Thursday, March 11, 2010


I am on a mission to divest myself of Cablevision. I am officially fed up. At the end of the day, I don't care what needs to be done, if I pay for cable (and DVR and HDTV) I expect that I will receive what I pay for. The first strike against Cablevision was the HGTV/FoodTV mess at the start of the year. It's not like had they chosen to permanently cease broadcasting those channels they would have charged me less; I would have continued to pay the same rate for diminished service. Then there was the Olympics. I did not successfully record a single uninterrupted broadcast. The box kept resetting and when it did, it took on average 8 minutes to reboot. Not acceptable. Finally, there was the ABC thing. Yes, the channel was reinstated less than 20 minutes into the Academy Awards, but again, it shouldn't have come to that in the first place. Cablevision is a cable company. It's only duty is to provide me with cable. Anything less and I don't quite understand from whence their bills.

These three biggies also brought to the fore all the little annoyances: no BBC America (I LOVE Top Gear), IFC as a premium channel, a truly useless user interface, the inability to search for television programs over more than one day at a time, the inability to choose not to record one episode of a recorded series without simultaneously canceling ALL instances of said series. In short, this company sucks balls.

We were already on the road to a cable-free existence when we acquired the Roku. But between Amazon on demand and Netflix, there were still some series we weren't able to purchase a la carte (Top Gear among them). Enter the $49 AV Composite cable purchased at the lovely Apple Store on Greenwich Avenue (btw, if you haven't shopped at an Apple Store recently, I highly recommend it; you don't have to wait on a checkout line because your salesperson can check you out with some gizmo tied around her neck; additionally, you can have your receipt emailed to you. It's pretty amazing that other retailers aren't following suit). Attach cable to TV and to iPod and to wall (to charge iPod) and now you may watch iTunes things on your TV. Genius! Then, devoted partner bought a laptop which means, theoretically, we can buy the cable that hooks his computer to the tv and watch Hulu things (though I have not yet familiarized myself with how the Hulu works, I hear good things).

Pretty much everything was in place save one: getting network television without cable. This is something we are apparently able to do by means of an antenna (how retro!); the problem is, the one I bought from Radio Shack, enhanced or amplified or whatever, didn't even really change the color of our snow, so it's back to the drawing board on that one. I'm guessing I should have listened to my brother when he said I shouldn't ever buy anything at Radio Shack (despite my fond memories of 20 dollar walkmens that you could drop on the floor if they stopped working and 50% of the time they would start working again).

If you are successfully getting network TV without cable, please let me know how you're doing this, especially if you are not in Manhattan as I suspect signal strengths are different based on population density. I am ready to vote with my (our) wallet.

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