Friday night topic: Cutting the cord


— 5:22 PM on August 12, 2011

So this post in the forums by TheEmrys, along with a recent encounter with shockingly clear digital TV reception in my area with a cheap antenna, has me thinking again about something I've long been considering: cutting the cord, so to speak, by canceling my cable TV service and moving to a mix of broadcast TV, my own HTPC, and various streaming video services. TR blogger Jason Fox made the move a while ago with decent results.

Personally, I'm sorely tempted. The DVR that comes with our Time Warner Cable service is so awful, it's basically customer abuse. I can't record most channels with my non-CableCard HTPC and don't enjoy the prospect of convincing Time Warner to work with me on the setup of a CableCard tuner. What's more, most of the TV programs we watch are available in HD via over-the-air broadcast. I'm mystified why we pay what we do for the small number of programs we watch on that horrific DVR.

Saving the 60 bucks or so we cough up each month for cable TV service would allow us to subscribe to a host of streaming video services or to, you know, buy DVDs or Blu-ray discs. My initial plan was to sign up for both Netflix and Hulu Plus, but after looking at the selections, I wonder if we shouldn't just pay for show and movie rentals on a per-episode basis. Seems like it would give us more selection without costing much more, in practice, than multiple monthly fees—especially during busy months when we can't spare much time for television.

That's all negotiable, though. My only real snag? I really enjoy watching Monday Night Football sometimes. Pulling the plug with the season upon us would sting a bit.

I'm wondering: what have you done on this front? Have any of you pulled the plug and moved to streaming services? If so, how has it gone? What mix of services works best for you, and why? Discuss.

   
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