One Hundred Channels of Junk

I have just aired a talk about how we live in two countries -- part of the year in America, part of the year in England.  Because my wife’s daughter & her boyfriend came to visit us, I signed up for one month of cable TV.  I cannot believe how much cable TV costs -- and how bad it is.

Yes, I was able to access about 100 channels, but ninety percent of it was pure junk -- channels that tried to sell me stuff, channels that focused on sports I am not the least bit interested in, channels that gave me 24 hours of continuous weather, continuous re-runs of sitcoms I never watched in the first place.  I do not want to go through the long & boring list; I cannot even begin to remember the long & boring list.

Even the few channels that are supposed to be good, classic movies, arts & entertainment, discovery, are only good a few hours a day, and even then they are often not that good.

Of course sports are good -- Saturday & Sunday football -- but I cannot believe how much I had to pay each month to watch a few games of football, a few hours of decent TV a week.  I signed up for one of the cheapest package deals, and it cost half a hundred dollars a month -- or 600 dollars a year.  Most people get more expensive deals -- they pay well over a thousand dollars a year.

What galls me is that this is Pay TV in a country that claims that TV is free.  We are able, with an antenna, to access a few channels & have free TV, but the vast majority of Americans pay for access to TV, pay many hundreds of dollars a year for access to TV -- and after we pay, we have to sit through countless commercials.

In England two of the very best channels have no commercials at all.  It drives me crazy when we come to America, watch TV, and are bombarded with advertisements.  Even the channels in England that do have advertisements limit the ads to about eight minutes per hour.  Here, in America, it sometimes seems that the number of minutes devoted to ads is greater than the number of minutes devoted to the show.

There are sometimes three minutes of ads, two minutes of a show, three more minutes of ads, a few minutes of show, and then more ads.  The ads are also the same ads over & over.  They drive me crazy as they hammer home the product, sing the same jingle.

And I am furious because in order to get decent reception I have to pay them a thousand dollars, and then they drown me in ads.

In England the TV is not free.  You must pay a little less than 200 dollars a year, but that is piddling, that is so much less than what we pay here, and for that money they get two absolutely brilliant channels -- BBC One & BBC Two -- that have no advertisements at all.  And the other two channels severely limit advertisements.

When you live in one country you can’t see what has happened.  We have been suckered into Pay TV, and our pay TV is insulting, demeaning, full of trash & full of ads.

England, with only four TV channels has a hundred shows that are more interesting than our shows -- educational shows, dramatic shows, riveting shows -- and the cost is very-very low.

I’ve said it before: I hate TV in America; I love TV in England.  We have been duped, fleeced, and we are drowning in horrible & constant advertisements.


Copyright 2004   Henry Morgenstein

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