As a child of the 80’s and 90’s I was practically raised by the televison. Before I went to school I would watch back to back episodes of Saved by the Bell. When I came home for lunch to sneak sips of alcohol and eat microwaved Ramen, I would watch some Days of Our Lives, and when I got home from school for good it was a steady flow of Brady Bunch re-runs into Jeopardy into Charles In Charge or Transformers cartoons. Then at dinner my Dad loved watching Wheel of Fortune and then the prime-time shows came on and then I would go over to my friend Erin’s house to watch 90210 or a movie. Let’s just say those cathode rays really give me a sense of comfort.
So, after a few months of not having cable tv, I decided to throw Comcast a bone and see what the deal was. Well, since I didn’t accept the triple play offer when I moved in, it was now going to be $69 a month for BASIC cable. Of course I am already paying $40 a month for high-speed internet and since I didn’t want the triple play in the beginning I asked how come new customers get deals, but paying, loyal customers can’t get a deal as well? Well, the person had no idea, but did offer me a deal on digital phone service. Don’t even get me started on that subject!
So now it is my mission to enjoy as much cheap TV as possible and let you in on the deatils so we can send another horrible, overpriced, terrible company to a shallow grave.
Here are a few solutions that go beyond watching tv/movies on your desktop or laptop computer.
If you want a weird, shitty version of cable, with hundreds of channels you have never heard of at a low price, the Roku might be for you! You can still stream hulu plus and netflix but there are also a lot of weird channels for free without a subscription, like Giant Bomb or African Info Media! The Roku plugs directly into your Internet and TV and comes with a remote for hours of lazy channel surfing!
The WD Live TV is similar to the Roku but with less of the online content. It can stream Netflix and Hulu+, but an added feature is the USB slot where you can hook up a massive hard drive full of your own content. Watch home movies, previously acquired movies, etc., all with the touch of a remote! No more getting up and hitting play on the old laptop, you can couch potato all day long!
This is probably the best bet for most of us. Want to have your favorite games and stream Netflix and Hulu+, plus check your facebook and twitter? Plus, if you have a PS3 you can watch Blue-ray dvd’s! Downsides are you can’t watch hulu regular, but other than that it’s probably your best bang for the buck!
The LG Blue Ray player is a pretty amazing machine. You can watch Blue Ray discs and on many models you can stream Netflix and Hulu+. But the real standout feature is the USB port built into the back to connect an external hard drive so you can watch all of your previously owned videos.
And last but not least we have the ultimate package. Nerds have been preaching and utilizing this method for at least 15 years but it’s time we all jump on board. Connecting a pc or mac to your flatscreen has never been easier. A simple VGA cable does the trick and your computer can broadcast sound directly through your tv or soundsystem. The beauty of this setup is the customization. Want a blueray player? Install one. Want a bigger hard drive every few years? Install them. Want to watch hulu, hulu+, youtube, Netflix, Vimeo, VBS.tv? You can do it all and check you email or status updates from the couch. Make sure you add a wireless keyboard and a go-anywhere mouse and take that $100 a month you were spending on cable and buy a HUGE tv! This is what we will be doing at my house this Christmas and I hope the rest of you will too.