Friday, September 4, 2009

Pondering Programming - How Do You Get Your Hockey?

Okay folks, here's the situation. Hockey is my haven, so the more that's available to me, the more I'm distracted and therefore happy. Work is what gets in the way when I'm thinking about hockey. Why are we talking about this?

Here's how it all started...

A little over a month ago, my 37" Sharp LCD up and quit on me. Keep in mind this fucker is only two and a half years old. So I take it in to get serviced and, get this, the part to fix it costs $2900. I only payed $1100 for the piece of shit, so I could splurge and buy three new ones for the same money it costs me to fix the old one. Okay so after jumping through all the hoops I got my money back, but not from Sharp, (fuck those fucking fucks).

Okay so new TV time right? I should be pissing my pants excited. Alright, so lets do some research because after all I'm not buying the same monkey shit as last time, I'm getting one that allows me to smell the hockey equipment. Sony's the big name out there, but ooooh, look at the Samsung's. So now I'm comparing specifications and reading reviews on, and up to my ass in model numbers. Okay so I finally find the one I want, (Samsung LN40B640), so now I start thinking, "what other kind of cutting edge TV-watching technology can I get to go with my smell-0-vision tube?"

So I start looking at Blu-Ray and start getting an erection from that, and then I think, "what about my connection?

I've got the local cable provider gouging my soft-earned cash, and I'm barely getting any channels in HD, not even Versus, (but I guess it could be worse). Now I'm a believer in anything worth doing, is worth doing right. So any, and every kind of sport should be broadcast in High Definition. No exceptions.

Alright so lets look at DirecTV with all its fancy satellites and what not. Then of course this horseshit chess match between DirecTV and Versus starts hitting the headlines, and Vs. is officially taken off DTV. Fuck.

So now what? I've got a shitty local cable provider over-charging me for half-assed technology, or all the technology in the world and they can't negotiate a deal with a shitty little network chockfull of infomercials.
Alright so let's look at what else is out there. They just recently started offering AT&T U-verse in my neighborhood, but these hockey-haters aren't offering Center Ice whatsoever, and have just moved the NHL Network to a more costly sports tier. Screw those assholes.

Dish Network seems like the retarded cousin of DirecTV that everyone just ignores. They offer the Center Ice Package, and with that comes free NHL Network, and they haven't got into a pissing contest with Versus as of yet. Well I've heard about a ton of problems with Dish Network in the past before, and I don't know anyone with it now, so I'm not about to jump in with those short busers.

So now we come around to GameCenter Live. I've been very skeptical of this service due to its dependence on the interwebs, and the amount of users on said service at the same time. We've all tried to buy very desired hockey or concert tickets online before, its a fucking pain in the ass, and your connection usually takes a shit right when you're about to buy. Even so, MotherPucker does a great breakdown of one of the free previews of GameCenter Live at the beginning of last season, assessing its limitations and its viagra-like advantages. I used to think I was Electrophile, but I've come to realize in the last few years that I don't know shit. I've flirted with the idea of hooking up the computer to the flatpanel, but I just don't think I know enough, and therefore wet my pants in fear thinking about it. I'm not about to watch those games on my computer screen in crappy resolution even with all the fancy, instantaneous stats.
So what's did I do? I told my cable company to go fuck themselves, and I signed on with DirecTV, figuring that this whole Versus mess would eventually get itself figured out, and back on the air. I've already called and complained to DirecTV, (which if you haven't I encourage you to do), and they've discounted some programming and given me other programming free. The Customer Service Representative said they've been getting flooded with calls about it, and all CSR's are aware of the situation and authorized to offer incentives without a supervisor. I've told everyone I know (even mouth-breathing non-hockey fans) to call and complain about Versus, if nothing else to get free programming.

I've got to tell you, I couldn't be happier. The picture is 100x better, the games that are actually promised in HD are shown in HD, not like cable's bait and switch, and that scoreboard bug that you can pull up and navigate to each game is killer. I won't be able to watch the massive tilt between Philly and Washington tonight, but hopefully soon we'll have some kind of resolution. Just as long as we all keep pissing off DirecTV to put Versus back on. We as the hockey viewing public are going to have fight this battle, because its pretty obvious Gary isn't going to get us out of this mess.

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