A few months ago, we decided to cut the cord and go cable free. We thought that with the variety of over the air stations and the digital sub-channels plus our Netflix, Apple TV and Hulu Plus, we would be set. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. Sooo….
We are watching cable tv. Again.
For awhile, we did fine. But, as time went on, we found our alternatives to be lacking. Especially Hulu Plus. We watch our programming either on the iPad or that little device known as TELEVISION. We have a Roku and an Apple TV, plus the two Wii’s (possibly the greatest gaming console ever,) two Xbox 360’s and a very dusty, thrown in the back Sony Playstation 3, all of which give us online entertainment. Hulu is available on all of them. Problem is, even with Hulu Plus, you cannot watch everything they offer. Much of the programming is restricted to COMPUTER viewing only. Now, no television in my house has a true Windows or Mac PC connected to it. Those days are gone. And we are not going to huddle around a 20 inch screen just to watch something on Hulu that I WAS PAYING FOR! Oh, the bloody adverts. Why the hell am I paying to watch adverts?
Hulu Plus is no bargain. For the same amount, I can get Netflix. At least they offer WHOLE seasons worth of tv series and a few recent vintage films. And, therein lies my beef with them.
Netflix, where are the freaking new movies? If I want NEW films, I must pay extra to have a DVD mailed to my house. What?! Ya gotta be joking! No, sadly, they aren’t. So…Netflix, you are nearly as bad as Hulu.
Which brings me to the Roku. This is a nifty little box that has lots going for it. Problem is, though, many of the channels I would want to watch are EXTRA. Yup. Ya gotta fork over more bucks. There are a lot of ‘free’ channels, but ‘free’ as in you didn’t need to buy them from the Roku ‘store’. And the ones that truly are free, well, they are a hit or miss thing. Channels like CNet and TWiT are there, which is fantastic, but others show public domain movies…many of which I can or have downloaded-legally-from places like Archive.org.
So, if I add up the channels I MIGHT pay for, plus Hulu and Netflix (and the cost of just Internet access through Comcast) I have pretty much equaled the cost of Internet access plus the tier of cable that I had. I would not save anything plus I would be paying for commercials too. So, what would be the benefit? None. So, Comcast, you win. We get the crap we want, plus a ton we don’t.
And, for the record, over the air television can be spectacular. The local NBC and CW stations broadcast in 1080i and the others in 720p. The 1080i stuff, when actual HD content is shown, looks terrific. And our local Fox affiliate carries all Fox Network programming in 720p. Let me tell you, the Fox broadcasts of the NASCAR events look great. The digital sub-channels are very enjoyable. The netlets that are available in the Richmond, VA area, for example, include: MeTV, MyTV, Antenna TV, Bounce,The Cool TV and the PBS station carries a variety of programming on two sub-channels that range from BBC news to Al-Jazeera America. Good stuff and a news perspective that everyone should get. And, don’t be fooled by Al-Jazeera, it isn’t what you think. At least, the American version isn’t,
Oh yeah, Hulu will start requiring a cable tv subscription for much of its programming, so they definitely will not be an alternative for anyone wanting to cut the cord. No word on when this new requirement will start, but I can imagine it will be sooner rather than later. I also see it’s subscriber base dwindling down.
So, the great experiment is dead. All I have left to say is…Food Network, I sure missed you!