I stood in line at the Time Warner Cable office with a pile of equipment in my arms.
When it came my turn, I stepped to the window and dropped to the counter two DVRs, one phone modem and two remotes with a slight grunt. Yes, I said to the guy on the other side, the last man in America is here to finally turn off his land line.
He did not smile.
Please leave on my high-speed Internet, I quickly added. Do not turn off my WiFi.
Why, he wanted to know, was I leaving the bosom of cable TV after nearly a dozen years?
“To save money,” I said, honestly.
The man looked at the latest bill I handed him, punched in my account numbers, and told me that canceling two-thirds of my bundle would save me approximately $165 a month. He said for just 10 bucks a month, I could keep just the local channels.
I did not offer that already that afternoon, two very nice technicians from DirecTV had set us back up at the Little Bitty in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood.
My first experience with the satellite dish came when I lived out in the rural dairy farmland of Madison County for four years, on a road where cable had not laid out its lines. It worked fine on the roof of the trailer home I rented from my sister Frannie after my divorce. In fact, when I moved back into the city after buying this house with ny dear wife Karen, we had a DirecTV technician come and hook it up here, too.
But soon after came a big thunderstorm. Karen and I huddled in the living room in the wee hours with beloved rescue mutt Lissa, who was petrified of thunder and lightning. And sure enough, a bolt struck that dish on our roof, tripping every circuit breaker in the panel. The boom was ear-splitting, and the flash was spontaneous. We were terrified. When I flipped them back on, the receivers had been fried.
We switched to Time Warner Cable the next day.
Then came the Internet and land line in the bundle, but the price kept climbing.
I called both DirecTV and the Dish Network, asking about the channels we like to watch, sports and entertainment. I need to have my New York Mets and Maryland Terps available. HBO is free the first three months. We’ll huddle to decide whether or not to keep it after that. The deal is amazing for the first year, great for the next two year, way cheaper than cable after that.
The DVR can record five programs at once, not merely two like the cable’s DVR, and the storage is 10 times larger. The tech guy couldn’t give me an hour number, but said it’s just been expanded. My Google search shows me that when the Genie was introduced in 2012, the capacity was 200 hours of HD programming. Also, we can now watch recorded shows on both TVs instead of just the living room TV.
And best of all, the technicians put the dish on a pole in our backyard instead of on the roof. It’s out of the way, out of site from the curb, certainly not the highest point for lightning attraction, and — important in Syracuse — easily reached for snow-clearing come winter.
The pictures look great on both wide screens, better than cable, I’d say.
The cable work looks fine on the outside of the Little Bitty. They buried the wire from the pole alongside the fence and porch up to the house.
And for a shameless selfish pitch, if this convinces you to switch from cable to DirecTV, send me an email. I’ll get you a code they gave me for referral and make some money toward my future bills. However, that’s not why I wrote this post.
Do you still have a land phone line, and if so, why do you keep it? Do you have cable or satellite TV, and if so, are you satisfied and why? Has your house or yard ever been struck by lightning, and if so, what happened?