>Howdy, neighbor! What channels do you get?

>Back when I was a kid, everyone in town had the same TV access.  There were really only two choices, over the air or cable.  Being that my hometown is nestled up against a small mountain range (I thought of them as hills) getting reception could be challenging for most folks.  Everyone had the same cable service.  There was only one choice. You either signed up with them or you suffered through snowy reception issues and no MTV.

Now, we have a hell of a lot more choices.  This is great because if one of them is too expensive, doesn’t offer a channel you want, or has horrible customer service, you have the power to choose.  Not only is there satellite from two different sources, but a town can have more than one cable provider in it over various areas.  Here in Sacramento we have Comcast, Surewest, AT&T and some random fly by night company out in Natomas.  So when you go to visit someone even next door to you, their TV channels are probably a mystery. 

Back in the day, when someone said, “I saw that Behind the Music on VH1 last night…” you knew which channel number they were watching and probably when it came on.  Now, when someone says, “It’s on TBS at 8 PM,” and you are at a friend’s house, odds are you’re going to have to figure out exactly where that is on their dial not to mention that you’ll need to take into account whether or not they have satellite TV. 8 PM could really be 8 PM Eastern not Pacific.  It’s a new weird social discomfort, minor though it may be.

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