When I finally quit the wasteland of satellite and cable television early this year, I set about finding alternative ways to bring amusement and entertainment into my home. I quickly discovered Hulu, a "streaming service" on the internet that allowed me to access certain complete series of television programs and view them episode-by-episode in their entirety. Hulu is a two-tier format. There is no charge for the cheap tier which I accessed on my computer via the internet. They have a second tier of programming for $10 a month which contains programs that the company deems are good enough to command a fee. I stayed away from the second option and found plenty to entertain me on the free Hulu. The big inconvenience with Hulu was that it was littered with short commercials. (I understand that Hulu now has a commercial-free service, undoubtedly for a fee - but I have not tried it yet.).
This summer I got hooked up with a "streaming device," something called a Roku which allows me to connect with other streaming services on my home television. The two that I primarily use are Netflix which has a small fee (though I am currently accessing mine legally through someone else's account), and Amazon which I get free by being a member of Amazon Prime. I also have some other streaming options on the Roku, but find myself primarily using Netflix and Amazon - which offers tons of movies and television programs.
One thing that has not been covered very well by the offerings on the Roku are the British comedies and dramas - always among my very favorite shows. Some of the very best, Dr. Who and Sherlock, for instance, have made their way into the offerings of the American streaming organizations, but others I seem to have lost forever. I have not seen a dusty re-run of Last of the Summer Wine, a comedy about a group of old people puttering around a quiet English village, in nearly a year. Summer Wine, which ran from January of 1973 until until 2010 (295 episodes) is the longest running comedy in television history. I miss those quirky old guys terribly.
i also miss Absolutely Fabulous!, Are You Being Served?, and Keeping Up Appearances - all of which I came to love as offerings on various PBS stations over the years.
That void in my life may soon be filled, however. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced this week that it is developing its own streaming service, one designed specifically to bring those quality British programs to American audiences. My life appears on the verge of becoming complete!
Sign me up . . . and stream me up!
Satellite and cable television are quickly becoming the just the vaguest of bad memories!