People are often amazed when they hear that I don’t subscribe to a cable company. And that reaction of shock is, in itself, a crucial indicator of the seriousness of television culture—it’s no joke. But if you’re like me—you view cable companies very much like the mob—here’s a short list that just might give you enough incentive to say goodbye to cable television.
Dude, pricing bundles are bullshit. Plain and simple. These things are DESIGNED so that customers end up in either one of two scenarios:
A.) Paying for services you don’t really use
B.) Paying more for lower quality services
These “Triple Service” bundles that include phone, Internet and TV, start you out with an introductory rate that will inevitably skyrocket—therefore prompting you to sign another contract agreement with the looming threat of a cancellation charge of up to $400.
But even worse than the fact that you’ll be paying for a land line your cell phone makes irrelevant, is the fact that trying to separate services in an attempt to cut costs actually works against you. Cable companies will punish you for NOT choosing more services. So, trying to weed out services you don’t really use puts you in a difficult postion:
A.) You end up paying more
B.) The quality of service drops so substantially it’s practically ineffective.
For example, if you decide to choose the cheapest phone service, that service will only support local calls. With everyone using cell phones these days, no call you would ever make would be local (and that’s if you made any to begin with). But, if you wanted to preserve your TV channels along with unlimited phone calls from anywhere on your land line, your Internet speed would drop down to 15MB/sec; What is this, that late 1990’s? This tactic creates the illusion of choice where ordering more services for more money becomes the only reasonable option.
Internet-based streaming media services are DIRT cheap these days. Both Hulu Plus and Netflix services will cost you $7.99/month each. Put them together, that’s $16.00/month. That’s 4th Grade math and 6th Grade lunch money. Oh sure, you’ll hear a lot of crap about how these services don’t have the most current episodes fresh off the griddle, but do you seriously care? You just saved like $100/a month. Plus, isn’t it more fun to go on a series binge and just watch them all in one shot? I don’t want some network telling me when I can find out what happens next to Walter White. I think you see my point.
Even if cost isn’t a factor for you, even if you don’t mind paying a few extra bucks to see your favorite series the second it airs, there’s still other collateral damage you might want to consider. No cable package comes with a weight-loss guarantee; there’s a reason for that. Cable television isn’t in the business of helping people loose weight. Where there is a television, there will be a couch, and a refrigerator, and booze, and that familiar tsunami of superfluous calories slowly blocking your arteries. And all of this for just one more episode of those few moronic outliers of society, as they get away with procreation. For the sake of your physical and mental health, JUST. STOP.
Television is by far the most passive thing you can do next to receiving oral sex—and it’s not nearly as fun. Watching television has been linked to social cynicism, and a retreat from civic life, which in turn destroys democracy. Simply put, watching TV makes people less interested in more important things. Since the advent of television, there has been a steady but profound decline in the public’s engagement in political, civic, and social activities. But if the inevitable destruction of our country isn’t enough to convince you, just imagine all that you might have accomplished in the hours you’ve spent watching TV. Lost hours of productivity is the number one reason I stay away from standard TV programing. I don’t hate TV because I’m an elitist jerk; I hate it because I know I’ll watch it. Imagine spending even a fraction of that time exercising, volunteering, or engaging in a hobby. The world and our lives are made better by those who engage life, not those who retreat from it.
I don’t know if you know this, but if you do you’re pretty smart. And, if you don’t, just close this window immediately. So, if you really look at the way the music and book publishing industries have been revolutionized by digital distribution, you’d be pretty keen to say that linear television subscription is set to be obsolete in the next 5-10 years. The only reason it’s not right now is because networks have yet to figure out how they can maintain or increase their advertisement revenue through non-linear models. The future is now. Be a forward thinker and anti-up before it becomes too mainstream and you can’t claim to have been on the “cool” side before it wasn’t cool anymore.