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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