Cable TV a la carte?

I love to watch television. I can recite lines from decades of earl.jpgshows, tell you the names of obscure actors, and outline virtually every episode of Cheers given a quick hint of the episode in question. That being said the following may come as a shock. I do not have cable television. (or sattelite, or TEVO) I know it may be shocking to learn that there is at least one person (you can substitute the word loser if you like) who still has the giant rabbit ears atop the tele, but it is true. Part of my reasoning for going sans cable is my displeasure with Time Warner. (Verizon, you suck worse but I am bound to stay with you by contract for another year) They have terrible customer service. Try calling their hotline. It is maddening. Completely mind boggling how a company can provide such high tech offerings and be so terrible at answering the phone and / or answering questions. I am not blaming the people I have to talk to. They are just “following the company policy,” which must read “please make customer wait a long time to tell them there is nothing we can do.” Apart from my lack of enthusiasm for TW (again Verizon, you are worse…stupid fine print contract), I just have limited time and money to spend (translation = Dave is cheap). Cable is a luxury, not a necessity for me and there is way too much temptation to surf all day, flipping from channel to channel, watching nothing. I do this enough with the 6 fuzzy channels I can get. While network television can be pretty bad, it has its moments. (My Name is Earl, The Office, Anything PBS) Still the limited free time I have, I usually spend reading or listening to music. I do miss cable though. I would be lying if I said otherwise. The biggest drawback of not having cable, for me, is that so many sporting events are strictly on cable now. College football and basketball have moved all but a handful of games to channels like ESPN. For years I have been saying, “wouldn’t it be great if I could just pay for ESPN, CNN, and maybe 2 or 3 other channels that I am truly interested in watching?” Well, my wish may be coming true. It appears that a la carte cable may be on the way someday. Congress is now looking into it, and in spite of that, it looks like other people share my view about a la carte television. I don’t need 500 crappy channels, I need 5 good ones. Why should I pay for channels I don’t want to watch. They just decrease the effectiveness of the arrow buttons on the remote. Beyond that they even drive you to use the number pad to get to a channel you want. (AAAGGHH- not the number pad) But my 5 good channels are probably not the same 5 or 10 or 15 you would pick. That is the beauty of a la carte. It can let losers like me, who have regular tv, pick a few extra channels to spice it up, while TV die hards can get the whole shabang package with a gazillion channels of on demand everything. Share the love Cable! Give me my a la carte ESPN, OLN, CNN, Weather Channel, and Local broadcasters (without the fuzz of rabbit ears). Oh yeah, and fix your customer service. A la carte billing will be a nightmare with your current system, and I would love to call you up and request this service when it is offered. Until then, I will be busy wrapping my television in aluminum foil so I can get the Columbus and Lexington stations. Stay classy Dayton!
USATODAY.com – Study: A la carte cable would be cheaper

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4 Responses to “Cable TV a la carte?”


  1. 1 David July 19, 2006 at 8:06 am

    Found this late, but I agree with much of what you’ve written (only exception is missing cable, but that’s only because I’ve never had it). However where I am there are only three local channels so there’s a bit more frustration.

  2. 2 beornet July 20, 2006 at 9:29 am

    Great job guys… Thank for you work…

  3. 3 John December 21, 2007 at 11:41 am

    I agree. Why should I subsidize channels that wouldn’t stand on their own merit -due to their quality or the lack of audience? Why should I subsidize all the spanish language channels? I don’t speak Spanish! Why should I subsidize ESPN, the most expensive of all cable channels, when I never watch sports? I am in favor of ala carte pricing. If the cable companies benefit, so be it. It will be worth it to get ESPN and the spanish language channels OFF MY TV!

  4. 4 Rupert White May 22, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    i would LOVE to get ala carte cable. only because the channels i watch are ONLY included in the higher priced package. and also i would love to get HDTV ala carte too. i cant afford it and its supposedly the future. hopefully the future will be cheaper and standardized. i cant believe how expensive entertainment is. i guess since noone is leaving the house anymore they have to make money in this economy somehow. oh well. well…until the future gets here…it seems i will be cancelling some of my services for now.


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