It's Time To Ditch Cable!
There has never been a better time for you to get rid of your monthly cable subscription. With all of the devices in our living room being digital, it is entirely possible for you to enjoy all of your favorite movies and TV shows without dishing out money to Comcast, Direct TV, or whoever it is that controls, and likely monopolizes your local region. Just take a moment and think about it- do you really want some big company dictating what shows you can watch, and when you can enjoy them? If not, then accept the modern reality, and realize that it's easy enough for anybody to have the pride of throwing together their own home entertainment system, and saying goodbye to that monthly TV bill for good.
Advantages to Cutting Cable
- No more monthly fee. You're already paying for the internet, so just make that your primary source of experiencing your favorite media. While there may be a larger upfront cost to setting up your own home entertainment system, it will all pay for itself in a few months, guaranteed.
- More control over what you watch. Seriously, it's the 21st century, stop scheduling your evenings around the fact that your favorite show is on at 9 PM and you must be home on the couch to watch it. When you cut cable, you start watching shows on your time, and on your terms.
- Less commercials. Many digital streaming services that you will probably enjoy using may still run advertisements, but they are almost always shorter than the 5 minutes of product placement that plague every quarter hour of all network TV.
- You won't spend as much time being a mindless zombie. This is something you won't notice until you finally do pull the plug on your monthly subscription. You may not realize it quite yet, but in many households, the TV is almost always on as a sort of background noise. You plop yourself down and just sort of flip through the channels, not really looking for anything. When you don't have cable anymore, watching just about anything is more of a conscious decision. You have to scroll through some menus, and as you look at all the media available to watch, you've got to really decide- is this what I want to spend the next 40 minutes doing?
- More reliable. Since you will be the one setting everything up in your living room, you will know more about how it works. Stop dealing with sub-par customer service, and start doing easy fixes yourself.
What is the Best Device to Replace My Cable Box?
There are several options for you once you finally do turn your back on the old network TV plan. It's important to consider all of them, and pick the one that best suits your needs.
Roku 3 - $99.99
The most obvious as well as one of the more popular options is the newest iteration of tiny little Roku streaming boxes. Roku's reputation has grown greatly over the years, and they are known for being simple, easy-to-use, and quick. You hook the box up to your TV, connect it to your home network, and you can start streaming in 1080p from services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, PBS, MLB.tv, UFCTV, Vulu, FOX News, HBO Go, Flixster, CNBC, and a whole lot more. In fact, they have hundreds of different channels and games you can play, many of them free. There are lots of free streaming services available like YouTube, and you can listen to music through popular services like Spotify, TuneIn Radio, and Pandora.
Apple TV - $99.99
One of Roku's biggest competitors is Apple TV, and it's easy to see why. The two devices, as big of rivals as they are, are truly two very, very similar gadgets. They are the same price, approximately the same size, and can do many of the same functions, mainly stream in 1080p. While the Apple TV does not have as many channels or games like Roku, it is very good if you purchase a lot of content from the iTunes store, because everything will synchronize seamlessly. If you don't find yourself spending much at the iTunes store though, then Roku is probably the better product, simply because it has more free features.
Ouya - $99.99
Rounding up this collection is the newly released Ouya game console. If you don't intend to build your own home theatre computer, then Ouya is probably the next best thing that's on the market today. Although it is intended to be used for playing a lot of independently developed video games, Ouya is also very popular for its ability to smoothly run XBMC, the most popular home entertainment software among HTPC users. XBMC is a very sleek piece of software that allows you to stream high-definition videos, music, and photos from your computer. And considering your computer is the easiest place to obtain all kinds of free media to enjoy, it makes for a very appealing option.