Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Great Cable TV Bailout

DTV was sold as the greatest revolution in Television Broadcasting, but, in fact, it's a scam. This shouldn't surprise anyone, the digital mandate was Washington's idea.

Maybe scam is too harsh, but, based on my experience, it sure seems like it, and I'm in a Major Market area. Before the June 12, 2009 transition, with the help of only an indoor HDTV capable antenna, I could easily receive the analog signals of the local ABC affiliate, the CBS affiliate, and two NBC affiliates plus the Univision and Daystar affiliates.  With effort, I was also able to pull in the local analog signal for FOX. After I acquired a LCD Television I started to scan for digital signals, and I managed to pick up two digital PBS signals, the CBS DTV, the ABC DTV, 2 Univision DTV Signals and 4 Digital ION signals. I was ecstatic. DTV was indeed heaven.

Heaven didn't last long. In early 2009 the analog FOX signal went down in a storm, and was never restored, and I was never able to pick up a Digital Signal. In April the Rhode Island CBS and NBC affiliates analog signals shut down, and I was never able to lock onto their Digital Signals.  Heaven lost quite a bit of its luster. Heaven died at Midnight June 12, 2009. That's when I lost all my analog signals. All by shiny LCD can pick up is Univision and LATV, and just my luck, I studied French in High School. I can still occasionally pick up the Digital ION channels, but usually only after 11pm if it comes in at all. Strangely, though the Daystar station was licensed to a city only about 20 minutes away, I never could get a digital signal from them. From where I stand, free digital TV is a pipe dream, and the whole digital revolution is a scam cooked up by the Cable TV and Satellite Industries to make everyone subscribe. I have heard rumors that some stations were told by the FCC to reduce their power after they switched to digital, thereby reducing their coverage area.

So I wont end on such a down note, I have discovered some good alternatives. The first one I discovered was Hulu. For the cost of viewing a small ad before the program, you could watch any show you wanted for free.  Granted it wasn't live, but it was TV. I'm still not sold on Hulu Plus. Hulu ceased to be an option when my computer aged out of Flash.  When I upgrade to a new computer, I'll probably return to Hulu. YouTube was my next stop. Part of the Google empire, they have a TV Channel. Since the shows on that channel use a large screen and don't allow you to change resolution, after a few minutes on my old machine things go horribly out of sync and become unwatchable.  The treasure is in the regular section that people upload. Since videos are limited to ten minutes and I can step down the resolution, I have been able to watch some old TV shows and remember the good old days. The only drawback is when some of the studios like Warner Brothers (BOO! HISS!) get in a hissy fit and delete shows like Top Cat.  I shall refrain from mentioning any shows I may watch lest I give any studios any help.

My current choice for Live TV is a website called Channelsurfing.netI may have to watch a station in Texas, but at least I can watch shows like The Mentalist, NCIS and others as they are being aired. It's my little way of protesting against Big Cable.