Way back in the early '90s I signed up for the new service DirecTV. I was spending a lot of time in an RV for bass fishing tournaments. Sometimes over 90 days a year and back then, before the powerful PCs we have today I needed my television for diversion and that built-in RV antennae just wasn't cutting it. I saw a local Radio Shack selling the equipment and I purchased one along with legs that attached as a portable base.
Soon positioning the dish (on the ground) to get a signal became part of the camp set up ritual. In fact, after water and electricity, it was usually the next thing setup. Later on, I got a portable signal tuner that helped me tune in the satellite no matter my location. I'm sure I wasn't the first, but I was the first in my area and that intrigued a lot of people. So much so it was almost like I was a PR person for DirecTV. Back then the price was reasonable, and service was excellent… till it wasn't.
For some reason, I got miffed at DirecTV and switched over the Dish Network and it was sort of expensive to switch back then as there were upfront costs not seen today. I cannot recall what made me switch but it was a definite improvement in what was available to view back then. I was also the hit of the local bass club every fall as they would crowd around the tv to watch football. I eventually had to start setting the TV up outside when possible to accommodate everyone. I think these were mostly college games, but it sold more systems as satellites started popping up at more fishing tournaments.
From this point on Dish Network equipment was installed in my home or wherever I may end up with too much time on my hands. As a creative… I grew bored easily… something most of us can relate to in one way or another.
Over time my viewing habits changed. When PCs got better I started spending my spare time on them instead of in front of the TV. In the early days I had the TV on but rarely paid attention to it. Now I can go days without even turning on a TV because my free hours are spent being creative or learning a new programming language. With so many opportunities to earn income outside of traditional methods available to digital artists today, it just didn't make sense to waste time in front of a TV when I could be earning some income on the side while having the time of my life.
This meant drastically less TV and more productive time. I once swore I would never read news online as I was an avid newspaper reader from my days as a banker. I would read at least the front page of the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Post, and The Wall Street Journal… just, so I wouldn't look like the dumb farm boy I was if asked a question pertaining to those current events. It's never good for a banker to look dumb or left out of the loop, so I got hooked on newspapers.
Now, of course, I've eaten those words as I spend probably an hour or more a day just reading and listening to the news online, sitting in front of my PC and not my TV which now seems like a huge, 72 inch, paperweight. Yes… I am still hooked enough on TV to purchase large screens for most rooms in my house never mind the fact that I rarely turned one on anymore.
As usual, I have dragged you through all this so you can easily see how it wasn't a difficult decision. In fact, it was so easy that the Retention Specialist at Dish Network never had a chance. I got more than a little irritated when she made me offers better than what I was paying at the time. Why didn't you offer that before? You might still have a customer but by then it just seemed… well... dirty.
Before canceling, I tried a little experiment and decide to not watch Dish TV for a period of time to see if I could get by on streaming as my internet is not exactly the best service. It sometimes downgrades picture quality off and on while viewing but I can deal with that since I barely watch it. I found myself completely forgetting about the service. So why pay for it?
Even when I watch TV it's from behind a PC in the living room… rarely the easy chair so it really just became a distraction. Plus, and I'm not the only one here, I'm no longer able to just sit down for an hour or more to watch anything. On-Demand is the answer to that and another nail in Dish Networks coffin with long time users like me.
The Retention Specialist at Dish tried the “Local Channel” route but soon discovered I wasn't even watching that part of my service anymore. That was for local news and weather. I get both of them online and up to date now. The final nail for me.
It has now been more than a month since I canceled Dish Network service and I haven't missed it. I can get sports with streaming that will give me what I want to watch. After not being able to watch last year's Super Bowl on Dish due to a contract dispute there is no loss for me in dumping the service. I can watch the Superbowl, free, online and if necessary I will buy some sports programming but again… I would rather be doing something than watching someone else do something so sports just isn't that big a deal to me anymore.
My go-to streamers are A: Firestick TV and B: Roku. As an Amazon Prime member, I rarely need to buy anything else and can't remember the last time I watched something that wasn't free. I have a cheap TCL Roku smart TV on the front porch of my studio and like Fire TV, I have never purchased anything from the service with plenty to watch I have no problem finding content.
That begs the question… why stream if you don't watch that much TV? Simple. The addiction is still there to some degree.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.