I’m sorry to say, it didn’t work out.
It all started last December, when I took my Intel laptop in for repairs. Things weren’t working right: web pages weren’t loading, videos buffered and the whole operation seemed sluggish. I thought it must be time for a tuneup. And possibly an oil change.
But whatever the technician did made no difference at all, so I called my Internet service provider. He ran a remote test and determined that the problem was speed. It seems that my Internet was slow — extremely slow. In fact, the guy told me that his grandmother’s power chair was faster than my modem. So, he bumped me up a couple of “G’s” and sent a new router.
But it seems that was just the start of the changes coming to my world. When I told the man who delivered the equipment how much I paid for satellite TV, he referred me to a friend. Two days later, that guy came to my house to talk about streaming television.
I don’t often make major changes in life. I’ve eaten the same kind of sandwich every day for 15 years. But when I heard the phrase “save up to $100 per month,” I decided that I might just have to break up with satellite. He said that even his 85-year-old grandfather switched. That clinched it for me.
The man signed me up for a brand-new service that cost about a fourth of what I was paying. All I had to do was change over to an Internet-based television provider. Since I already had a new wireless device, he said, this would be easy. So, I agreed to a trial run. But I didn’t cancel my old service. It doesn’t hurt to keep your options open.
That’s when the bad news started to trickle in. My television was too old for this service. Yes, my TV is so old that on Mondays, I still get “The Ed Sullivan Show.” So, I would have to spend $40 for something called a Roku before I could get started. It sounded like what I ordered last week at the Japanese steakhouse.
When I went to Walmart to buy this device and described my new streaming service, the salesperson wasn’t sure I needed a Roku. But then her associate said, “Oh, yeah. This is the latest thing in TV. Lots of people are switching.”
I thought, “Wow, if people in the Walmart electronics department don’t know about this deal, it must be cutting edge.” So, I took home the Roku and read the instructions. I untwisted the twist-ties around the cords. I plugged it in. I loaded batteries into the remote. I was breezing through the steps like a 6-year-old. That’s when I learned more bad news.
All my channels disappeared. I had to search for them one at a time, typing each channel name into a box. Then, to connect to, say, The History Channel, I had to go to the website and enter a passcode. To get the passcode, I had to download a new browser. To download a new browser, I had to go through more steps. Only to discover that The History Channel is not part of my package and is only available for a monthly fee, which they would gladly charge to my credit card. And even then, I couldn’t watch it live. On my old TV, I just had to press “269,” and The History Channel appeared in nanoseconds.
As it turns out, much of what I like to watch is not included. As I looked through the available “free” channels, randomly clicking on anything I could find, I somehow ended up watching a soccer game in Farsi. Now I’m on the State Department’s terror watch list.
And to add insult to injury, they have the nerve to call this a “smart television.”
I’m a creature of habit. I like to look at the TV guide in the newspaper to see what’s on. I like to turn on the TV and find my favorite shows live. I don’t want to moonlight between a laptop and a TV monitor every time I watch a program. I love for network executives to tell me when to sit down for “Victoria” on PBS (Sundays at 8:00 p.m.). I have never binge-watched anything.
I spent less than an hour with Roku before we broke up. Then I ran back and wrapped my arms around my old TV, promising that I would never stray again. Yes, I missed my chance to be on the cutting edge of a new technology. As a friend pointed out, I almost plunged right into 2013. But for now, I’ll stick with my old service. After all, she’s quite a Dish.