Just about two weeks ago I completely severed my Time Warner Cable TV service that was costing me right about $80/month.
This was not because I was tired of TV. In fact, TV is part of my job and keeping up on what’s on is pretty darn important. Also, I sort of like TV sometimes, so I was not trying to get rid of the content.
So, what have I replaced my cable with? Here’s the rundown:
1) Boxee – Boxee is still in alpha but I love it. It is an app that pulls all the major networks web portals into a convenient central location and is completely controlable by my tiny little Mac remote. Boxee currently gets me access to Hulu, CBS, WB, CNN, Comedy Central and a bunch of other stuff. Plus, with my Netflix account, the somewhat disappointing but still cool list of “watch now” films and TV shows are also a click away.
2) EyeTV – This is a TV converter that lets me run an over-the-air HD antenna right into my MacBook Pro. Since I live in NYC this gets me access to HD versions of NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CW, whatever UPN is called now and a few random things from Ion.
I also got a 20″ external LCD monitor for $99 at Staples and have a set of inexpensive speakers that go into the headphone jack.
This gets me a vast amount of programming for a very low cost.
The few drawbacks: Still some sports I will have to go to a bar to see – but fewer every day and more networks live-stream. I bought a super-cheap HD antenna and think I will need to upgrade. To get a really constant signal means a bit of moving the antenna if I change channels. Still, the picture is great.
There are also a few shows I love that I just can’t get through any network-approved method. In these rare instances I take advantage of BitTorrent. While it might fall into the not-quite-legal category it seems pretty obvious how they can stop me – offer the programs online with limited commercials and I am there!
Overall, while it takes a bit more work to get up and running than just flipping on the TV, I find I am more thoughtful about what and when I watch and I also get a huge satisfaction out of the knowledge that Time Warner Cable, a crappy monopoly, is only getting my $40/month for RoadRunner. If anyone knows a comparable service available in Manahattan please let me know.