The return of cable

For the past two years, Sean and I have lived with absolutely no cable service. Sean hooked our TV up to a custom-built computer (he’s great at the sort of thing), and we watched our favorite shows online, using Hulu and Netflix Instant and other services. I loved it, but it’s not ideal. Watching anything live is virtually out of the question. That wasn’t a huge deal for us as we don’t follow sports and we get our news over the Internet, but it’s still nice to have the option if something comes up.

Also, the TV channels and production companies clearly aren’t ready to fully embrace making TV available online, even for people willing to pay for the service. We had to give up HBO entirely, and some shows were never made legitimately available. Hulu had to start delaying other shows for up to thirty days after episodes initially aired. About a week ago, we finally decided that going without cable had been a noble experiment—but that it was over now. (I might as well admit it: Our nerdy anticipation of HBO’s Game of Thrones was probably the straw on the camel’s back.) Sean signed us up and installed the cable box, and now we have real TV again.

And I kind of hate it. Of course it’s great being able to watch whatever we want, and the HD looks beautiful, and I’m excited about having HBO again, but cable just seems so primitive. Scrolling through the digital channel menu a measly five channels at a time takes forever, and the search function is worse than useless. Dealing with cable is like wading into a deluge. I’ve even put off setting my normal shows to record because it feels like so much trouble—especially when I can just, you know, watch them online.

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