Friday, January 11, 2013

How We Rowland's Cut the Cord

I usually don't write on such personal subjects but as I share the story, many have questions about what we have done.  I am a preacher/teacher who loves television.  I grew up on TV.  I was a Saturday morning cartoon kid.   I have fond memories of coming home, finishing my homework, and watching television until it was time to go to bed.  Even as a kid, I enjoyed shows like Saturday Night Live and the Johnny Carson show because my parents would let me stay up late.

Suddenly, cable came into our home.  We went from three channels to twelve.  Eventually, we got to the 200 we all enjoy.  Just kidding.  Twenty years later, the DVR came into play.  Yes!  We would never miss a show again.  Never.  Ever.

As a father and a husband who loves television and will never preach against it, I have two boys who enjoy it the same. As well as a husband whose number one job is to make sure mommy is happy, it was my priority to make sure we could make a transition with little to no ripples.  We are paying $100 a month for satellite.  That amount was something that just didn't sit well with my frugal self.  So we went about exploring what was out there with the goal of not having cable or satellite.

Fortunately, we had a couple of extra dollars to experiment with many options that are out there - AppleTV, Roku, Boxee and the like.  My eyes for the longest time were on a device called as well - something new coming to the market - it too records antennae television.  Personally, it didn't pan out.  We live in the Atlanta metro area so the antennae signal would be strong and give us more than the three channels I grew up on.

For Jacob's birthday in November, my 15 year old, he used his money to purchase a Roku XS - the one with games.  Suddenly, he dropped the cord before everyone else.  One day, he literally moved the satellite box out of his room and placed it downstairs to shipped away.

For Christmas, Joshua, my six year old, got a Roku XS for Christmas.  Wanting to be just like his older brother, he also fell in love with his Roku, cut the cord, and dropped the box.

Karen is a local content person.  She enjoys local programming - news, court and talk shows so accepting the antennae was easier for her than myself.  She just wanted to see shows she misses and be able to watch them at her leisure without having to get on her iPad or computer to view them.  I, on the other hand, enjoyed the shows that were no local.

Our boys were leading the way.  Seeing the trend, Karen and I purchased the new version of Boxee that lets you receive antennae or basic cable and it has an cloud DVR that lets your record your shows and stream it to and from a cloud base system.

Were we ready?  Well, our satellite went out and Biggest Loser was coming on.  I set up Karen's television with the antennae so we could see it.  Remember, make mommy happy.  The picture was digital delight for her.  So clear.  The reception was great.

The next day, I took the antennae that was fishing outside of our bedroom window and placed it up the attic.  I took the splitter left from the satellite company and ran the antennae signal to our bedroom and our family room.

Currently, the boys continue to run their Roku's.  Karen and I use Boxee in our perspective areas.  In our family room where I watch most of my television,  I have AppleTV, an HDMI DVD player, a Roku, and the Boxee set up there for multiple entertainment.  (We are also Redbox fans by renting dollar movies.)

If I were to rate each player:

1.  Roku by far is number one in my book.  Great expansion of channels, games, and entertaiment.

2.  Boxee has a long way to go.  I was in the first wave of iphone users.  I saw where the iphone could go back then.  I feel the same way now.  It has a long way to go but where it is going is going to be good.  It allows you to set up a hybrid system - antennae and streaming.  Roku is totally streaming.  Boxee is hybrid.

3. AppleTV.  What can I say. I am loyal to Apple.  I got it.  I use it, but it is no where compared to the Roku.  No where. Period.

Two more thing.  One is Internet.  You need a fast internet with speed.  We went from 5mb to 20mb by switching companies and we will save $15 a month after the trial period.  Pretty impressive.  The second is subscribe to Hulu and Netflix.  All our devices have Netflix and Hulu except for the Boxee.  It only has Netflix but I can see them getting Hulu soon.   In our home, streaming is what our boys (and the next generation) is doing.  Not going to do.  They are doing.

This switch has taken several months of experimenting and trying but we have finally cut the cord.  You have to find what works for you and your family.  I miss seeing Honey Boo Boo but until then, I am enjoying saving money and spending more time with my family.