The funny thing about My Favourites on my TV is that they aren’t favourites at all. They are simply the channels that I actually get on my TV. I had to scroll through the hundreds of channels listed in the guide and find out which ones produce a picture, then add them to the favourites list by clicking on a little white heart. The use of the heart as a symbol for something I have paid for through my cable company is probably someone’s idea of irony.
I used to repeatedly scroll through hundreds of channels hoping to find something I might want to watch. Then, when I found it, I often got the rectangular black notice of doom telling me the channel is unavailable. It was just annoying to be reminded that I was unwilling to pay for the only channel that was showing the only show that seemed from its title to be vaguely appealing. So, I turned the My Favourites list into The Channels I Actually Get list.
Creating that list was not easy because it meant going back and forth from the regular channel guide multiple times. It was very time-consuming, so most of the time I guessed. As I ran down the list I just clicked on the channels I thought I had paid for. It turns out I was wrong quite often. The trouble is that now it’s not that easy to remove them from the list. If I try to access a channel I don’t actually get, I cannot click on the ironic white heart to get it off the list. I have to go through the multiple-step process of finding my favourites list, finding the channel, and then removing it. That is far too difficult for a couch potato.
Why can’t they just provide me with a menu of the channels I have the right to actually have on my system? Then, perhaps, I could choose from those the channels I watch most often. They could even be favourites, if I ever felt that a TV channel was that good. (And, by the way, doing something often doesn’t mean it’s your favourite thing to do. Think housework.) But really, cable company, you know which channels I’ve paid for. Why don’t you list only those channels? Or, at least create a separate list of the channels available to me?
iTunes knows which songs I play most often, Google knows which of my emails are important, and Facebook knows pretty much everything there is to know about me. So, why can’t my cable company come up with my favourite channels without my help?
The other interesting thing about all this is that I hardly ever watch regular network TV shows any more. That’s partly because I can’t find things I want to watch and partly because I don’t often do anything on a regular weekly basis. I don’t even remember to watch a show that I really, really like every Sunday night. I don’t have a DVR, so that’s not a possibility, either. Nowadays, I binge-watch two-year-old TV shows on Netflix instead. That way I can watch a whole season in a few days, and I’m done. Perfect. I also watch an embarrassingly large number of old movies on my TV via the Internet.
The cable company must really want me to stop watching cable, or even give up on TV altogether. I could go for a walk! Yes, that must be it. They want me to get more exercise because they are altruistic humanitarians. Cable company, I take it all back: you are just too thoughtful.