It is once again a new year. This year I have decided to attempt to get rid of my television plan and find out if I can get what I want from the internet. My criteria for success is if I can still watch most of the shows I enjoy without having to pay a satellite or cable provider. To start, I would like to find a way to watch the following:
Now, to start I already subscribe to Netflix and have been very pleased with the selection. I have found that the Discovery Networks shows such as Mythbusters and Deadliest Catch are available, however they come out only when the seasons are released on dvd. This is ok, but for a show like Mythbusters, where I have kept up on it and enjoy when a new episode comes out, waiting for the entire next season isn’t very appealing.
When it comes to network programing such as NCIS, CBS is quite stingy with their online offerings. You can find some online episodes, but you better not miss one because older episodes are harder to come by. I have found them on the new Amazon Instant Video service, but for me the price is a bit high. I don’t know if any show is worth $2 per episode or $25-$30 for a season without having something tangible like a dvd or downloadable drm fee media file.
I have been able to find a rather large number of shows on Hulu, however I have a few complaints about the service. I really don’t like the idea that I have to pay in order to get the service on any device other than a computer. I think this is rather ridiculous in the age of multiple internet connected devices per household. I don’t really mind paying for the service if it offered something above and beyond the free service. The fact that I still have to endure the same commercial repeated over and over again even with a paid subscription makes me rather annoyed. If I have to watch ads, at least let me choose to watch them at the beginning and end of program instead of interrupting the flow. I have also been really frustrated with content restrictions on other devices. I pay extra for the privilege, why can I not watch all the same content on all the devices? I do understand this is a licensing issue, but come on guys, figure it out- Netflix has.
The premium network programs from HBO and Showtime are only available as entire seasons when they come out on DVD as far as I can find. HBO does have a streaming app, however you have to be currently signed up with a cable or satellite provider in order to use it. I would happily pay a premium on my Netflix subscription or other service to allow me to continue to use this feature.
In order to enjoy all this internet-enabled entertainment I will need to change how my home theater is set up. Currently I use my PS3 to stream Netflix and stream media files from my main computer. This has worked ok so far, but anything other than that has not worked so well. Hulu has the problems I have outlined above, and the browser on the PS3 is so bad that any other video site is unusable.
What I want to do is to build a new home theater setup that will allow me to watch anything I desire. Over the next few months I want to document my quest for media independence.