Did your parents used to call the TV that? My Dad sure did.
Yesterday, Rogers and I did something we’ve been talking about for a while – we cancelled our cable. I know – GASP! I was really the one who was more hesitant about doing this, previously. He was all for it. Matter of fact, he recently cut some channels to trim our bill back, which I supported — until I sat down to watch the first College Football game (Vandy and South Carolina), and realized he’d cut ESPN. I about had a seizure. Fortunately DirecTV restored order just after kickoff and no one had to die.
However, after a couple of ridiculously expensive cable bills and realizing that 99% of everything we watch is on DVR usually the next day or several days after it airs, we reevaluated. Also, I’m doing a lot more reading when I come home from work, to decompress, rather than turning on the TV. I’m plowing through a couple books a week, sometimes. So why are we paying $160/month to watch the news in the morning? Not worth it.
So yesterday, we bit the bullet and cancelled cable. But don’t worry – we aren’t going totally cold turkey. Rogers purchased an Apple TV box for us and signed us up for Netflix and Hulu. Best part – our new grand total for the monthly TV bill is going to be around $15. And we now have access to more shows, music (Rogers likes to have the music channels on during the day while he’s working from home) and other crap than I could ever sift through. $15 a month!!
It’s INSANE. After I posted this on Instagram and Facebook, several people asked “WHAT IS APPLE TV? OMG I NEED THIS,” so here is what I know. Keep in mind, I’m only about 12 hours into this and there are several of you who know more than I do, so feel free to chime in on the comments of this post!
Apple TV is a box by which you stream Netflix, Hulu Plus or other such services that I don’t know about, directly to your TV. I think Amazon Instant is another one. You have to have wireless internet to stream these, obviously. The box cost us $100 from MacAuthority, and since cancelling our outrageous cable bill, it will pay for itself in less than a month. So, you register for Hulu Plus and Netflix online, and then tell the Apple TV box what your username and password are and it pulls all that in. (I’m so technical – I know. Apple is probably calling me right now to offer me Steve’s old gig).
Tiny little box of magic, modern technology.
Hulu Plus is $7/month and Netflix (not the DVDs sent to your house, because like my friend Kim says, this is not 1995) – but Netflix Instant, like Hulu Plus, is also $7/month.
Now, there are other devices out there that will also stream these services – like Wii, Xbox and Roku, just to name a few. So, the way your TV and show selections all look now, is based on what device you’re using. Just like if you were using Comcast vs. DirecTV – the menus are different, etc.
If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, etc., you’ll love the ease of use with AppleTV. I figured it out in about 30 seconds, which is saying a lot.
When I say endless content – there is ENDLESS content. For example:
Hulu Plus – Hulu has more up-to-date shows. All the popular shows like Parenthood, Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy (to name a few of my faves) will be updated with the latest episode by the next day, almost in every case. Maybe two days. So you search for your show or look in your favorites and click, and watch. Just like if you selected it from your DVR on cable. There are also tons of free movies, documentaries, and so much other stuff.
Netflix is not as up to date. They don’t have shows that aired yesterday – BUT, their backdated catalog is HUGE. For example, I’m up at 3:15 a.m. typing this right now because I can’t sleep, and I’m watching the pilot episode of My So Called Life. Remember that show from the 90s on MTV? OMG I wanted to be Claire Danes so bad and date Jordan Catalano, but I digress. All the seasons of the Office are on there, Friends, Saved by the Bell – and of course, more recent stuff too.
I noticed all the seasons of Breaking Bad are on there, which I plan to dive into, soon. It comes on AMC.
You can also purchase premium shows – like $2.99 for an episode of Homeland from Showtime or $31 for the whole season. The premium shows usually aren’t free, obviously. You can also rent newer released movies, just like you could order from Comcast or whatever, previously. We’ll probably still use RedBox for this, but it’s there if you want it.
I would imagine if you’re a Mom with kids, this would be a goldmine. Because there’s a whole “For Kids” section on both Hulu Plus and Netflix, fo’ free. Just hit play – virtual babysitter. (I don’t have kids – clearly).
Did I mention no commercials? That’s why we loved our DVR – but you still have to fast-forward. They aren’t even there, with Apple TV. It just streams straight through.
So, things I’ll miss:
The Today Show. I watched it every morning. However, we can plug our TV directly into the cable outlet and get the three major networks, so problem solved. I just have to watch it live. No big deal. So we just press the “source” button on the remote to go back and forth between Apple TV and basic, bunny ear cable.
College Football. Again, if a game is on NBC, CBS or ABC, I can watch it still. Otherwise, I’ll go across the street to Jed’s Sports Bar and still spend less than our cable bill per month. Boom.
That’s about it, really. So, weigh in if you know something I don’t – or tell me which shows I need to be watching now that I have access to so very many!
Callie wants to watch Downton Abbey because she’s such a proper lady.