Monday, June 22, 2009

(insert number) channels and nothing on....

So I've been going through the little mail-out that Iqaluit Cable has sent out to all the households in Iqaluit. Now, first of all, you can tell this is a high class organization when the big roll out for their long awaited and new digital cable service featuring dozens of new channels arrives in your mail box on three photocopied pages as opposed to a high glossy flier.

I'd like to say they were doing their part to protect the environment. I suspect cheapness might be the real cause, but that's just a hunch.

The one good thing about the new packages is that it's pro-rated. So if we want to put a hold on it when we're in Australia, they will. So we won't pay for it while we're away and there's no reconnect fee when we come back. That's something, I guess.

It's actually surprisingly easy to go through and eliminate most of the theme packages. The "time shift" packages, where I can get the same CTV, CBC and US networks, but on a west coast or east coast time zone are easily ignored. Thankfully I don't have to pay for French channels I never watch anymore as that's a theme package. I like news, but I'll be damned if I'll pay $6 a month for Fox News, Bloomberg, BNN, CTV Newsnet and CNBC. At least two of those channels are pure farce. I'll let you figure out which ones.

I like sports as well, but I can get by just fine with TSN and Sportsnet on the regular package, which means no Fox Sports World, ESPN Classic, NFL network, NHL network, Golf TV, etc.

The extra packages we are looking at include "entertainment" (duh) which has Showcase East and West, Comedy Network East and West (I need my Daily Show and Colbert Report), Bravo and Drive-In. We'll probably also get "Places" which has National Geographic, BBC World News (for when I want real news), BBC Canada, Bold and the Military Channel. We're debating "Lifestyle" solely because Spike TV is there, but we'll see. MTV is also in that package, and the notion of paying for a music video channel that doesn't play music videos doesn't settle well.

There are also two movie channel packages. Now, I was honestly looking at the one that also included Lonestar, Dejaview and TV Land because I thought looking at some old TV shows could be amusing. That was until I read the shows those channels actually air.

What sadistic bastard thought that three hours a day of Three's Company was a good idea? It's the single worst television show (outside reality TV) in history and three hours of it a day is a good idea? The program manager for Dejaview needs to be taken out behind the shed for a few hours. Or, worse yet, tie them to a chair and make them watch three hours of Three's Company a day.

TV Land isn't quite as horrific, although the person who put a one hour block of Bizarre on in the middle of the day, right after Lassie, is a pretty disturbed individual as well. And did anybody ever like The Hilarious House of Frightenstein? I thought that show was lame when I was a kid, when my sense of humour wasn't exactly sophisticated.

So yeah, I think if we get a movie channel package, we'll get the one with the Documentary Channel, Independent Film Channel and Showcase Action.

Those are all big "ifs", of course. My rough estimate says if we get Basic, Family and four "Theme" picks, which amounts to about 81 channels or so, it will cost close to $120, taxes and all.

Your entertainment isn't cheap up here, that's for sure.

Last Five
1. Maria's bed - Bruce Springsteen
2. Falling for the first time - Barenaked Ladies
3. Lady Madonna - The Beatles*
4. Ways and means - Snow Patrol
5. The Future (live) - Leonard Cohen


Nunavummiut Jaime said...

At least you got the "flyer" in the mail...I got nothing. Luckily it was passed around at work and I got my hands on a copy of a copy of a copy. So professional.

I think I'm one of the most disappointed customers. I signed up for basic cable but they gave me the bigger package- for the basic cable price (oops on their part). To go from paying $38/month to $90/month is pretty annoying. I got the Lifestyle and Information packages and I'm looking forward to them. I'm a bit disappointed we don't get ANY French channels as I'm working on becoming bilingual, but I don't want to pay $6/month for channels I wouldn't watch too much.

Do you know if a PVR will work with this?


SRD said...

After 10 years w/out a TV, and now just a 'basic' package I'm the worst person to comment, but I _love_ two things about UK TV. We get 'catch-up' for most non BBC channels eg '+1 channels' and with on demand and iplayer we can watch shows for either 1 week (BBC) or 1 month (4, more 4 etc), after they show. But now I hear that Channel 4 is putting their entire back catalogue on free 'on demand' i.e. you watch it on your TV or computer whenever. How fab! So I sympathize with the challenges of Nunavut TV, but the whole Canadian 'cable' thing just seems it like this everywhere?

towniebastard said...

Jamie, that was such a good question I emailed them about it this morning. And, to their credit, they got back to me in about 10 minutes to tell PVRs won't work, but they are working to improve their services, blah blah blah.

Which is a nuisance, I must say.

Sara, Canadian cable and TV stations are deeply paranoid and distrustful of the internet. I wish there was something like Hulu here in Canada, like they have in the US (most American network TV shows available on demand online on one site), but I haven't seen that happening.

Also, realistically, that wouldn't work up here anyway. Because of speed and cap issues, watching TV on the internet is a problem.

But yes, I'd like to be able to watch whatever I want, whenever I want, without jumping through 50 hoops to do it. Cable programming in Iqaluit just jumped to the late 1990s. One day it may even catch up with the rest of the world.

Pat the Wench said...

Three's Company was television genius, man.

WJM said...

I would rather watch reruns of Three's Company than any of: Happy Days, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Friends, or Seinfeld.

Not by much. But Three's Company is near, not at, the bottom of the barrel.

towniebastard said...

Pat, you were born and raised in Clarenville. Three's Company is like Masterpiece Theatre for you crowd...

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the Documentary Channel, since the "Movie Channels" here show the same ones over and over and over...normally go on the internet to watch docs, but will be good to have ONE WHOLE channel for docs!

the whole scam is though, when you buy it AFTER a certain date, the price of the "boxes" will go up, how typical of the Cable 'company'

from a reader in IQ

towniebastard said...

Well, if you're a long time user of Iqaluit Cable (ie. before the start of 2009) then the box is free. If you got cable after Jan. 1/09 or if you want a HD box, then there's a cost.

But I honestly don't know why you would want a HD box. You have to pay for it, then there's an extra $20 a month for it and then there's only a dozen channels.