Can you really cut the cord?
But can you really cut the tightly connected coaxial cable from your wall? Personally, I've tried to go without cable TV service, but I lasted all of two days before I realized I needed Real Housewives of New Jersey and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, neither of which were available for streaming. I also recognized if I bought those shows on iTunes or Amazon Video, it would end up costing more in the end than a monthly cable fee. Finally, for local TV, no matter what, I couldn't get a good signal over antenna. I quickly had to call up the local cable provider to get service back.
The NimbleTV concept intrigues me, much as Aereo did - though the latter comes without the critical Bravo and E! networks. My current cable provider has a decent channel selection, but what irks me personally is the almost $20/mo cost just for the DVR unit. But then again, there's the "stability" of cable TV to some degree. And of course lots of brilliant local access channels. But also, it's not as if programs on Netflix and Amazon replace mainstream cable TV, I've fallen in love with Orange Is The New Black and even Betas, but it can't replace Teresa Giudice's table flipping.
I don't think cutting the cord entirely is in the cards for me, but what about you? Have you had a similar go at it and returned back to the land of 1,000 channels and nothing on, or have you been successful?
I also admit, I love the moral superiority of having a paid cable subscription—including premium cable like Showtime and HBO. I'm basically subsidizing your Game of Thrones, you naughty, naughty pirates!
Region Locking and Cable subscriptions are now completely superfluous. Netflix has already put the nail in the coffin of Blockbuster, and TV Season DVD purchases (only BluRay's of your favorite shows are worth owning on physical discs). How much longer till their eventual eclipse of terrestrial and Cable reaches critical mass where the channels begin to lose their bargaining power and Cable becomes even more of a dumb pipe. If HBO opened up to internet only subs then they would make more money then ever.
Aside from sports it's totally doable. The initial investment upfront may be a bit high but as long as you have a computer hooked up to your TV you can make it work since so many shows are available online in some means. Add onto that Netflix's growing library of original content, and that you can do season pass with Amazon or iTunes. This is even more easy if you go with Aereo since they give you DVR features with the service.
I think from a service only standpoint, the costs can start to look pretty even if you end up subscribing to a lot of services. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Aereo can all add up to 30ish a month and then if you subscribe to any sports services (MLB, NHL, NFL) you're looking at some months of $20+ extra. Where the cost is really made up though is by not paying for a DVR or set-top-box, which can easily add up to $50+ a month depending on your household.
We recently started receiving HBO as part of a promotional package -- and it's the first time I've been able to use HBOGO. Holy cow, is it nice! (Too bad you have to actually pay for HBO through your cable provider to watch it.)
I think it's interesting to see the various networks start embracing the web and providing multiple ways to view their content. (But then you see what they're doing to companies like Aereo and it's super frustrating.)
The only show I watch is Person of Interest and I had to wait for the DVDs to watch the 2nd half of Season 1 and all of Season 2. Thankfully, I am able to watch Season 3 on the CBS app now. The only bummer is that I saw a major spoiler on Twitter which would have been a much bigger deal if I had not expected it. Oh well, not the end of the world.
Everything we watch as a family comes from our DVD collection or Amazon Prime at this point. We sometimes rent something through Amazon if that is the only way for us to get it.
I still scratch my head and wonder how people have time to watch all these shows they follow. For me, it's difficult finding time just for the above mentioned.
Really don't see the appeal. Everything I need/want to watch is available online or through streaming services. As far as I am concerned, Cable, Terrestrial and Satellite television is dying.
As soon as an online company with streaming capability gets rights to live sports, broadcast TV will come toppling down like the decrepit old monolith that it is.
The 2 main hurdles I'm finding that makes it impossible (at least for the way we watch TV), is the fact that the workflow to watch all our different shows is too tedious. I shouldn't have to turn a TV, pick an "app/channel", then pick the show. When it comes to watching TV, an extra layer or two really ruins the experience.
Secondly, we're big channel surfers. In fact, I'd say MOST of the shows (outside of scripted dramas) I watch, I stumbled upon while channel surfing. If it wasn't for channel surfing, I never would even bother to watch great shows like "How it's made", "Bizarre Foods", *every Anthony Bourdain show* and other more fringe shows. Web-based TV forces you to KNOW what you want to watch, before you watch it. There is no discovery system in place as efficient as simply surfing. Even if there was, you'd have to deal with buffering every time you change a show.
If some 3rd party comes up with an interface that consolidates every streaming service into 1 GUI, and can also somehow buffer at least 20-30 seconds of programming that is available instantly for virtualized "channel surfing", then... I will cut the cord.
I put together a homebrew MythBuntu box with a SiliconDust HDHomeRun tuner and a couple of rooftop antennas that pick up 80 local channels, 32 of which have useful content. I get all the networks in excellent HD.
I now have more choices than ever before with Amazon Prime (in a browser) and Netflix (on laptops and Roku, not on Ubuntu). All I miss is BBC America and the current season of Top Gear. I'm not a sports fan, but watching the World Series via over-the-air HD rather than DirecTV standard def was the cord-cutting clincher.
I'm not a big sports fan, so that's not really a problem for me. But I'm told Directv offers sports only packages.
The one thing I miss is pausing, fast forwarding and rewinding live content. I'm looking at a new product (TabloTV) at the moment that may resolve that.. I've also started a blog (cuttingcord.com) to share my experiences with folks interested in taking the same leap.
Cutting the cord is not for everyone, especially sports fans. In our case it was a small adjustment and a celebration the first month that $100+ Bill didn't come in from the cable company.
I look forward to seeing other people's feedback on here.
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Having said that reading about NimbleTV in the post and services like that does sound interesting. I guess I'm to hooked too being on the computer and if the service doesn't deliver it to that address, I guess I don't care to be honest.
We started by borrowing a friend's VGA-to-RCA adapter and trials of Netflix and Hulu. Eventually we bought two adapters ourselves and a Roku and we already had a Wii. Between Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu Plus and our laptop we're able to stream just about anything we want and it's so much cheaper than DirecTV.
There's only a few downsides...
- We've been using DVRs for more than a decade, it's been tough going back to keeping track of when episodes air and where to find them
- Outside of the superbowl, we hadn't watched commercials in a decade and now with Hulu Plus we find ourselves scrambling for the remote to hit mute
- Because some networks coughcbscough don't put their shows online, we have to look elsewhere to find them online.
Now the real situation here is the price you negotiate for cable. I have my parents set up with comcast and they get the triple play premier package with every channel even TMC (no adult or sports) with unlimited 50mbps internet, and phone for $164 a month with all taxes. I am highly considering getting them a Tivo Roamio and a few Mini's. Folks its really not much of a price difference to get Tivo.
I never would buy a tivo lifetime subscription. The technology is changing so quickly and being able to transfer the subscription is not free. Basically in 3 years you will have paid the equivalent of a lifetime subscription but I highly doubt in 3 years a Tivo Roamio is going to even be relevant. The only issue in making the transition is lack of Android support. You can only stream to iOS devices. But still, this is a good attempt at a one box solution. It has youtube, netflix, amazon prime, hbo go, hulu plus, the list goes on.
I think in 5 years we will look back at this time and laugh. Internet will be even faster and more affordable. And Cable companies will only charge customers for the content they want and offer things a la carte. It will also be available to stream.
As for TIVOs, I bought one several years ago (series 3 HD I think) and got a lifetime subscription. We've since given that to my grandparents (no use for it once we cut the cord a few years back and got a Roku), and the subscription is still intact.