I suspect my older readers will better understand my message this week. The topic came to mind recently when I experienced a life-changing experience. Traumatic.
After more years than I can count, I finally “cut the cord.” I disconnected from cable. So traumatic.
Cable had gotten to be exhaustively expensive. I’m sure many of you can appreciate this. I am a movie lover, and I’ve always had to have all the movie channels available to me: HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz and EPIX. Throw in internet and my monthly bill had grown to $250.
If that wasn’t enough, along comes the age of the “streaming service.” It all seemed to begin innocently enough. Netflix arrived in 1997. I was still teaching. I understood nothing about this service nor did I care to. I had entered the Valley of the Confused as technology was evolving quicker than this mind could keep pace. I was happy with my movie channels and all the cable channels possible.
As time progressed, the streaming service universe grew: YouTube, Hulu, CBS All-Access, now Disney+ and what seems to be the granddaddy of them all … Amazon. I was sinking further into the quicksand of ignorance. I just wasn’t comprehending what a “streaming service” was, yet I was still complacently happy with cable. Ignorance was bliss.
A couple of people tried to help me understand what a streaming service was and how I could access one. The June I retired, I decided I would look into getting Netflix for my living room. Unbeknownst to me, I owned a smart TV, and I could simply download the app from there.
Being home more in retirement, I became a Netflix subscriber. In hindsight, I now see that was the beginning of the end of my relationship with cable.
After Netflix, Hulu arrived. A mini-series based on one of Stephen King’s best novels, “11-22-63,” was coming to Hulu, and I had to see it. The hook was settling deeper into my wallet.
In this last year, cable decided they’d take EPIX and Cinemax from my lineup (unless I was willing to pay for them separately) while adding dollars to my monthly billing statement. That was the final straw for this retiree. Frankly, I was incensed.
Several friends of mine tried to bring me into the 21st century educating me on all my television options. The dirtiest trick of all, however, came when Disney+ entered the ring with their service. Are you kidding? The thought of having my childhood an arm’s length away was too much for my inner child. I had to have that streaming service! Cable’s life expectancy in my home was bleak!
On Sunday night of the Golden Globes two weeks ago, I called to disconnect cable. It was the final day of my billing cycle. As I sat on the couch talking to the woman on the other end of the phone, I watched a lifetime affair with cable television end as she pushed her cable execution button. So began my new relationship with YouTube TV from which I access all the basic stations I care about.
Along with YouTube, I now stream Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon. An Amazon Fire Stick has helped make this simpler. I’ve even picked up a few free services, such as Pluto TV which has a lot of nostalgic offerings. I also added a simple antenna to the back of my television, so I can keep viewing MeTV and antenna TV offerings. I’m honestly saving money now. The cable folks remain in my life because I need their internet.
What a change from the days of several channels, rabbit ears, an antenna on the roof and UHF offerings. God, I’ve gotten old!
Time’s up! See you next week!