tv: 5 Reasons to Dump your Cable and DVDs

product-product.jpgI wrote very briefly about my plans to do this last week…to interesting responses. So I decided to go into why I think this is a good idea in a little more detail.

Before I start…I want to say a little something about tv. This device is not for hackers, techies, and super-geeks…it’s for iPod owners, and average computer users so they easily play content purchased or imported into iTunes on their TV with no hassle. That’s all it’s for, and that’s all that it does. It’s not going to be easy to play your bittorrent downloads on it, and it’s not going to play every format under the sun.

If you’re not into what the tv does, then this article isn’t going to win you over. I have set down and crunched the numbers, and the tv is going to be a good purchase for me. I pay for my cable, and I buy DVD box sets of my favorite shows whenever I can. It gets expensive, and what Apple is offering me with tv is a new choice that, for me and some others, will be a better option than “renting” my television through cable TV service.

Here’s why:

  • 1) Buying Your TV – By dumping cable, and switching to tv, you’re essentially going from renting to owning your television. Think about it, right now you subscribe to cable. You get to watch your shows when they come on, and if you have a DVR you can keep them for a little while, but the average user can’t keep everything because of a lack of hard drive space. Eventually things must be deleted. So, at the end of every month what do you have for your $50 to $100 cable bill?Nothing…that’s what.

    But if you dump cable and spend that money buying your television shows on iTunes, then you will be able to keep everything that you watch. External hard drives are cheap and getting cheaper by the day (I bought a 320 gig External hard drive for $129 at Best Buy last weekend). You can keep your library backed-up on an external drive, and have it forever. No more renting.

  • 2) Take it anywhere – Another advantage of buying from iTunes and watching on your Television is that your show will also work on your computer (any computer in your house) AND your iPod. So for one purchase, which is cheaper than the DVD box set, you can now watch your shows on the go on your iPod, on your computer, AND on your television.If you purchase an iPod video out accessory then you can even take the shows with you and play them at other people’s houses.
  • 3) No more DVDs – I don’t know about you, but my DVD collection is getting out of control. I have so many movies and tv shows that I don’t know what to do with them. I’ve got them in the entertainment center, in the bedroom, in the closet – friggin’ EVERYWHERE. I don’t want to spend any money on a display case for them, and I don’t want to have the damn things laying around taking up space…I just want to be able to watch what I want when I want.I’m speaking more about Television DVD box sets here than movies, because the iTunes movie selection is still pretty limited…but I’ll be happy to be rid of the space consuming boxes.
  • 4) No More double buying – If you’re paying your cable bill, and you’re buying your favorite shows on DVD, then you’re double buying. You’re dropping $35 – $60 bucks on your favorite shows so you can keep them, when you should be able to keep them from the start…and let’s not even get into the fact that you can’t rip those DVDs and put them on your iPod without breaking the law and taking waayyy too much time out of your life.
  • 5) Watch when you want – Just like with a DVR, you can watch your television programming whenever the hell you want…as it should be.

Now, I’m not stupid. I know that this won’t work for everyone.

If you’re a big sports fan and you can’t get your games on over-the-air HD, then this is not a good idea for you.

If you already own an Xbox 360, then there’s probably no reason to buy an tv.

If most of the television that you watch isn’t on iTunes…this is not a good choice for you.

For me, I don’t care about sports, I don’t have (or want) an Xbox 360, and almost everything I watch regularly is already on iTunes…so this is going to work for me…and I can’t wait to try it.

Comments

  1. just like to say excellent article, the most exciting thing for me is the same as you apple tv allows your itunes library to become a tv station not just a tv channel, you watch wht you want when you want. plus reading through the specs that ive found it will play anything that your itunes library can play, this opens up the content available on the internet to be played through the apple tv box.

    this box is everything that windows media center should have been, hi def capable, silent, not having to boot an os just to get to the application to allow media viewing etc, etc.

    there are a couple of other things that people may not be getting about this item as it has no dvr functionality-

    1) it dosnt need it, i have to say that this is the future of tv, i recall an interview i read with steve jobs where he says, he sees the future of tv scheduling is what you look for in google search,

    2) podcasts- these are now esentialy becoming weekly tv shows, itunes has many many podcasts so you can now have a tech tv station, entertainment tv station etc, plus the ability to make your own content to share with others, does anyone remember the project asteroid rumors, a garageband breakout box,or should i say a box to record and mix your own tv shows.

  2. “If you already own an Xbox 360, then there’s probably no reason to buy an tv.”

    I disagree. I’ve got my Xbox 360 tied into my network, streaming content off of my Mac via Connect360. The problem?

    The Xbox 360 only streams video in Windows Media WMV format. It won’t play h.264 or MPEG-4 video, much less anything DRM’d by Apple. And I use MPEG-4 to store almost all of my home videos and TV shows.

    I’ll have both, please … and probably leave the 360 connected to the Mac (or the new Airport Base Station?) for the sole purpose of streaming background music.

  3. I love the concept of getting rid of my satellite especially since I watch it so erratically. Time shifting, for me, is an absolute must and any ultimate solution would employ that type of technology. This type of solution could very well be the future of TV.

    The only question that I worry about, and quite frankly holding me back from doing the same thing, is resolution. I have no doubt that Apple will *eventually* upgrade the quality of the video on ITMS but I have no idea when that might be. As it is, the video might very well look iffy on an HDTV. The way to find out for sure would be to try it I suppose and since I plan on getting the device it won’t be hard to find out ($2).

    I love the idea.

  4. James –

    You can expect a full review of Apple TV – and the process of dropping my cable for it – right here on the site…if the video sucks…I will let you know…and I will be terribly, terribly disappointed.

  5. I have 3 year old twin boys… and I don’t have cable. I would be great to purchase some cartoons that they would like, and be able to cue them up at any time without searching through DVDs and taking the time to load them and wait forever to get to the DVD menu.
    that alone it worth it to me.

  6. I hadn’t considered losing the cable when my Apple TV arrives, but it is a great idea and I’m looking forward to reading how your experiment goes. I don’t think most people realize (or want to acknowledge) the magnitude of the annual expense of cable “rental” and, on top of that, we have to endure commercial interruptions in that programming. I think the most important thing for people considering this is making diligent backups of their purchased content. This is also a plus for this method since, as opposed to DVDs, backups of digital media are quick, cheap, and easy and don’t carry any legal baggage. So glad the wait is almost over!

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