Friday, May 8, 2015

Yesterday I Cancelled the Dish

DirecTV, I must say before I go any further, is an excellent service. The technician who installed the dish on our roof and plugged the special recording box into the TV set was competent, speedy, and courteous. The service reps I dealt with over the phone were helpful and courteous as well. I never met with the sort of bad service people are said to encounter when dealing with Comcast. If I liked any of the TV shows that were on offer, I would probably have kept DirecTV, even after the two-year special reduced rates expired. But the fact is, there isn't anything on TV worth watching. It's not DirecTV's fault.

Three years ago, when I signed up, I figured that, by the time the two-year contract had expired, anything I wanted to sit down and watch would be available on the internet. It came to pass! Don't you love it when one of your prophesies comes true?

You're thinking, but what about Harold? Isn't he going to miss watching football? No, Harold doesn't watch football. Or anything else on TV. So it's just my thing, and here is what I like to watch:

Old movies. TCM shows them, and sometimes, on Saturday night, PBS does too. Instead I can go to ($8.99 a month), Amazon Prime ($99.00 yearly, or $8.25 a month), YouTube ($0), or the Lambertville Free Public Library, which has a nice collection of movies on DVD ($0). Granted, for the stuff available on the internet you have to have a modern hi-def television set with HDMI sockets, a computer with a high-speed internet connection, and a proper cord to connect the two, and for the DVDs you need a DVD player and also a connecting cord. So you'd have to figure in the cost of that.

I have a personal collection of old movies as well. Some of them I bought from So I'm well supplied with old movies.

British and Australian TV shows. The most marvelous things are available on, a site on the internet, where a membership costs $4.99 a month. Very little of what they offer can be seen on American TV. Again you need a computer to watch the shows, and also a cord to connect the computer to your TV set, if you need a bigger screen.

Grand Opera. With the machine that DirecTV gave me I used to record operas whenever they aired on Channel 13. But now the Metropolitan Opera has made available a huge selection of their old and current productions to stream on the internet, many in high definition. A subscription costs $14.99 a month, cheaper if you subscribe by the year. Way cheaper than dressing up and dragging yourself to the city, especially if your spouse can take it or leave it alone. Hey, I used to go to the old Met with the cupids and everything. I get the glamour and romance of a live performance. Still, I like being able to see the singers up close.

The Good Wife. This is the last network show I was seriously addicted to. It's been such a downer lately that I can scarcely bring myself to sit through it, especially now that Kalinda has bailed. If I were writing that show she would have killed Lemond Bishop the minute he started threatening her sweetie. (Or either one of her sweeties.) I so longed to see her kick his ass. Now it's never going to happen. Still, I can see reruns of Sunday's show on Monday afternoons on Without waiting half an hour for the show before it to finish running. Why do they mess with the schedule like that? Football, I guess. Or they think we're going to magically fall in love with Madam Secretary just from being exposed to the last half of it while looking for The Good Wife. Sorry, guys, not happening.

News? Not really. Watching network news, or CNN, or, God forbid, Fox news, is like getting punched in the stomach over and over. The things I need to know I can find out by reading the newspaper, without having to endure the sight of full-color footage. Seventy-five cents for a daily copy of The Trenton Times, and we get funnies with our news, as well as the cryptoquote, which Harold solves in his head without using a pencil. Our subscription to the Sunday New York Times includes on-line access to the weekday papers, if there's anything in them we need to see, as well as the complete archives dating back to the beginning of the world, a great boon to those of us who write historical fiction.

When I hear rumors of stuff happening, and I do, somehow, without resorting to network news, I go on Twitter to find out the real story. You may laugh, but it actually works. Ordinary people live-tweet all sorts of things.

The service rep at DirecTV tried to talk me out of leaving, which was okay, because that's her job: "What are you going to do when it snows?" I told her I was going to read a book.

So that's my plan.  I'll let you know in a couple of months how it's working, in case you want to try it yourself.

© 2015 Kate Gallison


  1. We're at the end of our 2 year commitment to DirecTV and we're probably going to drop it, too. Other than HGTV, the only shows we watch (Gotham, NCIS) are on network TV which we can get for free. I think I can live without HGTV. It will save me from yelling at the people whining because the house they're looking at doesn't have granite countertops.

    1. HGTV, no, thanks. the last thing I need right now is house envy. Cooking shows can be fun, but I picked up a set of DVDs of Julia Child's old show, The French Chef, and I'm working my way through those. It's nice to have all the kitchen equipment that I didn't have when I was in my twenties and first watching that show. (Salad spinners were rare and exotic in 1965. Can you imagine?)

  2. I haven't had a TV in decades and I married a man who didn't have a TV. I used to be able to stop conversations at parties by announcing that. I have Amazon Prime and I can get lots of things on youtube. I've been watching The Barchester Chronicles (with Spanish subtitles) recently. I've been following the British election
    (sigh) on the BBC.
    Really, when all is said and done, I'd rather be reading


  3. As I've told you all, I'm not an humongous TV watcher - BUT for Blue Bloods... and Time Warner's Ch. 81 often runs a movie made from people like Nora Roberts, M.H. Clark, et co... but actually, I liked their books better. How can you guys put up with sitting on a little chair and peering at your computer screen to watch fun time??? No thanks, but to each his own. Whatever makes you happy!! tjs

    1. Don't have to peer at the computer. I plug a cord into the HDMI receptacle in the Macbook and stick the other end in the HDMI socket in the (quite large) flat-screen TV and Bob's your uncle. (With a few minor adjustments.) True, I can't get Blue Bloods.

  4. P.S. BUT.... dear friends, give me C-Span any day!!!!!!!!!!! I'll stop everything to catch a live Senate or hot real action for that !!!! tjs

  5. All this tech exhausts moi! I'm off to bed with my teeny radio and listening to George et co on WOR in the outer space... nighty nite... tjs