The Decline of Television...
When I was younger, I used to hear the word "idiot box" being used to refer to the television quite often. I haven't heard the term recently, but I think it's more applicable today than it's ever been.
As the years have gone by, there's been an explosion of television shows and channels, and we're now at a point where it literally takes several minutes to scroll from one end of the "channel guide" to the other. But in this insatiable quest for quantity, I feel like television networks have forgotten the meaning of quality content. Go ahead; turn on your television right now, and think about how many of those 1000+ shows are actually worth your time. Yeah, I thought so.
On one hand, we've been hit by the "reality television" plague, with shows that would make any reasonably intelligent human being want to cry. And then, we've got the so-called "news" networks, most of which are fear and propaganda machines that get fixated on and drum up the same inane topics for days, weeks, months...
I had enough.
So last week, I cut the cord. When our "triple play" package discount ended, and I realized that we hadn't turned on the television for nearly a month, I knew it was time. People I spoke to who had already done so affirmed that they didn't regret it one bit.
Now don't get me wrong -- in the vast ocean of mediocrity, I still think there's a handful of really good stuff; the needles in the haystack, so to speak. But there's no reason to fork over obscene amounts of money to your cable company every month in order to get that content. The seeds of change are already being sown -- it's now possible to (legally) watch a lot of this content online, on-demand, via services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, iTunes, and even some of the networks' own websites. And devices like the Xbox, PS3, Apple TV, Roku, etc. make it dead simple to watch this content on your big screen TV from the comfort of your couch. The only missing piece right now is reliable/legal access to live sports content.
A combination of on-demand, a-la-carte access to shows that viewers care about, along with, perhaps, subscription packages for sports events would be an ideal future for television programming, in my opinion. The sooner the networks get on board the better it's going to be for everyone.