I don’t watch much TV. I really prefer the immersive experience of video games or books when it comes to unwinding at the end of the day. Sure, there are some shows I truly enjoy like Doctor Who, Top Gear (although I’m actually starting to prefer the US version, which I feel a little dirty admitting), and Big Bang Theory to name a few. But really, if I want to watch TV its usually old series on Netflix. Or podcasts while doing other things around the house So paying for cable is a bit painful. However, my husband watches a lot of TV between shift work and insomnia. Almost all of it is on cable channels.
I’ve been trying to talk him into cutting the cable for a while now. It’s a discussion that comes up every once in awhile, but recently it had gotten a bit further than normal. We bought an XBox which works really well as a media console. It also came with a free month of Hulu Plus. Since History has a Hulu Plus channel, we thought we’d do a trial to see if we could make this work. I did most of the groundwork for him. I activated the trial, put as many of his shows (or shows I thought he’d like) onto it as I could find. He wanted to watch Top Gear, so instead of navigating to the DVR I turned on the XBox and opened the Hulu app. I scrolled through the shows with lots of “Wow, that’s on here?” and “That looks interesting!” until I reached Top Gear and pressed X. ….And found out the show is web only. In fact, nearly everything that wasn’t a web series or network TV was web only. And therein lies the problem.
I know none of this is the fault of Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, or one of the other streaming service providers. It’s the fault of the content companies and the cable/satellite monopolies. But it sucks. When I can get content through one screen but not another, the system is broken. I do blame Hulu partially for advertising that they are this great “watch anywhere if you pay” service, when you can’t watch most of it anyplace but a computer. And yes, I realize I could hook a computer up to my TV, but quite frankly, I don’t want to. I don’t want to invest in a powerful graphics card that can do 1080p HDMI. I don’t want to invest in a sound card that can push out 5.1 surround. And I don’t want to have to build a nice looking PC that looks like it belongs in my family room. Especially when I have two boxes (my Xbox and PS3) that can do all of that now.
If it were up to me, I’d say forget it, I’ll just deal without. But, TV is my husband’s entertainment of choice so I won’t ask him to give it up. He doesn’t complain about the money I spend on books and games, so I won’t complain about the money we spend on cable. Hopefully one day I’ll just be able to buy channels à la carte though an app. But I’m not holding my breath.