Can You Drop Cable/Satellite?

image courtesy of moko.labs

In addition to Brotha Tech, I also do Residential Electronics Integration (I install TV’s and other stuff). I am currently working a friend/customer on hooking up her place with some nice new toys. One of her concerns is that she isn’t sure if wants to pay for cable. The initial thought that popped in my head was “I am about to hook your place up with some very nice gadgetry and you are not gonna use it?”

But, as I learned from a short stint in sales, you are not supposed to object to any customers concerns. You listen, qualify, and determine the best solution based on their needs/wants. So I am gonna talk to her about dropping cable and using her nice new shiny televisions as giant computer screens to watch TV over the internet.

The Lowdown:

Which made me ponder the question, “Could I drop my own cable/satellite TV provider?” In order to do that, I would first have to list all of the shows and events I watch regularly.

Sports (duh!)

Kids shows (I my daughter loves SpongeBob SquarePants and I Love Carly)

Comedy (mostly Comedy Central…and I too don’t like bears)

Movies (movie tickets are getting mad crazy expensive these days)

That’s about it. Now the question is can I find alternative ways to enjoy TV without cable? Well let’s run through the list:

Sports – I never REALLY needed cable to watch all the major sporting events in the first place because they have been broadcast free via the major networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC). All I would need now is a TV with a built-in digital tuner (or use my current TV and buy a digital set-top box) and maybe a digital antenna if I get a crappy signal.

Kids shows & Comedy – Hulu.com (among others) does a great job at throwing up a huge number of television shows for free (for now)…AND the commercials are short. I just have to make sure I browse for complete episodes (and not the tons of clips and exclusives that may cloud up your selections)

Movies – Netflix, itunes, amazon…take your pick (more are popping up daily) – All are offering ON DEMAND TV shows and movies for very nominal rental/subscriptions fees compared to the monthly charges I could rack up messin’ around with cable/satellite.

[image courtesy of moko.labs]

The downside:

Equipment – I can’t get away from the devices cluttering up my entertainment center. So in order to get rid of the cable/satellite set-to box, I would have to replace it with a box that will enable to get the free network broadcast signals, surf the web, and download on-demand movies. Luckily, I know of one box that do all of that – my computer! I don’t have to, my current computer setup could handle it (I don’t have anything special), but that would give me the chance to upgrade my computer with a TV tuner video card, and upgraded audio card (for surround sound). Or I can just use my computer to browse for the shows on the net and use the built-in tuner in my TV (since the digital switch, just about all TV’s have a built-in tuner).

For my movies from Netflix, Amazon, and other places, I can use my computer as well, or purchase a box that will enable me to connect to these services without the need for a computer (PS3 and XBox have these features built in as well as some nicer DVD players and other boxes specifically designed to utilize these services)

HDTV – The ONLY thing cable/satellite is good for is HDTV. Cable/satellite providers are pushing out a great of HD programming. Add that with the fact that the internet is not big enough to handle ALL of us streaming pure, uncompressed HDTV signals to our computers, and your average computer can’t display that nice image (yet). BUT, if I can get the free network broadcast signals, I am good on getting the major network signals in HD. The rest (internet shows, and on demand movies) aren’t too far off from the quality they currently display. Good enough that I could consider sacrificing quality for the savings I get if I ditch cable/satellite.

Here are some other links/resources on the subject.

TV Over Net
Cancel Cable
Web Browser TV
Boxee TV
Devices To Help You Ditch Cable TV

So to answer my own question of whether or not I can live without cable/satellite, the answer is “sure”. The real question is can you?

[image courtesy of moko.labs…he made the switch!]

Terrance Gaines
terrance@brothatech.com

Terrance Gaines is an Apple Certified Support Professional living in Atlanta. When he is not spending time with his lovely wife and two smart, sweet, and sassy daughters, he's providing individuals and small biz owners with exceptional, comprehensive, and affordable technology support that will enable people to do great things. For more information, visit terrancegaines.com

  • I love the money one can save, the various ways to watch episodes, movies, etc. for free, but my concern is how user friendly is the process to watch watch HGTV, etc.

  • You can click on some of the links towards the bottom of the post and see if you can find your favorite shows before you even decide to make the switch – the beauty of the net!

  • My brother would be amazed this blog post. We were recently speaking about this. lol

  • What a wonderful blog! Please continue this great work I will be sure to check back regularly

    • Thanks! Now the pressure is on to update this site regularly

      …thanks allot, lol!

  • Please, can you PM me and tell me few more thinks about this, I am really fan of your blog…

  • Well written post, looks brilliant on my iPhone as well.

    • Cool. Still goofing around with the Mobile version of the site

  • Nice site you have!