Post 573: Too many choices…argh!!!

I try to be open-minded about change, especially when it promises to bring a huge improvement over the status quo. So, when I received a letter from my cable and Internet provider telling about changes that will mean all digital HD television, over 200 channels to chose from (including dozens of new ones added to my current plan), and download rates that’ll make your eyes tear up they create such a vortex of data bursting out of the ether, you’d think I’d be happy! Whew!

Actually, I wasn’t pleased because it means rearranging a whole room to gain access to another electrical source for the new box or my DVD player, whichever works out better in the newly created space where one electrical device will have to go.

It means relearning where my favorite shows are in the line up.

It means figuring out what to do with old technology I’d set aside because the machine was a high-end one, one that no longer has a purpose, though it was very expensive when I bought it. (I learned my lesson there: my DVD player is so basic and cheap, I’d have no problem tossing it in a few years.)

I regularly watch five channels. They are somewhere on this page of the new line up coming to my television sets on November 11th.

I regularly watch five channels. They are somewhere on this page of the new line up coming to my television sets on November 11th.

It means having all of my little and big boxes accessible only through the Charter universal remote that I find confusing, frustrating, and needlessly complicated to a degree I actually threw it one time when I couldn’t get the damn television to just turn on. I am not a technophobe, but I am an enemy of gizmos meant to simplify life that don’t. (One remote for all machines, each manufactured by a different manufacturer, each with a code on the remote, a code that may or may not allow you to use all functions of each machine! What a wonderful idea!)

The cable guy comes today between 8:00 and 10:00. I know the guy, and he is very punctual, competent, someone I’ve had here on other occasions, with good results. He knows his job. My cats like him. What can go wrong?

Today, after the cable guy completes the job, I’ll be alone in my place, stuck with two Charter remotes to figure out instead of one. Only the new one also will have to operate my DVD player as well. Sxxx! I guess I won’t be buying any DVDs for the time being. Or I’ll watch them on my computer, not a great idea because of wear and tear on that drive. Or, as a last resort, figure out where I put that little portable DVD player I used before I bought a DVD player forΒ my television.

The letter from Charter included another 8.5″ X 14″ sheet, printed on both sides, with the new line up in alphabetical order. I can’t grasp the magnitude of what it tells me, but I think it is to help me find my favorite channels more easily on the list above. Hunh?! I think it also might show that my expanded basic plan doesn’t offer me every channel on these two long lists.

Is this all?

Is this all?

Thank goodness! I only watch five channels, and the expanded list is incomprehensible to a guy who remembers when television came to this area in the 1950s. We got KDUH out of Hay Springs and KSTF out of Scottsbluff. We were one of the early places cable came in, thanks to an executive with the cable company who lived in my town before he went to Denver and became very successful promoting cable television. Early adopters of cable got an extra slew of Denver stations, bringing the total available stations close to 10, I think it was. Ten stations! How could they possibly watch all 10 stations? Too many choices! The sets then could get up to 13 channels, and cable practically used them all up!

See why I’m a bit over-whelmed?

Keep up with this load of options, and you'll be found, dead, unwashed in years, 900 pounds heavy, surrounded by empty home delivery pizza boxes and two liter pop bottles.

Keep up with this load of options, and you’ll be found dead, unwashed, 900 pounds heavy, surrounded by empty home delivery pizza boxes and two liter pop bottles.

Oh, I’m whining now. I hate change but I always get over it quickly. In short order, I’ll be entranced by the HD television images. I bought new televisions back when the new standard went into effect, but HD was an extra charge for those few HD channels available. I’ve been watching low resolution images, consequently, on high resolution machines. Now, my cable company’s going 100% digital. I’m “forced” to adopt to better images and some other features of the expanded service that promise to make my head spin.

All in all, though, the thing I’m most excited about is improvements in the Internet service, with a four times faster download time in the works. I’d tell you the number, but you’d feel bad about your Internet service, it’ll be that phenomenal!

So why am I whining? Aw, yes! Too many choices.


I note that I am not paid by Charter to mention their new services, and will, in fact, continue to pay a nice sum each month to use them.Β 

For that matter, KSTF and KDUH, still provide television to this area. I get no money for mentioning them. I don’t watch either channel anyway.


18 thoughts on “Post 573: Too many choices…argh!!!

  1. Oh man I so relate as Comcast just did this. What a mess. What help me is that I know where my fav lower channels are and I go down to them and they have a notice that says for hd channels press ok, so I do and I am immediately redirected to the upper HD channels.
    Hope it is not to overwhelming and complicated.

    • Turns out most of my favorite channels are grouped close together, so I don’t have too much hassle finding them. However, instead of entering two numbers, now it takes three (progess…!), and the vast majority of the channels listed on the three pieces of paper are premium channels, foreign language channels, or other such stuff I won’t want anyway.

      I did have a bit of a problem with my WiFi-connected all-in-one machine. The cable guy said they don’t help customers with thsat equipment because “it’s not ours”, as if the televisions and computer he re-established on the up-graded cable are…! Anyway, thanks to excellent instructions on the machine’s internal help feature, I managed to re-establish the connection yesterday with no major issues.

      The other issue not resolved: though I got the cable guy to figure out how to get closed captions on my bedroom television, he didn’t do it on my front room television. Though I can watch television without CC, I have problems with accented English or people talking with loud musical background noise, which is rather often. If I have to watch things on my bedroom television, I will be watching while stretched out in bed. I predict I am going to get lots of sleep!

      Oh, and my DVD got broken (by me) in the process of getting reading for the cable guy to come, so I’ll have to work up a different way to watch DVDs that doesn’t involve my computer. It isn’t a high priority.

  2. When I moved to this country I tried cable for about three months but was annoyed by all the ads. There were practically none at that time in the Netherlands. Now I watch netflix, it is very practical. The news I get via the web. It seems to work most of the time.

    • That’s my era,too, though the local paper published a tv schedule once a week that was easier to use because the TV Guide version we got here had the Denver station numbers, which didn’t match the channels they were carried on on our cable. Tedious! After a time, you learned the channels and their cable numbers, but it was tedious.

    • I’d be happier with an a la carte approach, where you just ordered up the stations you wanted, not 200+ stations you’ll never watch. A prime example: the music channels. I have a major CD collection that I can listen to on a Bose CD player. Why would I want to take what they put up and listen to it on television stereo speakerrs, no matter how improved over the old ones? I’m not interested in the inspirational channels because I find television religion generally too extreme, regardless of the faith. I find Amwerican football too interrupted and boring to sit for three hours watching a one hour game, so I don’t need any channels featuring college football, whatever. And so on till it’s distilled into the five or so channels I do watch plus an occasional other one or two, though I wouldn’t miss those latter channels if I didn’t have them.

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