For years, we subscribed to basic cable. . . well, okay, satellite ’cause there isn’t any cable that comes down this far to the end of our street. It was the only way to get reception for local channels down here in the bowl where we live, on the first terrace of a creek bottom.
We watched a few network shows and the weather. I spent most of my time on Nick at Night and HGTV. And every few years, we’d drop the service because shows changed for the worse or we had seen everything that they had to offer. We watched about 4 hours a day and it was about $50/month for the little bit that we got. . . or if you roll it up. . . $600/year.
One day, while we were in the off-again portion of our cable relationship, we hooked up an old fashioned antenna on top of the house. Surprise! We got the locally available networks and 5! count ’em 5! spanish language channels. TV without a charge. That was the death of cable/satellite for us. And then television went digital and we lost any reception that we had.
But we had cut the cable by then and there wasn’t enough value to bring us back.
While working schedules managed our days, television had been the clock by which we managed our nights. This program was on a 7:30 so dinner had to be ready by then; that program ended at 10:00 so we could begin to read, something we do every night before sleeping. The weather was on at 10:40 so we had to slog through the local news. In our area, that means hit and runs on pedestrians, shootings in clubs, etc.
We always got the national and international news through NYT or NPR.It’s been 6 months. First we missed the noise of the television in our lives. Then we missed the local weather report, what was happening around us and what that meant. Now, we read the weather on the internet. It’s not as rich but it’s right as often.
Last weekend people talked about their favorite funny commercials and I had no record, no image, no way to join in. It felt a lot like being a new anthropologist.
TV’s dead but still moving in zombie fashion. The Pulse Network is taking on news. YouTube has taken on entertainment — sort of. What will the decentralized world of the web bring to the puzzle? More Dr. Horrible! Better scripts! Collected somehow and cataloged and sorted by what I say I like, like on StumbleUpon.