We are very close to cutting the cord at home; I’ve been wanting to for a couple years now. The technology is there, its now a matter of (perhaps) adjusting your expectations and finding the right tool set.
- You CAN cut the cord.
- Roku XS is a great way to go
- Between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Digital TV Over The Air you get tons of great content
- With Roku and others you also get get content like TED Talks
- Turn an old Computer into a DVR with EyeTV One
- You can get tons of HD TV (all the Major Networks… ABC, NBC etc), for FREE, with a Digital TV Antenna
- You can save $$$ (~$110 / month in our case after initial hardware purchase of $200)
- Its Easy.
We cut the home phone service a month ago and we don’t miss it at all. I hadn’t used it in the last 2 years other than for the occasional Work From Home days. Savings: ~$50 / month. We still have DSL for ~$50 / month and, of course, two cell phones.
Next up is killing off the traditional TV services. We have DirecTV with Whole Home DVR and 3 receivers. One TV is used regularly, one rarely and one never. While each extra TV only adds a few dollars a month, it ads up.
The quesiton is… Can I ‘survive’ w/o Satellite or Cable? Your hypothesis should be yes. The exercise is to figure out how.
With Hulu (and Hulu Plus), Amazon Video On Demand (especially if you are already subscribe to Amazon Prime!), and Netflix you have tons of content. While I’m a big Apple fan, the AppleTV & iTunes combo doesn’t do much for me. The best thing about the Apple TV is the Netflix interface (far superior to that on my LG TV and BluRay Player). Our problem was that none of the devices supported Hulu nor Amazon VOD.
Decision… which new hardware device to buy? New Blu-Ray? No way. I hardly use that at all. No need for a DVD/Blu Ray player – at all. Should we buy a Gaming System like PS3, XBOX 360 or Wii? They will all currently, or very soon, support Hulu and Amazon. I didn’t want to spend the money on the gaming system. That leaves Roku. The Roku XS system, similar to the Apple TV, is very inexpensive (Less than $100). It supports all sorts of content providers including Hulu, Netflix and more than 300 others.
We acquired a Roku XS on the cheap. It was easy to setup and works great. After two weeks I havent watched anything on DirectTV. Sure I miss some of the Cable TV shows – mostly everything on Food Network, Discovery, TLC etc… but when it gets down to it, I don’t really miss it. I do sometimes like the TV on in the background to casually watch something (Like Alaskan Gold Rush or Ice Road Truckers) while I’m working on something else… and the Roku doesnt seem to fill that use case real well – only because everything in my Queue is something I want to watch and pay attention to..
Dear Wife tried out the Roku and loves it. So far mosty Parenthood on Netflix (Season 1 & 2) and Hulu Plus (Season 3).
Success! We can kill the DirecTV.
Wait. The kids. Shoot!
They watch recoded PBS kids and we enjoy having the Parental Controls on the DirecTV DVR. Hmm. No Parental controls on the Roku. Lots of demand for it… must be a matter of time before they add it.
Back to the drawing board for a while.
Current “proof of concept” to try before cutting the cord for real… Turn an old Mac Mini into a DVR with the help of an HD Antenna (~$35) (yeah, Over The Air [OTA] broadcasts of PBSKids in Digital TV) and an EyeTV One (~$90) tuner. EyeTV One is a simple Coax Cable to USB dongle that comes with the EyeTV Software v3. When the attena arrives, it will hook to the EyeTV One which will then plug into the Mac Mini. Just need to hook the mini to the TV, figure out a remote and we should be good to go. EyeTV v3 has parental controls and, with the Digital Antenna, we can recored all the PBS Kids we want for free!
I’m expecting to cut another $60 off the monthly budget with this system for a total of $120 / month!
Leave a comment if you have a question or comment. Did you cut the cord?