Wednesday, January 05, 2011

My Experience as a Cable Cutter

I cut the cable for financial reasons right around August. We had HD Service with a DVR with Time Warner and say what you want about their service, I thought it was GREAT.

After we cut, we had to start watching TV by appointment and that was difficult. I have 7 children and sometimes getting them to bed at 8pm means sitting down to watch TV at 8:20, so we’re already missing a great deal of the show. I turned to and for TV. I filled up my subscriptions on Hulu with every show we love and it started getting filled up with shows we wanted to see or missed the night before.

Our setup is this:
  • One old Mac Mini for our family computer, no TV connection; sits in the corner.
  • 2006 macbook Pro that I use the DVI-out connection to the TV so we can watch on the big flat panel.
  • In both situations with hulu we have the Hulu Desktop app that is great and works with the apple remote.
The drawback of this situation is I can’t work on my computer in the evening because we’re watching TV with it. So, a lot of what I want to do at night doesn't get done. There is the option to hook up the old Mac mini but any video played on that stutters due to lack of cpu power and/or video processing power.

I have been wanting to get a set top box for viewing video content and was excited about google TV until reports of video getting blocked. Then I saw the “orb” for $99 which looks like a good option and may allow me to use my computer on my laptop while we play video on my TV.

Other Problems with our online video watching:
  • At one point “the Middle” on Hulu was listed as “episodes are no longer available online.” Wha?! For what? No explanation! I went to a pirate video site to watch shows.
  • Scifi (Syfy) started having all their shows delayed by 30 days. AARRRGGG. It’s nice to get Scifi because we don’t have cable but man, 30 days?! Now I think that may be lifted for some.
  • CBS shows on the big screen is the worst. We bring up CBS on the browser on the large TV. Hit play, then press “full screen” Well, almost every commercial is some sort of “interactive” commercial or something so it exits full screen! So, we have to get up from the couch to go up to the computer and choose full screen again. We have decided that if we’re tired, we simply don’t watch CBS shows; nobody wants to get up from the couch. I don’t have the money to get a wireless keyboard/mouse to fix that right now.
For now, we’re sticking with it. I still want a solution to have a set-top box to get content without having to pay for hulu-plus, etc. Perhaps I’m asking too much. I simply don’t understand the mentality that the TV is somehow a “bigger screen” and so you can’t have the content whereas the computer is (normally) smaller so you can.

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