Cable TV is just outrageously expensive. For years, I’ve enjoyed a $120/mo promotional price but last month Comcast jacked up the rate. For $170, Comcast provided high speed internet (12MB), the Digital preferred video package (with HD channels) and AnyRoom DVR but no premium channels.
When I learned that they wouldn’t lower my price (and my prior critique of the Comcast streaming service certainly didn’t really help my case), I began to consider cutting the cord. Knowing that I’d save $100+ a month, I looked a few video streaming options:
- Apple TV. I’ve been a fan of Apple TV since the very beginning. Unfortunately, their current device (third generation) still lacks 1080p capabilities and many owners are pissed about the lack of airplay mirroring support with a Mac ecosystem that’s only two year old (source) so I decide to pass on it.
- Boxee TV. The Boxee team has recently pivoted with their introduction of a new set-top box that includes no limit DVR capabilities. While this feature is available in my area, my enthusiasm quickly dwindled when I learned that shows cannot be recorded through the remote. Instead, they must be scheduled through the web. That’s certainly poor UX but it doesn’t explain the disappointing sales at Walmart. This was also a pass.
- Google TV. This is one of the only devices with potential. Unfortunately, the first generation release of Google TV on Logitech hardware was lacking to say the least. There is hope with the third generation version though it may be available only as built-in service to LG smart televisions. Having access to Google Play and a real browser like Chrome is certainly promising but for now Google TV 3rd gen is only a pipe dream.
- Roku. Again, this is one of the best streaming devices on the market. It has the biggest application store. Unfortunately, our Samsung Smart TV supports virtually every major app that this device posses, including support for the Amazon Cloud Player, so the investment in it wouldn’t provide any additional functionality/advantages.
Lastly, I considered purchasing a Mac Mini because it offered the flexibility of watching any stream that’s available on a computer but at $500 it was also the priciest. While I may end up getting one, I decided to just to let the experiment run the course for a few months before making such an investment.
So, I called Comcast to disconnect my service. They justifiably tried to sell me on bundling more services or downgrading to a cheaper package. As the conversation progressed, I found myself annoyed that the pricing tiers were no better than going with over-the-air signal which includes HD. That’s also what a recent review of cable pricing by Forbes showed. At the end, we downgraded to just internet for $62 per month. The trial begins.