Ok, does anyone else have this problem? I’ve been thinking about adding Starz and Showtime to my cable plan. Starz has some new shows that I wouldn’t mind checking out regularly and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Dexter and Weeds. Plus, Big Brother is starting back up, which means Showtime will be airing their Big Brother: After Dark program. So I figured I would call up my local cable provider and see if I could cut back on my HBO subscription and add on the other two channels. I don’t need every HBO channel that’s offered in the package and as I rarely use the “On Demand” feature, I figured I’d see if I could drop those things.

So I call the cable place and the nice customer service lady tells me that I can’t have just HBO. With the digital package, I can either shell out the $13 a month for all of the HBO channels plus the On Demand service or drop HBO all together. Those are my only options? Seriously? Has it always been this way and I’m just learning about it now? No, I definitely remember a time when you could just have the one HBO channel but perhaps times have changed (as they have a way of doing). I suppose now with the incentive of excellent original programming, the cable company’s can afford to push the premium channel packages on people without offering just the one channel as a more affordable alternative.

The same applies to Starz and Showtime. I can’t add just Starz and Showtime. If I want either of those channels I have to shell out an additional $7 or $8 a month for the Starz package and the same if I want the Showtime package. My only other option if I want to stay with digital cable is to upgrade to the super plan that has every channel imaginable. Like I’d ever be able to watch all of those channels. And that’s not to mention the cost of it. Seriously, I’m already embarrassed to tell people what I pay for my cable services each month.

Why can’t I just pay for the channels I want and not be required to subscribe to and pay for a bunch of channels I’ll never watch? Apparently the whole idea of cable “a la carte” has been around for a while now, so this issue isn’t exactly new. It’s strange to me that I’ve never really questioned it before because it doesn’t just apply to the premium channels. The basic packages are the same (everything clumped together in a few different packages, each containing a ton of channels I’ll never watch). Imagine if every store you went into only sold their items in lots. So whenever you wanted to buy something you had to buy a whole bunch of other things with it. It doesn’t make any sense yet the cable companies have been doing it forever.

Anyone else sick of this or have you just accepted that this is how it will always be for cable? I’d also love to hear from people who use Direct TV and other providers. Is it the same with those as well?

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