interesting. We didn’t turn cable TV back on again for about a year, and when we did, I swore I’d never go without access to TV news again.
About three years ago the topic of TV options came up with some of my friends. We discussed and debated the various merits of cable, satellite, and Roku. Even over-the-air access seemed to be gaining some traction again. So my husband, Jim, and I decided to try a combination of over-the-air access (for news) and Netflix streaming (for entertainment). Jim purchased a $100 antenna which he and my son installed in our garage attic. Apparently at one point, while they were up there installing and adjusting the antenna, my son asked, “Is this legal?” We still laugh about this … sort of. It’s funny that the concept of capturing TV signals through the air was so unusual in ~2013 that my son thought it might be illegal. But it makes us a little uneasy knowing that he thought we might be willing to break the law so deliberately. By the time you get a kid to 18, you’d like to think that you taught him to be a law abiding citizen. And you’d really like to think that he’d noticed that you are one of them too.
Since then we’ve toyed with a variety of TV options. Right now we have cable, Roku, and Netflix streaming. We had the Netflix DVD option for a few months, but didn’t use it enough to justify the expense.
For years, I didn’t understand how to operate the TV. When my husband went out of town, I just didn’t watch it. It felt like a healthy thing to do, and my life was so jam packed with commitments, it really wasn’t a sacrifice. But in the last few months I’ve taken the time to figure it all out. I’ve had the time to do it, and I figured that I ought to be able to watch my own TV! My conclusion: It’s complicated. Way too complicated. It's crazy to think that by the time I was four years old I’d mastered most features available on our TV set with the possible exceptions of getting those rabbit ears just right and stopping the picture from flipping by fast in horizontal lines on occasion. But in terms of on/off, channel selection, and volume, it was a breeze.
The other night we tried to watch a PBS show via their “on demand” option only to find out that we had to pay to access the program we wanted (Victoria). What’s that about?! I thought that PBS was supposed to be free. Even that has changed, I guess.
It seems to me that the TV is a regular source of a lot of Tech Frustrations. It’s complicated. I sure wish someone would simplify the user interface. This has to be a huge opportunity for the right person or company. Jim tells me that he just heard about a programmable Logitech universal remote that might make everything easier. If programming it is easy, then it might be the solution I seek. Have you tried it? If so, I’d like to hear about your experience in the comments section below.
Do you have any Tech Frustrations? If so, tell me about them on the Tech Frustrations web site.
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