With the finishing of the basement and the installation of the new TV, it was time to dump the cable company. As a result of the feedback I got from people, I ended up choosing Dish network. (Thanks to everyone who commented!) Oh, did it feel good to jettison at least one localized monopoly. I never liked Adelphia, not from the day they arrived in town. The criminal indictment of their founder and some of his family members didn’t do much to improve my perception, either.
Of course, when you sign up for any new media service these days, you get swamped with a zillion deals and promotional packages. I ended up with three free months of movie channels—HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and a variety of offshoot niche channels. There’s something like twenty-five of them. At the end of the three months, I have to cancel or else they start charging me for the movie package.
I’ll be cancelling. It’s kind of handy having all those movies available, and I’ve caught a few I wanted to see in theaters but didn’t. However, there is something about these “premium” movie channels, every last one of them, that kills the deal for me.
They all broadcast pan-and-scan formatted movies. Not a letterboxed, widescreen showing to be found anywhere.
Last night, I found myself gritting my teeth over the ruination of several shots in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, a movie I was only half watching as it was. Characters just vanished from shots that were, of a sudden, horribly balanced. I can only imagine what outrages would be perpetrated on some of the classics of cinema. I mean, come on. The frickin’ SciFi channel shows letterboxed movies on a regular basis. If the geeks over there can figure it out, you’ve got no excuse.
In short, there’s no way I’ll be paying to have mangled movies delivered to my home. Fix that problem, and I might be tempted to sign up. Otherwise, I’ll spend my movie-related money elsewhere, thank you very much.