Recently I read about someone who had cancelled his cable and sought out alternative sources for watching TV. Now, I think TV is a useless pursuit, mostly because of the opportunity costs particular in the time which could be spent on learning or doing something productive. However, obviously, many people appreciate the vicarious experiences they get from watching TV to the same degree many enjoy playing globetrotter. Obviously, if it’s really that important, do spend money some money on it. For instance, I spend money sailing around in circles and training with swords. I even pay more than twice as much for this compared the numbers mentioned below.

Still, I found it interesting just how many shows were available for free, so I decided to go through the same exercise. Thus I asked the residential cable user what kinds of shows she was addicted to and she rattled off the following:

Bones, Criminal Minds, CSI, CSI New York, CSI Miami, NCIS, NCIS LA, Supernatural, Big Bang Theory, Mentalist, Castle, Sanctuary, Stargate Universe, Leverage, White Collar, Psych, Dr. Who, Eureka, Whose line is it anyway, Dirty Jobs, Ten things I hate about you, Ghost Whisperer, Men of a certain age, Dollhouse, Better of Ted, The Colberg Report, The Daily Show, Fringe, Jeff Dunham Show, The Forgotten, Flashforward, V, House, Chuck, Southland, Flashpoint, and Warehouse 13.

I think this list of 37 shows was mostly in order of importance. I noticed some DVR crossreferencing about 2/3 of the way through suggesting casual use of some of the latter; or maybe they’re simply out of season and not momentarily memorable, kinda like my travel experiences.

Now, initially I was going to make a table, which is always a fun exercise in HTML, and find out where the shows were available for free, but I found it much easier just to list the ones that are NOT available on hulu

Criminal Minds, Supernatural, Big Bang Theory, Mentalist, Dr. Who, Whose line is it anyway, Dirty Jobs, Jeff Dunham Show, The Forgotten, Southland, and Flashpoint.

Of these 11 shows (about 30% of the full list) two of them, the first two, are considered critical. So out of the entire list, 5% of the critical shows are not available for free. (I also notice that except for the crucial couple, the other ones are pretty far down the original list.) I don’t know whether they are available elsewhere. Of course they will be available for purchase at some point.

What does this cost? I’m told the cable subscription which she pays out of her pocket, just like I pay my fun out of my pocket, is $45/month. (Paying with personal money avoids all kinds of arguments.) $45/month requires capital assets of $13,500 to back them on a sustainable basis; alternatively a couple of hours of work each month for the rest of one’s life. In my opinion, that’s a lot of money to avoid not being up to date on two crucial shows, which are not readily available. Then again, that’s why we don’t share out entertainment budget.

Originally posted 2009-12-19 20:13:22.