These days, if you have a decent antenna, there's more on over-the-air TV than ever before, including a nice selection of rerun-and-old-movie channels, multiple streams from PBS, local weather and music videos. Add one of the video-via-Internet widgets from Google, Amazon or Roku, and what more could you want?
Once upon a time it didn't work that way; there was only cable and cable was expensive and not all that great. But direct-broadcast Ku-band satellite TV was a brand-new thing, with way more channels than cable and sharp, clear video. My ex and I signed up for it and wow, there were entire channels devoted to History and Science and even Science Fiction! It was amazing.
And then, slowly, it stopped being amazing. Science gave way to empty-headed glitz about "ancient astronauts" and ill-informed cryptozoology. History slipped by degrees into a fascination with Hitler that would have made Godwin shudder and Science Fiction was replaced by "SyFy," complete with cage-match wresting, movies about shark-storms and a determination to "get away from that narrow focus."
The death knell for me was the infamous History Channel "no more white hair" memo, aiming to interview younger, more-telegenic experts, even if their expertise was considerably more limited than that of the paunch & wrinkles set. Time went on, and the satellite-delivery service started charging more and more for content that had less and less of interest to me. When I moved to Roseholme Cottage, the "free professional installation" guy kicked up a huge fuss over the number of trees, declared the project impossible, and started to get back into his truck until I argued with him. ("What do you know about it, lady?" "It's part of what I do for a living. I know the dish can 'see' the satellite -- you don't have to take my word for it, look at the one in the neighbor's yard!") He did a sloppy install -- a single pole, indifferently hammered into the ground -- but it worked and I was stuck with it for a year while the contract ran down. In the meantime, the provider stopped selling channels "ala carte," and when I tried to restructure my service to remove an expensive movie service and control costs, they managed to stick me with fewer channels and higher bill, with no reverting to the previous deal.
Then the lousy install started acting up and that was the last straw. When the contract expired, I cancelled. They argued with me -- how could I possibly not want their service? I explained (see above), even going so far as to suggest my disinterest more due to the providers, not the delivery service itself and was told no, that was wrong, the channels were better than ever and the lousy installer was "an isolated incident." I insisted, they eventually accepted -- and have been mail-bombing me ever since. Hey, no problem, if it shows up in the mail and says "DirecTV," it goes right into the trash unopened.
Yesterday, they sunk to a new low. When I got home from work, Tam said, "You got a couple cards." One was a renewal notice from the Antique Wireless Association, bless 'em, and the other--
No thanks, DirecTV, and a big ol' Bronx cheer to you for trying to sneak in under the radar. Your lack of couth is fractal: it's weasels all the way down. DirecTV is a deceptive sack of bastards -- and they think they're being clever.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
11 months ago