February 4, 2014

How We Watch TV Now

I guess we're called "cord cutters" but we just kind of evolved into it. When my daughter was young, we had the most basic cable package, a basic TiVo and a Netflix subscription to get movies through the mail. It wasn't part of a plan, but I especially liked how my daughter wasn't growing up being pummeled by too many commercials.

When HD televisions came down in price, we got a flatscreen and switched to the cable company's (inferior but cheaper) DVR.  Netflix also started their streaming service and we got a Blu-Ray player that streamed some services like that.  As we got to like the Netflix (and Amazon Prime) streaming, in an attempt to both watch less TV and cut monthly costs, we got rid of both the cable and phone and just went with cells and streaming (and the discs in the mail).

The streaming wasn't always reliable, though, so on the advice of a techie friend I upgraded my wifi router and got a Roku 3.  Dude, it's awesome.  NOW we're cooking on the streaming and it even has Youtube, so that's cool.

In a jerk move, the cable company cut off the local broadcasting we were still getting from the physical cable attached to the TV.  So after poking around on The Google and some advice from various places, most notably Tekzilla, I tried one of these antennas.  The HD with this thing actually looks better than it did with the cable!

So we primarily stream from Netflix, Amazon, PBS and Youtube on the Roku box.  We can watch regular network and PBS and even a local 24 hour weather feed off of the antenna.  I also have a cable so if we miss a show and it's somewhere online, I can connect my laptop to my big TV and watch it that way.

The only weird thing is there's no longer a way to record anything.  I miss that TiVo but it seems silly to pay $15 a month when we only get a handful of channels.  If we miss something we just have to find it some other way or wait for the DVD.

All in all, though, I enjoy this way of watching because there's way less commercials and you have to actively choose what you want to watch.  Much less mindless flipping.

This would, however,  not be a good situation for sports fans.

The only show we can't get without cable and are too impatient to wait for on DVD is Mythbusters.  So we pay for that one on Amazon.  If you're a Prime member and pay up front for the whole season it's only around $20 (depending on the number of episodes).  Since we all enjoy it and watch them more than once it seems worth it and is still cheaper than paying for cable.

So we pay Netflix $14.99 a month for the discs and $7.99 a month for the streaming.  Some people I know just get the streaming and pay another $8.99 for Hulu Plus which is for those who enjoy streaming more recent shows.  We just don't follow enough current shows to go for that one.  And we rent or buy the occasional thing on Amazon.  All in all, way less than cable and we're happy.

So if you are someone who likes entertainment but doesn't have to keep up with certain shows and you don't like you're kids bombarded with commercials you might consider some of these options.

How do you watch TV?  Let me know in the comments.