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Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

It’s not television. It’s HBO. (Unfortunately, it’s also Rogers.)


Calling Rogers support is a bit of a crapshoot. You sometimes get a very informed, very helpful employee. Other times… Not so much.

When I last called to make changes to my Rogers services, I hit it lucky. The support person clearly and carefully walked me through the options, helped me pick the right one, and explained exactly what it would mean for my bill. Not only that, but he gave me another number to call, saying I should insist on at least a 20% reduction in my bill. “You’ve been with Rogers a long time,” he said. “And we haven’t done much for you lately.”

And for the past couple years, I have indeed been getting a 20% reduction on my cable and Internet bill. But that discount just expired, making for some serious cable bill sticker shock. Time to reconsider what I’m subscribing to.

The list of cable package prices on the Rogers website shows a big difference between basic cable and the other tiers. And fact is that most of what I watch is on the big networks, not the specialty channels. If I get a real craving for Chopped Canada, it is available to stream from the Food Network website.

And at the whole other end of the Rogers cable package spectrum, at prices so absurdly high that I’d never considered subscribing, is package of all specialty channels + the movie networks.

But poking around revealed that you could get just the movie networks added to your TV line up. That is, you can get the various flavors of HBO Canada and TMN, without all the channels in between (those past 28). It’s not especially cheap, but did appear to be cheaper than what I was paying to add all those specialty channels I barely watched. Also on offer: a 50% discount on that package for the first four months.

I decided to go for it.

Unfortunately, I did not get quite the same quality of phone support this time out. Quite honestly, I now have no idea what this is going to mean for my bill. For one thing, based on past experience, the prices on the website seem to be only an approximation of the actual prices charged. (I have no idea why.) I’m still not sure whether activation or deactivation fees come into. Apparently an extra outlet fee applies to people who have only basic cable but more than one TV (even they get the movie networks, too). And I had to tell the Rogers person that I should qualify for a 50% discount for the first four months, which wasn’t really comforting.

But, dude. There sure is a lot of fantastic programming on those movie networks. In high definition, and commercial free.

Options on TMN

And I don’t even mean the Hollywood movies, though they do have a great selection of those. It’s the series, right? All the ones everyone torrents?

I’m too late for Game of Thrones. It’s in season 4; not jumping in on that now. I’ve read that Girls isn’t quite as good anymore. And I’ve kind of given up on True Blood (which I’d seen on DVD).

But I’m just in time to start with Silicon Valley, a very funny new show about a tech start-up company. Veep is just restarting Season 3, and it doesn’t appear to be necessary to have seen the earlier seasons to enjoy this one. It is a bit confusing jumping into Masters of Sex—a series about Masters and Johnson—mid-season, but enjoyable nonetheless. Then there’s new one called The Leftovers starting soon, that looks really interesting.

And with Real Time with Bill Maher and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver added to my viewing of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on CTV, my American political satire cup truly runneth over.

Then there’s the specials and documentaries (like the upcoming David Bowie: Five Years), the original movies (like The Normal Heart, replaying the first week of July)…

And all of this is also available on demand (though not at high def, for some reason?) [Edit: On demand is available at high definition; you just have to pick the right channel.] And everything plays many times “live”. So you don’t really have to worry about missing an episode or special, or arrange your schedule around the TV, or even remember to set the PVR (though I still do, because I’m just in that habit).

So I sure hope I can afford to keep this.

2 thoughts on “It’s not television. It’s HBO. (Unfortunately, it’s also Rogers.)

  1. I guess it’s not really necessary to watch Veep from the start, but it would be better to do so as there are continuing issues/plots that resurface from one season to the next. Plus it’s just a really good show, so you should watch all of it. Silicon Valley was great. And it’s never too late for Game of Thrones!!! You can borrow seasons 1 and 2 from us if you want (blu-ray). I like the John Oliver show way more than Jon Stewart because he doesn’t really do that much US stuff – he talks a lot about international stories, which I think is great. Was it on last night? Couldn’t find a torrent for it this morning…

    • I’ll probably keep up with season 3 of Veep, then go back to watch the first two seasons after, but we’ll see.

      Yes, you Game of Thrones people sure are passionate. I think the final episode of season 4 was on when I first looked at HBO. Lots of torches and fighting? Does that narrow it down? 🙂

      Anyway, I definitely don’t have time to add that to the TV roster now. Still have to continue with Orange is the New Black!

      I agree about John Oliver – I like the more international focus. Don’t know if there was a show yesterday; haven’t checked.

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