It’s been 3 1/2 years since we said farewell. I wish I could say I’ve missed you, but I have learned to live without you and be happily commitment-free (except for those three-year contracts for internet and cell phone service).
Why did I break up with you? I’m no gold digger but it just wasn’t worth it anymore. This will seem strange coming from someone who covers TV and follows the industry but I don’t watch all that many shows regularly. I had the most basic cable package I could get — and I had to pry it out of my cable provider’s hands; they didn’t want to tell me it was available over the phone — but even then I was paying a lot for a lot of channels I didn’t watch. To get all the specialty channels I did want, I’d have had to go up several price points and get astronomically more channels I didn’t want.
So I was already supplementing my cable back then in order to watch what I wanted to watch. I wouldn’t even care if what I’m paying now is equal or greater to what I was paying then (it’s not), as long as I was happy with what I had access to (I am).
Cable, I thought I would return to you once I realized how much I missed my Emmy and Oscar viewing, or when it became apparent that I couldn’t access all the shows I want to watch. At the very least I thought I’d set up an over the air antenna. I went so far as to buy a defective one (well, I didn’t know it was defective when I bought it) and return it, then didn’t bother to get another one.
I was surprised how quickly my viewing habits changed.
I became content to watch the shows I could get access to. I arranged award show viewings at friends’ houses or found it wasn’t such a hardship to miss them occasionally. I bought a Breaking Bad season pass from iTunes because that would have been a hardship.
Immediately after the split I was primarily using network websites and apps (and oh how terrible some of those viewing experiences were), but after the post I wrote shortly after breaking up with you I added Netflix and iTunes to my viewing repertoire, gulping entire shows at a time when I used to swear I wasn’t a binge watcher.
I’m fortunate I’m not a sports fan. I know there are ways to get live sports events without cable but I haven’t had to bother finding out how. I’m also in a fortunate position of getting access to screeners of some shows by some Canadian and US networks. I love you guys. Though you own the cable companies too so … I don’t know. Maybe you could make it easier on me to give you more of my money again.
With the CRTC Talk TV public hearing currently taking place, my head is swimming with all the efforts to woo me back. Not me or my fellow cord cutters specifically, but the CRTC seems very concerned that Canadians find value in our broadcasting system. At least they’re concerned until September 19 and then they don’t want to hear from us any more.
What would it take for me to come back to you, cable? A cheap basic plan with at least the major Canadian networks that I could supplement with only the specialty channels I want. I don’t even care if they’re bundled somewhat, as long as I don’t have to order a ridiculous amount of what I don’t want in order to get what I do want.
I’m considering my options now and I don’t like what I see. Maybe the CRTC can play matchmaker and help us get back together. But I wish you wanted me back without having your hand forced.