We stopped our cable service about a year ago. Since then we rely solely on high speed internet for news and entertainment. Doing this has had some major advantages, and a few minor irritations. The major advantage is that I don’t feel like I am paying a lot of money for programming that I will never watch. Subsidizing crap always irritates me. You simply cannot pick and choose programs and create a package. With internet based entertainment there are only two packages, free and pay.
Between Netflix, Hulu, and You-Tube we get about 90% of the programming that we previously enjoyed with Cable. We also got a 4000% increase in the amount of programs that we don’t watch. It seems that the amount of programs that are worth watching is inversely proportional to the number of choices. I am not sure if this is a counter intuitive fact, or just a function of wisdom with age. I also found that for some reason Netflix is much better when viewed from a European server. When I was in Denmark I was able to watch a lot of movies that are not available here in the states. I am not sure why this is, however I figure that lawyers must be involved.
Unlike Netflix, Hulu does have commercials. Hulu has somehow made the commercial interruption even more irritating by giving the viewer a choice. Nothing puts my teeth on edge more than starting a show on Hulu and hearing a smarmy voice say, “Which add experience would you prefer?” My first thought is “How about a blank screen with a countdown timer?” Choosing a commercial is like voting in a presidential election, which asshole do you find least repulsive? Then after choosing, you still end up with an asshole in office. It makes me feel like an accomplice to some crime I am committing on myself. And the commercials suck too.
You-Tube on the other hand is a gold mine of good entertainment; however there are so many choices that it makes Netflix look like the local Redbox video dispenser. You have to know what you’re looking for to find anything. The best strategy for You-Tube is to put in a search term and roll with the flow. This is the Wikipedia model of finding anything. The main down side to You-Tube is that nearly everything is or has been uploaded to it. Info overload is a serious problem. From videos of cat yawns to teenage beer pong there is no end of crap to watch. But there is an ass-load of great content to explore, it is just difficult to find. Put these words into a You-Tube search and see what you get.
So in summary: Internet video is much better than cable television as long as you’re OK with being a week behind on who got voted off your favorite reality program. Netflix gives you a lot of movies and TV shows, but it is a lot like looking for quality videos in the dollar bin at Wall Mart. Hulu has more current TV shows, but the commercials really piss me off. Or you can search through YouTube and find little gems mixed in with cat videos and personal uploads of teenage party puke. Ah, the internet… It is so much better than Cable TV. No seriously it is.