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TV Channel Categories

Okay, I’m trying to establish some framework for my eventual migration away from cable TV.  I need to build out a set of things that I do with cable TV, and then look to replace or change them.

This post documents the TV channel categories that I watch (and that exist):

  1. Broadcast Networks
    These are the big guys – ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox.  This is still where the bulk of the content is viewed.  These are all free, but they also vary from location to location.  That is, they’re all very local, and while prime-time is similar no matter where you are, everything else tends to be different.  The good news is that these are also available over the air in HD, and at least in my location I can get them all very reliably this way.
  2. Cable Networks
    These are the “free” networks on standard cable – SyFy, Discovery, Bravo, A&E, Nick, Disney, MTV, etc.  These are only available on cable, but they are the same for everyone no matter where you live (although sometimes commercials are different).  People, including me, are increasingly watching content from these cable networks over broadcast networks.
  3. Pay Cable Networks
    These are the premium channels – HBO, SHO, Starz, etc.  Historically they have carried mostly movies (long after the theater and DVD releases), but they are creating more unique series, and they tend to be very good.  What’s a little different about these channels is that they care about subscribers more than ratings, since they don’t have advertisers.  This tends to mean they actually focus on good content.  However, these are the most expensive channels of all.
  4. On Demand/Pay-Per-View
    This is where cable companies are trying to get into the on-demand business.  It doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, as it’s like the cable companies are teaching their subscribers about on-demand services, and risking them leaving for (much cheaper) dedicated on-demand services.  But in the mean time, this is a great way to get a smattering of TV and Movie content on-demand.  Unfortunately, you’re often stuck with the lousy cable company controls for play/pause/FF/FR.  Also, what’s available on demand seems to change frequently, and there’s not much (apparent) rhyme or reason.

So we have four main categories of TV channels that need to be replaced if we dump cable TV.  That’s a good start!  I’ve created tags for each one so I can tag them as I find solutions to each.

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