So Comcast has offered my a year of free premium channel. I can’t decide. I’m tending toward Showtime because they have some interest original programming in addition to movies. My second choice would probably be TMC. My roommate says Starz because it has the best movies, but I didn’t see anything in the current listing I would consider watching. Anyone have any opinions?
It wasn’t on your list but I’d choose HBO. We’ve had all the premium channels at one time or another, and HBO is the only one we’ve kept.
By the time a movie gets to TV, it’s been available on DVD for months, so IMHO the only reason to have a premium channel is for the original programming. Oz, The Sopranos, Deadwood, The Wire, Rome, Carnivale – great stuff. Nobody else comes close.
But if you want the channel mainly for movies, go with Starz. At least they show movies people have heard of, and they don’t show the same ones for months at a time.
I agree with trying for HBO. I have Starz, Showtime, and HBO, and if I had to keep only one, it’d be HBO. And I’d add Generation Kill to the list of great original programming.
I’d also say that there is a small benefit to having a premium channel (at least, for me). I’ve found a lot of movies I’d never heard of before that have come out in the last few years that I can DVR and have lying around for a lazy weekend.
I’d choose Showtime for all the reasons mentioned plus I enjoyed the first season of Secret Diary of a Call Girl starring Billie Piper. She gets naked, for all you T&A fans. Dunno how Comcast works, but with Charter signing up for Showtime includes TMC On Demand so you get at least some of the second channel’s lineup (although stock tends to rotate between the two fairly heavily).
Wow, your cable company is a lot different than mine. If you subscribe to digital cable, you get starz and encore. And when you subscribe to Showtime too, it comes with The Movie Channel.
The Movie Channel is worthless to me, because it rarely has more than 20 movies on-demand (I have a feeling it’s because the cable company sucks, though, not neccessarily the channel), and a third of those are movies also on-demand on Starz or Showtime at the same time to boot.
If you like Weeds, Dexter, The Tudors, Californication etc, I’d go for that one; I subscribe about 1/2 the year when there’s a six months for half price deal just to see those shows. If you don’t, then go with Starz since there are more movies.
Regarding just films:
Showtime has a horrible, and very small, selection of films that they keep in rotation far too long before adding any new films.
Starz has lots more films and usually adds a couple of new, fairly big-release films, on Saturdays.
The Movie Channel has nothing of interest, ever.
However, Showtime does have all those series mentioned above that are the only reason I haven’t canceled them.
And although HBO wasn’t on your list, they have a good film selection, but their series selection has gone way down since the end of Sopranos, Sex And The City, and only sporadic airings of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
This is pretty similar to my take on the subject. I rank the premium channels as follows:
HBO is the top dog. The best original programming by a wide margin and a reliable selection of blockbuster movies. Though beyond the handful of new releases the rest of the movie selection blows.
Cinemax is my second favorite. They typically have a very good selection of blockbuster films and independent/second run movies and a lot of late-night T&A.
Starz probably has the best selection of big Hollywood movies and they have a lot of extra channels for the price of one.
Showtime is good if you are into their original programming. I haven;t found one that I’ve really enjoyed yet and their movies suck ass so Showtime isn’t a big fave. If you think you’d like their original shows then they might be worth it.
TMC has almost never had anything worth watching with the notable exception of the occasional Classic films. Of the big channels they are the most likely to show some Hitchcock, Welles or other Golder Era movies.