This is an annoyance that most decidedly goes on the “Things we won’t miss” list! And I suppose I should be embarrassed that it happens to be one of the very first items I’m putting on that list. I mean, how important is TV anyway?!?
And let’s be clear, just because it’s more or less first on the list does not mean it’s “number one” in importance. That would be embarrassing!
No, it’s just that it’s been premiere week for the new fall schedule of television programming, and so far we’ve missed the a whole bunch of programs we like to watch because it was raining which knocks out the DISH satellite reception.
Now, in case you’re unfamiliar with this slightly pesky aspect of television here in Costa Rica, let me explain. If you live in town somewhere, you’ve got pretty good odds that you’ll have cable TV available to you. There are a couple of companies here and, broadly speaking, they’ll provide perfectly adequate television.
But once you move “out of town” into the house on that great view lot — as frankly many if not most gringos are likely to do — then your choices narrow substantially. Some folks take the comparatively inexpensive route and go with SkyTV which is a Latin-American service, designed to use the small dish most of us have come to associate with satellite TV. Its big advantage is that it’s not really affected any worse by weather than a similar service in the States would be, which is to say that in a huge driving storm it might go lose reception, but it survives most ordinary rain.
But with SkyTV you’re not getting “real” American TV like you would if you go the much more expensive route of getting a 3 meter dish (yes, that’s nearly 10 feet across!) and getting DISH network or DirecTV from the States. So if you want to watch actual network programming, you go the “big dish” route and that’s where you run into the rain-out problem.
(Now I’ll interject right here that there are some folks, of course, who think any expectation of coming to Costa Rica and wanting U.S. television programming is simply misguided in the first place. And I’m quire sure that if it simply weren’t available, one would just adjust and life would go on. Perhaps we’d even be better people for it since watching TV has become something that it seems like you have to apologize for. But since it is available and since we do have shows we enjoy watching, then darn it we’d like to watch and you’re not getting any apologies out of me!)
Back to the satellite and rain problem. You see, those satellites that provide the programming to the U.S. are positioned, not surprisingly, to provide clear signal to the U.S. So those of us 2,000 miles south of the U.S. first of all have to have these big-ass dishes to even pick up the signal in the first place and then, the “angle of reception” is so extreme that it doesn’t take much rain to interfere with the signal. In fact, good heavy cloud cover will sometimes do it and in anything other than the lightest sprinkle, you pretty much haven’t got a prayer.
So, yes, our dirty little secret is out — we like to watch TV at night and we have certain programs we like, and we’ve been bummed to have to miss the first shows of the season. Of course, in many cases we only just in the past few weeks got to see the season finales from last May, typically repeated as a way a bringing everyone “up to speed” before the new season starts, because we also often miss the finale episodes since the rainy season is just starting then.
Sigh. So there’s one thing to go on the “won’t miss” list — frequent loss of TV signal due to rain. And I’m sure in the future I’ll be embarrassed to look back and remember this came as the first posting on that “list” but darn it, we were looking forward to The Good Wife and CSI-Miami. Sheesh. At least we got to see Castle last night.