The time has come to eat my own dog food. I've been writing about and researching OTT video for some time, and now it is time to save money where my mouth is. My wife Kirsten and I have been thinking about this for some time, so we are not making this decision lightly or as a gimmick. But we have finally made the decision to "cut the cord" from our Comcast cable TV service. At least as a trial to see how it works out. Over the coming weeks and months we will be sharing with you our adventure in OTT Land. We promise to give you an honest and candid assessment of the trade-offs as we explore a world without the convenience of Pay TV.
Before we get into how we are going to do this, it is worth discussing why we are doing it. First, compared to many Americans, we are only moderate TV watchers. Between a couple of shows, the news, children's programming, and sports content, we probably have the TV on a few hours a day, but this is still far less than many households who have the tube on 7-8 hours per day. Further, we have decided that half the time we are watching TV we are not really enjoying it. Especially at night before bed, we are usually just killing time with mindless programming. Sometimes we'll come across something interesting on the History Channel or Discovery, but more often than not it's trash like "Real Housewives". So part of our goal in cutting the cord is to watch less TV, or at least the same amount but better quality.
A second reason for our decision is that we are looking for a TV experience that is more deliberate and less invasive. Like many homes, the TV has become a member of the family. For good or bad it is always blaring. Whether we like it or not it informs our children, keeps us from talking and interacting with each other as much as we would like, and most night keeps us up past a reasonable bedtime. Wouldn't it be better to decide when to invite this member of the family to speak up, rather than let it rule our lives? We wonder.
Another reason for our decision is that we have found much of what we like to watch online. From the Bachelor to Lost to Dancing with the Stars, we have found ourselves DVRing less now that we know we can always stream or download missed episodes. And while we do subscribe to several movie channels through Comcast and enjoy the free VOD movies, we feel pretty confident we can find the movies we want through a service like Netflix.
And if it wasn't already obvious, we expect to save about $50 a month even after signing up for Netflix or Amazon. And we might put some of the savings towards signing up for other online services and sports programming, or buying whole seasons of our favorite shows on DVD.
We definitely don't expect that we will be able to watch all the shows as before or get service to all our home's TVs. I am a little worried that I will miss out on an exciting Fall season of sports including a post-season run by the Red Sox, the return of Tom Brady to the Pats, and my beloved but mediocre Boston College Eagles. But with a little help from NFL.com, MLB.tv, and old fashioned digital over-the-air broadcasts to my antenna, I am hoping I don't have to make too many trips to my local sports bar. And that would be a bad thing? :-)
Next up we'll talk about what options we are considering for OTT devices and content.
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