Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Current State of TV in My Home

I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia.  My family owns 4 TV's, 3 of which are connected to cable TV.  I have the Comcast Triple Play package, and currently pay $141 for Cable TV, Home Phone, and High Speed Internet.  In addition to basic cable, I also subscribe to HBO, Showtime, Encore, and Starz.  So for my family home entertainment, I pay $1,692 dollars a year.

There are two parts of the triple play package that my family can't live without; the home phone and a high speed internet connection.  I think we could do without the home phone considering my wife, my oldest son, and I each have cell phones. However, my wife believes it would be too big of an inconvenience to give up the home phone because too many people, schools, doctors, etc. have our home phone number.  I'll give in for now, but once Google Voice allows you to migrate numbers, my home phone will be a thing of the past.

The high speed internet connection has to stay because at times I work from home, and it's also part of the Cable TV transition plan.  We have 2 options for high speed internet in my area... Comcast and Verizon Fios.  There is a new 4G service from Clear that is in the area but hasn't made it to my address yet.

I have experimented with broadcast TV, and I get a very good signal from my home.  I used  AntennaWeb to confirm the signal strength in my area.  Using cheap 4 dollar rabbit ears and an analog TV with a digital converter, I was able to get a little over 30 free broadcast channels.

Our TV hardware consists of two 32" Vizio HDTV's (both located in bedrooms) connected directly to the cable, a standard definition 32" Sony Trinitron Flat Screen TV (located in the family room) that is connected to a Comcast cable box, and a small standard definition 10" TV that is located on my deck and connected to the rabbit ear antenna.

Now that we know where we're starting from, we can now start planning our transition away from Cable TV.