The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on what is crashingly obvious to anyone who isn’t a cable television executive: as iPads, Netflix, Apple TV, and Google TV become more popular, their ease of use makes the clunky cable remote glaringly outdated in its lack of user friendliness. Watching “Thomas and Friends” requires three steps using Netflix on the iPad; watching it on Comcast requires five steps– plus navigating ten menus if you don’t know what channel it’s on. The WSJ points out that for an industry losing market share, this is bad business:
technology improvements are important for an industry that suffers from a poor reputation among consumers, who have long bemoaned rising cable prices and poor customer service.
However, when it comes to my own TV remote, I have a bigger bone to pick with Time Warner than its lack of smooth interface. Whenever I do a search for some of our household’s favorite shows, I am presented with a list of alphabetical titles that I would prefer not be seen by my children. To wit: if I want to tape an episode of “The Backyardigans,” I first have to scroll past
BACHELOR PARTY ORGY
“Super Why” calls up
SUPER HUNG STUDS
and if I want to watch “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” admittedly itself not the family-friendliest of programming, I have to first bypass
REAL CAMPUS SEX INVASION.
I have a few problems with this. One is these films’ tendency to make up compound words for no reason: “bigbouncyboobs” is as ungrammatical as it is distasteful. The other is that I have three kids, one of whom can READ.
So block these titles, you say? Well, there’s my real problem. I HAVE. These are not shows you can actually watch in my household. But their titles still show up in a list of available shows. And according to Time Warner, there’s absolutely nothing I can do about that. While the customer service representative I spoke to was very understanding of my concern, she informed me that while channels could be blocked, there was no way to remove the titles from the show list.
I think that answer is unacceptable. And I’m seriously considering moving to a Netflix-based TV experience, for less than $10 a month, which has everything my kids would want to watch, and my husband and me too, with two glaring exceptions:
morning news shows (me)
evening ball games (him)
I’m curious: have any of you cut the cable cord? Are you happy with your decision?
And should I take this Time Warner battle to the streets?