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Choosing Influences

Posted by tomwiles at 8:39 PM on July 2, 2010

So now that I’ve cut the cord with Dish Network, I’ve started digging deeper into the instant streaming material available on Netflix. It seems that most of the programs I would have watched on Discovery, TLC or History – the three channels I watched 99% of the time — are available as season DVD sets streaming via Netflix.

There are also plenty of season DVD’s of television programs available for streaming that I don’t have any interest in. Now that I’ve cut my Dish Network subscription, I realize that I was paying dearly for their presence even though I had no interest in watching them.

The bottom line is that I can only watch one show at a time. Having 200 plus channels available simultaneously seemed exciting, but the reality is that at least 97% of whatever was on at any given point didn’t appeal to me in any way. It’s crap looking to influence whoever it can reach out and grab.

With audio podcast listening, it allows me to choose my own influences. The IPTV revolution brings that powerful ability to choose my influences to television.

This revelation shouldn’t surprise me, because I’ve been here before. Back in late 2004 when I discovered podcasting, it was exactly what I’d been looking for. I was suddenly able to pick and choose audio content and consume it on my own terms. I could listen to exactly what I wanted, when I wanted to listen to it. Suddenly, instead of being at the mercy of having to listen to what was mostly crap programming on radio stations I happened to be driving by, I was able to turn that huge amount of listening time I had while driving into a tremendous benefit.

Broadcast television has been traditionally viewed as mindless entertainment. Like audio programming, television programming can easily be used in the same beneficial ways. Now that I’m forced to choose what to watch, I realize that what I choose to spend time watching will be much more personally beneficial.

Broadcast television is potentially detrimental and there’s no question in my mind that much of it is hypnotic. If a TV screen is present and turned on most people can’t help but periodically stare at it, even if the sound is turned down.

It has only been a bit over 24 hours since I cancelled my Dish Network subscription, and I’m already over the emotional separation. Who needs all of those less-than-useless channels?

3 Comments

  1. From Storm2 User at 8:51 pm on July 2, 2010

    I just did the same thing with cable – cut the cord. I use Roku now and really haven’t missed the cable content

  2. From Steven Fletcher at 10:18 pm on July 2, 2010

    I’m not ready to give up my DishNetwork subscription yet… mostly because my wife would most likely object. But I agree with most of what you say in your post. I find myself frequently turning off the TV to listen to a podcast or watch something on YouTube, Netflix or Hulu.

    There’s a lot of information and entertainment OFF the TV.

  3. From tomwiles at 8:07 pm on July 3, 2010

    I did agonize over the idea of Dropping Dish Network for at least three months or longer. Of course I’m single and don’t have other people in my house to have a vote. My parents are the only other people around sometimes to make occasional use of my Dish Network, and when I told them that it was costing me $97 dollars a month they said to feel free to drop it if I wanted to.

    It is quite a liberating feeling to cut the cord. On the rare occasions I turned it on, I was watching 3 channels — Discovery, TLC and History. Those channels are only sold bundled with expensive packages containing dozens of other channels I never watched. I now realize I could have been buying the season DVD’s of the shows I watched and still not come anywhere close to paying $1,200 dollars per year for the DVD versions.

    However, thanks to Netflix streaming, no need to buy those DVD’s, because most of the seasons of those TV shows are also available on Netflix after the fact.

    The most wonderful thing of all is that I’m now forced to choose my own content. Gone are the days when I will end up sitting and watching something that really doesn’t interest me. Gone also are the days when I would channel surf to find the least-boring thing currently on.

    I’ve got another article written I’ll soon post that goes partially into why the content on TV is so lame, and how both content makers and marketers are going to be forced through the meat grinder of change due to empowered consumer choice.