Have you given up television?

I'm not a big television watcher. Never have been. I enjoy watching sporting events. I love watching movies. And there are shows I wouldn't miss, like Doctor Who and Dexter. But I'm closer to abandoning what we traditionally think of as television because we're on the verge of not needing the 500 channels of nothing on. Apple announced the new Apple TV at a $99 price this week, but that's far from interesting because it will be closed off from most of the solutions that should replace the traditional cable or satellite provider. The Xbox keeps getting closer to the set top box of the future, with ESPN 3, Netflix, and Hulu integration all set to work in concert before the end of the year. If it weren't for FSN having a death grip on Seattle Mariners baseball games, I'd definitely cancel the TV portion of my Comcast subscription.

One thing I've noticed is I stopped downloading anything via torrent because there are easier ways to get what I want to watch. Maybe I'm easy to please, but Netflix does an outstanding job of getting the movies and shows I want to watch quickly, which means there's no good reason to try and track anything down online. I think that's the core lesson the entire entertainment industry should take away from the shift caused by BitTorrent. Make it easy enough for people to get the content they want on their own terms and they won't need to use questionable means to acquire it. It also means there's less chance of getting a computer full of crapware as evidenced by the number of people who regularly visit JakeLudington.com as I warn them off of anything to do with X3 player and other bogus movie files found on the torrent sites.

Something else I recently noticed is that I'm acquiring far less stuff. I'm not getting physical copies of movies because I know I can watch them on Netflix whenever I want. I don't even care about having the files on my computer, because I can always get access to them in the future and for the most part the places where I consume entertainment are places with fast connections. Zune Pass and Real's Rhapsody service, Pandora and Last.fm are all great solutions for music on demand, which for music literally means anywhere if you have a smartphone. Video just came to the iPhone in a big way with Netflix support, which means other services will quickly follow.

Does that mean we can all stop scrolling past QVC on the cable guide and simply watch what we want when we want? Let's hope so. How about you? Have you given up television? What are you watching instead?