Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cable

So I caved in today and ordered cable. I just got so sick of the CRAP on Netflix. 

The good things about Netflix streaming are that there are a lot if cool documentaries, all however, with a decidedly liberal point of view of course; I guess you can't have a good expos√© unless you're standing on the left. 

The selection of TV shows is very good, multiple seasons. That's where I discovered Breaking Bad, one of the best TV shows I've ever seen; and the interface, though remarkably simple, let's you know what movies and TV show episodes you've watched and how far you are, so you don't waste your time starting episode 9 of season 3, only to realized halfway through it, you've already seen it. 

Unfortunately nothing makes up for the shitty movie selection. There are a few good ones like The Hunger Games and Bully, but in a general sense there's not much more than 'B' stock. And don't hold your breath waiting for The Hobbit or something more recent. Those ones seem hit or miss, and few and far between. Think JCPenney at 7am on Black Friday. Nothing left but picked over crap that nobody wants. 

However their DVD selection makes up for the streaming service's shortcomings. The selection is vast, but not as good as Blockbuster's was, however they seem to have more copies than Blockbuster ever did, so less waiting. But speaking of waiting, it takes an average of four days to get your discs. I clocked it at a WEEK at Christmastime! I had the 3-disc plan because I love movies, but it seemed that I was still always waiting to get them in the mail. In addition, Netflix's license agreements dictate that they must wait a full four weeks to ship the newest titles. So if you want to see American Hustle the day it comes out, better to get it at Red Box or order it onDemand, if you really must see it. 

The inherent flaw in their system is licensing. Money makes the world go around, and in the creative industries, you can practically license every letter of your name, therefore, there's money to be made everywhere. This was not actually devised out of greed solely. It's intended to protect the creator from every manner of plagiarism and fraud imaginable. But there are always ways around it, albeit with stiff penalties. Nonetheless, if you're smart, you can make a lot of money. So the movie racket in a nutshell works like this: theater=one license; DVD=one license; streaming=one license; download=one license. Each format is individually licensed, sometimes all the way down to the specific devices that will play the media. So that's why a Blu-Ray with a DVD copy combo and/or digital download is such a good deal. 

In a most general sense, Comcast's quality is pretty good. And given the choice of having one or the other, I'd take Comcast over Netflix (at five times the price of course). But there's just something about being able to come home and turn on the news, watch your favorite shows on SyFy, and watch much better quality movies onDemand.

But Comcast is really the only game in town. Technically they compete with dish services, though I don't know how you'd call that competing. It's like a competition between a dog and a rabbit; and FiOS of course, which is not available in my area. So dish services are crap, therefore Comcast is the only choice.

Having been a Comcast customer for years, and an employee, I see the value in their service, but not the price. As good as it its, it's still a ripoff. But sometimes the price/value does balance, or at least come close. The deal I got today was for basically everything I wanted, for all my shows, etc. for the lowest price I've ever had. So I'm happy for now. I just hope I don't get some bullshit bill for $250 for first month and pro-rated crap. Why can't service providers simply start your bill the day you sign up?

It's a racket, but I was like a kid on Christmas today hooking up my box. When I got it all hooked up and tuned in, I started to get caught up on Being Human and Homeland, two of my favorite shows. I watched then news for a while, but then later, I noticed about half my channels are not there. I called Comcast, and of course "their systems were down." They told me to try back in an hour. I don't know. Then the internet dropped. I ran a test earlier at 54mb, and then later at 9mb. That's pretty drastic. Now it's back up to 40/11mb, so I know that works. So, if this persists, I guess I'll take the box back and try it again tomorrow.

OnDemand is back, so at least I'll get to watch another movie...that doesn't suck!