Coming Attractions


TV - Retro Ok, time for a quick gripe about my cable provider, Comcast. Not a gripe about their overall service per se, but the TV Guide channel and their misuse of said channel.

See, I have basic non-digital cable service; you know, the no-frills package. I get about 70 channels, and at any given time, about 65 of those are showing infomercials, racing/extreme sports, preaching, or programs about people with reproductive or other anomalies. In short, there’s a lot of crap to wade through to find a something decent to watch. Thankfully, someone capitalized on this notion a while back and gave us the TV Guide channel. And for a time, it was good.

I’ve been mildly annoyed by the TV Guide channel’s recent attempts to pimp itself as an actual channel that people should watch for anything more than finding something to watch on other channels (see Weather Channel syndrome). In the past couple of years, they’ve started showing programs, including shows like American Idol and Punk’d, in the top half two-thirds of the screen, which leaves room for about 2 channel listings at a time to crawl slowly up from the bottom of the screen. Slowly. Groan.

To make matters worse, Comcast made some subtle changes to my local TV Guide channel. It now cycles through every single channel in their entire flippin’ line-up, including the digital movie and music channels that I don’t get. With all of that bloat, it takes 20 minutes for the listings to wrap back around to the channels that I actually care about.

And on top of that, many of those higher channels have “adult” programming (Adult? Like driving a car or wearing a suit?) with very explicit titles. I’m no prude, but I’m don’t want my son asking his teachers about Butt Bangers #29 or All Black Holes. Yeah, I know I can lock out that channel via my TV’s parental controls, but c’mon, it’s the TV Guide channel! That would be like blocking Google, ‘cause you can use it to find porn!

I know what Comcast is up to here. By showing off the good stuff, they hope to entice me to buy an ever bigger and more expensive subscription. Or, they suggest that I just upgrade to digital cable to take advantage of the interactive guide.

Here’s an idea. Why don’t I just set up tuners on all of my Windows Media Centers and completely bypass the TV Guide channel? Maybe I’ll go a step further, setup Hulu, and drop Comcast altogether. Sounds like a good weekend project.


– Greg

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6 Replies to “Coming Attractions”

  1. Don’t be like us over here and accept it as the norm, Greg. You PAY for the "service". If it ain’t up to scratch, then don’t bother. It’s just not on – that kinda caper.


  2. That’s a pain, kids hear to much and pass it on (often embarrasingly) enough as it is, Sky TV guide is just a guide even if you get the cheapest package.Maybe it’s time you bit the bullet and upgraded – or find a different service provider, we only have 3 or 4 here, but I would have though the States would have loads to choose from?


  3. You’d think so, but here the cable companies have you by the short and curlies. They often don’t directly compete in overlapping areas, so you’re pretty much stuck with what’s available, which for me is Comcrap. Of course, there’s also satellite, but they have their own issues as well. I’ve been seriously thinking about just ditching traditional cable altogether, watching local channels with a HD antenna, and streaming everything else through an online service like Hulu.


  4. Cable was invented to cater to the male ego the primal need to control the remote (modern hunting and gathering). One can easily click the remote all evening long without finding something to watch. What could poissibly be better?


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