Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cutting The Cable

A little off topic tonight, but having gotten tired of watching my TV cable provider creep up the charges even with promo offering that I have to keep renewing (by threatening to quit), I finally got fed up. Time to see if I could live without almost two hundred bucks going out the door a month. Not one to be too impulsive, I decided to step into the idea like sticking a toe into cold water.

Now, skip this if you haven't got wireless internet at home. Gotta have wireless internet.

First is the whole "What about my local channels?" thingy.  Answer? A $16 indoor antenna since I'm within twenty five miles of the broadcast towers. I got all the HD channels perfectly. The modern TV doesn't need a channel receiver - and it will even search and load up all your channels for you. First worry gone.  For those further out than 25 miles there are bigger antennas and even small outside antennas that might do the job.

"But I can't record!"  Okay, it's time to step up and get a Roku USB. Plugs right into the side of your TV and hooks to your wireless internet.  Opens up a whole new world.  Get Hulu (think it's free with commercials) and you've now got all of your local channel series right there - all of them extending back years.  Interestingly enough, the series come across better than with my cable provider.

But what about "Walking Dead" or "Dr. Who"?  That's BBC and AMC and neither are on Roku's service providers. But...get Amazon's streaming service and you can purchase each new episode for a couple bucks when they come out.  You can also get a season pass and it'll still be far less than what you're probably paying on cable.

So what's the downside you ask? Well, you'll lose the convenience of one big channel guide to surf through as far as I can tell. You'll be switching between the USB input and your antenna a lot.  Not sure either's worth a couple hundred buck a month. Also, this stuff isn't for the techno-challenged. If you can't figure your way around a remote or TV setup menu, you might want to pass.

So there you are.  There are also alternatives to the antenna like staying with just basic cable, but you'll still save.

Now I'll get back to writing.