Cutting the Cable: Ongoing Frustrations
This is the sixth post in a series about abandoning cable/satellite television in favor of HD broadcast TV combined with a web-connected computer acting as a media server. To start with the introduction, click here; links to the rest of the series are at the bottom of the post.
Okay, let’s get this series of posts put to bed. I cancelled my cable a year ago and just got to the break-even point on the up-front money I used to get my OTA + Mac Mini system established. So am I happy? Very. Are there still some frustrations? Yes. Here they are in no particular order:
- I miss our Sunday night appointment with HBO original content. It used to be a highlight of my week, and there is simply no way as of this writing to replace it. After a year, we are just starting to catch up on HBO content as it is released to video, but it’s just not the same as seeing it when it is released.
- There are still times when the system doesn’t work properly and I find myself resetting routers just to watch a little TV. Say what you want about cable, but it’s still more reliable than a computer hooked up to an internet connection.
- As simple as the system I designed is to use, it is still not as easy as a cable or satellite package with a single, dedicated remote. There are times when I am sitting there navigating across the television screen with a mouse just to watch a movie when I long for the simplicity of the old setup.
- I’m not saving as much money as I thought I would. When I cancelled my cable package and then my cable phone service (in favor of a SIP system I will talk about in a future post), the bill for my cable internet service kept jumping upward. Nothing unfair about this, but I was initially expecting to save about $140 a month and that number is closer to $105. And this doesn’t include content I am paying for that used to be included in my cable package. That is about an additional $15/month so call my total savings $90/month. Don’t get me wrong: that’s real money, but not as much as I expected.
- OTA broadcasts are not entirely reliable for me. Of course, cable wasn’t either, but unless you are living close enough to your broadcast sources to guarantee a perfect signal in all weather at all times of the year, you may miss some shows because of lost signal strength.
- Streaming content is not as reliable as cable content. There are times when the internet slows down, and the quality of the feed is compromised.
I hope this series of posts has been helpful to you. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to email me directly or just post a comment.
Other Posts in This Series
Network Hardware: Setting It All Up
Software and Remotes: Making It All Useful
Getting the Media Content You Need