Monday, January 16, 2012

The Great 'No Cable' Experiment

As our time in Manhattan draws to a close, so too does the great 'no cable TV' experiment.

After our noses had stopped bleeding at the thought of our rent, we decided to save a few dollars each month and embrace the digital revolution. With the advent of live streaming services like Netflix and Hulu we could cut the chains that had bound us to Verizon for too long! What was the point of spending $100 a month on umpteen cable channels, when we really only watch about 3 of them?  And as New Yorkers apparently never stay in anyway, we'd probably rarely switch the telly on.

And so the experiment began. We signed up for a Hulu Plus account, and between that and Netflix we were spending about $15 per month on subscriptions. We made a small investment in an Apple TV, and an even smaller one in a 'bunny ears' TV aerial for the free stuff. Then we sat back and rubbed our hands together in smug self-congratulation.

Sadly the 'aren't we clever' bubble was soon burst. It turns out we watch quite a lot of TV. Most nights we will, at some point, curl up on the sofa and look for something amusing and reasonably current (30 Rock, Parks and Rec) or at least classic (Seinfeld). Annoyingly, Hulu Plus is usually a couple of weeks behind the series it does have, and sometimes whole shows disappear altogether. It also has an increasing number of ads, and unlike our old DVR service on Verizon, we can't fast forward through them. The Netflix selection is pretty woeful too.

Fortunately for our wallets and sanity, TLOML got me hooked on Battle Star Galactica. We watch a couple of episodes a week which is great. Otherwise we'd have to spend our nights in playing Gin Rummy (and I'm tired of losing) or watching old period dramas (I liked North and South fine the first time around, but once was enough).

There's a reason people pay for cable. Life with HBO is better.

I'm looking forward to getting home and signing up for a nice juicy Sky/ Virgin subscription so I can watch Test Match cricket and TLOML can still enjoy all the action from the NFL. In fact the best TV in the UK is free - BBC News 24, Grand Designs, One Born Every Minute. Ooof! I'm getting all misty-eyed just thinking about it. And I am reliably informed that Man Vs Food is now showing on an obscure Freeview channel too.

Yes, moving back to the UK will truly usher in a new age of cultural enrichment in our lives. And a lot more staying in....

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