I’ve “cut the cord” since 2009. That’s the popular term for ditching the dish or cable companies, and then only use indoor (or outdoor) TV antennas and online video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and/or Amazon Instant Video. It has worked out nicely, so far. Even better now, Netflix and Amazon started beefing up their video contents, especially original programming, to compete with each other, delivering quality shows. But more on that later.
For me, I’ve added low cost network TV tuner, such as SiliconDust’s HDHomeRun, enabling me to place an antenna anywhere in the house accessible via Ethernet. Conveniently enough, that’s in my home office, on top of tall cabinet, on the 2nd floor of the house. Although I still couldn’t get all of the HD channels, I manage to get at least half, such as CBS, NBC, CW, plus affiliates, PBS channels, and foreign language broadcasts. Oddly enough, if I move the rabbit ears antenna a few degrees clockwise, I’m able to get the other half. But I’m keeping it on the current angle because I needed to record golf tournaments on CBS.
As a side analysis, I can see this movement to cut the cord is getting more popular. The phenomenon prompted the cable companies and content providers to find alternative revenue streams (so to speak). One way cable companies can do is concentrate on becoming a giant Internet Service Provider by pooling their resources, such as the Comcast and Time Warner Cable proposed merger. They’ll also squabble over who pays the additional video traffic. Content providers, meanwhile, prefers to be exclusive for cable subscribers, because cable or dish companies can pay a premium for their programming. That’s not to say Netflix won’t pay for premium shows, but they do have to count their cost, as they’re a fledgling broadcaster. So, for those of us who rely on Netflix or Amazon for those popular TV shows, we might be stuck with the extreme alternatives.
There’s a focus on quality in cord cutting. As a family, we’re now very picky on what shows to watch. We’re not couch potatoes, sitting there flipping channels all day. Hollywood’s traditional technique of “throw these new shows on the wall and see which one sticks” has become less effective. I’m glad Netflix decided to use its considerable knowledge base to figure out which programming is worth creating (or re-creating, in some cases). Amazon is now trying to crowdsource original shows by letting customers vote. I like how they are letting the viewers choose, instead of some Hollywood executives.
It goes to show, the free market is the best way to decide who wins or loses. Consumers don’t need the government, like the FCC, to tell companies out there what they can or can’t do. If the system doesn’t work, let the system fail! Don’t let the bigger companies, with a bigger money bag, to influence the law and regulations. When the customers choose the winners, the customers win!
As a customer, I highly recommend others to cut the cord to cut monthly cost. As an avid TV watcher, cord cutting sends a message to oligopolies like cable companies and television studios that we are not going to take whatever they randomly throw at us. As a geek, I like to tinker with gadgets and HTPCs to maximize usability, and having fun doing it. It took a little bit of effort, but overall, the adventure was worth it!
We went to Wingstop. It was a cool sunny day when we talked about:
- The school shooting in Connecticut. This is the reason why we all need to start packing concealed guns, so we can protect ourselves against murderers out there!
- Why is it only African-American people can call themselves “black people”?
- Recommended movies: The Other Guys and Tropic Thunder.
- Spreading rumors: Pauly Shore’s illegitimate father was Rodney Dangerfield. Keep it on the low! YMMV.
- NFC feature on the new Android phones. Gotta touch each other, or not? Fast or slow? I’m an iPhone guy, so I don’t really care. B-)
- Aquabats: A local musician group. Good show for kids!
- Alfonso Ribeiro, aka. “Carlton” from ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, moon-walked with Michael Jackson in this classic 1984 Pepsi commercial: