The wife and I have been living without a major cable provider for a few months now. It has been great for the most part, although there are a few things I miss.
For most of our entertainment we watch older series on Netflix. I was able to watch all of Lost without any interruptions unless I wanted them. I really enjoy watching shows this way. I even save them up so I can watch a whole season at once. I like the ability to hit next on a cliffhanger and keep going. This does lead to me staying up rather late some nights, but it is great entertainment.
A lot of the shows we like to watch are available with minimal delay from broadcast. Once you get on that schedule it doesn’t matter when the original air date is, just how long the episode will be available for. I really like how Hulu subscriptions work, and I get emails when a show I have subscribed to has a new episode available. This is even better than the DVR model because I don’t have to think about checking to see if there were any shows recorded.
Hulu also has some good exclusive content, and I have really enjoyed the political mockumentary style of Battleground. I hope to see more of this kind of thing and will try and support it.
I have made more time to read actual paper books. (gasp!) I forgot how much I enjoy reading a book, and have started to read Lord of the Rings again. eBooks are all well and good, but there is something about being able to read and not worry about charging a battery or worry that some publisher can delete the book you are reading from your device.
I have also found that renting movies from Amazon works really well and the selection is quite good. I don’t mind paying the $3 just like back in the old days of renting tapes or dvd’s for a movie if I can’t get it on something like Netflix.
After burning through a few shows, I am worried that in the the long term pickings will become rather slim. I have already burned through Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Start Trek TNG, and several other great shows that are no longer running. I see a long term trend for good drama programming like this becoming rare. Game of Thrones is a great exception, but that brings up a whole new topic of premium content, but thats another post.
I sort of miss the channel surfing some times. Not very often, but occasionally i want to just watch tv instead of hunt through content to watch. Perhaps I need to get better at finding ways to have it presented to me automatically, but for now I have to work at finding stuff I want to watch.
Plex does a good job of helping me out with this. There are video channels for quite a few of the major basic cable networks such as History and Food Network. This has let me ‘surf’ around on what shows and episodes they have available on their sites right now all in one easy to navigate place.
All in all I have been really happy without any cable provider. Especially the absence of a $100 monthly bill. I am hopeful that the entertainment industry will come around and built better ways to enjoy entertainment like this. I really love being able to choose what to watch, when I want it.