HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome to the first post of the blog for 2016! Huzzah! My goal (not Resolution, but goal) is to post on a weekly schedule. I did so during the last of November and most of December, even with the craziness of grading and deadlines, so it seems doable.
This post was supposed to be the last post of 2015, but it took longer to put into put into place than I anticipated. This post is all about cutting the cord (or moving from a cable-based future to a streaming one).
Yesterday, I finally turned in my cable boxes and remotes and I’m completely based on streaming content (for TV/Movies) or pulling content from over-the-air (local & live sports). Yes, I know that with a few tech options I could eliminate the over the air part and do it all digitally, but it works better for my workflow to have at least 1 TV dedicated to local programming (news) and live sports.
My main source of streamed content is via the new AppleTV. I have an Apple ecosystem and having the new AppleTV gives me the most flexibility. I can buy shows and movies through iTunes, download digital copies from iTunes from the Blu-Rays that I purchase, and I can AirPlay apps and games that I purchase on my phone and iPad to the TV if I so choose.
The key is to set a budget and stick to it. There are so many things out there and available that it is easy to overspend if you overdo it. I’ve found that if I focus on one or two series at a time and finish them before buying anything else, I can stay within budget. I don’t have a lot of time to watch TV anyway, so focusing only on shows and movies that truly interest me seems to be a more cost effective and efficient way of consuming content.
ITUNES, NETFLIX AND AMAZON PRIME
With Netflix and Amazon Prime, I get many of the shows that I’m interested in (of course, Science Fiction/Fantasy) like Star Trek (the various spinoffs), Dark Matter (new 2015 show), Stargate (older shows like SG-1), and Farscape. These are just the few that I’ve investigated. I’m sure there are others. I also get access to a few movies, though not as many as I’d like (again, genre-based). For the movies, this is where I use iTunes to supplement Netflix/Amazon.
Here, though, is a drawback of streaming only. The movie industry saw the lowering of prices of music and fought that vigorously arguing that lower prices devalue their product. Yes, the link is a bit old, but it is only to illustrate a point. Movies are artificially higher in price than they are truly worth. You can’t tell me that Jack the Giant Slayer (a 2013 release with below average ratings) is worth $14.99 which is the same price that The Martian (a 2015 release which will contend for the Oscars more than likely). Jack the Giant Slayer should be in the 7.99-9.99 range by now. It is the problem with many digital pricing structures–prices do not seem to go down over time, while the physical prices do because retailers need to clear shelf space for the next new thing. You never have to run out of the digital item so retailers don’t lower the prices over time.
The easiest way I can think of not to spend a ton of money on movies is to set a budget that roughly equals 1 movie ($14-$20) per period on viewing media per pay period and not go over that. Include Season Passes for shows that I want to watch that aren’t on Netflix & Amazon Prime and I’ll need to limit myself and make a choice–1 big purchase of a movie or 1 Season Pass which will last several weeks (or less if I binge watch the show).
Still, even this is preferable to paying a premium every month for TV & movies that I never will watch.
So, this will be an interesting experiment. Can I watch the shows that I want to watch and the movies while not breaking the bank so to speak?
I think I can as I just watched the entire Series 9 of Dr. Who (Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman), in addition to the Christmas Specials of Dr. Who and Sherlock via iTunes, and I’m watching/rewatching the entire series run of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Netflix before turning my attention to Star Wars Rebels via iTunes.
I’ll keep you all posted periodically on my successes and struggles as I try to embrace a (nearly) streaming only household.