The current state of cable networks

A good many series broadcast on BBC Entertainment can be found on YouTube these days.

January 11, 2018 16:07
3 minute read.
Watching television (Illustrative)

Watching television (Illustrative). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)


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Recently, several readers have contacted The Jerusalem Post over concerns with some changes in which channels are available from the cable providers. Specifically, some people are upset that YES dropped BBC Entertainment and the Mezzo channels.

I contacted a YES spokesperson, and he said that in place of Mezzo, there is now a channel called Classica Israel that broadcasts classical music concerts and ballet and opera performances from all over the world. It seems to be very similar to what was called Mezzo — in fact, I did not notice the switch.

The dropping of BBC Entertainment has elicited a more passionate response from readers. The YES spokesman said, essentially, that the channel was dropped because it did not feature much original content, which is actually the reason many loved it so much, as they enjoyed the beloved classic programming, such as Keeping Up Appearances and EastEnders. The YES spokesperson noted that 20 territories around the world have dropped the channel as well. EastEnders Christmas 2017: Trailer - BBC One (YouTube/BBC)

But YES emphasized the fact that during the coming year, the network will feature more than 20 new British series from various channels, including BBC, Channel 4 and others, which will be broadcast on different YES channels. YES Edge is currently broadcasting a gritty new thriller series called Rellik (“killer” spelled backwards), for example, and Season Two of The A-Word is airing on YES VOD and YES London.

A good many series broadcast on BBC Entertainment can be found on YouTube these days.

Those who must have Mezzo and BBC Entertainment can get them on HOT, which does include these channels and plans to continue them.

This raises the question of which cable service to subscribe to. The biggest networks here are HOT and YES. In the past, many people found HOT difficult to use. Once when I was visiting friends who had HOT, I pushed the wrong buttons on their remote controls in the wrong order. They had to call a technician to have service restored, and I felt terrible. I assume I’m not the only one who has had this experience.

However, in recent years the cable service has become more user-friendly. In terms of what is offered, I’d say the two cable networks are similar these days, with YES Oh and HOT HBO sometimes offering the same series at the same time or within a day or two of each other. This is pretty much true of the movie channels as well.

The two newcomers in the cable market, Cellcom TV and Partner TV, are cheaper but offer fewer choices, although for many, what they offer will be more than enough. Partner TV offers a rather bewildering assortment of packages that combine phone and Internet service with cable. I’m sure if you call them, a representative would be happy to explain it to you, but it’s not very clear from their website and would not be simple for an English speaker not comfortable in Hebrew to navigate.

What none of these service providers wants to talk about is the fact that around the world, more people are foregoing cable service altogether and making do with streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and iTunes. Netflix is available in Israel and has steadily been adding to its offerings. Amazon is available here in very limited form, for Amazon Prime subscribers, and even then much content is blocked. The Israel iTunes store does not stream television shows.

There is no clear answer these days about how you should watch the television you enjoy. The only thing I’m sure about is that there are great series coming out all the time, and you will want to watch them somewhere.

One series coming up that is far from great is Season Two of Divorce, which will be shown on January 16 on HOT HBO at 10 p.m. and HOT VOD, and YES Oh on January 15 at 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. and on YES VOD. While it started out promisingly, this series starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church quickly devolved into not very much, and I’m not sure where they will be able to go in a new season.

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