After reading Matt Springer’s take on the upcoming releases of Apple’s iTV and Google’s GoogleTV do-dads, I went back to my nagging thoughts of giving up my cable and going it alone with nothing but a computer, an internet connection and a prayer for my TV viewing habits. Matt lays out pretty eloquently the pluses and minuses of each system, but there’s still one thing that keeps me dropping $60 to $100 a month* on my cable bill is live sports. As both a pitiful Cubs fan and rather angry Bears fan (with a rabid Packers fan girlfriend), without precious cable we would probably be left in the cold with Apple’s set-top box and up to the whims (and fees) of the NFL & MLB with Google. I know that Major League Baseball currently offers an on-line video plan for a reasonable fee that gives you the ability to watch just about any game going on....except games that are blacked out in your area. That’s no fucking help.
My other concern is that if you find a way to get these games, legally, live on-line you will most likely still have to pay a nominal fee for them. But you’ll still have to deal with the ads. Part of the plus of iTV is that with your 99 cents, you buy your way out of having to watch commercials. With live sports, you’re stuck with those commercials, or almost even worst, stuck watching a blank screen on your TV/computer while those ads role and the teams pick their noses on the sidelines. And there’s the rub, even if you’re paying to not have ads, you’re still stuck with them, and that just bugs me. If those advertisers are paying the NFL (and the TV station or on-line provider), why the hell am I going to compensate them a second time?
I’m sure these concerns have been thought of at Google & Apple HQ, but I’m sure they’re waiting to see how the cards fall and whether the general public flees the increasingly higher and higher cable & satellite bills for the new frontier of the internet and whether they balk at the idea of paying both for access to the content and ads during the content they already paid for. Hulu is already giving this a try with their new, $10 a month plan, but screw that. If I’m paying them $120 a year, I ain’t putting up with commercials just so I can watch Ironside (Raymond Burr is the shit, y’all). I could go on for a while, but I’ll save it for my usual soapboxing at the corner of LaGrange Rd. & Ogden Ave. between 4:30 & 5:00 PM, doing my best to drown out the suburban street preacher on the opposite corner.
*Depending upon whether the fine CSR at Comcast has pity on me and throws a deal at me