by pat howard

THE FRIDAY FIVE | Reasons I’m getting cable

In The Friday Five on September 25, 2009 at 11:17 am

Excuse the light posting in recent weeks. I’ve been moving…two blocks, but still an unending hassle. The Manifesto almost underwent a dramatic narrative shift for this just-born TV season. I was going rogue, ditching a monthly TV subscription and attempting to get my fix online and via Netflix. This dastardly plan lasted two weeks before I caved in and called Charter to add expanded basic to my Internet service. Below, five reasons I’m getting cable.

DirecTV is paradoxically irritating
Great programming lineup, decent DVR, uber-friendly customer service at the 800 number. But every one of the four times I’ve had to deal with the St. Louis installers, it’s been a dramatic or unaccountably frustrating process. An informal survey of my Facebook friends reveals that if it’s not the install hassles, it’s the prices that are keeping them away from DirecTV. So after a little over two years with their service, I’m defecting.

I must have a DVR
The last two weeks without one have been a disaster. It’s easier to not watch TV. I work in the middle of the day, usually getting off between 8 and 9 p.m., at which point I’ve missed most of prime time. I have an unpacked VCR collecting dust somewhere, but have not deigned to hook it up. Originally the plan was to get a TiVo (the better to also stream Netflix), but I’m giving the cable company’s DVR a probationary period first.

Digital broadcast isn’t perfect
I can’t justify paying a monthly subscription for TiVo service when I have to move my digital antenna all around depending on what channel I’m trying to get. Until the locals boost their digital signals (looking at you, KMOV), digital over-the-air is an unreliable option.

I miss basic cable
I miss E! most of all, for The Soup and Chelsea Lately. Sorry, I can’t seem to get my pop culture fix from the fourth hour of Today. There are about a million other shows I’m looking forward to having at my fingertips as well. Which brings me to the reason I was trying to upgrade to HD with DirecTV in the first place…

I want OnDemand
This is also the reason I’ve ruled Dish Network out for the moment. I’ve heard terrible things about Charter’s OnDemand reliability, but I want to see for myself what all the fuss is about. It may also turn me on to shows I wouldn’t otherwise sample, which could also be good.

For the Manifesto, the season is about to begin. I’ve picked out my shows and I’m ready to rock. Fall is a season of lots to love, and always on my list is the warm golden beginning of another TV season. Pass the remote.

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