How Many

Most boomers can remember a time in our youth when we had four television channels to choose from, the local affiliates for NBC, ABC, CBS and PBS.  Those channels ‘signed off’ around midnight each night and started up again around 6 the next morning.  Now we have hundreds of channels to choose from and most run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When I moved to my new apartment I upgraded my cable service, adding some channels, but I have no idea how many channels I have to choose from.  I can click through more than 900 but many of those are part of upgraded subscriptions.  My best guess is that I can watch at least 300 of them.  Some are duplicates … the local channels are available in digital and HD (high definition) … but that still leaves a couple hundred.

This afternoon I surfed through, taking notes for this blog post.  Some highlights: 

- There is more than one HBO.  I think I get seven in English and those same seven are available in Spanish. 

- I found multiple versions of other movie-based channels such as Encore and Starz and I found a few other movie channels I didn’t know existed, including a Sundance channel and and some ‘old movie’ channels.

- There are multiple versions of music channels like MTV and CMT and a whole lineup of ‘music only’ channels with many music genres.

- Montgomery County Maryland is a culturally diverse county with immigrants and descendents of immigrants from a variety of countries, so the cable system here offers programming in many languages in addition to English and Spanish.  So far I found Chinese, Korean, Indian and Ethiopian.  There are more.

- Other channels I didn’t know about include the Smithsonian, Pentagon, Game Show and a couple that feature TV shows from my earliest days of life.  And at least two channels showing old ‘westerns’, the kind where plenty of people get shot but nobody bleeds.

It is kind of amusing to me that at a point where I am trying to simplify my life and get up and go out and do things, I now have all these new options for sitting and watching.  Stay tuned to see how I balance this.