No Beer and No TV Make Mike Something Something

According to this New York Times article, pretty soon no one will even sell TVs with picture tubes in them anymore -- it'll all be plasma and LCD and projection. And I guess I'll officially become Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel, with my old-fashioned television set that may as well be in a heavy wooden cabinet.

Actually, I'm already well on my way. I haven't signed up for cable or satellite yet since moving to Philly, so I'm rocking the rabbit ears. Sometimes, when the picture goes fuzzy, I toss my half-empty can of PBR in the direction of the antenna and curse. Someday, I'll probably fly into a fit of rage and shoot out the screen.

Luckily, the picture comes in great for Fox and NBC, so I can still watch The Simpsons, The Office and America's Got Talent. CBS is pretty fuzzy, which, surprisingly, doesn't make the protagonist of How I Met Your Mother any less annoying. The worst thing about not having cable, though, is trying to break my HBO Original Programming habit. Every Sunday night around 9:00 I start getting the shakes. And now I'm like that guy who tapes the big game and then goes around holding his hands over his ears in the hopes of not learning its outcome before he can get back to his house to watch it, only I have to do that for however many months it takes for the current season of Entourage to come out on DVD. And it doesn't help that Entertainment Weekly is doing its best to thwart my mission. Whenever I see Jeremy Piven's face in the mag, I start singing "You're a Grand Old Flag" at the top of my lungs and flip several pages until it's safe again.

Eventually I'll break down and get cable. Or, actually, DirecTV. Which leads me to my question of the day: how do the cable companies even stay in business? Here in Philly, the most basic digital cable package Comcast offers is $80.95. That's without any movie channels or other premiums. Meanwhile, the basic DirecTV package -- which includes more channels -- is less than $50. Are people just creatures of habit and that's why they stick with cable? Do the cable ads -- the ones that misleadingly imply your satellite service will constantly go out every time it rains -- actually work? I'm very confused about this.

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