Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cable free for one month!!!

This is what my kids used to do with their free time.  Now, my family has been cable free for 1 month.  So far... so good.  My wife keeps telling me, "I don't miss cable at all."  My oldest son, hasn't complained, which for a teenager means that he's ok with it.  My 9 year old son has probably had the hardest time with the change, because kids in school talk about shows he used to watch.  Now he can't join in on the conversation.  My 5 year old daughter has made the transition without a problem.

For me, it's been great.  I've been watching the olympics in high definition... for free.  My wife and I are hooked on a new Starz show called "Spartacus: Blood and Sand", that I subscribe to on Netflix.  We also subscribed to the first 3 seasons of "30 Rock".... hysterical show!!!

With less distractions, the house seems more peaceful.  We're communicating more.  We now watch TV as a family (with the exception of Spartacus), and we have conversations about the shows we're watching.  The kids also seem to be playing more with each other.

Overall, I'm thrilled we made the transition.  I can't ever see going back to paying for TV.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is Broadcast Quality Better Than Satellite and Cable?

So far I've been thrilled with the quality of my broadcast TV.  I have a very strong signal on most channels, and the High Definition is crystal clear.  According to Antennas Direct, the reason broadcast is better than satellite and cable is because the signal arrives at my house uncompressed.  I'm sure there are all kinds of mathematical formulas that will explain why this is the case, but a picture is worth a thousand words.  I scanned this from the Antennas Direct brochure that came with my antenna.

Click on the photo for the full view.

Cablevision to Launch Internet TV Service

photo by El Gran Dee

According to USA Today, Cablevision is testing a PC to TV system called "PC to TV Media Relay".  To use the system, a Cablevision subscriber will need to install a program to their PC.  This program will upload internet content and media content from your PC to Cablevision.  Cablevision will then rebroadcast the content to a dedicated TV channel.

Cheaper TV take:  Cablevision sees the writing is on the wall, that the future of TV entertainment will be provided through the internet.  It sounds like an interesting service, but there are privacy concerns. I haven't read the privacy statement, but it sounds like Cablevision will have access to all of the content on your computer. This content will be sent to Cablevision, stored on their servers, then rebroadcast to your TV. I would prefer hooking up a Roku or Boxee box to get internet content on my TV.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Walmart Buys Vudu

Walmart has entered the internet television business, by purchasing Vudu.  Click here to see the official press release.

Cheaper TV Take:  This takes internet TV to the mainstream.  Walmart realizes the future of TV entertainment is not in DVD's but in content delivered online.  Change has arrived!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Build Your Own TV Antenna

The thought of building my own TV antenna didn't cross my mind at the time I started the conversion.  After watching these videos, I probably would have given it a try.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Let it Snow!!! Antenna Survives Snow Storm of 2010

We had record snow this year in the Philadelphia area.  I remember seeing a number of commercials from cable companies talking about how poorly satellites performed in bad weather.  The assumption is that antennas will have a similar struggle in bad weather.

It turns out... the weight of the snow on a tree branch knocked the Comcast cable that carries internet and phone to my home.  It took a week for the cable to be reattached.  My antenna on the other hand didn't fail me... not for one minute.  We had free High Definition TV to entertain us while the Internet and Phone we pay for didn't work.  I took a video to show how well it performed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rumor MIll - Verizon Layoffs and Set to Exit Cable Business

I spoke with a couple of industry insiders and there are two persistent rumors... Verizon is starting to layoff their FIOS tech's and they plan to exit the "cable" business by 2014.

Cheaper TV Take: This is bad news for consumers.  For many, it was a blessing to have as a second option for high speed internet and Cable TV.  I'm sure those that have it will be able to keep it.  It will probably just  slow the pace of adoption to under-served areas.  Maybe they're prepping to sell that side of the business and focus on Verizon Wireless.  Hopefully Google will move quickly with their fiber plans.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Top Five "Non-Cable" News Programs

There are two types of people in this world, those that follow the news religiously, and those that don't.  I'm a news junkie... I can't get enough of it.  One reaction I received from friends and family when I told them that I was cutting cable was, "How are you going to watch the news?"  A strange thing has happened, something unexpected really...  I now watch more and better quality news, than I did when I had cable TV.

Wait a second... with cable TV, you have access to 24/7 news on stations like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News!!!  True, but I was getting tired of watching a bunch of political hacks providing 1% news and 99% opinion.  Now I'm watching loads of high quality, non-partisan news, using a combination of Broadcast TV and Internet Channels available through my Roku box.  With that in mind, here's my top 5 "Non-Cable" news sources.

5. White House Weekly Address - Ever since F.D.R. United States Presidents have given a weekly radio address.  When George W. Bush was in office, his administration made use of internet technology to broadcast the weekly radio address with an audio podcast.  President Obama, now delivers the weekly via a video podcast.  This podcast is carried on Roku through the Mediafly channel.  Instead of hearing pundits deliver the White House message, it's always best to get the information directly from the source.

4. Face the Nation - This news show is broadcast weekly on CBS.  I catch the video podcast on Mediafly and watch it on my on schedule.  Bob Schieffer has been doing this for a long time.  He gets respect, terrific guests, and discusses timely issues.

3. CNN - Yes... you can get CNN without cable TV.  Mediafly carries a few CNN channels including "CNN In Case You Missed It", and "CNN Daily".  Both shows give you a quick view of the days news.

2. PBS NEWSHOUR  - In my opinion, this is the best evening news show!  The  major networks have cut down their evening news programs to a half hour each night.  With all the events going on in the world, a half an hour is barely enough time to scratch the surface, so they give 1 minute or so to each news story.  What makes PBS NEWSHOUR great is that they choose about 4 topics and dig deep to give you a full reporting of each story.

1. Frontline - What's great about Frontline?  Everything!!!  It is the most thought provoking show on television.  Every show, Frontline chooses one topic and analyzes it from all angles.  If the topic is political the show addresses the facts and they film interviews that give opinions from the left and the right.  For a hot button topic like healthcare reform, they don't try to explain a 2,000 page proposal, they simply show how other countries handle healthcare and let you decide.  Most of all they deliver a wealth of information in an easily digestible format.  Some of my favorite Frontline shows include:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Old Jews Telling Jokes

I found a great channel on Blip.TV through my Roku box... Old Jews Telling Jokes.  The premise is simple, old Jewish guys are the best at telling jokes.  They've filmed a bunch of old Jewish guys telling jokes, and they're hysterical.  This channel wasn't available on cable.  Here's a sample:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Google Fiber Optic Internet Service

Google has done it again!  They are going to be offering Fiber Optic Internet Service to up to 500,000 homes in the United States.

Cheaper TV Take: This is great news for the consumer.  They will be offering up competition to Cable and Verizon Fios, potentially bringing down prices and improving service.  If you're like me and using internet TV to replace cable TV, the potential is even greater.  You can download more content at better resolutions.  Also the price of internet access will potentially dramatically decrease.  I now pay $70 for phone and internet.  I can see the day when I pay $20 a month for internet access, have Google Voice replace my phone, and get most of my TV entertainment over the internet.  The game is changing quickly... Comcast, Verizon, and others are going to have their work cut out for them to respond.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cheaper-TV is now on twitter

We have opened a twitter account and will be including "tweets" on this page.  If you'd like to follow us on twitter, please visit:

or click on the following button:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

NetFlix Power User

If you're a NetFlix user and you stream movies, you know that not all movies on NetFlix are available for streaming.  If you want to be alerted every time Netflix adds a movie to the "Watch Instantly" streaming service, simply subscribe to their RSS feed.  You can do so by clicking the button below.

From what I've seen so far they add about 100 movies a week.  Each week I find about 3 movies that I plan to add to my queue.