I officially “Cut the Cord” on Cable TV last November and haven’t looked back. With subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go, I get to watch pretty much anything I want when I want (and save a lot of money in the process). I’m finding a lot of shows that have been around for several seasons and it can be hard to keep track of what you’ve watched and when new episodes are made available.
This is where TVShow Time (TVST) comes in. This is a free service on the web that also has apps for Apple and Android. TVST helps you mark what you’ve watched and has a worldwide fanbase who have running commentaries about the shows you’re watching. It’s a big community of people who are doing exactly what you’re doing!
Community members make and upload GIF’s of important scenes in each episode to post in the comments and they’re usually very entertaining. Be warned though there are spoilers in the comments so it’s best not to view until after you’ve watched a particular episode.
One of my favorite features is a calendar of upcoming shows that goes out about a year in advance. Wondering when the new season of Walking Dead is going to return? As of today it’s 48 days away!
To get started you just search for your favorite show and click the “+” sign to add it to your list. After that you can view show details, season info, episodes, and community comments.
In the settings you can setup push alerts to let you know when new shows are available. If you’re a Hulu user you can even delay the notifications by 24 hours so they’ll actually be available for you when you get notified.
The basic app is free & they just added in-app purchases that will allow calendar access and some additional customizations (I haven’t tried these yet). TVST has been a really great resource to help me keep track of my TV viewing and it’s worth checking out!
So we’re ending week 2 of the Cord Cutting Experiment and I’ll have to say it’s been mostly OK so far. I’m still missing the DVR a little because all my favorite shows were available in one place and ready to watch when I was.
Having said that by using a DVR I was not taking advantage of all the online programming that’s available out there. You can still “Time Shift” but you have to find the content in various applications and services vs. it being grouped together. You also have some limitations with shows only being available for a limited time (kind of like the storage space limitation on a DVR).
I tried a few iOS apps that help track shows and remind you when the are on. That’s nice to be able to do but you have to remember the shows are available the day after online in most cases.
I’ve also had some reception related issues with one of the local stations (ABC). The signal bounces all over the place from 35-90%. I repositioned the OTA Antenna this weekend and that made a big difference.
I’ve found some good online resources and talked to friends and co-workers about this experiment and have found a lot of people are cheating a little by using someone else’s (usually parents or relatives) cable tv account login to access online content. This gets you over some of the content limitations of going strictly non-cable. In fact, a lot of the AppleTV apps require a cable TV subscription login before they will even work!
I upgraded my Hulu Subscription the other night to the higher tier that all but eliminates commercials. I tried living with them for a week and it was driving me crazy. It’s worth another $4 in my opinion.
So in the end I went from $120 a month to less than $20. The $100 savings is worth it so far and I’m going to give this some more time before making a final decision on the overall experience. So far it’s still very positive!
I’ve gotten some great feedback on this subject and I look forward to more! Feel free to leave your questions and comments in the space below.
I came home the other day and my DVR was acting odd. Only a few shows remained & they were all marked for deletion. A quick check of available space confirmed my suspicions… The hard drive was dying and taking all of my saved content with it.
I work with a bunch of “Millennials” and none of them subscribe to cable TV. The number one reason seems to be cost. I’ve toyed around with the idea of becoming a “cord cutter” but hadn’t made the move yet. This was a perfect time to give it a shot. A quick call to the cable company saved me $120 a month in cable subscription fees and started me on this journey.
I purchased the new Apple TV released last week (future review topic for sure), and a new Over The Air (OTA) antenna for local channels. After some initial setup I was ready to roll.
The Apple TV allows me to access Netflix ($7.99 a month) and Hulu (also $7.99 a month) so for $16 I’m getting more content than I could ever consume. My Internet cost is reimbursed by my employer so this is working out to be a good deal.
The $60 OTA antenna I purchased from Amazon works amazingly well and pulls in all the local channels along with a bunch of sub-channels that I’ll never turn on. This setup will cover the major sporting events I want to watch as well as some Prime Time shows I watch on occasion.
The only thing I’m missing so far are the DVR capabilities and NFL RedZone. I’m learning that most network shows are available for streaming on Hulu the day after they air so if I miss it live I can usually find it online.
I’m still in the first week but so far so good. I’ll report back in a few weeks and let you know how it’s going and if I’m still happy with the decision to ditch Cable TV.
Have you cut the cord? Are you thinking about? Let me know in the comments section below.
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