For the first 20 years of my life, there was always something on hand whenever I needed it. After a stressful day at school or at work, I could lie down on the sofa and it would help me relax in a matter of minutes. Unless the weather was terrible, he was always in my house, ready to please me and keep me company.
I am of course talking about cable TV. Now I might be exaggerating a bit and I was definitely not the best friend of the metal box that was under my TV, but the point is still the same. I had hundreds, if not thousands of channels ready for my one-click entertainment enjoyment. My family never had the premium channels, like HBO or Showtime, but we did have digital cable, which had almost a thousand channels covering everything from cooking, to sports, to sitcoms; to music, westerns and current affairs in every language imaginable. The world was on a screen.
But something else happened: the Internet. I still remember the days when I had to tell my family I was going online lest my grandma would try to call our house and the phone lines would be scrambled to my web surfing . The term “surfing the web” was also very popular at the time, but I’m not sure why.
But soon those five minutes of waiting to connect turned into seconds and my grandma was finally able to call while I was on the internet. I didn’t even have to make a public service announcement to my family anymore that I was going online anymore.
What’s the next logical step from here? To bring this cable to the Internet. Oh Hulu, where have you been all my life? Every show I want to watch, just a click away. The best part? It’s totally free. I’m aware that Hulu Plus is available for a low monthly subscription, but my “poor student” complex kicks in before I get too tempted.
Did I mention it’s free? In an age when cell phone bills exceed $ 100 a month for a line, you’d think we’d be okay with giving out $ 50 or $ 60 a month for cable as well. But we’re not stupid either. If people can get something very comparable to costing fifty dollars for free, they’ll go for the free every time.
And that’s exactly what I did. My parents called me recently, telling me that they had decided to get rid of our landline and landline phones. I’m sure they expected me to be uncomfortable, nervous about not watching my daily SportsCenter or New York Mets games. But instead, I was completely okay with it. Sure, it saves money, but what did we pay for in the first place?
I admit I don’t watch a ton of shows on cable. But just because I can’t find the time doesn’t mean I just can’t find good enough shows to devote my time to. Of all the shows on TV each week, I only make an effort to follow two of them: “Modern Family” and “South Park”. I’m sorry “Simpsons” and “Family Guy”, but you don’t do it for me anymore. “The Office”, you’re pretty funny too, but I’ll just catch it on Hulu a day later. It’s just too easy to watch it on my computer whenever I want, rather than making sure I plug it in at the same time every week.
We are in a world where computers can call people and phones can surf the web. What can the cable do? Provide us with sharply declining programming for a sharply sloping price. No thanks.