My cable provider is Cablevision (Optimum). In general, I am relatively happy with them. Sure, they are way overpriced – but cable always is, especially after the introductory first year. The quality of the SD channels isn’t great, but it isn’t “terrible”. The HD channels generally come in very nicely and the TiVo HD does a good job.
Over the past year, most of the big name channels have added HD versions, which is absolutely great (except I will soon need to get the external hard drive to supplement my TiVo’s storage space). TiVo has the ability to record the “AFI 100 Years… 100 Movies.” I’ve seen a lot of these but there are still a lot I haven’t seen and many I would like to see again. I enabled this a while back but the TiVo was often recording the SD version instead of the HD version. This week I actually took out every SD channel when there was an HD available – I should have done this a long time ago.
Now, for a quick rant. The TiVo finds lots of the AFI movies on the American Movie Classics (AMC) channel. At first glance, this seems like it would be great – AMC shows lots of great movies and all in something resembling HD. It’s great until you start actually watching the movies. First, they are choc full of commercials. Commercials I can live with, but! The major problem with AMCÂ movies are “edited for nudity, sexuality, language and other objectionable content. Whenever possible, the network television version of a movie is aired”. Oh come on! The channel is there to show movies, and when you edit and chop the movie, it is no longer the “classic movie”. It is no longer even worth watching, in my opinion. I will not watch The Godfather all chopped up and with bad voice overs. I do not watch edited movies, they are a waste of time. I find the edits far more offensive than the content they are editing. Show commercials if you must, but don’t edit or chop the movies. I have completely removed AMC from my TiVo guide. AMC makes me sad. I just realized the show Breaking Bad (season 2) is about to start, but it is on AMC. Now I will have to wait for it to come out on DVD to watch it (I’ve already “saved” on Netflix).
I suppose I could keep AMC in my guide and just delete / avoid any movie after made after about 1970. The older movies probably have a lot less edited content. I don’t know. It is just very frustrating.
The final bit of sadness is that Turner Classic Movies, another popular provider of AFI movies (and good movies in general) doesn’t provide an HD channel and given the quality of SD programming provided by Cablevision, I would be much better off getting the DVD from Netflix. Oh well.
Honestly, given the price and programming issues like these, I am not all that far from dropping cable television all together and just doing Netflix. Their DVD service is fantastic and affordable and Netflix Instant Watch is getting better every day (and plays directly from the TiVo and Xbox 360). One of these days I will spend some time playing with HD antennas and if that works out, my cable bill could get a lot smaller.