I am getting ready to move and I was looking for options beyond Comcast Cable for my Wife and I in our new place. We were recently on the coast with some friends and the house we rented for the weekend had DIRECTV. I made a note that compression artifacts were not as apparent compared to Digital Cable and that it changed channels much more smoothly than does Comcast's offering. (They only had 10 channels or so unlocked so I couldn't really look into content much and since our friends have a daughter it was pretty much locked on Nickelodeon when we weren't at the beach.)

Today I got a chance to look into DIRECTV more closely. When I started reviewing the channel line up I noticed a lot of channels I hadn't heard of on Comcast. Turning to Google I looked up each one and YIKES! Out of 50 on the basic package 8 channels are specifically devoted to Christian programming, along with one Gospel Music channel (which I don't think should be a channel since it is music.)

Gospel Music Channel
TBN Trinity Broadcasting Network
TCT Network
Word, The

Even though the Science Channel is included on the basic package, there is still quite a slant towards Christian programming. Comcast has its share of god channels, but not quite as extensive as this in our area.

Take out the Duplicate channels (East / West time zones), music channel, god channels, shopping channels, Spanish channels, and the Weather Channel, and what is left for a couple of Atheists to watch? Not a whole lot. 27 to be exact and that includes the children's programming like Noggin and Nicktoons... not where I want to spend my limited TV time. (I watch Science Channel, History, Discovery, SyFy, TLC, and Comedy Central.)

Chatting with a representative on their web page I asked why it is not possible by now for me to build the package I want. The box has a unique identifier right? Yes. The box runs software right? Yes. New software can be written? Yup you betcha. Then why can't I choose what channels I want for say a buck or a $1.25 per channel / per month? . . . I got the standard "Well if you understood how our system works you would realize that it is more complicated than that." But we had just covered that. I flat told the girl that I was interested in their service but as I am an Atheist I don't want to pay for not only channels I don't want but also those that are spreading content and a message I object to. She told me I could get more channels for the low low introductory price of $20 / month more. I told her no thanks, then wrote them an email explaining what I wanted and why I wasn't choosing their service.

So, what do others of you do for your TV content, if and when you watch? Make do with channels you don't want like the Xtian programming? (I shudder when flipping through at night and Pat Robertson is on.) Send them a mail like me asking for an per channel option? Torrent your shows or watch on YouTube?

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Comment by Joshua Dolan on July 19, 2009 at 5:33am
I ended up going with the Comcast, reluctantly. I am not surprised that those that have the most fools giving their hard earned money to them get channels but here I am telling these companies what I am willing to pay for and how much (which if I selected even fewer channels than the basic set would net them more from me per month and I would be *gasp* happy about it) and there isn't a taker? Is it really more important to take the money of these channels than give the consumer the choice? Funny thought I know. What was I thinking.
Comment by Joey on July 10, 2009 at 5:38am
As it was explained to me when I got DirectTV, the channels are all founded by people with massive amounts of fanatics funnelling them cash, or a few deluded people pooling their resources. We tend to not have people that are the center of a cult following willing to give up all their earthly goods so Pat can have a TV station that runs on satellite.
I just took them out of my channel list on my reciever.

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