We don't watch much TV. Our TV shows come from NetFlix. My sports fix comes from Yahoo! Sports and I can't remember when was the last time that I watched a full football game or basketball game. In the mean time, our cable bill with Time Warner for HD extended basic, HD DVR, and DVR rental ballooned to almost $80/month. Time Warner threatened to raise the cable rate again. $80 per month for less than an hour of cable TV a day. That doesn't seem like a very smart move.
So what did we do to substitute cable TV?
- First: faster Internet access. We have 20MB download and 2MB upload.
- Blueray DVD with WIFI.
- A HD antenna for live major channels.
- Roku: we have a Roku box for over a year now. We paid $50 for the HD version.
- NetFlix: we have both DVD and streaming service.
- Amazon: for newer movies that we can't wait on DVD, we can rent an HD streaming video on Amazon. This is when we could use a faster Internet connection. Half of the time, the HD connection failed on us. The weakness of Amazon Instant Video is that once the connection fails, it doesn't resume to the previous scene. We'd have to fast forward.
- PlayOn and PlayLater: A streaming service that runs on your Windows PC/Laptop and serves the media streams to any connected devices such as my Roku and Blueray DVD player. We paid $60 for lifetime service of PlayOn and PlayLater. The best description for PlayOn is "prime time on demand". I can watch the latest episodes from all major networks plus Comedy Central and others. A huge bonus is that there are developers out there developing channels for PlayOn. We get to watch Showtime's Homeland series. PlayLater lets me record shows to my laptop so that I can watch shows offline. As this writing, I haven't tried it out yet but it's tempting to "tape" my favorite NetFlix movies to watch on a plane.
It has been a month now and we haven't missed our cable. Matter of fact, it seems that we have more quality options to choose from. We paid $30 for the antenna and $60 for PlayOn and PlayLater subscription. That's $90 investment - one-month payback... For our family, this is the right choice. For the sports nuts, I am afraid that you are "tethered" with cable or dish...