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Only Occasionally Killing Your Television

April 15, 2010
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This stared me in the face this morning, popping out from my husband’s Yahoo homepage, and causing me to hunt this down, as it was the true source for the Yahoo feature:

With an increasing selection of high-quality TV fare coming online, more people are experimenting with ditching their TVs (or more accurately, their cable and satellite TV subscriptions) for online options such as Hulu, Netflix, broadcaster Websites, or Apple’s iTunes. The numbers are still small, but an estimated 800,000 U.S. households cut the cable cord altogether in the past two years, according to a new report by the Convergence Consulting Group. By the end of next year, that number is forecast to double to 1.6 million. [Corrected: The 800,000 number is cumulative for the past two years, with 600,000 people cutting the cord in 2009]

Yes, this number is currently a drop in the bucket as compared to the hundreds of millions who subscribe to cable or satellite…but there are growing numbers of people who are seeing fewer reasons to pay out the nose for extra channels.

As it turns out, my pal Edie, who I mention in my krewe bio as being the recipient of my cooking skills for the rest of the Treme season in exchange for the monopolization of her cable TV once a week, doesn’t have HBO, just basic cable. Thank goodness for Mark Folse’s opening up his home this past Sunday and sharing his sister Pam’s gumbo with some of us, else I’d have had to head out to one of the few bars with it on the teevee, to the Charbonnet Funeral Home, or I’d be screaming something like, “My queendom for HBO!!!” through the streets. If this thing gets going like True Blood did, it could well be in most area bars’ best interests to get a Treme viewing thing going on Sunday nights (big hint to my local bar).

Soooo….how’d you watch Treme? Or have you even seen it yet? Waiting for it to come out on DVD? Are you saying “Whatever” and waiting for the hype to die down? Spill it, y’all.

Just call it my informal survey….the Liprap census.

17 Comments
  1. April 15, 2010 8:45 am

    My wife and I have not had cable since late 2006. Have not missed it. We have a friend across the street taping Treme for us and are scheduling watching parties at the abodes of friends. I think our means of watching will be different for each episode.

    Since we are the only New Orleanians around, in our social circles, lots of folks are asking our opinions on the show. It’s so odd to see this on the screen and be so far removed from it, kinda like newscasts in Sept of ’05….

  2. April 15, 2010 8:53 am

    I ponied up for HBO and Showtime (Nurse Jackie/Weeds). I have a pay/cancel cycle with the premiums – usually about twice a year. I live in the boonies- cable and internet (both of which come via satellite because I’m in the hill country) cost money but it’s still a damn cheap entertainment/info source broken down by day.

  3. April 15, 2010 9:14 am

    We don’t even have a phone line. At our house we have internet only, get network TV only by antenna, and we both use iPhones as our only phones. Adding HBO would not be by itself problematic, but we’d have to get a full cable/internet bundle first and that’s the dealbreaker. I too am dependent upon the kindness of friends.
    I disagree with the conclusion of the block quote (maybe there’s more in the larger piece) but I don’t think it’s people experimenting with online options. I think since 08 and our economy debacle, people were forced to cut costs and were driven online for cheaper content. With iTunes I’m not forced into a bundle of stuff I pay for and don’t want, I pay for only what I want.

  4. April 15, 2010 9:49 am

    I subscribed to HBO for the first time ever just for ‘Treme.’
    I watch most HBO shows but would wait for DVD or obtain them from other sources, but I wanted to vote with my $ for HBO to support this show.

  5. wev permalink
    April 15, 2010 9:51 am

    First, in what world is two years a trend, especially with those years being the biggest downturn in US economy in some variable number of decades, depending on your source? I agree with ‘Watching Treme’ it’s a dubious conclusion, unless the survey somehow corrected for the economic downturn.

    I watched at home because my bit of entertainment money is all spent on media I consume at home. When I was a child the pastor called people like me “shut-ins” whom he exhorted his flock to remember. I see the pendulum has swung and in these circumstances I now look–and feel–very privileged!

  6. liprap permalink
    April 15, 2010 10:16 am

    I’m just saying…my husband and I think paying for TV beyond what we already get is nuts. Only concession we’ve made is, after about a year’s time, getting a converter box for four bucks at Thrift City, and even then, I really really want to block out the kids channel (Qubo) we get with it now for its below subpar cartoons and its awful commercials. Netflix is of great value to us, as it ain’t cheap to go out, pay for a sitter for my little guy, and see the movies in the theaters. It also seems like more TV series are being written and directed with their DVD releases in mind (case in point: only reason my cousin can keep things straight in current “Lost” episodes is because he was able to go back and watch all the previous seasons on DVD), so it might be of greater interest to us overall to wait for what we’re interested in, unless we feel we have to have it right NOW.

    The greater point articles such as the one I cited make is that there are now more moving picture entertainment options than ever before, and people are slowly taking advantage of whatever they can, probably most ostensibly to save ’em some dough.

  7. April 15, 2010 10:24 am

    and a greater threat of encroachment re who controls what is on the internet.

  8. liprap permalink
    April 15, 2010 10:27 am

    True dat. When there’s money in it, there’s folks trying to go for large chunks of that.

  9. K. David Cook permalink
    April 15, 2010 12:07 pm

    all right y’all, I tried some of the links and still don’t know…is it possible to watch Treme through one of these services?

  10. April 15, 2010 12:24 pm

    We caught it at the Mother-in-Law.

  11. ferngrrl permalink
    April 15, 2010 3:48 pm

    Lucky for me my cousin a few blocks away let me come watch it on her cable-HBO setup; I brought some food. We’ll do the same thing for the next episode. Most people I know do not have HBO, but many of them do have cable.

    I’ve been cable-free since 2005. Moved back to NOLA in ’08 (after a 20 year absence), and used rabbit ears til I had to get a converter box to go with ’em. I did have Dish once, when I lived in a tiny town in eastern Washington and that was the only was to get any news at all, and since I was a “Sopranos” fan, I got HBO, too.

    Really can’t see the value in paying for gazillions of channels I’ll never watch. Working two jobs leaves little time anyway.

    Netflix is a very good thing indeeeeeeeed. I can’t count how many times I’ve watched all the “Homicide” and “West Wing” and “NYPD Blue” episodes.

  12. ferngrrl permalink
    April 15, 2010 3:50 pm

    You hit the nail on the head. I do, though, enjoy “Fringe,” when I can catch it, thanks to my converter box and rabbit ears.

  13. ferngrrl permalink
    April 15, 2010 3:55 pm

    Yep, it’s the bundles. To get HBO on either Cox or Dish, I’d end up paying for oodles of sports and music stuff, and Cox would make me upgrade to digital, and, well, I don’t want what they want me to want.

  14. April 15, 2010 5:32 pm

    I’m with some of y’all in that I don’t want to pay for tons of channels I don’t want to get one premium channel. My money is better spent (and needed) elsewhere. Someone I trust pointed me to this online site which is where I watched the pilot. The only annoyance is having to click the “close to pay” button on ads to begin the show and if you pause. No real biggie. And, so far, my computer hasn’t died nor even slowed down so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I also have a friend DVRing the series for me.

    http://www.casttv.com/shows/treme/do-you-know-what-it-means/9ojhw71

    I considered going to a bar but I tend to get pissed off with people who talk (much less cheer) while I’m watching. I don’t like to miss anything.

  15. anony mouse permalink
    April 15, 2010 10:53 pm

    i left my computer on one night and the next day the cheeky thing had gone out and found a copy of treme. since it was bold enough to leave it right there on my desktop, i felt obliged to watch it a couple of times before i moved it to the recycle bin.

  16. April 16, 2010 9:37 am

    Long time premium cable user here. It’s my entire entertainment budget (excepting occasional concert tickets). Not only do I get (and love) HBO & Showtime, but we also pay for new release movies On Demand. As I said in another comment on another post: Must. Get. Life.

  17. Elspeth Ravenwind permalink
    April 16, 2010 11:14 am

    Had mystery ‘free’ cable for almost a year at current abode, it disappeared late July of ’09… Didn’t feel like coughing up the lettuce for cable (economy…I waste my money in other ways, didn’t need to add to it) where I would, due to my HDTV, have to get the HDTV upgrade and the special package and blah-blah-blah. Sure I miss “Ace of Cakes”, but there are DVDs. If I could tailor a cable package for just what I want – it would be TCM, FoodNetwork, truTV (forensics junkie), the station that “Bones” is on, IFC, and HBO – IF I could get that for $30/month. I don’t want all of the flippin’ shopping networks, and while the Wasillahillbilly is on Discovery Networks – don’t want them.
    Anyhoo – I watched “Treme” online via a site sent to me by a trusted source. Wisevid is the place. It was a tad grainy – and I didn’t want to click on anything for the “HD” version at this point. I’m def getting the DVDs when they are out.🙂 This will get me by. I also have a friend who will share her HBO w/me to watch it…so I may take her up on it for this next episode. 🙂

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