Streaming I must be Streaming

IMG_20151007_094507My neighbor pays $140 over dollars a month for Infinity (Comcast) cable.  That’s nearly $1700 a year for Television.   In my world, that’s an five day trip to Paris (in the dead of winter) or nearly three weekends to the New York.

Way,Way,Way Back In The Day

Television had 12 Very High Frequency (VHF) channels from 2-13. Philco’s, DuMont’s and Westinghouse in glorious black and white.  Later  Ultra High Frequency (UHF) became available offering up to 83 channels.

Cable came to our home via a door to door salesman .  For six bucks a month we received 25 channels by way of a brown box on top of our Television.   One hiccup, we couldn’t use the remote to change the channels.

In San Francisco we received channels from San Jose and Sacramento.  My favorite was the adult late night movies on channel 40 in Sacramento sponsored by La Brie’ Waterbeds.   There wasn’t any nudity or risky language, but of lot of foreign films with couples in bed, I was a young teen, that worked for me.

Fast Forward to 2011

I now have an HDTV, promising the best that television has to offer.  My DVD’s never looked better brighter sharper.

I’m paying Comcast $750.00 a year for cable.  Despite having an HDTV,  if I wanted a HD signals, it required a special box for an additional fee. To make matter worse my channel selection was horrible.

For years I’ve been streaming shows like “The View” on on my computer as well as watching other shows on  Hulu.  Streaming these shows allowed me to see them when I wanted without a DVR.

The Fortunate Disconnect 

By 2013, my Comcast bill wasn’t a priority. It was frustrating to pay for a service that gave me a crummy picture.    Every few months or so, I’d fail to pay the bill and Comcast would discontinue my service.   During my disconnect I looked for alternatives to Comcast.  The first month I thought I’d buy an television antenna.   Consumer Reports best buy where some old fashioned Rabbit Ears from Radio Shack. At home, the dance was infuriating, while one channel was perfect the others needed delicate adjustments to different parts of my living room.  After a week or so I grew tired of the dance and paid my bill.   Every other month my cable was disconnected and I would buy an antenna, then return the antenna to the store and pay the bill.

After returning one very expensive Antenna,I stumbled upon Apple TV a small box that would allow you to stream TV by way of the internet and I wouldn’t have to pay monthly fees.  There were several different brands, the salesman recommend Roku.

Streaming, I must be Streaming

The set up was uber easy.   I connected the small box to my HD and my stereo.  The content was great, a lot of old movie and newer B movies.   But no live TV.   The picture quality on my 720 HD was very good.  Hulu on my Roku was 8 dollars a month.  I could also watch hundreds a movie via Amazon, as a prime member.  Life wasn’t perfect, every now an then a picture would freeze, but it was something I could live with.  Finally I was done with Comcast Cable.  Roku has more than 200 free hundred channels with new channels nearly every day.

Top to Bottom

2nd generation Roku player, 1st gen Roku Player,  Comcast Basic Cable Box, Sony DVD Player 

“Live, Its Sling TV”

With Technology moving at light speed, a couple of things happened to Television. The prices were dropping, so I traded in my 24 inch TV for a 60 inch.  No glasses needed   HDTV antennas have improved.  For Twenty dollars a white 12×12 square weighing less than a pound sticks in my window, pulling in channels from Chico nearly 90 miles away.  No dancing required.

A couple of years ago Dish, introduced Sling TV.  For $20 a month, you can download Sling to your phone, PC or TV via Roku or other streaming devices .  With exception of the four major networks everything is live.    For $20 you get 30 channels, including CNN, Espn, Disney, and all the basic cable channels.  Sling has introduced ala carte service,  where the subscribe can get the channels they want. Unfortunately some of these are in  bundles, however, the prices are considerably lower than cable and satellite. And unlike cable, there are no contracts, you can cancel at anytime.

The sound and picture quality is very good.  However, the picture quality deteriorates some on slower internet systems. Sling was the first live streaming service.  The company now offer live network broadcast on the major networks.  There are others competitors coming.   Direct TV now has a streaming service..  Hulu will soon offer live TV streaming.

 With the streaming service there is more content than ever before.  With Hulu, Amazon. Netflix offering original programming I have more content than someone with 200 channels..  I have literally access to thousands of movies and other TV shows when ever I want to see it.

A few years ago, I paid $750, a year for inferior non HD Cable.  Today, I spend less than $400.   Nearly, a half a million people a month are cutting the cord.  Are you next?