Sunday, April 4, 2010

Who Needs Cable Anyway

So a few months ago we cut the cord. No, seriously, I did. Literally. I had to. Whoever owned the house before us had the brilliant idea to pour concrete over a cable instead of, oh, I don't know, say, maybe moving the cable to the side while pouring the concrete. Brilliant!!

But, yes, figuratively too. No more $55/month (or $70ish if you count the "free" HD service that we dropped a while back - seriously, you don't offer "Free HD" if I have to pay $10/month extra, or whatever it is, for the special receiver and another $5 for the included service tier) to the cable dictators. They only get our internet money now.

So why did we do it you ask. Well it's all Nathan's fault really. We no longer had the time to watch much TV. What we did watch was avaiable free over-the-air. And when we did watch, we were frequently interupted by the teenie guy. So we began watching TV shows online where we could start them anytime, pause anytime, and rewind when needed. Definitely fits our lives better. Plus there are several ways now available to stream the internet (, ABC/NBC/CBS full episodes, Live broadcasts, and sports) to the TV. So if anyone is interested, please continue on.

Only a few things are needed:
- High-speed internet (and a PC)- you likely have this so no additional costs, though the middle tier would be best, so this may add ~$12 (or subtract ~$12 from your savings)
- A converter (Playstation 3, XBox 360, Wii, or other stand-alone box) - You may have this too, but if you don't, the stand alone box is only about $80 (Ruku). If you play video games occassionally, try the Wii since it's easy and fun with groups. Otherwise you may like the Playstation 3 as it comes with a Blu-Ray player and you can store music/video/photos and play them through your TV and stereo system)
- Tversity or Playon software - both are easy to use, but Playon costs $30 after the 2 week trial. All you need to do is load up your programs and the software keeps your list updated. Then just select them up through your player in the above bullet and hit play. Both options support Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon videos, ESPN, ABC/NBC/CBS, plus have free options for Food Network, National Geographic, HGTV. However, only shows that are available online will be available, so check to make sure your favorite show is offered.

Optional: Netflix - since they offer streaming on demand for only $9/month. We are currently watching the most recent season of Weeds streamed to our TV, released on DVD in Decemeber, I believe.

So even if you upgrade your internet and sign up for Netflix, you're still saving $ if you don't mind losing some channels and being a little flexible: $55-12-9 = $34 or ~$1/day = $360/year.

Here's an artist's reinactment:
See it works.

Some caveats: while testing Playon and Tversity, some features were intermitent and with a slower connection the fast-forwarding/rewind kill playback (as you need to wait for the internet to catch up). But initial load times are fast and if all you do is pause/play there was only a few second delay, but once playing it was smooth. Netflix ran perfectly. Also, if you watch TV in several rooms, this may not be a good substitute since you would need several converters or to watch TV on your computer.

Addtional info: Cancel Cable

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