How I got rid of cable TV thanks to the internet
I was a cable holdout for a long time, but about 4 months ago I finally decided to take the plunge and cut the cord. I was tired of paying $160+ a month for Comcast’s TV/Internet/Phone bundle. Especially when I was only actually watching around 8 of the 200 or so channels I got on the service on a regular basis.
The first thing I did was buy a Roku. If you’ve never heard of it, Roku is quite possibly the niftiest gadget you can have in your home entertainment setup. It’s a tiny box (a little larger than a deck of playing cards) that connects to your TV and your WiFi network. It supports Netflix, Hulu Plus, and a host of other streaming channels. There’s also a channel for the Plex media server, which allows you to stream video from your computer to your television.
Since the most basic Roku is priced at a very reasonable $49.95 and there’s no subscription required (other than to Netflix and Hulu if you want to use them on it), I decided to get one and see how I liked it. As it turned out, I liked it a whole lot. I had previously been using my PS3 to stream from Netflix and Hulu, but the Roku seemed to have a more reliable connection, a better interface, and additional free options, like the Crackle movie channel, Pandora internet radio, and, of course, Plex.
As great as that was, there’s still something to be said for live TV, though. Something I hadn’t realized (or had forgotten since the switchover from analog to digital happened and my old analog TV with the rabbit ears in my spare room couldn’t pick anything up anymore) was that broadcast channels were still available over the air. You just have to have a digital convertor box for an analog TV set. So, why not mount an antenna on my roof, and connect it to the existing coaxial cables that Comcast was using?
It was right around that time that I decided I was really going to do this. I made a call to Comcast and told them I was cancelling cable TV. The following day, I returned all of their equipment.
I did a little research and finally decided on the C2 Clearstream2 Antenna from Antennas Direct to pick up local stations. The installation was easy. Hooking it into the cable box was easy. Getting my digital TV’s to find the channels was easy, once I found the right menu.
A second Roku for the living room television rounded things out nicely. I’ve now been living without cable TV for 4 months, and to be honest, I don’t miss it at all. If there’s a show I really want to watch that isn’t on a local channel, it’s usually available on iTunes or Amazon. Even at $20 a pop for the current season, it’s still cheaper than the $60 a month I was paying to Comcast for the TV portion of the bundle, and I can watch it whenever I want, as many times as I want.
The only downside is that iTunes uses DRM on all of their videos that prevents me from streaming it to my TV via the Plex channel. Of course, there are ways around that little problem… like the iSkySoft software, for instance.