Parky's Video Review

How To Watch (Kinda) Free TV in Utica

I haven’t paid a cable bill in my entire adult life. It’s always been too expensive for me to justify. 

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I use my TV to “watch stuff on the internet”; Usually from Netflix and other streaming avenues or torrent sites. Yeah whatever, sometimes I download stuff, sue me, no –wait– don’t. Anyway, I’ve always been able to watch exactly what I want to watch whenever I want to watch it, for the most part.

It’s now even easier to watch local channels, upwards of 10-15 channels, for absolutely free. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 COAX Cable – You remember these is you remember VCRs. It’s also the cable that is probably more recognized as the one plugged into the thing to make your internet float around the house straight to your iPad. Look around your house, you have one, probably shoved away in a box somewhere.
  • A Pair of Pliers – I’m also willing to bet you have these around your house. If you don’t someone very close to you, near and dear to your heart, probably does. Like your Dad. So ask your Dad if you don’t have these. Diagonal cutting or wire cutting ones.
  • Razor Blade – Or a box cutter. Something sharp. Use caution when doing this and cut away from your body. I use a cutting board when doing this.

It’s called Over The Air Programming. It’s free.

If you do in fact own a TV, generally just even a flat (modern-ish) TV, this will work. In 2009 the government switched over all analog TV signals to free, over the air digital ones. Have you noticed channels looking something like 2.1, 20.2 etc…that is from the digital conversion.Most people would go out an buy a digital antenna to access these channels but this article is to explain why you don’t need to waste the money doing so.

In the lovely city of Utica, and the surrounding area, we have local stations already broadcasting this “free signal,” that’s right you all already have access to NBC, Fox, ABC, CW, WPNY, PBS, ESCAPE, Grit, Laff and some other random channels. That means you can watch any sports broadcast on these channels or even shows like Scandal, Antiques Road Show or a personal favorite of mine, Americas Got Talent—live in high definition. You even get the local news if you watch it.

How to Watch free TV In Utica?

Take a pair of pliers and a coax cable (take it right from that old VCR or just strip down your house for old cables like I did.) Next strip down one end of the cable, to the copper, about a foot. Then take the end that isn’t stripped and plug it in the back of your TV. From there just go to the menu and find the settings on your TV to do a channel scan. You’ll notice channels are being located (you want digital).

It’s literally that simple and that cheap. Throw away that cable box or dish…If you have the materials in your house, and most of you do, you will be enjoying free TV in Utica in a matter of minutes. Have any questions or comments? Leave them below!

Parky's Video Review

Is It Time To Drop Netflix?

Trust me, it’s not an easy question to answer. I’ve been a member since 2006. I had the 3 DVD…

Trust me, it’s not an easy question to answer.

I’ve been a member since 2006. I had the 3 DVD at a time plan, this was shortly before movies were available to stream through their site. I know, can you imagine? I waited for movies to be mailed to my house. If you did it right you could usually get 6 a week, sometimes 9. I wouldn’t even watch them at first. I would just burn them on a blank DVD and stuff them back in the mail. I now have hundreds of obsolete discs laying around my house.

I grew up in a video store family. We constantly watched movies as kids, I mean we literally had access to anything. New movies when I wanted them, access to classics whenever I was in the mood for something…A Van Damme Good night anyone?

via GIPHY

That was Netflix before Netflix at the time. Maybe that is why I gravitated towards it. I, like most, downloaded things. Illegal or not, doesn’t matter. You all know what LimeWire was. But after 10 years I thought it was time to maybe re-evaluate my relationship with Netflix and here are 5 reasons why.

5. Differing Memberships/Price Changes

Long story short I lost my debit card in August, along with my license. I just replaced it last week. This meant updating all my information for my accounts, including Netflix.

It’s what inspired this article, actually. For a long time the service has been $9.99, a fair and reasonable rate. A price that I had just always assumed would be “grandfathered” to me or something. I had no reason to think this but if you recall in 2011 a Netflix price hike horribly backfired on them. So for $10 plus this guide on How To Watch (Kinda) Free TV in Utica cutting that cord has been worth it.

So I update my info and wouldn’t you know the first screen I see after confirming the update:

Obviously this is annoying, but why?

Mainly because I never read the user agreement or hardly follow any updates to terms and conditions. It’s right there, though, in a few different sections.

  • We reserve the right to modify, terminate or otherwise amend our offered membership plans.
  • We reserve the right to adjust pricing for our service or any components thereof in any manner and at any time as we may determine in our sole and absolute discretion.

Doesn’t change the fact that I am now considering if that extra $1 a month (or $12 a year) is worth it. Yes, it’s just a dollar but in America Netflix now has more subscribers than cable. They have 104 million subscribers worldwide. A simple $1 increase is a an extra $104 million PER MONTH, now multiply that by 12.

Take it past the small price increase and to principal. When does it become $10.99 then $12.99 then $15.99 and so on. When are you going to be paying an extra $5 to see Stranger Things a week early?

Am I being dramatic? Maybe. But I’ve agreed to terms for something that can just raise the price of the service, change the service or cancel the service anytime they feel like it.

Which leads me to…

4. Rising Debt  + Sex Scandals + Net Neutrality = ?

What exactly am I paying for now? Content.

Those costs are sky rocketing for Netflix. In fact they just took an extra $1.6 Billion in debt on their existing $20 Billion. The idea is to become less reliant on outside producers and studios (Weinstein) for movies and shows (House of Cards) in the years to come.

If you read the articles I’ve linked you’ll see that most forecast this as a positive thing for Netflix. Their subscription growth is up 25% over the last year and has quadrupled in 5 years. Most project that to continue with the increased focus on international content (which I’ll get to) and more must see originals like Stranger Things. I also just outlined how they are making crazy money on just subscription increases so there is a backup to cover this debt already in place, sorta.

All these projections rely on previous trends and possible projections. Like everything that is risky. Remember when having a dish on your house was this new big thing? Point is trends pass, competition increases but more importantly their are the unpredictable factors.

Like Louis C.K. – Netflix has pulled his upcoming stand up special. Sure they can make that loss up somewhere but if they are paying $40 million for two Chris Rock specials and $100 million for Jerry Seinfeld, how much was paid into Louis C.K. projects?

Then there is Kevin Spacey. Possibly the poster boy for Netflix, well until Eleven. Don’t forget how big of a deal House of Cards was for that quadrupled subscriber increase over 5 years, here is a 2014 Business Insider article, Kevin Spacey: Netflix Made A LOT Of Money On ‘House Of Cards’.

And it made him a lot of money as well, Spacey stands to lose $6.5 Million on House of Cards alone.

I’m not saying people will boycott Netflix over this. What I am saying is they will lose a lot of money because of it. Lets be honest, without Frank Underwood House of Cards isn’t a $100 Million franchise it was projected to be when Netflix took on their debts.

You also hope they considered Net Neutrality, I’m sure they have. If the internet model changes will Netflix continue it’s rapid growth? Natural competition on the market is already rising, if Netflix doesn’t deliver on new original content and our new throttled internet forces people to be more selective of their content what becomes of this massive debt?

3. Rating System is a Thumbs Down

Enough with the financial stuff, for now. The rating system is trash. Here are some key points:

  • Inability to tell the difference if rating is on popularity or based on merit.
  • No difference between ‘I guess I didn’t hate it’ and ‘This is the greatest I’ve ever seen’.
  • Star-rating system was a way to remove content never going to have interest in.

“What’s more powerful: you telling me you would give five stars to the documentary about unrest in the Ukraine; that you’d give three stars to the latest Adam Sandler movie; or that you’d watch the Adam Sandler movie ten times more frequently?” – Todd Yellin, Netflix’s vice president of product.

I felt like this was directed right at me. As a matter of fact, Todd, I’m a huge doc fan and like everyone else in the world hate Adam Sandlers work post Big Daddy. And it’s funny he mentioned Adam Sandler, who now has twice signed 4 picture deals with Netflix.

That aside, I was very proud of my review list. I’ve literally rated thousands of titles dating back to 2007.

Including 2 different strange runs of heavy ESPN 30 for 30 reviews in March 2013 and August 2012.

After 10 years of dedicated rating I’m now just a shell of my former reviewing self…

2. The Content is Meh…

Maybe it’s because I haven’t been as dedicated to rating stuff but I honestly feel like if I connect the dots I’m just being served more and more Netflix endorsed content instead of actual content I have shown interest in through 10 years of reviews. And that makes sense, I already outlined how Netflix is taking on debt to develop new programming. A direct way to get away from studios and paying them so it makes sense they would push all of their stuff at me first.

I watch a lot of TV shows and documentaries and I’m very picky about what I watch. I’ve been supportive of Netflix developing new(ish) content, I’m a huge Arrested Development fan but I thought Ozark was like a B-. That is kind of the point. For every hit there is going to be misses. I think the new rating system was designed to hide that so Netflix shows wouldn’t show negative results but whatever. I’m really stuck on the rating system.

I’m also the product of 10 years a customer. I know too much about Netflix but just feel it no longer knows enough about me. That is what makes this inevitable breakup so hard. I’ve seen everything Netflix has to offer, at least what I’ve wanted to watch. I waste more time trying to find something new to watch instead of just watching something.

It might just also be time to move on because…

1. There are other options.

Netflix set the trend. They undoubtedly changed the way we consume media. The government is trying to change the internet because of a trend they set.

You now have the option of HBO, Sling, Hulu, Amazon etc…To stay in the game cable gives you online streaming services with a valid account login meaning you get ESPN, History, TBS – I don’t know whatever you like. Additionally AT&T bought DirecTV which provides a new type of option, cell and entertainment combined. There is just a lot out there and you now have choices that are competitive.

I’m a big fan of HBO Now, it offers a 30 day trial then goes to $14.99 a month, more money versus Netflix but I think HBO has the best content library.

Amazon offers a content library with a Prime account, which is also appealing for the one year price. You can also try this for free but honestly most of the services offer a month. I haven’t been a huge fan of their library. The selection of docs keep me entertained enough but the series fall flat for me. They’ve already cancelled over 10 shows, if you need more evidence. Side note, I kinda actually liked Mad Dogs but at the same time not surprised it was cancelled. That’s the way Amazon is for me.

I don’t mess with Hulu but maybe it’s time to give it a shot, they offer live TV now if that’s your thing.

So maybe at the end of the day a break from Netflix is only temporary.

We can take some time apart so when we finally connect again, and they charge me whatever monthly rate at that point in time, I can actually enjoy it. Maybe I’ll just steal, or borrow, someones account to keep watching – I’ve done the same for others. Oh shit, I forgot about all the people leeching off my account, I hope they read this article!

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Parky's Video Review

Vice Principals and 3 Other Shows To Binge This Winter

I’d claim to be a video streaming content authority if it didn’t feel so obvious I just watched TV all…

I’d claim to be a video streaming content authority if it didn’t feel so obvious I just watched TV all day.

I can justify it but the explanation would be another article…Wait, nope, can’t let it go. I work from home.  I “watch” video the same way you listen to radio at work, except I choose a variety of shows to watch and you have to listen to the same Celine Dion song 20 times a week. Though I’d hate to see how many times I’ve watched The Office on Netflix…I also always put something on before I go to sleep, 60% of Americans do the same. There, now that I’ve explained why I watch so many shows I can move on to explaining the criteria for this list.

I prefer shows over movies
I need a longer story arc, character development. I don’t talk about the last good movie I saw (unless it was a documentary) the way I insist people should watch particular shows.

I’m only listing shows that are considered finished but not cancelled.
This means the story has concluded, the show has ended. There are no scheduled reboots or new seasons. For example, Freaks and Geeks was cancelled, not concluded. It won’t be included in this list, though you should watch it (Netflix).

All can be watched through some sort of streaming service.
I’ll include information on where to watch and how to watch. In theory these shows are available to everyone, you might need to jack your friends Netflix or your parents cable provider info if you’re that guy.

There is nothing from Hulu (ever) or Amazon (this time).
I’ve just never been a fan of Hulu. It reminds me of the safari browser, for whatever that’s worth. As for Amazon, I prefer their documentary section. The original TV shows just aren’t that good, in my opinion, and don’t match my criteria for this list anyway.

I’m ready to binge watch!

But first I think it’s important to try and remember a time when turning on hollywood didn’t feel like the dark web. I never liked House of Cards, for the record. I also spend an abnormal amount of time complaining about how many garbage Netflix stand up specials there are clogging my recommendations up. Good Riddance to both. Let’s get to list before someone in these shows is busted for something.

1. Vice Principals


An over protective father is obsessed with becoming a principal and competes against the popular vice principal. However something happens that makes them work together to save the day.

Who do I know that’s in it?

Why should I watch?
It’s hilarious. It is typical Danny McBride and very much in the vein of the first season of Eastbound and Down – which I’d recommend watching if 2 1/2 out of the 4 seasons were stronger.

Walton Goggins is a star as Lee Russell – a charcter you’ve never seen him play, espceially if you watch The Shield and Justified. At the end of the day the story is about two Vice Principals vying for the same job and what they would do to get it told beautifully and comically over two well planned seasons.

Season 1 and Season 2 feel like two entirely different shows, mind you, but were shot back to back. It was even written in entirety before it was cast or shot.

“We approached Vice Principals similar to how feature film directors approach movies; it’d be foolish to make the same feature film over and over again… Ultimately, it was made to be seen as one nine-hour movie.” – Danny McBride

Ask the fake expert: The last episode is one of the best finales I’ve ever watched (9.4/10 on IMDB). Dr. Brown (Kimberly Hebert Gregory), Jen Abbot (Edi Patterson) and Nash (Dale Dickey) are the most underrated character and I think you’ll see more of all 3 women, especially Patterson)

How to watch Vice Principals

  • HBO Now
  • HBO Go

Total Bing Time – About 9 Hours (18 episodes)

2. Manhunt: Unabomber


An in-depth look at how an FBI profiler helped track down the Unabomber.

Who do I know that’s in it?

Why should I watch?
This is an 8 part mini series about Ted Kaczynski (Bettany) told from the perspective of an FBI profiler trying to solve the case. The show alone is worth a watch if you are interested in The Unabomber, not in a weird way.

They do a great job of explaining why the manhunt was so complex: the brilliance of Kaczynski and the brilliance of the profiler, Jim Fitzgerald (Worthington).

“The TV show really doesn’t ask for any sympathy for Ted, but what it does ask for is empathy for Ted.” – Paul Bettany

Ask the fake expert: The whole show is good but the episode specifically about Ted Kaczynski feels a little long and out of place. The show is about “Fitz”, the profiler. How it affects his work and personal life. It’s more the workings of the FBI not a domestic terrorist so an episode in which we learn about Ted is needed, maybe. The Harvard stuff needed to make it into the story – and stuff with his brothers wife. It explains a lot.

How to watch Manhunt: Unabomber

  • Discovery Channel App
  • Netflix

Total Bing Time – About 8 Hours (8 episodes)

3. The Leftovers


Three years after the disappearance of 2% of the global population, a group of people from New York struggle to continue their lives, while they cope with the tragedy of the unexplained nature of the event.

Who do I know that’s in it?

Why should I watch?
Sorry, another HBO show. It’s a weird HBO show. The Leftovers is by far the longest binge watch on this list – 3 Seasons.

My Sister: Do you think the leftovers is sort of like Lost? I’m just starting season 2.
Me: Same creator.
My Sister: Makes sense.

I won’t spoil anything but I swear to god they had a moment to tie in a plane crash, Australia and just about any other leap you could make into this show having something to do with Lost…

This is where the recommendation gets weird – The Leftovers is a book, well Season 1 was. The story didn’t much continue past that so Damon Lindelof, the show creator (and of Lost) essentially wrote two different seasons off of one book. It allows the maniac to get very Losty on us, like he still has a point to make – dude Lost lost it 4 seasons in. It’s time to move on…

“The other thing is, the expectation on Lost, I’ve spoken about what it was and that it was a mystery box show, etc, but it went for 121 episodes. The Leftovers is 28, and I just feel like, when you just talk about the relative distances between, it’s like a 10k to a marathon in terms of how long it lasted, but also in terms of the scale at which how many people are watching it.” – Damon Lindeloff

Ask the fake expert: I love the Leftovers. I love Liv Tyler. I know also love Justin Theroux, who I admittedly knew little about as an actor and more about who he was married to. This show has some weird, deep and dark undertones. IT might not be for everyone but if you do binge watch it DM me your thoughts about Nora.

How to watch The Leftovers

  • HBO Now
  • HBO Go

Total Bing Time – About 28 Hours (28 episodes)

4. The Sinner


Young mother Cora Tannetti is overcome by an inexplicable fit of rage that leads her to commit a startling — and very public — act of violence, with no explanation as to why she did it.

Who do I know that’s in it?

  • Jessica Biel – 7th Heaven, Summer Catch, Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • Bill Pullman – Independence Day, While You Were Sleeping

Why should I watch?
You know, I almost left this off. This is ok. It’s another mini series which means the story has a clear start and finish. Unfortunately the start was good and the finish was meh. I could be wrong, it’s rated highly non Rotten Tomatoes (94%) and was a great comeback or coming out role for Jessica Biel. It’s an interesting take on murder mystery, beyond the murder that kicks the whole show off and also mixes well as a psychological thriller.

“I think if you’re gonna do a murder mystery, you gotta take a new approach to it, because we’ve had murder mysteries since, like, the dawn of time. To me, the psychological underpinnings of all of this were super intriguing.” – Jessica Biel

Ask the fake expert: I kinda feel like they try to justify murder of a person to a past sexual assault and murder. I don’t mean that to be a hot take. I just wasn’t invested in Biel. Then there is some weird incest shit with the sister. I’m talking myself out of the recommendation. Wait, Bill Pullman. Yes…Pullman saves the show.

I think I’m just recommending this so I can hear another opinion about it.

How to watch The Sinner

  • USA App
  • Netflix

Total Bing Time – About 8 Hours (8 episodes)

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Parky's Video Review

How Stranger Things is exploiting Barb to make money

If you don’t know/haven’t watched/live under a rock, Stranger Things just dropped Season 2 on Netflix today. Spoiler alert: Barb…

If you don’t know/haven’t watched/live under a rock, Stranger Things just dropped Season 2 on Netflix today.

Spoiler alert: Barb is still missing.

Stay with me.
Don’t stop reading.
I’m not going to tell you everything that happened.

Stranger Things is one of the most popular digital original series in the country. 14 million adults, aged 18-49, watched the show during the first 35 days on Netflix. Netflix numbers on original content are inflated a bit versus other content on the site, in my opinion. There are 2 seconds between next original episodes versus 20 for non originals. You also have to keep confirming your existence every few episodes with non original content but with something like Stranger Things it will play start to finish. This shows more plays immediately, even if someone fell asleep and didn’t actually watch it.  Then repeat plays when you have to watch it again. Whatever. Even if slightly faked, that is a highly coveted audience for advertisers – if there were commercials to buy. There are not. It is the great thing about Netflix.

But how does a company make money that way? Netflix is a subscription based service, obviously. To keep up and capitalize on the popularity, Netflix has accumulated a hefty $20.54 billion in long-term debt and obligations in its effort to produce more original content. The popularity and buzz might get new subscribers, Netflix has 104 million, but there needs to be massive capital and returns to justify producing more original content. Remember Eggos from Season 1? It’s called native advertising and it’s already around you everywhere.

Great, you already forgot about Barb!

I told you I wouldn’t spoil anything but early in episode 1 of season 2 you meet an investigative reporter named Murray. Long story short, he seems to think Russian involvement or something. I guess that stuff has been happening since at least the 80’s. So contrary to popular belief some people out there haven’t forgotten about Barb. Well at least Murray, her parents and Nancy and Steve.

KFC: “For when you just don’t have time to cook because Barb disappeared”

I said it in the title, Stranger Things is exploiting Barb to make money. For the record I love it.

Nancy and Steve attend dinner at the Holland residence. Barbs mom was going to make that ziti they liked but just got tied up, you know, looking for her missing daughter. It happens. Nobody is mad. Steve even tells everyone at the table “he loves KFC”.

At this point if that handsome son of a bitch hasn’t already convinced you to google when the North Utica KFC is going to open then I raise you this…

Your daughter is missing and possibly dead, you are selling your house to pay for an investigative reporter and you apparently hate the local police but damn, that chicken.

For the first time in a long time this woman is hopeful.

Because the next best thing to a home cooked meal with the two people who were with your daughter last is a bucket of the Colonel’s famous recipe.

Nancy appears to be the only one still concerned about Barb and possibly the chicken…

Throughout the entire scene Nancy is never shown eating the KFC.

Apparently this is the only way to keep caring about Barb? Have you forgotten about her again? Already?!

Am I implying KFC chicken creates mind control in Stranger Things to keep people from asking about The Upside Down? I said I wouldn’t spoil anything but no. I am not implying that at all. What stood out about this particular scene is that KFC at the table is totally acceptable and normal. The KFC bucket remained in most shots of the entire scene. The characters are shown eating the KFC what feels like more than usual….while just causally discussing the disappearance of Barb.

The best part? KFC somehow managed to get their tagline, “it’s finger licking good” into ACTUAL lines of the episode, said by that handsome SOB Steve. I’m not even kidding.

Stop forgetting about Barb

Even if Stanger Things does again, they go back to it on Episode 5ish. Whoops spoiler. Go eat some KFC. They probably paid a ton of money for you to think of them – even if you didn’t notice.

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