Too many options!


It is really all just too much.

Hundreds – no, thousands – of choices make it hard to relax during a time meant for relaxation.

Yes, I am talking about television in 2018. The options are too numerous. The platforms too varied. The shows, the movies, the documentaries.

It is becoming a problem.

As I have said in this space before, I do enjoy watching TV, and the quality has never been better. Not only are the shows much better – especially on cable and premium channels –  but the televisions themselves, with high definition screens and surround sound theater systems, make the activity incredibly immersive and enjoyable.

That is, if you can decide what to watch.

I have way more remote controls than I need, including my X-Box One controllers, which can be used access Netflix, Amazon and Hulu as well as movies and TV shows through Microsoft.

My viewing experience usually starts with me scooping up a handful of remotes to get everything up and running. First, I will go through my cable channels, checking favorites like the History Channel or Discovery ID. That can take some time. For example, I often have to watch 5 minutes of the “House Hunters” episode on HGTV to remember if I have already seen it. (Don’t judge me!)

After realizing there is nothing on regular TV, I will start going through the other services. Netflix can be a black hole for me, and many others, I assume. I go through my list of saved shows and movies every time, and never watch any of them. I look at documentaries, new movies – horror movies in particular – and a few other categories.

That takes about four hours.

Nothing on Netflix? No problem. There are always TV episodes to watch on Hulu. There are some movies there too, but they are not generally what I want to watch.

If I really want to get lost searching for things, I go to Amazon Prime. Yes, Amazon has a streaming service, and it is fantastic. It has almost anything you want to watch when it comes to movies – from the very old to the very new.

My favorite thing to do on Amazon is to find a movie I like and click on it. If you find a movie you like, Amazon also lists the movies that people who watched that movie also watched. I have discovered some great movies that way, especially old horror movies.

If you have Amazon, you know exactly what I am talking about. It is fun to find movies I have never heard of and even watch the trailer before deciding to watch it or not.

The problem? Again, it is like falling down the rabbit hole. By the time you go through tons of movies, your birthday has come and gone and you have grown a beard.

Now, I don’t want to go back to the days of three channels on TV. Those were not the “good old days” when it comes to what was available on television.

But I am still waiting for a cable service to offer an ala carte option, where I only pay for the handful of channels I watch and not the 200 I don’t.

Soon, cable TV could be a thing of the past, as streaming services get better and better at targeting what consumers want. That will certainly lead me to cutting the cable.

In the meantime, I try to start my search at least a half hour before I really want to watch something. Too many options aren’t always a good thing.

Drop some of the services, you say?

I’m not that desperate – yet.