As a long time channel surfer, I had serious anxiety about ditching the safety of the 600 channels offered from my local cable provider. But, when my introductory rates expired and my monthly bill went to $160 I searched for a better solution to my nightly entertainment needs.
Finding the right mix of streaming hardware, recording devices, antennas, and apps was at first mind numbing. There and an endless amount of configurations of these device that require different amounts tech expertise. Some tech wizards have networked their homes to run everything off of their mobile phone for free. But, I’ll save that blog for another day and cover the most basic ways to cut the cable, keep your internet, and save yourself at least $100 per month. And just in case $100 doesn’t sound like a enough money for your trouble.. if you take that $100 (add inflation) and reinvest it over 40 years you’ll save yourself at least a million dollars.
The 4 Pieces of the Puzzle
Streaming Content Providers – (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, YouTube)
I’ve used all of the above and each has it’s strong suite. Start with Netflix, Hulu, and grab your moms HBO GO password – you’ll be a happy couch potato for months to come
If there are TV shows you can’t live without, you can find who offers it at Can I Stream It.
Streaming Devices – (Roku, Apple TV, Boxee, Smart TV’s)
These doohickeys come in all shapes and sizes with the same goal of bringing you a clean user experience to naviagting between all of your steaming content. The reigning champ at this point is the Roku. It’s super clean UI, ability to search for programs between all of your apps, and headphone that plug into the remote so you can refrain from subjecting everyone else to your insomnia
The challenger could be the new Google Chromecast. For only $39 you can send what you’re watching on your computer directly to your TV. Just released, I think this is a better option for that spare bedroom at this point.
It’s worth noting that almost all new TV’s are ‘Smart” and internet ready with most of the streaming content apps preloaded.
HD Antenna’s – (Moho Leaf, everything else)
Don’t worry you won’t need to replace that thing on your roof or ruin your living room decor with a four foot space transponder. These antenna’s look nothing like those mental images from your childhood. They have come along way and will go long way in improving your cordless experience.
If you are within 50 miles of civilization the Moho Leaf this should be an easy choice for getting your local channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX..). The Moho leaf combines performance with aesthetics and removes the need for tweeking those rabbit ears. You should visit TV Fool to make sure you are within range of your local broadcasting transmitters. You may need to Tim “the tool man” Taylor it if you are far from the station transmitters.
A good antenna is a must for those days you just want something quick to watch while your eating breakfast, vegging on the couch for Sunday football, or just don’t feel like selecting that perfect movie.
DVR’s – (TiVo, your old PC)
DVR’s are something that most people are going to do without when cutting the cable cord. The monthly service fee that TiVO requires goes against everything this uprising stands for. That being said, if being current on the latest episode of American Idol, The Bachelor, or CSI is a must than Tivo is a great plug and play solution. The Tivo will provide you with all of the programing information to schedule your recordings just like your current box – minus the 580 channels of garbage.
There are other creative ways to record TV using an old computer as your hard drive that will save you the monthly subscription fees. Some of those options are listed here.
I hope you all enjoy the voyage into the next generation of in-home entertainment.