Television fans have a new online option

Published 4:15 pm Tuesday, January 20, 2015

If you are looking for a way to cut your monthly cable or satellite TV bill in half, then good news is on the way.

The Dish Network is planning an announcement before the month is out on their new “Sling TV Network.” And, by subscribing to it and adding their basic broadcast package, you can have them both for around $45.

Let me break it down for you. First, I am not an ambassador for Dish. But, they are the first to offer such an exciting package.

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Sling TV will be fed to you via Internet (you must have Internet to get these channels). Then you must have a Roku or similar box to feed it to your TV. Roku is a onetime investment of $49.99 with no monthly fee. Or if you have a Smart TV or LG TV, no box will be needed. You can even watch it on your smartphone.

If you elect to not buy a Roku box, you can still watch it on your computer. Do not let these boxes confuse you. You can buy them at Walmart, Best Buy or online. They are easy to hook up. Just connect your Internet line to the box and, bingo, you are all hooked up. By the way Roku offers you hundreds of movies, outdoor shows and TV shows for free.

Now, here is the “bargain” part of Sling TV. It will contain two ESPN channels, ESPN and ESPN 2, in addition to 10 other channels — TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, ABC Family and CNN. Notice there is no Fox News Channel but that comes in the “Smart pack.” This may seem like a limited package but it is the only source to get live ESPN at such a bargain price.

Now, let’s talk about the Smart Pack. It is priced at $19.95 to $35 a month. You get all your local channels, Fox News, Hallmark channels, RFD Channel, Animal Planet, kids channels, The Weather Channel, Do it Yourself Channel, Investigative Discovery, all religious channels, TV Guide Network, Headline News, Shopping Channels and two documentary channels.

Many are now paying $80 to $120 each month for their TV packages. By subscribing to these two packages you cut your bill, in some cases, more than half. Of course, you can always add HBO and other premium networks, but, here again you are adding more costs to your monthly payments. By the way, you will be surprised to find so many older premium shows like Breaking Bad, etc., on Roku … for free.

Dish is also telling us they will later add another “Sports Extra” package to Sling, which will include more ESPN and Fox Sports channels. The costs of this are not known yet.

If you do not want to sign on to these offerings, you can wait until later on in the year for other announcements of similar packages from companies like Verizon, and cable companies, etc.

Moving along now, and speaking of TV, you have noticed the football games are almost over and basketball (“round ball” as they call it), is capturing the air waves.

I personally detest this sport, but I respect those who do enjoy watching it on TV. I find something about college basketball very amusing — and that is the number of coaches on each team. While watching a couple of minutes of an Alabama game this weekend I counted eight assistant coaches, besides the head coach. Now the thing that really drew my attention was the manner in which they were dressed. Each one of these coaches wore dark dress suits that looked tailor made.

They were tight fit and you would get the impression the entire coaching staff was dressed for a wedding — or a funeral. I counted less than 15 players on the team and I wondered why nine coaches are needed for this small number of players. I would think you could eliminate a couple of them and add those salaries to the pot that sustains scholarships. Oh, well.

Now, let’s take a look at some nostalgia news from 1967. Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) was stripped of his boxing title for resisting the draft. By the way, he is now recovering from a deadly case of pneumonia.

Atmore celebrated a bicentennial event that year and local historian Floyd Currie wrote a highly interesting account of Atmore’s 200-year history. His work was widely circulated and was given recognition and praise by dignitaries and leading citizens of the area.

Dan A. Currie wrote the Internet mini biography for Paul Birch (Smith), the famous Atmore movie actor. You remember his account in several of my past columns. He starred in the TV miniseries, “Cannonball.” Born here in 1912, Currie stated he passed away in 1969. I often see a member of his close kin, Sarah Blalock, since she moved back to Atmore. Her son Mike is a regular at our afternoon coffee sessions.

Another man who made a name for himself, Art “Tarzan” White, returned home that year to visit his sister Pauline White, who lived on South Main Street. Tarzan was an All-American football player at the University of Alabama in the 1930s. After a career in professional football with the New York Giants and the Chicago Cardinals, he became a world champion wrestler. He passed away in 1996.

That’s it for this week. I will have more from Atmore’s past next week.

You can email Lowell McGill at