TV Worth Watching?

We don’t watch much TV around these parts. We’re not the kind of people who brag about not watching TV; we’re not that kind. And there’s nothing wrong with not being suckled by the giant LED teat in the living room. That’s admirable. There are lots of alternatives to watching TV that will make your life better and more fulfilling. But we’re not those people either. However, between our busy evening schedule and the issue with my attention span when it comes to televised programing, we don’t get much more than an hour of time together in front of the big screen in any given day. Sure we watch movies occasionally, and Lady Ronn usually has something on while she’s preparing food or working at the kitchen table, but we are not a multi-hour television watching household. Even still, we spend a good bit of money on video streaming services. Just for fun, let’s run down my thoughts on each of the services dipping fingers into my wallet each month.

I still think of this as Comcast. I’m not fooled by their attempt to rebrand. It’s the same crappy customer service. The same high costs. The same packages for the same choices. Why do I have to pay for HD programing in this day and age. It’s ridiculous and so I don’t. Also, the cable box uses as much electricity as a refrigerator… what the hell man. Shut that thing off if you’re not using it. But, you don’t have a lot of choices for cable internet in these parts. I tried DSL and wasn’t impressed. And so I have Comcast, just like most of you. I’m sorry, Xfinity. I have their lowest package for TV. I get just the bare minimum of channels, which includes the local stations, some shopping channels, HBO (see below), and not much else. Although, I do get the music channels and access to their OnDemand service. HD is included, but an HD cable box is not. That’s $10 a month. I’m not paying for that. I get my football games over the antenna I built and everything else we watch is on one of the services. I pay a pretty penny for their fast internet, but their TV… yeah, they can keep it.

HBO, HBO Go, HBO Now, whatever it’s called. I have HBO because it’s part of my Comcast/Xfinity package. I think I pay $1 for it. If I didn’t get it for nearly free, I don’t think I’d have it. Sure, there are a few series on there that we’ve watched. Lady Ronn and the boys all had to have it for Game of Thrones, but weirdly, I’ve not watched the series. Now that it’s over, I probably will. I like to know things have an ending. Which is also the reason I stopped reading the books after book one; because I didn’t know when, or if, the series would come to a conclusion. I’m still wondering about the books. Very occasionally there will be a movie on HBO that I want to see, but mostly it has limited value because of their original content. West World, Vice Principals, and True Blood are all HBO content we’ve watched. In my opinion, this is content of low value to me and while there are shows I would like to see, I’m not willing to pay a premium to have HBO be part of my life.

I debated between the Roku and whatever Amazon and Google call their similar products. It wasn’t much of a debate, but there was one. And then Roku was what they had at the store and it was what was on sale. So Roku it is. There is a lot on Roku, but mostly it let’s me use my internet connection to get HD content without having to pay for an HD cable box. Which is a big plus. I can watch all of the various services I pay for and a whole bunch more that are available, but that I don’t watch, without a subscription cost. Just the very reasonable price for a little HDMI stick that goes in the back of my TV and is powered by the USB port. And I can take it out and put it in any TV I want. As long as I have a WiFi connection I’m good to go. I think any and all of these devices are kinda the same, but Roku is the one I bought and now I have a TV in the basement that has Roku built in. I’m not unhappy with it. In fact, I just recently watched Gods of Egypt on the Roku channel, which was a first. They don’t have a great selection of content, but they have stuff. I like Roku.

Netflix is the reigning king of streaming movies and TV right now and that is the case at my house as well. We watch a good bit of Netflix around these parts. There’s not a lot of Netflix and chill going on here, but Netflix still gets the most screen time on our TVs. More often than not, we even watch HBO through the Netflix app. The price keeps creeping up, but it’s still a good value for all the content that is available. The Netflix originals are a little hit-or-miss, but the good ones really are very good. Bright. Well, Bright wasn’t all that great. Let’s forget about Bright. Netflix is a service that I have been very happy with and will continue to invest in, until such time as something better comes along and either crushes it or consumes it. I’m looking at you Disney. I’ve got my eye on you. You may be a juggernaut and you may own everything from Marvel to Star Wars to all that FOX content, but I’m watching you and not liking what you’re doing. So for now, I’m a Netflix subscriber.

Amazon Prime Video, or Prime Video, has a bad name and a bad interface. Maybe you like the interface, but I find it clunky. Not as clunky as Hulu, but it’s not great. I like a lot about Amazon Prime and you get alot for your annual payment; free shipping, free music, free video, ebooks, and lots of other stuff. Go to Amazon and check it out, I’m just here to talk about the video. We watch a fair bit of Prime, I’m calling it that from here on out. One nice part of the Prime service is the ability to buy or rent movies and TV series from Amazon right within the service. I find that this is my goto service for renting movies. I use Google Play too, but I only think about that service when they send me a coupon. The Prime originals that we’ve watched are good. Mrs Maisel is incredibly good. The selection is not Netflix good, but the ability to purchase is nice. And when it comes right down to it, the entire Prime package is a very nice deal. I’m a fan.

In my house Hulu is the forgotten paid TV service. I pay for it, but don’t watch it much. Mostly this was because of the commercials. Commercials are such a drag. I don’t watch much broadcast TV at all, so I forget how much of a bummer commercials are, until I put something on Hulu. Something must be done, I think everytime. So I upgraded to the commercial free package. We watch it more now, but not nearly as much as we watch Netflix. Mosty, we watch Hulu when whatever we want to see is not available on Netflix. I’m curious to see what will become of this service now that it has been folded into the Disney family of services. With the Disney streaming service about to launch will it get killed, become the choice for less kid-friendly Disney content, or just get subsumed as some part of the new Disney service. Only time will tell. For now, I can only watch The Strain on Hulu.

Dear lord, I have no idea what I would do without YouTube. This has not always been the case, but the more I watch… the more I watch. You can find anything on YouTube. Not sure how to activate the rear speakers in your RAM Promaster City. That’s on YouTube. Need to wire your garage, hang cabinets, install a new shower enclosure, or resurface a concrete patio. All of that is on YouTube. Maybe you just want to kickback and learn what it’s like to live on a boat, geek out about Dungeons & Dragons, or see how to customize and paint resin statues. You guessed it, YouTube. I don’t watch a lot of entertainment on YouTube, but it’s an irreplaceable resource for how-to information, product reviews, creative inspiration, and educational content. I love YouTube and I love that it’s free. Sure, they offer a paid upgrade for additional channels and content, but it is by no means necessary.

And there you have it, my thoughts and opinions on a bunch of streaming options. Probably not what you wanted, or even really much use to you, but things are what they are. Later.