Cable TV's billion channels & consensual living - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We don't have a bunch of rules about anything...none? We live pretty harmoniously.

But we also do not have a billion channels. I am really wanting to get cable TV, but I have never faced Disney Channel and whatever else is on cable as a parent.

I know we would just talk and talk and talk about what they see, share information etc., but at this point in time, TV is a non- issue in our family. My older kids didn't grow up with much of it, but I still have my 8 yr old. I mean, they are sitting here watching a rerun sitcom. And I could not care less. But could I extend that nonchalance to South Park and my 8 yr old? I don't think so.

I also think I would have issues with 24/7 Nick programming.

The kids are not asking for TV, but I think there is some worthwhile programming out there. (And the very important Food Network for moi).

So, if you have cable, have you ever had any issues that concern you? It doesn't feel like me to put parental controls on The Disney Channel, say. But the temptation is there.
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#2 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 07:15 PM
 
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Don't do it! For yourself, as well as your kids. Our main problem is that, yes, there's a tempting array of good TV out there. But there's also an even more tempting array of horrible, horrible trash out there, and it's ALWAYS there. There's no saying, "Ah, it's over, let's go do something else!" with my two, because they know there's always something else on NogginNickJrPBSKidsCartoonNetworkDisney etc. Even Noggin is going to a 24-hour format as of January 1. And you can get so much good programming on DVD now.

For myself, I find I am sucked into it even when I don't want to be, because it's just easier to tell myself I'm tired and deserve "a break." And honestly, I think even too much good TV is still too much TV.

I don't know...you know my situation. Right now I feel trapped into too much TV. It's possible that if my situation were different, I'd feel more comfortable with my ability to be a force equal to that of the TV. But I don't think I would. I fantasize about getting rid of the TV, I really do!

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#3 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 07:23 PM
 
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TV isn't a problem at our house. We tivo everything and watch when we feel like it which means there is no urgency in sitting down to watch something NOW. We do it when there is time and inclination. DD rarely watches tv actually although she watched much more often when she was younger before we had tivo.
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#4 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 07:49 PM
 
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So, if you have cable, have you ever had any issues that concern you?

Honestly, no. While there ARE a lot of channels, no one here feels compelled to watch them all. Favorite shows come and go, sometimes we become interested in a particular show for a couple of months and then drop it, other shows are long-term favorites, but the tv is never on all day--we've got plenty of other things to do.

We talk about content. What might be "too graphic" or scary, etc. for one family member isn't a problem for another, so we just try and arrange viewing so that everyone is comfortable. For instance, dd loves CSI but will only put it on after the 7 y/o is asleep or if he's not around.

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#5 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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IMO the 24/7 nick jr is good, and disney is to, there are a few bad things here and there, but are easily explained. And you can easily ban non age appropriate stuff with your vchip.

and on a living consensually note, i let ds choose his amount of tv watching, and even what he watches, and have since he started watching tv at around 1.5yrs old. I don't belive its some big evil to avoid, and i trust my ds to make good choices, and even developmentaly delayed and only just over 2yrs old, he will tell us when to change the channel and prefers "safe" cartoons with educational content more than fluff.

And isnt south park a pg 13 or mature rated show? I think any responsible crunchy/involved parent, consensual or not, watches the ratings system and age appropriateness of a show.
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#6 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's a big step for us, so we are going to have a family chat about whether we'll male this jump or not.
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#7 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 08:20 PM
 
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And isnt south park a pg 13 or mature rated show? I think any responsible crunchy/involved parent, consensual or not, watches the ratings system and age appropriateness of a show.
South Park caused my dh some issues when dss asked what "butt f**k" meant at the age of 8 or 10. And it's in syndication at about 6pm now, so I don't think it has a mature rating. Dh's ex felt that since it was a cartoon, it was harmless, hence the awkward question posed to dh. I prefer the dvd method, it's just easy to say when the dvd is done, the tv goes off. Cable is just so easy to turn on and find something. And I really of found a few channels I liked watching, so I felt it was more of a waste of money.
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#8 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 08:27 PM
 
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South Park caused my dh some issues when dss asked what "butt f**k" meant at the age of 8 or 10. And it's in syndication at about 6pm now, so I don't think it has a mature rating. Dh's ex felt that since it was a cartoon, it was harmless, hence the awkward question posed to dh. I prefer the dvd method, it's just easy to say when the dvd is done, the tv goes off. Cable is just so easy to turn on and find something. And I really of found a few channels I liked watching, so I felt it was more of a waste of money.
its blocked by my vchip in ds's bedroom, so it must be higher than a G rating.
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#9 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 08:32 PM
 
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I have satellite TV because my parents pay for it (we're in the upstairs of their house, and they really don't mind paying for access to a 3rd TV when they're already paying for the first 2, plus their phone and all of our internet access.)

It does end up on more than I'd like when DD1 is home. When she's not here, the TV is hardly on.

With DD2 home all day, the TV just stays off most of the time, unless she's in the mood for a DVD. It's completely not a problem as she's rather read books or sew, or do almost anything else. But If DD1 was home all the time, I'd seriously consider getting rid of the darn thing, or at least setting strict limits on its use.

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#10 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 08:49 PM
 
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We have satellite service, living as we do in the hinterland with no local reception and no cable. We have a minimal subscription, though even "minimal" is pretty overwhelming by my standards. We long ago reached a family consensus that TV would be unregulated except that one should only turn it on to watch something specific, and should turn it off when that specific thing is over. This was deemed a necessary consensual compromise in a small house with most of our living space common and open, with six people, three of whom have sensory issues.

Because TV isn't something they can sit down in front of "to see what's on" when they can't think of anything else to do, my kids rarely watch TV. My husband watches the news three or four times a week. I honestly don't know why we pay for the satellite service -- I guess it's dh's choice, for the news. The kids and I get way more mileage out of the DVD rental service package we take out for six months of the year.

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#11 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 09:22 PM
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And isnt south park a pg 13 or mature rated show? I think any responsible crunchy/involved parent, consensual or not, watches the ratings system and age appropriateness of a show.
The whole concept of "age-appropriateness" has actually never been very relevant to us, and I do kind of resent the idea that some censor is trying to tell me what my kid should be watching. I'm concerned about Rain-appropriateness, and that's up to Rain to decide. She was under 13 when she dressed up as a South Park character for Halloween, so....

When we used to not have cable but my dad did, it was a big thing for Rain to watch the shows at his house (which was good, actually, because it gave her something to do). Since we have our own cable now that we live in town, though, we don't watch any more tv than we did before... we just watch different tv.

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#12 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 09:45 PM
 
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we went without tv for a while. it was a great experience. now we have a satellite. imo, commercials are worse than tv shows. during our tv period, i recall someone asking my son what he wanted for christmas and he really had to think about the question. now, he can name a ga-zillion items that he wants.

i actually lock the kids channels other than pbs. i will unlock them for a special program now and then. during the day, we keep the tv off. if i did not regulate my son's tv, he would watch it for 12 hours straight. no doubt.

there is way more crap than good stuff. often i do tivo shows. my son loves a show called "how it's made" and we live for shark week on the discovery channel.

i have contemplated getting rid of the satellite and going back to no tv. but, for now, the lock works for us.

i am amazed at those of you who have children who are able to successfully regulate their television. that is just mind-blowing to me. kudos to your kids!
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#13 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 09:59 PM
 
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*We* don't have cable, but both sets of grandparents do. MIL seems to always have it on when she watches the kids (how I learned about "Noddy" and a couple of other shows I hadn't ever heard of). Last night, DH turned it on for a bit for DD while we were over there and she was watching the Disney Channel. We held off on anything Disney for a long time. But, when they saw Dumbo about a year ago, it sort of opened a can of worms. My mom kept bringing out the Disney movies. Fortunately, it has yet to infiltrate our house in terms of stuff, but watching it drives me nuts. When I am there, I redirect their attention...
At home, we only have an antenna. So, it's PBS for us.

If we had cable, I'd probably do the tivo thing or go nuts. I heard my DS say the other day, "Mama, that commercial said we had to go to WalMart to get those Legos." Uh, no.

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#14 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 10:03 PM
 
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If we had cable, I'd probably do the tivo thing or go nuts. I heard my DS say the other day, "Mama, that commercial said we had to go to WalMart to get those Legos." Uh, no.
I think thats where the consensual living thing comes in, i wouldnt deny ds legos if he wanted them, even if he asked because of an ad.
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#15 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 10:09 PM
 
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I think thats where the consensual living thing comes in, i wouldnt deny ds legos if he wanted them, even if he asked because of an ad.
Yeah, I don't deny him the Legos, but I want him to understand that we don't have to buy them at WalMart just because a commercial tells him so. I actually have explained to him why we don't buy from there. It can be pretty confusing.

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#16 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 10:11 PM
 
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We have a satellite dish with lots of channels, but not showtime or HBO or any of the other extra movie channels. We also have TIVO and have activated parental controls on our tv, mainly to keep my kids from stumbling across anything they would find particularly disturbing. I think there's a lot on cable that would get you arrested if you did it in public, and is not appropriate for my 7 year old, or her younger siblings.

We mainly watch recorded shows. The kids like a range of specifically educational kid shows like Magic School Bus and Word World, but we've also watched a fair number of shows geared toward adults. Mythbusters, How it's Made, and Dirty Jobs are very popular here. We're geeky that way.

Just this weekend, my 7 year old and I have watched a cool show on the ark of the Covenant and another on King Tut. Dh and I LOVE Wired Science (which is on PBS, but we'd never watch it without TIVO.)

My only issue-- my kids have watched quite a bit more Simpsons than I care for, but they don't seem to understand the more adult content, so I guess that helps some. Generally, if I don't like a show we don't record it, though if they catch it while it's on the air, I usually don't mind. Somehow they haven't picked up that I am deciding not to record Scooby Doo or the Simpsons. I'm sure that will change as time passes.

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#17 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 10:14 PM
 
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Yeah, I don't deny him the Legos, but I want him to understand that we don't have to buy them at WalMart just because a commercial tells him so. I actually have explained to him why we don't buy from there. It can be pretty confusing.
now I understand, it seemed like you denyed the lego's themselves. I dont boycott wm or anything really, so I cant comment on the rest
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#18 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 10:21 PM
 
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and on a living consensually note, i let ds choose his amount of tv watching, and even what he watches, and have since he started watching tv at around 1.5yrs old. I don't belive its some big evil to avoid, and i trust my ds to make good choices, and even developmentaly delayed and only just over 2yrs old, he will tell us when to change the channel and prefers "safe" cartoons with educational content more than fluff.
When I was a kid, I was often allowed to watch as much tv as I wanted and I could easily squeeze in 2-3 hours a day. Looking back I really wish it had not been such a big part of my childhood.

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#19 of 51 Old 12-26-2007, 10:43 PM
 
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TIVO what you want to watch. Why watch anything live? TIVO is amazing!! You can rewind, replay, fast forward through commercials, restart at the beginning, pause, etc. You can select 30-50++ series to record anytime they are on, by title or subject, like "volcanos", "NASA", "dolphins", "tornadoes", "trains", etc. Then, you all can prioritize which order to record if there is a scheduling conflict. You all can block shows that the kids don't like, or would be distressed to happen upon. When you have a lot of shows in the cue to record, the tv just defaults to displaying the next show being recorded. Does that make sense? "Live" tv doesn't just happen, since there are so many interesting shows to have in the "to be recorded" cue.

I'd personally recommend purchasing a digital recording device, rather than renting the cable company digital recorder because we like to keep shows and watch them as repeats. The cable company DVR has a recording capacity (30 hours) which gets full, unless we eventually delete after watching. The memory is stored in the box. However, my sister owns a DVR and can record onto a disc for later viewing. She has no limit to the recording capacity.

Ds has a tv in his room, with the cable company recorder, and only his shows are recorded there. We have a tv with the cable company recorder for our (adult/family) use separately. With the DVR that records onto a disc, you could watch shows with any DVD player. And some computers have DVD display capacity now also. Actually, our computer records tv shows (you can add some kind of tuner adapter), and maybe it could record to portable disc...Hmmm...I need to ask about that!

There is also "United Streaming", which has shows available on the computer by request. Sorta like "on demand". But, they are more "educational", I believe.

Oh, you can also choose your "default" channel, so that it doesn't default to the news, for instance.


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#20 of 51 Old 12-27-2007, 12:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So really, what is TIVO? And how does it differ from Cable or Satilite. We all decided tonight we would like more variety. Dh doesn't have a clue about all of this. Who would I call? My cable company? How much does TIVO cost Vs a large cable package?
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#21 of 51 Old 12-27-2007, 12:39 AM
 
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So really, what is TIVO? And how does it differ from Cable or Satilite. We all decided tonight we would like more variety. Dh doesn't have a clue about all of this. Who would I call? My cable company? How much does TIVO cost Vs a large cable package?
As far as I understand, TIVO is just a brand of DVR/service. Like "Puffs" is a brand of tissue. Our cable company provides and maintains our DVR for a small rental charge. They upgrad the technology, fix/exchange if it has a problem. But, it has the limited capacity, as I mentioned. You could try your local cable company's product and then decide if you want to purchase a DVR separately. Then, you'd need an extra converter box from the cable company, instead of the DVR (cheaper rental, upfront cost to purchase). And you'd have to shop/choose a DVR yourself.

Satellite?? I have no idea.

DVR is the best thing since sliced bread.

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#22 of 51 Old 12-27-2007, 01:10 AM
 
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Tivo is not the same as the cable company DVR. www.tivo.com We have had both and the cabel company dvr's do not compare to Tivo. Tivo all the way.
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#23 of 51 Old 12-27-2007, 01:18 AM
 
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So really, what is TIVO? And how does it differ from Cable or Satilite. We all decided tonight we would like more variety. Dh doesn't have a clue about all of this. Who would I call? My cable company? How much does TIVO cost Vs a large cable package?
We have Directv and Tivo (when we bought our receiver, Directv and Tivo had an agreement, but now that's over.) Tivo is one provider of DVR hardware/service. We bought the DVR device, and pay $5 a month for Tivo service in addition to what we pay to have satellite service.

DVR stands for digital video recorder. What they do is record shows based on criteria you give it-- it can be anything from "record channel X from 9-10pm" to "record all new episodes of Desperate Housewives" to "record all shows with the keyword Egypt". Because the hardware only works if it knows what's going to be on, you need to pay for a service in addition buying or renting the hardware.

Our DVR records about 30 hours, and it's been plenty for us. But I like having the available shows turnover, so the kids don't fall into watching the same thing over and over again.

HTH!

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#24 of 51 Old 12-27-2007, 04:52 AM
 
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We've had cable, satellite, and never had anything parentally blocked. We talked about the different channels w/ the kids when they were little to help them know which things they'd be viewing when they went there and which things they'd most likely be into or want to steer clear of. It was helpful.

We've never had a DVR or Tivo but we'd like to. Who knows when, but it's likely.

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#25 of 51 Old 12-27-2007, 05:31 AM
 
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We have a Direct TV system with DVR (not TIVO). It's really handy, especially for the repetitive times the dc want to watch Thomas or Angelina Ballerina. uke Or the times that Dh and I have to tape our shows because we're watching something that the kids like. So Mythbusters, No Reservations, or Alton Brown go on DVR because we get an East Coast feed (we're on the west coast) and would rather not have fight over living room TV watching (we have no den and the Direct TV service is only in the living room.)

I think it's great. The dc want to watch something on ABC Family? Fine. We'll record it and fast forward awful commercials. Plus, they are getting used to watching a program without obnoxious commercials, which is fine with me.
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#26 of 51 Old 12-27-2007, 05:58 AM
 
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We have a TV in our bedroom, with the 2 available Israeli channels. We never watch it, because 1) there isn't much on 2) it doesn't occur to us to go to the bedroom to turn it on. We do watch DVDs and videos (I buy the kids videos at yard sales constantly, and rent maybe once a month) which I love because there is a PAUSE button. We had cable once when our rentors asked for it one summer, and when we returned it took 10 days to cancel. The kids fought over channels (girls are 7 years apart, so there wasn't much that was appropriate for both of them, not to mention the boy in the middle) and we could no longer go anywhere or eat meals because BUT MY PROGRAM WILL BE ON SOON! Not to mention my husband stayed up every night watching sports. NEVER AGAIN!!!
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#27 of 51 Old 12-27-2007, 08:54 AM
 
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I will be the millionth person to heartily recommend TiVo. It's not just the "watch at your convenience" thing (although that is fabulous)---it changes the whole way you watch TV. No "flipping," no looking for something good. We watch 1 recorded show and then turn it off. My DD has grown up with 1 show per day and I don't think she yet has any clue that you can just turn the TV on and watch whatever. You watch your show, then you go do something else.

Not to mention that you can skip all the ads. And that I can watch an entire NFL game (my weakness) in about 1 hour as opposed to the three hours it broadcasts. Wonderful!
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#28 of 51 Old 12-27-2007, 10:23 AM
 
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I would say don't get cable. We got a dish because my dh was tired of having to fiddle with the antenna constantly and we wanted to see the Olympics with no static. We kept the dish for two years ... my dh really liked getting the NFL Sunday Ticket to see all the Steelers games.

Eventually we realized how much money we were tossing down the drain for something that got watched about 3 hours a week when it wasn't football season.

For us, it didn't make sense economically.

Anecdotally, I know a family who used to not watch much tv at all. They got a dish so that they could have educational programming for their homeschooled kids. After about a year they realized that they were watching about 30-40 hours of tv a week and that their family evenings had become tv evenings. They eventually canceled the dish as well.

I would say, if you choose to get cable, make it a family discussion and try to arrive at guidelines that everyone can live with in terms of what will be watched and when. And then hold one another to those. I don't find that disrespectful or non-consensual at all. Holding up one's end of an agreement is not, to me, non-consensual. You can always renegotiate if necessary.

But, having been there, I wouldn't do it. I'd look into ways to getting Food Network programs from the library or online.

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#29 of 51 Old 12-27-2007, 01:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
Tivo is not the same as the cable company DVR. www.tivo.com We have had both and the cabel company dvr's do not compare to Tivo. Tivo all the way.

I read through some of the link and the "TIVO Advantage" chart, but couldn't find features which were significantly different than our local cable, except for the record to DVD aspect. That required some additional product though, as best I could discern. I am not technology savvy. So, maybe I missed something of which I don't understand the significance. What aspect of TIVO is the priority for your family over another generic DVR?

Do you do the Amazon or Yahoo or internet stuff with the TIVO? I'm not sure we'd do those. Maybe the Amazon Unbox movie rental...


Pat

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#30 of 51 Old 12-28-2007, 06:24 AM
 
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We've had it and not had it. Currently we don't have it. There is no way on earth I'd have it again if we didn't also have dvr or Tivo. The extra expense to have crap piped into my house...? Somehow not justifiable to me. If more of it were worthwhile, I might think about it. JMHO.
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