Monday, June 11, 2012

Classic Movie Summer

It is common at our house to hear one of us lamenting the fact that we pay for over 700 satellite channels and we watch very few of them.  First there is the basic package- not the cheapest, but the one that came with the most sports networks.  Then there is the HD package because, seriously what's the point of having an HD TV if you don't get HD channels?  Then there is the additional sports package we added on so we get the majority of K-State games.  In total - a little over $100/month for 720 channels.  

Now - remove the On Demand movie channels that we rarely use, the shopping channels (who knew there were so many!), and a few other random things we knew we would never watch, and we're down to 372 channels in our "Favs" list.  When we sit down to scroll through the TV guide, 372 channels are displayed.  And usually there is nothing on.

The other day, I ran across an article about Apple's newest plan for television - a platform that offers "a la carte" channels.  If I understood correctly, you would be able to select channels individually - and thus be charged only for the ones you actually watch.  Naturally, they are running into some backlash from networks that survive by getting their network bundled in with the big networks that everyone wants.  But, I'm hopeful that this is the wave of the future and will be available in a reasonable amount of time.  

In preparation, and mostly out of curiosity, I browsed through the guide to see what channels we would select if the menu were a la carte.  The results were sad.  I would want ABC to keep up with General Hospital and Dancing With The Stars.  We would need the sports channels, of course, and Dave would want TruTV (also known as The Stupid People Channel) to keep up on schadenfreude.*  Other than that, we were hard put to name channels we watch on a regular basis.

In the "occasional" category we decided we might pay for:

  • News channels for the occasional crisis.
  • CLOO because they show House and Monk reruns - but we've seen them all so many times that I'm not sure it's worth money.
  • BBC America - in case the Royal Family gets married, jubileed or some other thing I would find interesting.
  • TV Land - for M*A*S*H reruns 
  • CBS, NBC and FOX in case thy are hosting special events like the Olympics and in case I get over my boycott of American Idol.
  • PBS for the occasional Masterpiece Theater or music special
  • History Channel for Pawn Stars
  • Lifetime for Project Runway

But paying for a channel 24/7 because we might watch one program a week?  Not the best use of money.

Then there's the "used to watch" group - channels we always wanted before, but don't use any more:

  • Bravo cause they used to show West Wing, but I have it on DVD now.
  • HGTV - watched a lot back in the day that it was actually about decorating and not about real estate and greed.
  • Food Network and Cooking Channel - gave those up with the weight loss program, not sure I'll ever return.
  • AandE because they showed Nero Wolf, but that's a thing of the past
  • Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney - but the kids are grown now.
  • USA because they had Monk - but it's been cancelled.
  • When we were first married - and cable was still a new thing - we were so excited to get TNT, TBS and WGN because they were the "super stations" - but no more.
So, in order to feel like I'm getting something for all my money, (at least until Apple gets their TV to market) I've decided to have a Classic Movie Summer.  Using the search feature, I found  movies containing many of my favorite classic movie stars - Cary Grant, Dean Martin, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Dick van Dyke, Grace Kelly, Jimmy Stewart and more. I am recording 10 movies over the next couple months and will watch at least one per week and review it here.  So watch for Classic Movie Summer posts and join me if you want.  Details tomorrow.


  1. I'm with you about all the options out there for channels and usually nothing good on at anyone of them. It would be interesting if you could pick and chose your stations; hubby is one of those that follows three or four programs at a time at the same time, LOL. I sometimes will look over and he's watching a western and then will hear something about outer space, not realizing he's changed the channel; gets confusing at times :)

    Will look forward to reading your reviews!