I hate the idea of paying a monthly fee for stuff that I don’t have any use for. This is one of the main reasons that I totally got rid of my cable TV connection and Hi-Def DVR and kept only my broadband internet. Now I get to watch more TV than ever and have a LOT more options for entertainment on my HDTV. Between my Netflix ($9.99 month) subscription, Hulu.com and the different network websites, I have more than I could possibly ever watch. The biggest downside is live sports are almost non-existent to watch on the ‘net. I’m not a big fan of watching sports on TV so it doesn’t bother me at all.
The issue with paying for stuff I don’t use comes from the channel lineup from my local cable company. Their basic cable features about 45 channels, of which I would normally watch only six, yeah, paying for 45 channels yet watching only SIX. I also had their enhanced lineup which features about another 40 channels, of which I would maybe only watch about 13 of them, the rest are useless to me. This comes to a grand total of about 85 channels that I was paying for yet watching less than 20 of them. Doesn’t that sound stupid? Since you don’t have any choice but to buy bundles, you get screwed big time.
This is much like pulling into a gas station wanting to buy 10 dollars worth of gasoline except you also have to buy 5 dollars worth of diesel fuel or they won’t sell it to you. Period. It does not matter that your car doesn’t have any use for diesel fuel. This is WRONG no matter how you look at it.
All that’s needed to cut the cord yourself is an inexpensive PC that’s just powerful enough to be able to graphically process High Definition streaming and a broadband internet connection. You can find capable PC’s for as low as 3 to 400 bucks. You may even have an older PC laying around that will do the job, running Win XP, Vista or Win 7. You will also need a router to feed your connection from wherever your broadband modem is with either an ethernet cable or WiFi wireless to that PC. Add a cordless mouse and keyboard and you’re all set. Most of the times you will only use your mouse to navigate the internet on your HDTV. You would be surprised at how effortless and simple it can be once it’s all set up. There’s no need for a Tivo or DVR or any recording at all because it’s all on demand, you watch it when you want. Just click to the web page with your program and click play.
There are a number of easy to follow guides on buying or building your own budget HTPC (Home Theatre PC) that you can Google up. Remember since you are ditching cable TV ignore using a TV tuner card. That’s a useless item if you don’t have a cable connection to feed into it. It’s also best to use an adapter to convert your PC’s output to HDMI, and then using an HDMI cable, these can be bought for about $5 on Newegg.com. You can hook it up straight from the PC’s VGA or DVI out to your HDTV but you may have issues with the picture being too large for the screen (overscan). HDMI input on your TV fixes that issue. You do NOT need a TV with internet built in or Google or Apple TV or even Boxee or several other web tv services and adapters that are now available. A small inexpensive computer is still the best all around experience.
My savings amount to about $75 a month and the money I spent on getting set up was very quickly recouped with a much lower cable bill. The few pitfalls are virtually no live sports, like I said earlier. Also the picture quality can vary from grainy to excellent depending on your connection speed and the program quality. In most cases, you would swear you were watching cable rather than a streaming feed over the internet. On the plus side, a lower monthly bill, a huge amount of entertainment on the internet including Youtube, Facebook, web surfing, answering emails, Netflix, Hulu and everything else the web has to offer. I made the switch several months ago and I couldn’t be happier!
If you are interested in doing something like this yourself and you need advice, email me and I’ll try to help as much as I can. My email link is in the sidebar. =)