Jul 19 2005

Do I really need to <b>pay</b> for TV?

, Opinion , ,

I have been looking at my cable bill. I subscribe to HBO & Showtime because they have the absolute best original shows (particularly HBO). They are better than anything on broadcast TV (except maybe Battlestar Galactica or Lost).

I do this to get access to the OnDemand feature of the digital cable. So I pay for TV (basic cable) plus two premium channels with an upgrade to Digital so I can pick my shows.

I am beginning to think that TiVO might be easier.

But I find myself watching reruns more and more often. Not just re-runs on TV but re-runs on DVD & VCR. Doctor Who (H has the entire original series on Tape and I D/Led the new Dr. Who from the Internet), ‘Allo ‘Allo (seasons 1 to 6 which H introduced me to), The Prisoner, Drop the Dead Donkey, and I want to introduce her to US programs like Kolchak: The night Stalker (which is to be revived soon) and there were some other shows that were worth watching.

When I say that I am interested in seeing these shows again, I mean that I am interested in seeing the original shows again (sans commercial interruption) not that I am particularaly interested in seeing these shows revived.

The reviving of old shows isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes they are really bad, and leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Not always, mind you. The new Battlestar Galactica is powerful and innovative TV and is a fine tribute to the original show while being an excellent show in its own right.

But all of these shows are available on the Internet as soon as they are shown. So it takes me 24-48 more hours to get it and see it. I can do so without commercials, and I can stop it, rewind, rewatch, and all of that whenever I want. What’s not to like about that?

I think that it is about time that the networks, cable companies, and megacorps get with the idea that it is more lucrative to let us pick what we want to watch or sell it to us in bits rather than shot-gunning it out over the airwaves.

Imagine a world where you have an iTunes-like application that charges you $0.50 show or $10.00 for a complete season of 26 episodes. You download them over the course of 3 months (One a week dso as not to flood the servers) and then you can burn your own DVD at the end of it. I’d even pay a little more to get streaming commentary.

I’ll just put that next to the flying car we were supposed to get.