This week was my last week with cable television. I’ve had it since I was around 12 years old or so. Now I’ve been on my own for a few years now and I noticed two things. One, I don’t watch much cable television. Just a few programs here and there. Two, it’s pretty expensive! It was $50 per month for just a few programs here and there. And now, it’s no longer necessary.
The three main motivations behind my are the roku box, Hulu, and Comcast is forcing customers to go Digital. So, thanks to my Roku Box I can get Netflix “Watch Now” programs on my television. Before I wouldn’t watch them because they required the use of Internet Explorer. Also, I don’t like to watch TV on the computer if I can watch it in the living room or in the bedroom. So the availability of the roku box means that I can watch tons of TV shows (if they have a DVD box set out) in any room in my house. Most importantly, it’s free (included in my Netflix subscription).
Second, most of the programs I watch are available over the air (OTA) because they’re on network channels (ABC, NBC, etc). So I bought a digital tuner for my MythTV box and now I can record the OTA channels. The rest of the programs I watch are available on Hulu. This is also free as long as I agree to watch some commercials – I’m willing to make that trade.
Third, I’ve been hearing on the MythTV mailing lists that Comcast (and other cable networks) are forcing their customers to go to digital cable. This means that they now need a cable box for each TV in the house. It’s not like it is now where you can just hook up your TVs to the cable drop and get all the channels except HBO, Showtime, etc. I’ll be darned if I’m going to rent a cable box for every TV I want to use. It also makes it infinitely more difficult to record programs onto my MythTV box. I need to make the cable boxes change channels and that’s a lot harder and a lot less reliable. So, rather than do that I decided to quit cable. If they want to make CableCard a reality and make it so that it can work with custom PVRs like MythTV then perhaps I’ll consider returning to cable some day.
The only bad thing about my new arrangement is that digital OTA channels (what we’ll all be getting in February when the OTA channels all go digital) don’t propagate as well as the analog channels. So, although I’m supposed to be able to get somewhere around 30 channels, I can get about 10. And most of them do not come in clearly all the time. So basically I’ll only be watching TV off the internet from now on.
Oh well, in a lot of ways th ecable company has forced my hand. By forcing us to go digital and by not providing channels a la carte. If I could buy the channels I wanted and not have to pay $50 a month, I would probably keep cable.