Stop swimming against the stream

The Uniter’s tech columnist thinks it’s time to cut the cord and ditch cable

I question some of my friends’ sanity when I hear they live in a crummy bachelor pad, infested with bedbugs and newly divorced husbands, but they’re still paying for cable. 

Cable subscriptions are expensive, the shows are riddled with advertisements and the 500 channel package only has about eight channels that aren’t duplicates or Galaxy Radio. Unless you own a fancy PVR, you’re a slave to the schedule. 

I am a huge supporter of streaming services and think everyone can make their life better by losing cable. At the same time, I do realize it’s not for everyone. Sports fans in particular are out of luck, although you can find websites that will stream games, some games are available for free if you have a digital antenna or you can just read your Facebook feed for the live play-by-play.

If you’re considering dropping your cable service and looking towards cheap streaming services, here are a few things to expect:

Not every show is streamed

The first thing you’ll want to do is search “Game of Thrones”. This will lead to disappointment. Adapting to using a streaming service means you’ll have to accept that you will have to find other ways to watch certain shows. What’s worse, Canada’s selection of streaming services is severely lacking compared to the U.S. 

If you’re fine with watching on a browser, there are free add-ons such as Hola Unblocker and Media Hint that will help you get past that hiccup. People with Smart Televisions will have to look at other paid services such as Unblock-Us. Having American Netflix and keeping our healthcare system doesn’t have to be just a dream.

No casual clicking

We’ve been trained to spend a large amount of time pressing the down button on our remotes until settling on the least offensive cop drama. 

As humans we want to dig. This is because of our early ancestors who would hunt and gather through Wal-Mart DVD bins for five dollar copies of White Chicks

It’s natural to feel lost when you first have to make a selection based on the entire library and not just pick from whatever is on at the moment. This discomfort will quickly pass once you accept that you’re an adult and can make decisions. You’ll wonder why you spent so much time watching David Caruso decide if he should wear sunglasses.

You will need self control

The power to consume every available episode will lead to days lost. It helps to have a timer, friend or roommate tell you when you’ve had enough rather than trust your brain. Your brain is not your friend. 

You can’t just turn it on for background noise

You will need to choose your background noise now. When I choose something to ignore I find that bad movies are the best way to go. Try typing “shark” into your search.  

There will be times when you’ll feel you’re missing out, but you can be your own Cake Boss once you accept that there’s a transition period. Be strong and look forward to having extra money for booze.

Published in Volume 68, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 12, 2014)

We love comments and appreciate the time that our readers take to share ideas and give feedback. The Uniter reserves the right to remove any comments from the site. Please leave comments that are repectful and useful.

You Might Also Want To Read