Yesterday morning I was off returning all my cable equipment, and now for the first time in my adult life I don’t have cable TV. I also don’t have any means of recording something I want to watch later, since I’d need a digital converter box to use my VCR. I do have a DVR on order, but it won’t be shipped until April. However, things have changed since the last time I went without a VCR, which was 1990. Now there are all kinds of streaming options for watching online. We didn’t have the Internet in a consumer form in 1990, and what did exist was pretty much text-only.
It turns out that there are a lot of local stations that weren’t included in the cable service, so there seems to be plenty to watch, especially if you like Star Trek or Night Court. One of the stations seems to be running episodes of the late 90s version of The Magnificent Seven (aka Attractive Men Wearing Leather and Riding Horses — apparently one of the reasons it got canceled is that they sold it to advertisers as a good way to reach male viewers, but for reasons the network executives couldn’t fathom, it drew a large female audience instead). About the only thing I’m missing is a good way to get my documentary fix, since the PBS digital subchannel that they were using for PBS World (basically, lots of documentaries) got turned into PBS Kids, which is less interesting to me. However, they also have a Create channel, which seems to be 90 percent cooking shows with the occasional This Old House and travel show. Fortunately, my library offers a few streaming services that have documentaries, and then there are a lot of DVDs at the library. Walking over once a week or so to pick up new DVDs to watch will be good for me.
On my first cable-free night, I watched a little of the Olympics (using the antenna!) and found that the picture was actually sharper and brighter than I got with cable. Then I watched a livestream of a wind symphony concert from the University of North Texas, via the Roku. See, I’m already becoming a lot more cultured.
I really hope to spend more time reading and writing. My book count was down last year, though I did read some pretty big ones that I should have counted as two. My writing time was way up last year, but I need to get back in a groove because I haven’t been doing as well this year so far.
The strange thing that’s bothering me the most and that I’m missing the most from cable is the clock on the front of the box. It had brightly lit, tall numbers that I could see from across the room, even without my glasses, and since it was set by the system, it stayed on time. I keep glancing in that direction to see what time it is. I have an atomic clock in the living room, but it isn’t lit up and the numbers aren’t as big, and it isn’t near where the TV is for easy glancing. I guess I’ll have to set the VCR clock, which is what I used in the old days before we got the fancy cable boxes with the digital readout on the front, but those numbers are small enough that I’ll need my glasses even to see from the sofa.
It’s strange the little things you get used to. But I’m sure I’ll adapt.