Moving My TV To The Cloud

I got a text the other day from my wife with 3 small words I thought would never come from her, “Cancel the cable.” All I could say in return was “Wait, what?” I was shocked and a little confused because she had been so resistant in the past but she was finally fed up with our cable TV service. We had recently talked about switching our TV service to satellite but couldn’t really see any cost benefit or value for the money we would be paying. The recent loss of several channels we watch, especially channels my 3 kids watch started the ball rolling forward that led my wife to the ultimate conclusion that we should cancel the cable. This poses a special problem that falls to me to solve. How do I “cut the cable” and still keep the remaining programming my family enjoys? The Cloud, it is nearly all out there in the cloud.

Ahh research, boy have I done a lot of it in the last few days. I almost immediately began looking at trying to get our local broadcast channels over the air…then I realized the content we watch from those stations isn’t the local news content it is the national content. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW they all provide their content online or through an app. I found apps for all of these stations available on both Android and Apple mobile devices. Even some of my favorite cable channels are in on the act like TNT and Syfy. There are some sticky issues with some content providers, take TNT for example. I discovered their app — it was great but watching required me to log in with my username and password from my cable provider. This is not uncommon. Several channels require you to have a pay TV subscription to watch. Well that may be a problem when I drop the pay TV portion of my cable service. This is not the only sticky issue I have discovered. CBS for example only has certain episodes available to stream, unless you subscribe to their service to unlock additional content. They aren’t the only content provider using this model either. Subscribing to particular content providers seems to cost in the $5-$7 range per month. Disney has even gone a step further. They require a pay TV subscription to stream content, but if you are a Star Wars fan like my kids and I are Star Wars Rebels is available on YouTube for $1.99 per episode or you can get the entire season for $15.75. It is also available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon. The point of all this is that new services and ways to access the content you want to watch are popping up every day in the cloud and the industry is trying to figure out how people are willing to pay or not for the content they want when they want it.

Now I would be remiss if I didn’t mention popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu which are kind of like the cable companies of the internet. Netflix is developing its own fantastic original content and working with companies like Marvel Studios to bring original content like a live action DareDevil series to their streaming media service. Hulu has movies and recently aired TV shows available usually within a week of their air date to stream as part of their service. Vudu allows you to rent or purchase streaming movies and seasons of popular TV series individually much like iTunes or Amazon. We already have a Netflix account and the kids love it.

It will certainly be an adjustment to how my wife and I think about TV and how we watch it. My kids are growing up with streaming media so I doubt they will fight the transition that much. With devices like Roku and Apple TV the content they are streaming to their devices can also be enjoyed on their TV using wireless video streaming technologies like Airplay and Miracast. So with minimal gnashing of teeth we will be “cutting the cable.” How about you?

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