Cable Television: Do You Still Watch (Or Care)?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by cineMANIAC, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    On my commute to work this morning I saw an ad for the Epix cable channel. It blared: Captain America - The First Avenger, premiering in April, with the tagline "We Have Epic Movies", or something similar, plastered below the headline. I stood there thinking: So what?!? I've had the Blu-ray since October, watched it twice at my leisure and on my schedule. I don't have to wait months to watch a movie on television in pan and scan and with logos plastered all over the screen the whole time. Then it hit me: Why am I paying for cable television? I HATE the way cable has morphed into extensions of the broadcast networks. Once-great channels like AMC and even Sci-Fi (excuse me, I mean SyFy) are nothing more than pay-TV versions of Fox, where everything looks the same and everybody copies what everybody else does. I subscribed to a premium package when I first got cable. Had all the cool movie channels, thought I was on top of the world. Once I realized I was paying through the nose to watch edited movies that were "compressed for time" in pan and scan I dropped the premium and stuck with basic. This was the mid 90's, before Survivor changed the world and they still played music videos on VH1. Today, when network executives aren't busy copying other shows they're falling over eachother trying to one-up the lastest hot concept and coming up with ways to cram even more junk across the bottom of TV screens in an effort to "keep viewers informed".
    The only show I watch religiously on cable is The Walking Dead. Once in a while I'll catch part of one of those shows where they turn abandoned property into dream homes. I NEVER watch movies on cable. Why should I put up with all the clutter and commercials and watch something on their schedule when I have a virtual video store at my fingertips? If not movies, then what's left to watch on cable? (I'm not into sports). I can't tell NBC apart from the Discovery Channel and vice versa. When this has occured, there's no reason to pay for something if you can get it for free over the air.
     
  2. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I'm sure cable is inundated with reality garbage but cable is also where the best work of the TV medium can be found. Outside of a few comedies (such as Parks And Recreation and Community), network TV is all but dead in terms of making quality shows. Thanks to the creative freedom and lack of FCC censorship, the best talents have left the networks for the cable channels and currently there's great work on cable like Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mad Men and Treme. While I don't want to watch crazy idiots scream at each other in some staged scenario on a 'reality' show, I do want to watch the quality programs.
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    And if you have kids, cable TV is invaluable as a babysitter at times...
     
  4. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    My wife and I have been thinking about dropping our DirecTV. We have thousands of VHS tapes and DVDs, and there are still so many that we haven't watched even once and that we would like to watch. The only reason we haven't dropped DirecTV yet is because of sports. I really like having the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL channels. I used to watch ESPN, but not too much any longer due to having these four sports channels.
    The only network show I watch is the new Hawaii Five-O. Our children do like some of the shows on Disney and Nick. Those channels would be a bit more difficult to lose for their sake. If I could buy a package which included only the four sports channels I mentioned above and two or three channels for our kids, I would do that. But that option doesn't exist.
     
  5. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    I may cut the cable in the future due to monetary concerns its just very expensive, but I still watch Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Spartacus, Dexter, Californication, Shameless, Justified, and many more, there are good shows on TV you just have to look for them, if I drop cable I either wait for them on Disk, or buy them on iTunes. I think the main problem now is how many shows only get released on DVD, when they were in Hi Def, but the studios won't invest in Blu Ray.
     
  6. DaveHof

    DaveHof Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been thinking about cutting back on my cable bill as well. I'd bet that most people watch about 10% of the 300+ channels they receive, but because of the way the cable companies offer packages or tiers, we're stuck with hundreds of channels we don't want. Boomerang, TV Land, Bravo, AMC and Game Show Network certainly aren't what they used to be, but I still want the ESPN networks, the NFL network, BBC America, CNN and FOX News and TCM. The best solution would be for cable companies to let customers design their own packages, but that would never happen.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I come from the flip side: prior to 2012, I'd had cable only two years of the prior 12.
    Now I'm in an apartment with digital cable part if the lease. And my and I like it. The shows we never saw except on vacations we can now TiVo. Phineas and Ferb, Househunters, Pawn Stars, My Cat From Hell, and Face/Off. And plenty of NCIS reruns :)
    And also compared to my OTA HDTV, I don't have bad reception everytime the weather shifts. I don't have to worry about the cats bumping the antenna.
    I don't have any premium channels like HBO.
    And I do question if we'll keep paying $50 monthly when we get a house. Are Mythbusters and Property Brothers type show worth the money to me? How about consistent reception? We'll see.
    But for now, I'm enjoying again cable and don't mind the cost.
     
  8. Stan

    Stan Producer
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    I'm probably about a 50-50 split between network and cable shows. Both offer some pretty good programming, you just have to learn how to weed through the crap and find the good shows.
    Certain things are also only going to be found on cable. Alphas, Falling Skies, The Walking Dead, Psych, Burn Notice and many others. Also enjoy Discovery, History and the Science channel, not stuff you'll find on a network channel. As with network shows, just find what you like, but I think you still need cable and network shows or you'd be missing a lot.
    As for the 300+ channels, I don't think I've every had anything near that much that was watchable. By the time I create my own channel list on Dish, cutting out the 150+ crappy shopping and infomercial channels, along with things I'll never watch, I probably have a core group of about 25 channels I choose from. Dropped the pay channels like HBO a few years ago and really haven't missed much. Can't see paying $20-$30 for a channel I may watch just a few times a month. I buy Dexter each season when it's released, just about everything else makes it to Redbox or elsewhere fairly quickly for a pretty cheap price.
    Even most of the network shows make it to cable in syndication. A lot of them have been showing the 2010-2011 seasons so they're not even a year behind. Plus I like the fact that if I've lost touch with a network show, once it goes to syndication, many times you can watch the entire series in a matter of months when they run 2-3 episodes a day, in broadcast order. Easier than buying them, and the editing seems fairly well done, so you rarely notice the extra minute or two trimmed off for commercials. DVR something for a while, zip through the commercials and you can watch an entire season in a day or two.
    I'd watched Grey's Anatomy off and on through its run, but it hit syndication about two years ago, started with episode one and played three episodes a day. Caught right back up in about two months and they started the cycle back again at episode one. There are plenty more out there like that.
     
  9. Paul D G

    Paul D G Screenwriter

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    It's really all in how you view cable. Most of the series I watch regularly is on broadcast or HBO or Showtime. The kids have their favorites on NickToons or something. Does that mean all the other channels are wasted? No. I flip through the guide and see the BRIT Awards is on BBC America tonight, so I watch that. Or an 80s revival concert on Palladia, or I come across a documentary on climbing Everest on Discovery and find my kid and I glued to the set...

    And while I don't care if Capt America is on HBO this month, the guy sitting in the cubicle next to me might be planning on watching it tonight.

    True, 90% of the channels I get I'll probably never watch. But then again, I'd never thought I'd watch The Tennis Channel, but during Wimbeldon I had it on nearly every day.
     
  10. Stan

    Stan Producer
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    BBC America is a good channel. Lots of pretty decent programming once you wade through the 75% of Gordon Ramsay shows.
    To bad we don't get more from BBC because there are a lot of very good shows available. Maybe they just assume Americans love Ramsay so keep cramming his overdone shows down our throats.
     
  11. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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  12. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I don't see the point of paying for cable when it has hundreds of channels I never watch, and almost anything new or old I do want to watch is available legally elsewhere. The only current shows I watch are Futurama, Mad Men and Modern Family, which are all on Blu-Ray, while the last three shows that are new to me that I have watched (The Monkees, The IT Crowd and the UK version of The Office) were all courtesy of Netflix or DVD.
     
  13. Stan

    Stan Producer
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    Maybe time for me to join the future. I'm comfortable with satellite/broadcast/rental & buy DVD, etc. but looks like I'm slowly joining the old Stereo Hi-Fi generation, time to jump ahead before I get stuck in the past.
    I'm just worried about technology always changing so fast, it seems easier to wait til things settle down and get a good 10+ years out of one decent set of hardware. Don't want to buy a tablet, smartphone, whatever to find it's already out of date a month later.
    The constant upgrades will probably never end, just need to pick a time and dive in.
     
  14. Greg Kettell

    Greg Kettell Screenwriter

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    OTOH most people get their Internet from cable. If everybody starts dropping cable TV look for cable Internet rates to skyrocket (and/or get capped).
     
  15. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    +1. For me, cable TV (and DirectTV) is DEAD as a business model. It simply makes no sense to pay for dozens and dozens of “reality”-based (and other types) of junk just to get the VERY few shows I’m interested in. It’s absurd to pay HUNDREDS of dollars a year for premium channels to watch the movies/ TV shows I can see for a small fraction of the price by renting and /or buying the FAR superior Blu Rays. Add in Netflix, which lets me watch the classic TV shows that were dumped in favor of the endless glut of reality/info slop, plus even MORE movies the networks won’t bother to air, and there simply is no case for cable beyond using it for phone and internet.
     
  16. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Screenwriter

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    I probably watch less than 12 cables channels but to watch shows on HBO, Starz, FX, USA, the NFL and NCAA football it's needed. I would love to just be able to get those few channel and save money on the rest but that isn't gonna happen. I guess if I didn't watch football, or could wait until the cables shows hit DVD I could drop my cable bill.
     

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