First off, when I say in the FTABlog tagline that television wants to be free, that’s free as in free speech, not as in free lunch. It means that any given channel or piece of video really ought to be available at a reasonable price that provides reasonable compensation for the people who made it. It’s nice when that’s also free as in free lunch (typically when supported by advertising), but what’s important is that it should be available somehow.
Quick example: I’m reading Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels right now, and I’d love to see some old Spenser: For Hire episodes again. (Avery Brooks did an amazing job capturing Hawk.) But as of this writing, those episodes simply aren’t available.
Not on DVD, not on Netflix, not in reruns on some pay-TV channel. There are a few clips here and there on YouTube, but that’s it. Please feel free to let me know when that changes so I’ll revise this paragraph. After I watch a couple of episodes.
Update: After too long a wait, Spenser: For Hire is available on DVD from Amazon. They’re produced on demand without any cool extras, but they fill the need for anyone who has read the Spenser novels and wants to see Hawk look like Hawk and Spenser look like a much shorter, unimposing Spenser. Thanks, Warner Brothers. Now would you please license the show to a streaming service?
On the other hand, I don’t tolerate discussion of piracy as an alternative. I’ll admit that piracy can be attractive, especially for shows and channels that are legally unavailable otherwise. But that’s not a sustainable business model for content creators, so I don’t think it’s a good idea. Nuff said.
And that’s what this blog is about – where to find more channels and more video. There are a couple hundred unscrambled free-to-air satellite channels (see FTAList.com) that are available with a medium-sized Ku-band dish. The pursuit and enjoyment of these channels was the founding reason for this blog. But as the years passed, the wealth of internet-delivered channels made me realize that satellite delivery won’t be the winner for most programming. Now we also see an explosion of locally broadcast digital subchannels and the slow rise of cord-cutting, so more and more people are jumping into free TV, but most of them don’t have 2-foot dishes in their back yard.
What will you read here? You might read about the latest streaming provider and the folks trying to shut it down. You might read about a new subchannel network that might make it to your town. You might read about the FCC trying to take away TV bandwidth to give to mobile phone companies. In a word, yaneverknow. Just keep reading.