We’ve posted before about how to break your cable habit without giving up on TV altogether–it’s possible, but can’t happen without some work on your end. This week, the New York Times’ Nick Bilton explained how he and his wife have combined their existing devices with a few new ones to create a content stream that enables them to watch what they want without cable.
Bilton’s solution combines a small dedicated computer and a keyboard and mouse. Supplementing the hardware is a Netflix subscription, the Boxee application from Boxee.tv, Hulu Desktop, and Joost.com, as well as occasional TV show and movie purchases from the iTunes Music Store. He notes that there’s so much content available on line these days that the very act of watching TV has begun to change, as anyone who has sat around with friends and shared favorite YouTube clips knows.
We still come home from work and watch any number of shows, just like the people who continue to pay for cable. We just do it a little differently, starting the computer and then using services like Hulu, Boxee, iTunes and Joost. Another interesting twist to this experience is that we’re no longer limited to consuming traditional programming. With these applications we can spend an entire evening flicking through videos from YouTube, CollegeHumor or Web-only programs.
Obviously this isn’t a no-cost solution, but even if you buy a new computer and splurge on expensive-ish digital rentals and purchases, the total annual cost can come out far lower than paying $140 a month to a cable company.
The one glaring flaw in this route is the dearth of sports programming.
I know the sports and technology enthusiasts don’t often mix, but if you’re one of the few people who live in both of those worlds you might have to look for other options. To watch baseball you can buy a little dongle that plugs into the back of your computer and streams free over-the-air high-definition channels. I bought this for the Yankees games and it worked perfectly. If you’re an ESPN fan you have two options. Stick with cable, or go to a bar to watch the basketball games.
“Cable Freedom Is a Click Away” [New York Times]