Paying for TV: One Show at a Time

AMC’s The Walking Dead premiers tonight. For many fans this is awesome news. It’s a night they’ve been waiting for with anticipation and excitement. I too have these powerful emotions, but my happy feelings are crushed as I remember something. Tonight is one of those nights that I wish I had cable.

I’m not going to catch the season premier of The Walking Dead tonight because I don’t have TV. Well, I have a TV, and it even has Netflix. But I don’t have cable or Dish so the TV shows that I’m watching are reruns and old series. Usually it doesn’t bother me because I don’t spend that much time watching TV or movies. Most of my time wasted entertainment goes to video games. There are, however, a few shows, like The Walking Dead that I wish I could watch on my television. Or even my computer. But sadly TV shows don’t work that way.

I was lucky enough that Nickelodeon decided to put The Legend of Korra on their website in a reasonable amount of time. Usually they’d have it uploaded a couple of days after the first viewing. It’s great because even though I didn’t have cable I was able to keep up with the show, dragging only a handful of days behind everyone else.

But other shows, like the ones from AMC, don’t have this feature. I can’t watch an “AMC original” from their website, I have to watch it on some other video hosting website. Maybe I’m just being picky, but using those video hosting websites can be illegal and dangerous for your computer. Plus it takes time to find a working upload of your favorite shows.

At least AMC doesn’t host only for cable paying members. There are TV channels that allow you to watch their shows on their website, but only if you’re already getting the channel through a cable provider. Frankly, this seems like spreading salt on a wound. If I was already paying for cable I could record the shows that I wanted to watch and replay them on my television, not just on my computer.


I propose a new way to watch television. Why don’t TV channels sell the streaming rights to individual shows? Almost like TV a la cart. If I want to watch the newest season of a specific show I can buy the “rights” to that single show for a one time fee. Sure you can buy a season of a TV show when it comes out on DVD, but sometimes I want to actually keep up to date with the television that I find interesting.

Right now I’m stuck waiting for shows to make their way slowly to Netflix. And like I said for the majority of TV this is an ok setup. I’m fine waiting months, sometimes years to watch shows because I’m not that into 95% of what’s being produced. But every once and a while a Walking Dead comes along, and I can’t just watch the TV at the pizza shop every week this season. My stomach can’t handle it.

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