Why Are You Still Paying for Cable TV?

When I first moved to the US, I moved into a fully-furnished apartment with 2 TVs. One of them occupied the cable connection where I wanted my computer plugged in, so that one got unplugged and never got turned on again. The other one was in the bedroom and only ever got turned on to watch my favorite show at the time: Alias. When I moved to California and was faced with the price of getting cable installed, I realized that I really didn’t want to pay that much money every month to watch 1 TV show. I preferred to watch DVDs and often watched video clips and things online though, so I needed a solution.

Instead of going and buying a TV, I went out and got a Mac Mini (with bluetooth keyboard/mouse), which I connected to a Toshiba projector. I got a 3 ft x 4ft blank (white) painting canvas, which hangs on the wall, opposite the projector (which is on top of my coffee table). A long (50ft, which turned out to be massive overkill) VGA cable runs around the edge of the room to the Mac Mini, which is housed with my (multi-region) DVD player etc under the screen in a standard IKEA cabinet.

I started out using Bit Torrent to download TV shows. I use the excellent program for Macs called Transmission, and experimented with a few different tools which worked by automatically downloading RSS feeds from tvRSS. I had Transmission set up with Speed Limits enabled so that it would only download overnight (when I wasn’t using my internet connection). This worked well for a while, but those freedom-hating Communists over at Comcast didn’t like that, so they started messing with my connection, which affected me day and night.

After battling with a bad connection for a while, I had to stop with the torrents because I was having trouble working. For a few months I just went without TV of any kind, which was actually refreshing in its own way. Then I got access to hulu.

hulu.com has made everything so much easier, and it’s even taken away that niggling feeling that I was doing something “wrong”. I can watch all sorts of things on hulu, even queue them up under my account so that I can keep track of new episodes easily. It’s available on-demand and I don’t care if I “miss” when a show was on normal TV, because I can watch it on hulu whenever I want.

Obviously I go without a lot of shows that are available on normal cable, but am I really missing anything? I sure don’t feel like it.

Comcast Flub

Thanks to some poor mail handling, Comcast was kind enough to inform me of the names of a few of their customers.

  • Ben Bochmann,
  • Steve Worthington and
  • Benjie Lasseu

Nice to meet you guys. Comcast sent me a very “snail-mail-spam” looking “Express Letter” envelope containing some new up-sell marketing junk today, and apparently they forgot to flick the paper and blow air in it before putting it in the printer or something ๐Ÿ™‚

I received 3 copies of the same “letter”, all stuck together (it was glossy paper, which has a tendency to do that) inside the envelope.

Good job Comcast… keep up the great work.