A year without cable or Dish TV service

It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Services like Hulu, Amazon VODNetflix/Instant Streaming help make the transition much easier.  It’s probably a tougher thing to do if you have children, or a sports fan in the home. I never actually watched Premium cable channels (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz) for their series, so I knew I wouldn’t miss having access to them.

I use a desktop computer as my main entertainment device now, so the first thing I looked into was how to get Over The Air local channels to playback on my computer. After some research, I picked up a Tuner card and a Digital indoor antenna. Thankfully my computer is running Windows Vista Home Premium (Windows 7 Home Premium also works), So I used the included Windows Media Center software to watch the over the air broadcast. Installation and setup went smoothly and I was able to watch Broadcast TV just fine but the signal strength/ image quality was and still is quite average.  I’m not sure if it’s the TV tuner card or the antenna (the placement or unit itself). I may have to buy a new card or Antenna but it’s not an urgent priority.

Hulu
A lot of popular broadcast network shows will appear on this service , even if it is a few days late. It all depends on the content providers. Viewing most recent content is free (with ads), which is fine, but it sometimes episodes “expire” after a certain period of time. You can use the service though any web browser that has the Adobe Flash Player plugin installed. The  Hulu Desktop Client is also another way to access the content. It doesn’t use a web browser (IE, Firefox, Chrome…) but it still needs Flash player to be installed on the computer. To access content deemed “Mature” a login account needs to be created.

Netflix
This pay service is an alright source for movies. You’ll  find a greater selection on their Disc catalog but the content here is still good. New titles are being added all the time.

Amazon VOD
This is an excellent service for purchasing and renting of streaming TV episodes and Movies. Standard Definition TV episodes are usually $1.99/ep. and $2.99/ep. for HD content. Movie rentals go for $3.99 for a 48-hour window. Movies can be purchased for $14.99. The content selection here is great.

Now’s a good time to get into Internet streaming media.

-Tony

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