aggregation aggregation aggregation, Tech Thursday

Some things to consider before cutting the Cable Cord

Cutting the Cord is the new thing these days. So much so that Cable Companies are actually paying attention. You can find a lot of good articles about how to do it here and here and here.

But there are some things to keep in mind before you ditch cable. Essentially it boils down to what are you trying to accomplish?

Maybe you want to be a purist and just have a regular old TV with local OTA stations. Get yourself a good OTA HD antenna and you are good to go as long as you live in an urban area with good line of sight television stations.  Or you could just get rid of your TV and do things like read Proust in the original French and then interpreting it into postmodern dance.

Most people want the benefits of cable without the high costs. Here’s the thing. you still need an internet connection and a good one at that.

In 2015, the FCC redefined what constitutes “broadband” speed in the US as 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds, up from 4 Mbps, which was the standard since 2010…. In the FCC’s 2016 Broadband Progress Report, it said 34 million US citizens (10 percent) lack access to such speeds; 23 million of those people are in rural areas.– PC

We have Comcast, also known as Satan’s Overachieving Sibling, for our internet.  Like most (all) cable companies, Comcast doesn’t separate their internet package from their basic bundle, so we get all the OTA channels and other lame stations no one watches.   Before we had cable, I simply connected an old PC to our TV and watched a lot of stuff online.  I was using an older technology but today most laptops come with at least one HDMI cable and if you have a new HDTV, you are in business.

However, most people want a Living Room Theatre-like experience without getting too techie.  You need a some type of Media Streaming device, i.e. the hardware.  There’s Roku, AppleTV, Chromcast, Amazon Fire TV, (others I’m missing).  You can also buy a SmartTV but these aren’t the panacea they promised.  For one thing, as the model gets older, the supported apps diminish.  And some  SmartTVs don’t play nice (I’m looking at you Samsung) and some media streamers are locked out.  For instance, for the longest time I couldn’t get HBO Go on my Roku, even though I could get HBO on our cable and on my SmartTV.  Though Samsung and Sling swear there exist Samsung TVs out that that it will work, I cannot get SlingTV on my specific model.

The streaming hub is just one part though.  Most come with some free channels but again, just like with cable, you get what you pay for.  You’re not gonna be able to watch Game of Thrones, Walking Dead or The Hunger Game movies for free until you add Subscription Service  (read: paid) like SlingTV, Netfix, Hulu, etc.  Some of these have free and pay options and again, the free stuff is very limited.

Some linkage for your research:


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