Can You Drop Cable/Satellite?
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.
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.
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]
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.
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?