There have been some changes lately in the ways the DISH satellite television service provides cricket to it’s subscribers.
It began when the IPL (“Indian Premier League”, a shoddy T20 tournament held in, usually, India) kicked off this year. Up until then, the DISH ‘cricket package’ included three channels: Willow, TEN and NEO for $19.95 a month. Once the IPL got going, NEO effectively disappeared by becoming a re-broadcaster of Willow (which had the IPL). So we were down to a cricket ‘package’ of two whole channels.
That was annoying, but, for one thing, DISH claimed that NEO would be back once IPL was over, and for another, NEO is a pretty terrible channel (even judging by the low standards of cricket channels; NEO actually sucks major donkey doodle).
The next change was that Willow became available in HD. I honestly cannot tell you when that happened exactly, because DISH is always, always terrible about letting you know when channels become available in HD. It may sound crazy, but DISH provides their HD offerings as a second version of the same channel — with the same number. And you have to go check for the new HD channels yourself, they don’t just replace the SD one when they become available.
I did manage to watch quite a bit of the recent England v New Zealand test series in HD, so that was nice. Better than nice, really; cricket seems almost made for HD.
I had actually been watching a lot of the TEN cricket channel during the IPL , what as they weren’t showing IPL (which I refuse to watch, thanks). But DISH has dropped the TEN cricket channel forever (as of today, I think). Just dropped it.
I called DISH (and ended up talking to someone in India, as it happened) to see about ditching the ‘cricket package’ ($19.95/month) and just adding Willow (HD) as a stand-alone. Why pay for three channels, but only get two (and one of them was only SD, on hiatus, maybe going away forever, and terrible)?
It turns out that Willow is not available as a stand-alone channel. Well, OK then. I told the nice, helpful phone rep to take the cricket ‘package’ off of my service. He obviously felt bad (even though he admitted that he was not a big cricket-watcher) and gave me HBO for half price for six months.
I hope DISH changes their setup and restores the original package, or at least offers Willow on its own, but until then I won’t be watching cricket on TV. That makes me sad.
I also hope that the person at DISH who decided that not enough people were watching TEN Cricket for DISH to bother carrying it anymore, but that DISH customers should, instead, pay the same amount for 1/3rd the number of channels, dies from a painful case of penis cancer. I hope he dies alone and forgotten with nothing to watch except Glenn Beck’s Blaze channel (in SD).