A blog about "nothing"!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tech Update--6 months in

Over the summer I posted several times about our "cutting the cord" experience and some of the stuff that we were discovering in the process.  I thought it might be nice (and helpful) to update where we are on all of this.

One of the most common questions I get is "do you miss it?"  Not really.  Once in a while, usually on the weekends, we have to actually think about what we want to watch and instead of just flipping through the channels looking for something, we have to make a true decision.  Other than that, it really hasn't been an issue.  And I don't miss that $90 Directv bill every month!

We've hopped around from different services--when we started out we subscribed to Netflix and Hulu.  I cancelled the Hulu membership rather quickly when their service seemed to be subpar and included commercials.  I do have to say that Hulu has GREATLY improved their streaming feed over the past couple of months, but there is still plenty of free stuff for us to watch on Hulu without paying their fees.  Netflix was cancelled at the end of the summer, they really need to improve their library if they want to compete or they are going to find themselves in the same place as Blockbuster.

I have discovered that quite a few shows have their own websites, I was really excited to find Cook's Country and America's Test Kitchen online, I just stream those via a laptop.  Crackle is also completely free, they offer some different stuff from other places, and about the only place that I've found Seinfeld for free.  You don't get the entire series at a time, they select 10 episodes every month--but hey, if you can't find a good Seinfeld episode out of 10, you're not a Seinfeld fan!  And PBS offers a free feed via Roku and online.  Even QVC can be streamed if you are really bored and can't think of anything to watch. 

The winner (to me anyhow) in the streaming services that you pay for is Amazon Prime.  They have the biggest selection of both Television and Movies available, and it isn't all old stuff.  The only drawback is you can't buy it on a month to month subscription, you have to pay for an entire year at a time.  They do offer a month free to try it though, so by the time you pay for it, the price works out to $6.15/month--and if you are a regular Amazon shopper, you also benefit from free 2-day shipping on a huge selection of items they sell.  I am very impressed with how quickly they make some of the more popular movies available as part of the subscription, just this week Skyfall and The Hunger Games showed up.  Not the case with Netflix streaming.  And if there is something on the list that isn't part of the Prime subscription, you can still stream it for a fee.  I imagine if you are patient and wait, a lot of those items eventually end up part of Prime once the excitement wears off. 

I am still very impressed with the Mohu Leaf antenna, I was afraid once the weather got yucky and snowy it might not work as well, but not the case at all.  My father-in-law even commented on how clear our picture was on our TV.  It's nice to get true HDTV feeds without having to pay extra for it, I feel like we are using the TV to it's true potential.  The only times we seem to have an issue is when a large piece of equipment is in the area-ie. the helicopter coming in to land at the hospital, the snowplow, etc.   Reminds me of when I was a kid and the snowmobiles running around would create static on the screen.  Not a major issue by any means.  I consider the Mohu Leaf as one of the best purchases we've made all year.

VPN--well, I can't say it was a total disappointment since I got to watch Downton Abbey as it was being broadcast in the UK.  That was a definite plus.  As for the security, I'm still not 100% convinced it works via a subscription type service.  When I first subscribed I noticed a huge reduction in my spam e-mails, but over time that changed, and when I did virus scans and such on my computer, I saw absolutely no difference in what was found.  Needless to say, as soon as the last episode of DA was shown, I cancelled it.  It may just have been the particular company I went through, they came highly recommended, but this natural born skeptic wasn't totally sold on the whole idea before it was over with.  I think the only way to truly be absolutely safe is to have a private VPN, not one through a subscription service.  Oh well.

I am getting a chuckle out of Directv--they send us something on a regular basis, trying to lure us back.  "$200 towards cancelling your contract" and "$24.99 a month for 12 months" seem to be the offers lately.  How come they couldn't do this BEFORE we cancelled?  Wouldn't you think that it would be nice to reward your longtime customers before they got fed up?  Sorry guys, not falling for your line of crap.  Just keep wasting that postage money..................

No comments: