My Name is Bert…and I am a Cord Cutter

Not many peo­ple know that Amy and I are “cord cut­ters”.

My father and I had this con­ver­sa­tion last night and a friend of mine just post­ed a sur­vey on face­book whether to get cable or dish.

We don’t have Cable in our house, oth­er than for phone and inter­net. We do have a dig­i­tal anten­na to get any local chan­nels, which we real­ly only use for any news or weath­er announce­ments. We use oth­er options, some of which are like hav­ing Tivo, with­out need­ing to real­ly pay for it!

Talk about free­ing. Pay­ing less for TV shows that I actu­al­ly want to watch, instead of pay­ing a bunch of mon­ey and not find­ing a thing to watch! You don’t real­ize how much TV can real­ly enslave you, until you stop pay­ing for it.

For me, it felt like I was sub­con­sioun­sly forc­ing myself to watch tv, because I was pay­ing so much for it. It was like order­ing a large steak and fin­ish­ing it all off, because “I can’t let it go to waste!”

Since cut­ting the cord, I have picked up a few hob­bies that I have always want­ed to try, I spend more time with my fam­i­ly and friends and I don’t feel “tied” to my TV any­more.

Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t watch TV any­more. I do…but it’s on my terms now.

Watch­ing TV with the fam­i­ly while I knit had become fun again, because it’s shows we actu­al­ly want to watch, WHEN we actu­al­ly want to watch them. I know you can do that with Tivo or oth­er DVRs, but I still hear com­plaints from friends when they go to watch a show, and it didn’t record right or was mis­named. I don’t have those issues.

So, what exact­ly do we use? Well, I’d be hap­py to tell you.

First, the equip­ment:

  • Inter­net-Capa­ble TV: We have a Sony Bravia, but there are many oth­er brands out there. This TV comes with Apps, like: Hulu, Net­flix, Ama­zon Video On Demand, Vudu, Pan­do­ra, Cin­e­maNow, and can stream any video off my main com­put­er using Win­dows Media Play­er. (And, an inter­net capa­ble TV is not required, as long as you have a com­put­er that can hook up to it, or oth­er devices, like the ones below.)
  • PlaySta­tion 3: (or, from what I have heard, an Xbox, Roku, Box­ee can do this too.) This lets me stream stuff from my com­put­er as well and also have apps. This isn’t nec­es­sary if you have an inter­net-capa­ble TV, but if you don’t, this make it eas­i­er than need­ing to hook your com­put­er up to your TV.
  • AppleTV (option­al): I use this for all my iTunes Con­tent. And I can rent and Pur­chase movies and TV sea­sons through that.
  • Com­put­er: This I main­ly use for any of my already purchased/owned con­tent, and for a ser­vice called Play­On and TVMo­bili
  • JUST ADDED: a dig­i­tal anten­na for the free Over the air chan­nels in high def. Which work pret­ty well, there is about 20 chan­nels.

Soft­ware:

  • Play­On: This has channels/plugins that let me access any­thing on Hulu, Net­flix (with paid Net­flix account) or most video streams from chan­nels like SyFy, TNT, CNN, SpikeTV, Nick­elodeon, Dis­ney, etc.). There is a month­ly fee to use this app. Or you can pay for it all in one shot and be done. This works by installing a lit­tle pro­gram on your PC and run­ning it in the back­ground (so your PC needs to be on, for the TV to see the video streams) and then streams the con­tent to your Inter­net TV or Device.
  • Play­Later: In tan­dem with Play­On, this lets me “record” cer­tain “shows” so that I can play them lat­er, even “offline” (I have inter­net con­nec­tion issues from time to time, so this ensures that my TV won’t stop and “buffer” a show I am try­ing to watch thru Play­On.
  • TVMo­bili: This lets me access all my con­tent on my com­put­er (Movies, TV shows, etc. And I can share my library with oth­er friends that have TVMo­bili on their com­put­ers. (There is a cost involved with the “shar­ing” part of the App)
  • Hulu App: I’m going to address this below
  • Net­flix: Most peo­ple are famil­iar with this. But, one thing to note, your always about a sea­son or two behind every­one else.
  • Vudu: This lets you rent/purchase High def­i­n­i­tion TV shows or Movies. Their usu­al­ly out the same time red­box may have them. When you have a HD TV, it’s worth rent­ing the HDX ver­sions. Their GORGEOUS!

Hulu is the Key peice here in cut­ting the cord.

They have many shows online. The only down­fall is the PRe­mi­um SUb­scrip­tion. When you pay $7.99 for the pre­mi­um sub­scrip­tion, it doesn’t mean you get access to all their shows. Some shows are not avail­able to view on “Devices”, and is “Web” only. Some TV shows are only on the devices and you can’t watch them online.

This is where Play­On comes in. It lets you watch ANY of the online con­tent on your device, with­out pay­ing for it! I don’t know how they do it, but it works pret­ty well. The qual­i­ty isn’t too bad, but you will notice frag­men­ta­tion when your on a HD TV, but it’s not hor­ri­ble. Some­times its pret­ty good. The only thing you may not be able to access is stuff that you can only watch with the sub­scrip­tion ( but that is pret­ty small amount of con­tent).

Also with Hulu, you have a “queue” and save/subscribe to shows you want to watch.

So why do I pay for Hulu. Since my TV has the App, I watch most stuff through the app. It’s crys­tal clear and jsut works. Some­times I have con­nec­tion issues with PlayOn…or for some rea­son Play­On can’t “see” the Show…sometimes my Hulu App doesn’t work though, and I go through Play­On to watch it…it all depends.

One more thing to men­tion. If your computer/TV/PS3 has a hard­wire con­nec­tion for intent. USE IT! Wire­less is great, but you will have con­nec­tion issues. Some­times my TV loos­es the sig­nal in the mid­dle of a show and I have to mon­key with stuff to get it back.

This may seem like a lot of work, just to not pay for cable, but once it is all setup…it works pret­ty great…and costs a lot less! Right now, I only pay $16/month for TV.

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