TV & off the cable grid!

Yes, you read that right- Emily and I have taken the plunge- we canceled our crappy Charter cable service and purchased an AppleTV.  We’re no longer beholden to the draconian limits and restrictions of a cable company- we’re the arbiters of our fate; we now have complete dominion over what we watch!!  Well, OK, maybe that’s getting a little carried away… but it is nice to now pay à la carte for what we watch rather than paying a blanket fee for the many, many shows and channels we didn’t watch.  Besides the fact that we’re not huge television watchers anyhow, all that we really miss is live sporting events (ie. Pats, Sox, Celts)- especially since we watched almost all of our shows time shifted.

So, welcome TV and goodbye Charter.

So far it’s been damn nice- we have more options of what to watch, when to watch, and how to watch.  Aside from This Old House and Sports, we’re not missing any of our major interests.  And besides, this frees up our night times for more reading, video games, hanging out, chatting, etc… which is always a good thing.  We definitely watch far less TV now than before, and when we do watch, we’re totally committed and not just using the TV as a third companion in the room.  And surprisingly, in a short period of time we will also save money.  No static monthly amount to be charged anymore- if we watch zero programs then we pay zero dollars for that month’s service.  I remember many months in the past where each of us were busy enough where we didn’t watch much (or any) TV and yet still had to fork over a ridiculous amount of cash just for the “chance” to watch.

In addition to TV programming, we also have the opportunity to rent/ buy movies.  While we’re also not huge movie people, it’s nice to have the opportunity should we want to settle down with a good movie.  And the prices are no worse then a video rental from the local conglomerate of a video store.

May favorite aspect of the TV is the ability to download and watch/ listen/ to audio and video podcasts directly through the device.  There’s access to hundreds of FREE (yes, FREE) podcasts- which we enjoy just as we would a television program.  I love podcasts- as you all know- so it’s no stretch to imagine my excitement for this feature.  While most podcast video quality is less than great, it sometimes is superior to that of mainstream broadcasters or cable providers.  Either way, it’s the content that matters, and my tastes tend to align more with the podcast community than those of pop programming anyhow!!  Bring on the p-casts!

The first show to hook us thus far has been The Wire– an HBO orignal series that began in 2001.  We’re totally into this show, and owe the opportunity to the AppleTV- because with cable the cost to order premium channels was uneconomical and wasteful.  We now pay for each show we watch, which makes us think to ourselves, “do we really want to watch this now- or even at all?”.  It adds an element of existentialism to our viewing habits- which is absolutely a positive sign!

And the device is smaller than an ordinary cable box-  so we’re saving space to boot!!

Check it:

AppleTV unboxing

AppleTV unboxing

ATV's new home!

ATV's new home!

Just over a week off of Charter- and loving it!!

Now off to get some reading in!


AM Son

**written while listening to the mountain goats/ jason collett/ and john mellencamp**


3 Responses to “TV & off the cable grid!”

  1. umassthrower Says:

    Exciting news! I’m tempted to take my 12″ powerbook and hook her up to big bertha.

    I’m curious to see what the savings are… for two people who work full time with no kids the $55 – 60/month for a bundled digital cable subscription that you get to utilize maybe 2 hours a night to watch something that is add supported anyways does seem like crap. $15/week buys you what… 3 – 4 movies on ITunes? With all of the other media available I can’t see myself keeping up a 3 – 4 movie a week rental habit, and then the cost of buying series of DVDs is probably even less per hour.

    Does AppleTV have a browser? If so then mlb.com has practically live vidoe feeds, and for something ridiculously cheap like $10/season you can get the home/away/national* audio feeds. Guerra does it because he’s out of town so much and I usually listen in on his if there are travel day early games on like Thursdays at 3PM.

    * – if applicable

    What are the advantages to the AppleTV over for example hooking up a laptop to a TV. I’m guessing a better remote is one, and probably better quality video. Is there a better ITunes interface?

    I’m psyched! 😀

  2. Found your blog through Google! I am so sick of Comcast — they keep removing more and more HD channels from our bare bones service. Now we get just the networks plus a bunch of crappy digital channels we never watch. And our stupid town doesn’t have Verizon FIOS (despite the fact that our town’s most famous resident, Kevin Garnett, is shown in a commercial for it), so we have no choice.

    Here is my question for you: Do the shows you get through Apple TV have closed captions? I know that Apple’s video software is built with that option, but do the media actually have it encoded for this format?

  3. I wholeheartedly 100% agree. I could not have said it any better

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