Success! Video playback was buttery smooth and the toast of my eyes welcomed the melty playback goodness into their every nook and cranny. The reviews I had read about my TV had said how useless the internet connectivity was, but I had thought "How bad could it be?" Really bad. My 2012 model Samsung's smart TV functionality is so bad as to be unusable. Buy it for the picture. Not the internet feature. It's weird that Samsung, a company that makes smartphones, could get it so wrong in scaling up the exact same functionality to their TVs. My guess is that TVs and smartphones are handled by two different arms of the company, and they don't share their secrets.
Anyhoo, with this victory fresh in my experience, I ordered a top-of-the-line Roku for 90-whatever dollars. It's smaller than a sandwich and can be connected via WiFi or cat 5 cable. Both types of connection flow smoothly, which surprised me a little. I tried going three days of no cable TV, using only the streaming services. It was fine. There's lots of stuff available in the streamers, and Hulu is even creating their own original programming. Better still, the production values are good. It's not ghetto-hillbilly reality TV stuff. Roku seems to have a handful of free "channels" that don't require a Hulu or Amazon membership. After all, the thing has to be able to do something on it's own, right? Good news, troops! The Thunderbirds series is available on Crackle, Roku's free movie channel. They are GO!
It was time to call Comcast for the cable TV break-up. Their phone maze questions led me to the "remove services" option, which in turn led to a recording reciting their regular business hours. Guess what? You can get ahold of a Comcast worker bee 24 hours a day for anything EXCEPT cancelling a service. You have to call them during their business hours to do that. The people who handle your cancellations don't want to hear from you that badly. Shocking!
Following day, I called in the afternoon to catch the "customer retention" or "too little, too late" department while they were still on the clock. I talked to a very nice lady, oddly enough, who asked why I was cancelling. I explained that I was tired of their channel packages and paying for things I don't want. She said she could understand that. When she asked me what Comcast could do to keep me, I said "a la carte pricing", and we both had a good long laugh. I told her that I would happily pay $5 per channel for each of the six or so channels I used. She then explained that my current deal was a better value, because I was getting over six hundred channels, and in my fantasy world, that would cost over $3000 per month. I then explained to her that I am a fire engine named Sylvia and my house is made of cabbage, because she clearly hadn't listened to the last five sentences I said.
So now my Comcast bill should be about $54 per month, down from over $150. With their five megabit per second speed, I can watch a show while using a web browser on my phone without any problems. Amazon Instant Video comes as part of my Amazon Prime membership, and Hulu Plus costs $10 per month. This is better.
Next thing I plan to do it buy a digital TV antenna to see what's HD programming is flying through the air in my town. It's free. I might as well get some local traffic reports and weather (which Hulu and Amazon don't do, sadly.)
It's a little weird and scary, but it can be done. You can survive without cable. I suggest trying a streaming service for a few days before making the final cut. I guess I could have saved us both some time by just saying that to start with. Ah well.
Monday, we will return to our usual snarky-jokes-about-old-pictures program.