When you sign up for a streaming services, you get so much that you might forget what's left out
Four decades: Independent, honest, reliable Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online since 1983


Getting rid of cable, Part 2, or how to deal with the loss of local broadcasts (May 24, 2015)

May 17, 2015

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2015, Al Fasoldt

Last week I explained why Nancy and I decided to cut the cable -- to watch our favorite shows over streaming services. Streaming TV arrives over the Internet, instead of over the air as in broadcast TV or through a fat cable going from house to house. (You can read the first column in this series at www.technofileonline.com/texts/tec051715.html.)

When you sign up for Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime Video -- any of the many other streaming services -- you get so much that you might forget what's left out.

What's left out is something very important. You're missing local news. Local shows. Local content, as the wiggy-wigs like to say.

Does this matter?

No, not at all.

Yes, it matters a lot.

It all depends on how you look at it. And that's not a pun.

For a while, we solved the no-local-news problem by sticking an antenna on a small set in the bedroom and watching the news and any interesting local programs that way. We lost interest in that after realizing local news was available in other ways -- over the web and from electonic newspapers (The Post-Standard, for example).

(Read the previous column for why we weren't able to watch broadcast TV on our HDTV.)

I don't want to criticize local TV news. But I will anyway.

It could be a lot better. It could get more serious. It could treat news the way all local stations treat weather. No fluff, no puff. Just the facts. Maybe a smile or two, but just facts.

(I remember when local weather broadcasts were all about fronts -- the fronts of women "weather girls," of course. America had not grown up then.)

Enough. It's hard collecting and reporting local news. That was my job for many years. I know how difficult it is.

As for local shows outside the news, the only station in my area that produces documentaries and other shows about my own region and its culture is WCNY. I don't need to watch WCNY to see them; they're on the PBS feed that's streamed by Roku.

So we stopped worrying about local news and learned to love the stream. (You get two points if you catch the reference. Write to me if you don't -- if you bombed.)

Sometime in the future, local news, local shows and indeed all the good and bad local stuff on your local channels will be streamed to your heart's delight. But not now.

Al Fasoldt is a retired technology writer for The Post Standard newspaper in Syracuse, New York. His landmark column, Technofile, is the world's longest running online column. Read any of the thousands of current and previous columns at technofileonline.com.