We don’t really watch that much TV at home. Certainly not as much as your average American. But, okay, I admit, we do like to relax in the evening sometimes to a few shows on TV. We have the standard American 50+ inch HD TV at home in Phoenix (I am hoping to be facetious here) and a great L shaped couch, that allows us to snuggle up or find our own corners, depending on our moods.
Here in Roma, we have been roughing it big time. There is a TV in our flat and a nice, probably 40 incher at that. But as far as we can figure out, it has some kind of satellite TV that is 99.9999% in Italian. There are at least a thousand stations, and as I said 99.9999% are in Italian. Even those programs that originate in English, are dubbed in Italian. I’m told Italy is one of very few countries that rarely uses subtitles, preferring to just dub the speech. It forces you to learn their language or go without!
Since we were “going without”, it forced us to get creative. I brought my 13″ MacBook Pro with us and that has become our new TV screen. A friend here told us about purchasing a VPN, a virtual private network, that allows you to log into the internet and look like you’re still in your home country, wherever that may be; or not at home, if that’s safer for you politically. So we purchased a VPN. It has allowed us to stream Netflix, which you can’t do out of the country, but can do if it looks like you are still close to home.
I discovered that iTunes carries many network shows for purchase and so the few network programs we follow, I have been purchasing episode by episode to finish out the seasons we started while still at home. But uh-oh, the network seasons are ending, and what will we do now? Michael has been pining for a sports game to watch where he can understand the commentators and the rules of the game. God I miss Showtime and HBO! What is Nurse Jackie up to this season? Will Kathy on the Big C continue to fight her cancer? Is Alexander still Pope on the Borgias?
So…we put our thinking caps on…and went online. Showtime has a service called Showtime Anytime and HBO has HBO Go. Both allow you to watch current seasons online via your computer or iPad. But you can only have certain, and in some cases, limited service providers to access these services. Hmmm…who do we know that might have the provider we need and if ‘luck be a lady’ also Showtime and HBO? We started contacting friends and family. We found the someone with the needed provider but they didn’t have Showtime or HBO. Can I pay you for them, I begged? She was happy to oblige.
Low and behold…a few emails later, a few passwords exchanged, a log in here and a log in there, and the gods have shined down on us. It’s not TV…it’s HBO. Rome looks a lot sunnier today. Thanks, cuz!