The Price of My Attention

Sometimes you don’t notice something until it’s gone. In this case it’s TV commercials.1 I watch most of my shows on HuluPlus. Usually via an AppleTV box plugged into the main screen. As for the AppleTV, it’s probably in the top ten of tech items I’ve ever bought. It just works. The hardware can only go so far. The apps are what make my life better.

Hulu is one of the better deals. For $8/mo. I have full DVR functionality. Plus no contracts. Once the shows I follow are on break for the summer, I can cancel with no penalty. Then start back up in the fall.

What I like most is how the commercials are done. Hulu sells advertising to keep my price down. I knew that going in. If the price was much higher I might look into something else. Or just flip over the HD antenna and watch the shows over-the-air.

The sad fact is that an hour long show has twenty minutes of commercials. That’s a lot. No matter how resistant you might think you are, too much exposure will eventually sink in. I just don’t want it in my life.

I could just stop with TV altogether. And I have lived without a TV set for multiple years. Simply put: I enjoy the shows. There’s good storytelling that happens. As a writer I like to see how the stories are told. So I watch TV. With Hulu I don’t have to make an appointment with the screen to see them. I watch the shows I want, and don’t channel surf.

If you truly want to be inundated with commercials, watch sports. I wouldn’t have made it through football2 season without the mute button. Now baseball season is rolling around with spring training happening all around the Valley.

Other than the commercials, baseball has another problem. It’s not on local TV anymore. Except for a few games they’re all on cable. The Arizona Diamondbacks are exclusively on Fox Sports Arizona. I have Internet service via the local cable monopoly. But I refuse to sign up for their TV service. The prices are outrageous and they don’t even offer HD for the local channels. Which is really disappointing considering all the local channels broadcast in HD.

So I decided to try the app. At $25/mo. it’s not cheap, but it’s less than the price of going to one game. It also doesn’t require a cable TV subscription to work like most of the other AppleTV apps. There’s a handy standings page, and I can watch any of the games. I’m not limited to just the Diamondbacks.

This was something unexpected and also very welcome: app on AppleTV.

They don’t show any commercials at all. This screen comes up and I have my peace and quiet. Of course, if they did show commercials I’d be pissed since I’m subscribing.

Would I pay a lower price, say $12/mo. and have limited commercials? Maybe.

Right now I’m happy with the current setup.

  1. Otherwise known as adverts in the UK and Commonwealth countries.
  2. NFL/American football.