Streaming: enough is enough

Gray Hughes

One thing you may not know about me is that I love “Peanuts.”

Yes, I love the nut (or legume or whatever the heck it is), but I’m talking specifically about the comic strip. Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and the whole Peanuts gang, these are characters that have brought me great joy throughout my life.

So that’s why I was so ticked off to see the recent news about their specials being moved to Apple TV Plus.

I don’t have a single Apple product (my computer at work is a Mac, but my phone is a Samsung and my laptop is a Lenovo), so getting a streaming service owned by Apple isn’t really appealing to me. But, in order to watch some of my favorite “Peanuts” specials, I might have to.

I remember the days when there were no streaming services. That might seem impossible to some of you, but, yes, there once was a day when there was no Netflix or Hulu. If I wanted to watch something that I wasn’t going to be home to enjoy, I would have to put a tape in a VCR player so that I could watch it later.

We rented our movies on tape from a Blockbuster, and we liked it that way. All Netflix was at that time was a video rental service that came through the mail. I thought that was the dumbest thing ever.

Fast forward to when I was in high school. Netflix had been streaming things online for a couple of years before that, but it wasn’t really popular. I remember, one afternoon, I was bored and discovered I could watch my favorite movies online via Netflix.

“This is great,” I thought.

Then, one day in 2009, I was Googling something like “Watch The Office Online Free,” and a legit website that would not give me a virus popped up. This website was Hulu.

When I first starated using Hulu, ads were few and far between. I used Hulu all the time.

Then these companies realized they could make a killing on streaming. Netflix limited their streaming selection. Hulu started having ads in between shows. Then they would have ads during commercial breaks. Then you had to get an account to watch shows. And those accounts cost money!

At that time, I was a broke college student, and there was no way I was going to spend money to watch Hulu. Luckily, I knew people who did have Hulu accounts, so I just borrowed their password so I could watch TV that way.

That brings us to today. There are God only knows how many streaming services out there. NBC has Peacock. CBS has CBS All Access (that will turn into Paramount Plus in 2021). Apple has its Apple TV Plus. Amazon has its own streaming service. HBO has, like, three streaming services.

It goes on and on and on and on. At some point, somebody with some sort of sway has to say: enough is enough.

I’ve become a slave to these streaming services. If I want to watch my favorite show on ABC, I need to have Hulu. If I want to watch my guilty pleasure show, “Entourage,” I need to have one of HBO’s streaming services. If I missed “Saturday Night Live,” I need to have Peacock.

And, sadly, if I want to continue a tradition I’ve held since I was literally born and watch “Peanuts” specials, I need to have Apple TV Plus now.

Why can’t we just have one streaming service for movies (Netflix) and one streaming service for TV shows (Hulu) like it used to be? Well, friends, I know the answer. Care to reckon a guess? Come on, I bet you can get it. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! You got it! The answer is: money!

Yes, sadly, the answer is money. Everything in this world is controlled by the almighty dollar. But you know that. I know that. A newborn baby who hasn’t developed the ability to form words or use the toilet yet knows that.

These networks want people to sign up to bolster their bottom line. They have no regard for how this will impact me and you. They just want a bigger yacht that they can drink champagne and eat caviar on.

When will enough be enough? Sadly, never. These companies don’t care that this is a huge drain on us if we want to watch our favorite shows. No, all they care about is things like shareholder dividends.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to sign up for Apple TV Plus so I can watch Snoopy fight the Red Baron this Halloween and all the other hijinks the “Peanuts” gang gets into this holiday season.

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