Killing the Idiot Box

My family tried cutting out satellite TV a couple of years ago but ultimately turned it back on about 6 months later.  Mostly it was because the final season of Battlestar Galactica was starting up and I really didn’t want to wait.  Ihave even mentioned the subject before on this site.  Now that I am no longer attached to any particular show, the conversations about shutting off the satellite have come up again.  We are currently subscribed to a fairly basic plan but once school starts again, we just won’t be using it much and the expense seems a little excessive.  The big difference today versus about two years ago is that Netflix offerings are getting better and there is also Hulu Plus which, conveniently enough, is available through our XBOX 360.  Now seems to be a good time to try it again but I have a couple of stumbling blocks in the way.

The first is my bandwidth at the house.  Right now I have 3MB DSL and while it works fine for basic internet needs, it is failing when it comes to streaming television and movies.  Most of the time it is ok, but often my quality dips below what I find acceptable and rarely do I ever get anything to work in HD.  I am currently evaluating options but I know that I don’t want to deal with the local cable company which really only leaves uVerse from AT&T.  I can’t seem to get AT&T to give me the same information from day to day so I am not ready to pull that trigger yet either.  So, bandwidth seems to be a big problem for switching to all internet based television.

The other problem, which may be a little thing, is that the children’s programming is overall weak.  It is mostly non-existent on Hulu and the Netflix offerings are spotty.  I also have a technical issue in that if I kill the satellite I lose my feed to my daughter’s room.  Again, no huge deal but it is occasionally advantageous to have her watch something in her room rather than in the living room.  We often have trouble finding things for her to watch on Netflix and relying on it 100% seems troublesome to me at the current moment in the evolution of internet TV.

If I can get past those two problems there is one problem, more of a luxury thing really, that I will have to come to terms with and that is the loss of the DVR.  I can get all network television using my over-the-air antenna but I have to watch it live.  Hulu would give me some shows on demand but the availability of those are at the mercy of the content producers and not all networks are on Hulu.  Again, a small issue but something to consider IF trying to replace what I have today.

The bigger question though is do I WANT to replace what I have today or do I really want to disconnect.  The discussions we have had have focused more on reconnecting as a family and removing barriers to that desire.  Television is a big barrier.  It gets in the way of family time and become an easy out when we should be doing something active and together.  The hope is that by having less to watch, we will end up doing other, more exciting activities and maybe even create family memories.  I think those motives pretty much outweigh the cost advantages.

Well, that’s the thinking anyway.  I think I am all for it but opinions are always welcome.


Killing the Idiot Box — 2 Comments

  1. We have cut the cord before and ended up coming back but I think it is easier now than ever before. I feel pretty sure once school and the fall gets going we are going to give it another shot. I’ll certainly update my experiences.

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