So my family is nearly three weeks into cutting the cable TV to our house. Here are the results so far…
I’ll just say it’s gone smoother than expected. Writing for myself, I haven’t really missed cable TV… but then I’m home a few hours in the evening and the weekends. If I talk to the family they are frustrated, but not for the reasons you think…
First, if you didn’t know: almost three weeks ago, I cut cable TV from our house. So why is the family frustrated?
- Buffering – there have been a couple episodes online that the commercials buffered so bad it interrupted the show… because the show estimated 60 or 90 seconds. It’s almost never the show itself but the commercials (specifically the local news commercials) and this is over wireless (not a wired connection to the home router).
- Linux settings – I think I’m almost at a steady-state with the Ubuntu config so that someone doesn’t have to jump up every 10 minutes and move the mouse on the laptop before it goes into sleep-mode. Firefox has been configured and while one channel does not allow you to watch an episode online with an ad-blocker in place, we can watch another channel’s episodes and never be bothered by commercials.
- Full/partial screen – some commercials revert from full-screen to partial-screen, thereby forcing someone to get up and click the icon to make the show full-screen once again. This seems mostly a local affiliate and sometimes a n00b online commercial.
So, those are the frustrations — but what have I seen in the few weeks since cutting the cable?
- More reading – I know I’ve finished more books in the last three weeks than the three previous weeks… my wife has finished writing a manuscript that was submitted to a major publisher and my youngest is now asking for a Kindle for Christmas.
- A couple more board-games – With the Thanksgiving holiday and the beginning of the craziness of the holiday season, there hasn’t been three full weeks of sitting at home – so Carcassonne and a couple other Wii games have come out when the most current episodes of some shows are in the “watched” list.
- Weather has not been a factor – Even with record-setting rainfall in the Cincinnati area, the TV hasn’t been on that much… everyone has found other things to do.
- Digital TV – Thanks to one commenter on my last post, I kept the coax cable plugged in and re-scanned the channels. We pick up CBS, ABC, PBS and several Ohio-specific channels. Since several of our favorites are on CBS and ABC, things are good (sorry, NBC, nothing that is must-see on your channel) and we haven’t had to purchase a digital antenna and muck with setting it just right.
What does this mean for our family? Frustrations have been verbalized and there are groans when the local affiliate forces the browser to partial-screen… but at the end of the week, when I’ve ported my home phone to a cell phone, the cable company will only be serving high-speed internet to the house and I will have reduced my spend with the cable company by over 50% compared to a month ago when TV, internet, and phone came through them. I think it’s money-well-saved.
Now, the team at Boxee saw my first post and have offered a full-blown Boxee Box for evaluation – so look for that review in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, any ideas out there for the frustrations I’ve uncovered? Any Firefox plugins to force a streaming video to stay full-screen? I’d love to learn from you… let us know in the comments.