I Pay for Hundreds of TV Channels but Only Watch 11

I Pay for Hundreds of TV Channels but Only Watch 11According to Neilsen, Americans on average receive 189 channels but only watch 17.

That got me wondering how many stations I watch. Let's see....

I watch a lot of sports. That includes:

  • TSN
  • TSN2
  • Sportsnet
  • Leafs TV
  • CBC (for HNIC)

And I watch a lot of CBCNN. That has us at 6 stations. And Mad Men is on AMC and Cosmos is on Fox, that's two more to bring us to 8.

I popped over to CP24 the other day to hear what they were saying about the newest Rob Ford crack video. That has us at 9.

Hamilton's channel 11 provides me with 60 Minutes and Jeopardy!, so that brings us to 10.

Throw in a titch of TVOntario and we're done at 11. I've watched a grand total of 11 stations in 2014.

Like I said, I'm getting completely screwed by Rogers.

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Comments (19 - click here to join in!)


I concur with your 'experimnet', Mike. I also pay way too much for a limited number of channels. My wife and I used to justify the high cost because my kids loved the Disney Channel and you could only get that if you subscribed to all the packages, blah blah.

But we've had Netflix for almost two years (for the record, the Canadian Netflix...that US vs Canada debate is for another post I'm sure) and my kids prefer that over the Disney Channel now. So, as it turns out, we're moving at the end of June and I am definitly cutting the cable back considerably. Will I cut the cord and go HD OTA? Maybe.

But for the money I am paying vs. what I am actually watching...I might as well pile the money into a bowl and light it on fire. Much better show that most on the 852 other channels I get.

May 8, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I cut the cord in March 2011. I lasted 2 months because the NHL and NBA playoffs caused me to cave.

It's live sports that keeps me subscribing with Rogers.

May 8, 2014 @ 10:07 AM


So you're the guy who watches Leafs TV and TVO!

May 8, 2014 @ 10:12 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I only watch Leafs TV when they're airing a Leafs game. But they have the monopoly on some Leafs games, so what's a fan to do?

And TVO has some great docs!

May 8, 2014 @ 10:15 AM

Ryan G

"It's live sports that keeps me subscribing with Rogers."

And Rogers knows it.

I know a few people who cut the cable (or satellite) but came back. In some cases, for sports, but in others, it's actually an underrated aspect of all of this - the user experience.

With cable/satellite, Rogers and Bell provide a relatively simple experience of casually surfing channels, and many people will fly around the dial until they find something they like, and even watch the ending of movies/ shows that are in progress.

It's a first world problem, but the alternative methods can be so much work. So yea, there's that.

May 8, 2014 @ 10:17 AM

Jason from Sudbury

Yeah if it wasn't for live sports and my 60 inch tv I probably wouldn't bother with cable either. Although Star Choice (now Shaw Direct) has been pretty good to me over the last 10 years.
I do actually watch quite a bit of shows on different channels, but it's all shit I could catch online or download too.

May 8, 2014 @ 10:36 AM

519 Rob

I 100% agree Mike.
When I moved in January, I cut my cable back a lot (partially for lack of money, partially lack of interest).
I lost Comedy (dammit, it's still The Comedy Network to me), and I miss the time-waste factor.

But I wouldn't upgrade simply cause the cost is not worth it.

I know its a pipe dream, but I wish you could just buy channels a la carte.

I could live with
and probably a few network stations.

May 8, 2014 @ 10:39 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I could easily live with 11 stations a'la carte, and if pressed, I could drop AMC and Fox and watch those shows another way, and I'm not really a CP24 fan.

So give me my 8 channels... I'll happily pay $5 / month for each.

May 8, 2014 @ 10:54 AM

Ben Vidal

This is a tough one for me. About two years ago when I got my smartphone I noticed the usage on my personal laptop dropped significantly. With this drop also came a drop in downloaded TV shows or movies, which in turn increased regular TV usage.

I like TV and tend to have it on in the background when I'm cooking, doing work or cleaning. I would say that altogether I probably watch 20 stations. CTV, Global, CityTV, CHCH CBC, all TMN channels(6), AMC(not for that overrated piece of garbage MadMen), TSN channels for soccer and some new channel they have that shows Spanish league soccer. I almost never turn on CP24 as I find it to be obnoxious. With PVR it makes watching TV that much easier, because I completely wipe out commercials from my viewing experience and save a big amount of time.

The thing that has changed my TV watching habits is Netflix. In fact my habits have changed dramatically. It may also be ruining my life, but I digress. Binge watching and the plethora of TV shows available make it impossible not use on a regular basis. Shows that I had never picked up before I find myself watching now. Luther, Downton Abbey, Suits, House of Cards, Orange is the new Black, Firefly are just a few.

I agree that paying for 100's of channels and only watching 20 is ridiculous. The problem is if they ever offer a la carte for channels the cost will be so prohibitive that you will keep the packages you have. Look what they did with cellphones. No more 3 year plans ok, now you sign up for 2 years and must have a minimum $85 plan. They'll bone you anywhere they can.

May 8, 2014 @ 10:54 AM

Steve T

I stream all my games via firstrowsports.

Another option if you want better quality, buy into a NHL Center Ice package with another friend. Share the cost between the two of you and enjoy all NHL games. Make sure you change the DNS settings to US on the device or you'll be blacked out for Leafs games.

May 8, 2014 @ 11:24 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Steve T

Sure, that'll work for the NHL, but what about all the other sports I'd like to be able to watch in HD?

NBA playoffs, Jays games... and soon the World Cup... and heck, if the Kentucky Derby is on, I'd like to be able to watch it live.

And yes, I'm aware this is a first world problem, and others are just trying to find clean drinking water...

May 8, 2014 @ 11:27 AM


On a side note, those looking for a clever British comedy should check out "Rev." Its about an Anglican minister presiding over a church in London.

It doesn't make fun of Anglicans, nor does it glorify them either. Well written and terrific acting.

May 8, 2014 @ 11:31 AM

Rob F

I too find myself tied to more channels than I need simply to access the sports I watch.
BELL has an a la carte service in Quebec which should be rolling out here this year ???
Found that I was able reduce my monthly amount if I lived in Quebec...using their a la carte service..

May 8, 2014 @ 12:13 PM


COZI TV now running, with five subchannels, from Buffalo (new channel 56.1).
Goes with MeTV (67.1), AntennaTV (2.3), etc. It is in a start-up phase right now with a black and white era lineup (likely to channel 56.3 - as currently titled, Retro).
The Cozi channel 56.1's 1970s and 1980s lineup just started today. All of these stations are free to air (Over-The-Air) broadcasts. All of these are also unavailable via Cdn cable and satellite systems while their program listings never get carried within any Toronto area newspapers.

May 8, 2014 @ 2:07 PM


When we moved into this house 11 years ago, I had plans on getting a cable/sat service (the dish is on the roof) but never got around to it (2 kids in quick succession will do that).
We still got CBC, Global, CTV, TVO over the air, but lost those when the CRTC dropped the requirement. I then thought about getting digital OTA, but never did.
Now we only do Netflix, Hulu, and hockey games at CBC.ca.
And I can honestly say, I don't really miss it. You get used to not having that option of just sitting down and being a vegetable as you you surf the channels. TV watching has changed so much -- remember setting aside Thursday nights for Seinfeld, Friends, ER, etc? We've saved thousands of $ and thousands of hours wasted watching mediocre (at best) reality TV.

May 8, 2014 @ 2:09 PM


So TSN and Sportsnet are reporting that Carlyle got a contract extension.....first Pylon...er..Dion, and now this.

Attention NHL Teams...my fandom is now up for bids, the Leafs have made the wrong call for the last time as far as I'm concerned. I will be spending the off season figuring out who I'm cheering for now (Senators, Habs and Bruins need not apply.)

May 8, 2014 @ 3:17 PM


I watch live sports...not on Rogers or Bell and in HD! Yippee! Freedom!

May 8, 2014 @ 9:14 PM


We get a great price for our Cable/Internet/Home Phone.

We have the VIP package with Rogers and it is more than we need. That being said, much of the content we watch is on speciality channels that include HBO/AMC and of course the secondary sport channels that have the occasional UFC preliminaries or TFC matches. The OnDemand feature is something we use often. We often watch the same episodes two to three times. On top of a one NextBox and two HD Boxes.

So I can't complain about pricing.

If you don't call and fight for a better price, cable is a rip off. If you bundle your phone/television/internet together and for Bell/Rogers to compete for your business you can get a great deal.

May 9, 2014 @ 8:59 AM

Rick C in Oakville

My wife and daughter are the satellite consumers in our house hold. I could get by with my internet and streaming. Can't recall the last time I really took an interest in TV. (Sopranos is the only thing that comes to mind).

May 10, 2014 @ 12:17 AM

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