Wrestling the paradox... that's what we're doing at my house this Thanksgiving.
Charter members of the electronic age, we're suffering from information overload - even when it comes to understanding what we need to feed our information habit.
We're plugged in in so many ways - by satellite, by cable, by broadband - and each provider sells us more than what we need, by bundling their services. Except my brain perceives it as 'bungling' the services. I'm getting fried on all of the information - the information that I'm addicted to - and I need to make sense of it all.
Don't get me wrong - I think spending money is fun, too. That's clearly replaced baseball as our national pastime. But I want to spend my money on more fun things than duplicate services.
My sweetie first brought this up more than a year ago. I'm just getting to it now...
Like so many of us, we've got multiple televisions in the house - along with a DVR to record those shows we can't live without... our digital telephone service gives us unlimited long-distance calling, and is bundled with our broadband internet... our cell phones keep us connected, even when we don't want to be. (Sigh...)
If this sounds familiar, then you know that all of that information comes with a price - not only a financial one, but a psychic one as well. The latter will have to wait for another essay.
So here's where we stand: We got a couple of new Droids this week. I know, I know - that sounds like we're moving in the wrong direction, but hear me out. If I can get my older brain to figure out how to use all the bells and whistles, these 'smart' phones will allow us to manage our calendars, lose ourselves in countless apps, figure out how to get to the nearest coffee shop, and indulge my appetite to surf news (and social networking) sites whenever I have a few extra moments - such as while waiting for an airplane or standing in a long line - as well as get the occasional phone call.
In order to justify the added expense, we've rationalized that we can get rid of our land line. Of course when we do that, we'll have to increase the total number of minutes on our cell service, to make up for the unlimited calling we enjoyed on that land line. And then there's the issue of losing the 'bundled services' discount from our provider...
I've gotta have broadband. That's all there is to it. My sweetie's business depends on it, and I tend to freak out whenever our WiFi slows down even a little bit. So going to a slower service just is NOT an option for us.
As for the television, no. We're not what the media portrays as stereotypical Americans. We do NOT watch reality television, and my lack of spare time limits my sports viewing to the Super Bowl, a little March Madness (only if the Tar Heels are involved), and an occasional World Series game. So we've successfully staved off all of those sports packages that our provider tries to make sooo alluring. We don't even have HBO, for crying out loud! In fact, our TV viewing is pretty much limited to the morning news, and NCIS reruns. In fact, our 100-hour DVR is almost FULL of NCIS reruns we haven't had a chance to watch yet. (Sigh...)
So WHY do we even have satellite? We watch two, perhaps three of the channels that we pay for...
I think that has got to go. But what do we replace it with?
Our movie watching appetites can be satisfied by increasing our Netflix subscription. But what about the morning news, or the occasional presidential address?
We've tried streaming our Netflix movies directly to our computer (good quality, but lousy seats) and even hooking the laptop up to the TV (good seats, crummy quality). I don't even know if that's just because our television isn't HD, or what... but I hate dealing with electronics salespersons almost as much as I detest used car salesmen.
If you've bothered to read this far, perhaps you can offer illumination.
Do you need a High-Def set to take advantage of live streaming video without sacrificing quality? (What I've seen on our four-year-old set resembles MSDOS on my old 286.) Will Hulu bring peace and contentment to my household?
Do I even need a television to watch what I want? Or can I stream directly to a High-Def computer monitor, and route the audio through our Bose DVD/Audio system?
If I completely get rid of TWC, is there another way to get high speed internet without having to subscribe to just another company that's going to offer more of the same? ...and what would that do to my ISP?
Is there a way to streamline our services in order to afford an extra dinner out every once in awhile?
I'm looking for answers, I really am. If you've found a way to resolve any or all of these issues, please let me know! ...and have a happy Thanksgiving!