We finally did it. Our house no longer has a cable subscription (no satellite either). I’ve mentioned the possibility of abandoning my cable subscription in the past, but could never bring myself to do it. I didn’t want to miss any Mariners games. We’re a couple weeks into this new cable-free existence and the world has (not surprisingly) not ended.
This doesn’t mean we’ve stopped watching shows and movies at our house. With the exception of Mariners games, virtually everything we watched previously is available on demand in some form.
Doctor Who is the only show I watch in the current season. It’s available on demand via Zune on the Xbox, iTunes, or Amazon Prime the day after it airs on BBC America. Many television shows are available this way.
Depending on which option you choose, a season may cost about $20 or $1.99 an episode. That’s not free, but you could pay for quite a few shows on demand before you hit the $100 per month the average cable subscriber pays. If you pay for Amazon Prime, which is essentially pre-paid 2-day shipping from Amazon, you also get a fairly impressive library of streaming video you can watch as part of the package.
Netflix was already the primary source of entertainment for our kids, with everything from Blue’s Clues to kids movies on demand. For a wider selection, here again iTunes and Amazon Prime offer options.
For the Mariners games, I’ve started listening to the AM radio broadcast, which has better announcers than the TV anyway. I frequently have MLB.com Gameday on my computer, so I’m not missing much.
The Xbox is now our cable box, for everything but Amazon Prime. I’m considering getting a Roku to handle Amazon Prime, since that’s a bit more elegant than connecting my computer via an HDMI cable, but I haven’t actually made the jump yet since the net result of not having Amazon Prime connected all the time is we don’t watch it. And it’s not like I really need to find more excuses to watch television.
If you are considering cutting the cable too, Roku is definitely the most complete integration of services at this point, though I still prefer my Xbox 360 to just about any other set top box solution. I will say that ditching cable or satellite television is probably still not an option for serious sports fans. The ESPN service on Xbox Live keeps adding more college games, but it’s unlikely to have the major pro sports anytime soon. I long for the day when MLB.tv stops doing a blackout of local games – I’d even pay extra if it meant I could watch Mariners games in Seattle, instead of needing to leave the state to see the home team.
Now the question is – can we live without those DVDs?
How about you, are you still watching cable? Did you cut the cord? What are your favorite online video services?