I cut the satellite cord back in June, and after a few months I have no desire to go back. The only things that I have missed have had to do with sports: one Nebraska football game that was on the Versus network (although I did find a low-res online feed), the baseball playoffs (although I could watch the raw camera feeds through mlb.tv) and the world series. I would like to point out that I did get a chance to watch the awesome Game 6 of the world series at a bar during a hunting trip and it is a lot more fun to watch sporting events with a group of people like that. If you are a sports or reality TV junkie (ugh) – then you will probably want to keep your satellite or cable. Otherwise, it is easy to do without and save a lot of money in the process.
We purchased at Tivo unit that has Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Youtube built in along with an over-the-air DVR, and it easily fulfills our entertainment needs. We also put a Roku box in the TV in our bedroom and a media PC in the rec room and they have the same access to content as our main TV. Our cost dropped from $120/month for our home (and my mother-in-law’s house, which is next door) to $26/month. Our monthly bandwidth utilization is around 60-70Gigs, which is still under the bandwidth cap of the 8meg plan that we offer to our customers.
Netflix, Hulu and DVRs are changing the way that people watch TV. Users are more empowered to find the content that they like and Netflix/Hulu do a good job of recommending other things that you might like. I don’t think that the exclusive deals on some kinds of content are going to cripple Hulu/Netflix either. Netflix could lose access to the newest movie titles and I wouldn’t care because there is still a ton of good stuff to watch. Same with Hulu. Some of the best stuff isn’t the junk that comes from network programming – it is the old movie collections (like the Criterion collection), old television series (original Battlestar Galactica for example) and the educational programming that is available. I have a great time sitting down with my son to watch programs about space exploration and science, and then using the iPad to explore the same subjects on the Internet or through some of the amazing education apps available on it. Having many of these content sources available on the iPad is a big winner too. Our iPad is doing double duty as a second television that goes anywhere in the house or around the house, pulling in content from wifi and following us to wherever we happen to be. Last summer, I started watching a baseball game on my desktop computer at work, listened to the audio feed on my smartphone as I drove home, put it on the iPad while I was outside weeding the garden and finally ended up watching extra innings on the big screen in the rec room on my media PC.
I believe that we are very close to reaching a tipping point on content. The Internet TV model is great for consumers and death to the passively viewed, advertising filled, junk TV model that we have grown accustomed to. I am much happier with a few channels of stuff I want to watch, when I want to watch it instead of having to sort through 500 channels of junk