Human Interest


Network television still exists, but I don’t know why. Who watches it, anyway? My wife and I don’t. In fact, other than sports events, we haven’t watched a network sitcom, news cast, or drama for at least 10 years! Ten (10) years! All you need to do is watch the promos for those programs and you immediately see why we choose not to watch those mindless, sophomoric programs filled with overt sexual innuendo or political insults.  

Late night network programming is the worst. Kimmel, Fallon, and Colbert don’t hold a candle to the infinitely-talented Johnny Carson or Steve Allen. Just thinking about “Carnak the Magnificent” makes me laugh! and just thinking about the hilarious banter between Carson, Ed McMahon, and Doc Severinson reminds me how I enjoyed their show and how funny they were. They were creative and funny without being rude and hateful. The late night hosts of today aren’t funny. They can’t joke without insulting someone they dislike, or more likely, hate. Everything has a political overtone. Why can’t they be funny without that? 

You ask, “What has replaced network programming on your viewing agenda?” “Streaming” that’s what! It has replaced network TV with literally thousands of options. And who knows, it could be in the millions. I really don’t know how many streaming services there are, but You Tube TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling, Hulu, Peacock, and Paramount together provide enough programming options that you could spend the rest of your life watching and never see it all. Streaming services provide entertainment transmitted via the internet rather than by satellite or cable. The program you’re watching is “streamed” to your TV as it is being transmitted so you’re watching it as it is downloaded. With cable, the program is downloaded all at once and you can watch only after it is completely transmitted. If it sounds complicated, it is, but it makes for better viewing.

To watch “streamed content” you must have a device that connects to the internet. Examples of such devices are a laptop, smart phone, tablet (eg. iPad), or preferably a smart TV. The TV is “smart” because it has the technology to display pre-recorded content as well as live news and sports events as well as an internet connection. Plus you need a fast and reliable WiFi source that permits viewing without annoying pauses for buffering, catching up with, the program.

That opens an infinite amount of programming.

To see anything on your smart TV, you must enroll with a streaming service and pay a monthly fee. Most folks don’t limit themselves to just one service, so although your viewing options are broader, your costs increase with each additional subscription. Then you might also have to pay a fee for the individual movie, series or program you watch. So even though your base fee is low, there are so many ‘nickle-dime” costs that at the end of the month, you’re paying more than you realize. But “you get what you pay for!” 

The major advantage I see of streaming programming is the incredible variety of entertainment available. You name it, you can find it—from old classic movies, to recent releases, from local sports events, to international competitions, documentaries on any subject, and music concerts from classical to country. And you can watch them on your schedule, any time. That’s also true of cable, but cable is limited by the number of channels available in your individual package. 

There is a bit of a learning curve involved with streaming services, especially when it comes to finding the game or movie you want to watch, but once you know the routine, you shouldn’t have any trouble. One feature I like about sports programs is the option to catch up to live action by watching the “key plays.” When you choose that option, a series of important or spectacular plays are shown in the order they occurred until you catch up with the game’s live action. You feel like you’ve been watching the game all along and haven’t missed any important plays. Plus, if you need a break for some reason, you’re able to resume watching where you left off when you return. I know this feature is not unique to streaming, but being able to watch Thursday night football or several big college basketball games exclusively on a streaming network is. I disagree with this policy because the games have always been free and should remain that way.

You might ask, “Are you saving money using a streaming service?” As of now, I don’t know. It’s too early to tell. I’m so enthralled with my programming options, the cost factor has been set aside. In a month or two I will know, though. I will know when I add up all those “nickel-dime” fees I was charged and find they add up to hundreds of dollars. Then I’ll see if I’m still as happy as I am now. And I’ve eliminated the $326 monthly fee the cable provider was going to charge me.


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