Cut the cord

First, I'd like to thank those of you who purchased a book or an album in the last week, I'm glad to help Luna and her family even if it wasn't exactly a windfall.  So, again, thank-you all.  Second, The Sentinel pre-orders continue!  Remember, the only way you're going to get a signed first edition is if you pre-order here through the site.  I'm only going to be be ordering the first batch in that limited number of books, and then will order what I need after that.  The second round will still be signed, it just won't be a numbered first edition.  So, order yours today!  Man, that was a lot of ordering. Anyway, you don't want to be kicking yourself in thirty years when the numbered first editions are worth 100k a piece and the following versions are only worth 10k. Third, ONTO THE BLOG!

We did it. My family and I. We cut the cord. No more cable television in this house. Don't get me wrong, we still have internet, but not having a zillion channels I don't actually need has had very little impact so far. I went to Wal-mart and bought a couple of those little vhf/uhf over the air antennas for three bucks a piece and boom, it was like being transformed back to 1997.  That's the last year I ever spent without having cable television. Its kind of neat really. I find myself watching the local news.  We've watched Jeopardy.  Jimmy Fallon still flies through the air in brilliant HD and plants himself on my television.  We have 2 ABC's, 1 NBC, 2 CBS's, 2 FOX's, 3 PBS's, and 2 MY 59's.  So I should be able to watch the Bears still, which is good.  Its been pretty sweet, until I want to watch some baseball. 

59 carries a few Cubs games a year, but I'm kind of used to watching 70% or more of the games. When the Cubbies aren't on I usually watch the Cards.  That number will go down to almost zero. So, I started looking into online alternatives. I know the mlb.tv premium app gets great reviews, but it isn't going to get them from me. For the last forty games or so of the season here they wanted $50. The whole season costs $110. Hmmmmmm. Maybe MLB doesn't really know how to do math? I guess maybe they want to punish me for not getting the app earlier in the year, but that doesn't make much sense.  Anyway I start looking into what I get for my $50 and the answer is a lot, except for Cubs/Cards/and White Sox. I get zero of those. Well, at least as far as streaming TV goes. I can listen to their radio broadcasts on my smartphone, but that seems a bit silly because I also have this device that receives radio broadcasts for the Cubs/Cards/White Sox. Maybe you've heard of it. Its called a radio. They've been around awhile.

So, I'm a bit annoyed and I start to read about possible ways around the blackout and there is one pretty simple way using a proxy server. That would have been a viable alternative a couple of years ago, but the Supreme Court in 2013 said that using a proxy to get around blackouts is illegal. Bummer. So, I spent a little time reading about the courts decision and why they ruled the way they did, and it makes sense. WGN, or Fox, or whoever pays a lot of money to have exclusive rights in a territory and since they are in bed with the cable companies it is mandatory that I subscribe to the cluster of channels only showing paid-programming all day long, or killing sharks, or housewives behaving badly, or teenagers acting like brats, etc. etc. I just want to watch baseball though. So, I came up with a plan.

The Cubs tv contract is up pretty soon. I say they start their own channel, and make it a subscription site. Charge people whatever needs to be charged AND show them commercials, and pocket all the money. Maybe this goes against their mlb.tv contract. I'm sure that it does, but what are they going to do, kick the Cubs out of mlb? Nope. I suppose cable providers like Comcast would be mad and maybe throttle subscribers internet speeds back or something, but then Ricketts could just burn Comcast down. I doubt anyone would miss them, and he's rich anyway so he'd probably get away with it too. 

Oooh, I have another idea that doesn't involve burning down Comcast. Maybe the Cubs could sign their next TV deal with Netflix. That would be awesome for me because I already have Netflix, and it would be awesome for the Cubs because Netflix already has 50 million customers. Netflix raises the price by $1, splits it with the Cubbies and both groups make $25 million a month, unless they add a few customers just because the Cubbies are on there, then they make even more money! Man, I hope the powers that be are reading this.

If that doesn't work I may be up on my roof trying to install an antenna that can get WGN down from Chicago, but even WGN broadcasts have a chance of going away pretty soon. 

You know what, though. I like Pat Hughes and as I sit here listening to him call the game on my old fashioned radio it occurs to me that the kids and I sat around tonight, listened to the radio, did homework, folded clothes, practiced reading, played the guitar, made up silly songs, and did it all with the TV off. Maybe we'll survive in this post cable world.

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Posted on August 20, 2014 .