In The Air (and Through The Wire)

TV Clipart
As mentioned in this blog post, we got rid of cable TV in our house about 5 months ago. I figured this was a good time to give a status report.

What have we missed? Not much. We’re not inclined to watch shows like “Jersey Shore,” and most of our former favorite channels– Food Network, A&E, Discovery– seemed to have become home to mean-spirited, cheaply produced “reality” shows. From what I’ve seen and heard since dropping cable, this trend hasn’t changed.

During the holidays we missed some movie marathons from TCM and the like, but that just made us look for alternatives at Netflix or on the local Chicago over-the-air channels.

As I mentioned, we started plowing through our Netflix queue, and we’ve caught up on a bunch of movies we’ve been meaning to watch. I’ve also discovered some TV shows that I missed the first time around (thanks mostly to MeToo), and I can now eloquently spout 20-year-old pop culture phrases like “Resistance is Futile” and know what they mean. I can now both annoy and astonish my co-workers with my “new” TV discoveries: yes, I will admit publicly that until a couple months ago I never saw a single episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

From a technical standpoint, the video and audio on our TVs is near-perfect. We have a later-model analog/CRT TV, and the signal that comes out of our converter box is great. Despite my tendency to collect gadgets, I still don’t see a need to upgrade to an HDTV yet.

All that said, we’re not completely “off the wire.” While we don’t have cable TV in the house, we now have access to Internet video thanks to the Sony BDP-S370 Blu-Ray player I bought a couple weeks ago. This unit has built-in internet video streaming, including Netflix, Amazon, and a whole bunch of other services. This means that you connect the player to your home network, and anything that shows up as “Watch Instantly” in your Netflix queue can be streamed through the player right to the TV at no additional charge past your monthly Netflix subscription. You can also “rent” movies (and recent TV episodes) through Amazon and have them delivered directly to your player at that moment. I’ll post a detailed review of the Sony player and the available services in an upcoming blog post.

So far, we’ve saved about $400 overall by not having cable TV, and we don’t miss it. And frankly, I feel a little more smug about not supporting programs where the hosts encourage people to drop 80-lb wedding cakes or show Just How Much Better Off You Are Than These Losers Who Can’t Seem to Run a Household.

Of course, we still have network TV for that.