Residential Hostages of Cable TV; or Why it's Time to Cut the Umbilical Cord

The War of the Cable World continues as dinosaurs Time Warner Cable and CBS exercise brinkmanship worthy of the Cold War over cities across America. These behemoths, with their monopolistic territories, are bullies in a china shop of their own creation. A china shop way too many Americans pay for every month even as they rate these companies lower than Congress.

I wonder if this is why my neighbor changes his television provider so often, cable or satellite dish installers appearing more often than the HVAC machinery is serviced.

And in case you're feeling too superior Chicago, don't be. The slow-motion stranglehold is garroting CBS stations about the city one by one.

As for the pioneer cord cutters, who decline the honor of paying increasing larger monthly charges to monopolies for decreasingly less "programming", we won't notice any difference. We still will get CBS no matter where we live.

Now that I've gotten that smug statement off my chest, let me commiserate with my friends who live in condos and are held hostage by contracts they didn't sign for cable for the entire building that they do not want. So many of them, ranging from Florida to Chicago. They share their stories with me about what they don't watch, but what they're stuck because the building bought it. Sorry about that ladies, truly; I am truly so very sorry for you.

So much for that all-American shibboleth "freedom". Freedom of what? Thanks to the monopolistic practices of cities like Chicago and the FCC, many Americans have little choice in television viewership.

That is they didn't have a choice--until recently. For a revolution is quietly underway as anyone with a millennial in their life knows. Freedom of choice of what television you get is out there if only you take the time to seek it out. In an act of slow motion suicide, Time Warner  is telling you how to do it by suggesting subscribers get their CBS via a new service called Aereo, $8 a month with the first month free. But Aereo has more than just CBS.

As for the technically challenged (like me), how about trying that cute gizmo called Chromecast? Not to mention--but I will--Roku, Apple TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and more. So many options, so little telly time in a city like Chicago with so much to do. Like free Grant Park Orchestra music.

Now if only there was a way to legally watch BBC UK, even the powdered milk version found on BBC America. I do miss my Doctor Who.


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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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