I notice that the major networks remain the same -- CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, even WGN. So obviously it is possible to maintain some order. Okay, then, why do Animal Planet, Comedy Central, USA, TNT, CNBC, Oxygen, Lifetime, ESPN, Spike, et al -- all have to be different? Is there a logical reason for this? Is national security involved? Is this yet another plan of the former Bush administration to discredit Obama? Or have the kids in Special Ed finally found a way to extract a measure of revenge?
I live three miles from my stepmother. And yet her line up of cable channels is different than mine. At my house the Food Channel is on 25. At her house, it's in the sixties. At least I think that's the Food Channel. At her house the History Channel is on 73. At mine, 53. A & E is 55 in my town; 50 in hers. And I still haven't found ESPN. Why do they do that? Isn't there a button someone can push to line them all up and make them the same -- at least within 25 miles of each other? It all feels so ADD. Can you imagine what it would be like if radio stations did the same thing?
There are 15 towns within a ten mile radius of my house. And the cable line up for each one of them is different. Did I mention that we all have the SAME CABLE COMPANY? Who let Comcast buy up all the other cable companies anyway? Isn't that an anti-trust violation? Or did they get the same exemption Wal*Mart did?
The good news is that every town has the same remote. The bad news is, looks can be deceiving. I can't use my stepmother's remote to turn on the TV or make the sound louder -- even though it looks exactly like mine. I have to use the remote that came with her TV for on/off, loud/soft. But then I have to switch and do everything else with the cable remote. At her house, there are penalties for making mistakes. Choose the wrong remote and the long arm of Comcast will reach out and slap you upside the head. If you accidentally, God forbid, use her TV remote, instead of the cable remote to change a channel, you'll get this:
And you may never see another program again. Unless you're a NASA scientist. Or at least know a NASA scientist.
If I were in charge, the cable lineup would not only be the same, but you could customize your package so that you wouldn't have to take channels you didn't want just to get the channels you did. And after paying a nominal monthly fee which covers the number of channels you pick, you would only be charged for what you actually watch. You should also be able to opt in for a special broadcast on a channel you don't have for a small fee, anytime you want.
Obviously I've been thinking about this too much.
More and more I've been watching Hulu and Fancast on my computer. And Netflix downloads definitely have their appeal. Maybe the end of Comcast, et al, is closer than we think.