As far as I can see, the current ‘future’ of living room viewing with High Definition has two options in the near future:
TIVO or Roku
I’ve just finished planning my Home theatre makeover, which was inspired by connecting a DTV antenna at my brother’s house. We bought a $21 antenna at amazon for HDTV; we plugged it in at sunnyvale CA and found something like 67 channels. While most of these channels require the ability to speak chinese or philipino, we were able to get all 4 broadcast channels in crystal clear HDTV format: Monthly cost $0.
I currently have a Tivo series 3 HD dvr which has a lifetime subscription (remember I hate monthly fees) It’s plugged into my wired ethernet, and I currently am connected to Comcast with HD support but no premium channels. I looked at my Comcast bill and I’m paying $45 for premium internet(12 Mbs), with a $5 a month cable modem rental. I’m paying monthly comcast fees of $64.99 for standard cable, $16.99 for digital preferred, $1.50 for a cable card, $8 for HD technology Fee, and $16 HDTV additional fees for the cablecards in the TIVO. We also have a Netflix account linked to the TIVO.
After thinking about what I want, I can watch CNN/MSNBC on my computer (in fact I watched Al Jazeera on my computer because it wasn’t carried by Comcast). If I install an HDTV antenna, I will get the Major networks and PBS for free. With Netflix and my Tivo I’m set. I have one remaining problem: no Giants Baseball. I checked out MLB TV but they seems to backout the local team for home and away games. So my conclusion is to downgrade my cable to non-digital standard cable; this reduces my Comcast bill from $107.44 a month to $64.99 a month. Also, while I’m at it I purchased a current Cable Modem for $89 from amazon and I can kill another $5 a month from my comcast bill.
It seems like if I could solve my MLB addiction I could kill Comcast TV altogether. I’m looking forward to this day.
For TIVO-less households like my brother’s, we are looking at an antenna combined with a ROKU box. Roku gets Netflix and Hulu plus, so for about $20 a month fees you could watch cable programming (just not sports) and get netflix movie downloads. That looks to me to be a great option.
If you install an antenna, check out what direction to place the antenna here!