Thursday, May 9, 2013

Switching to Internet TV

I posted a status a few weeks ago about how Blake and I were dumping Dish Network and switching to Roku (Internet TV). Several people have asked me questions about it, so I figured others might want to know some info. I really had no idea bout Internet TV until the idea just came to me one day at work ("Oh my gosh! We can watch Hulu through our television!). Had I known/thought about it sooner, we would have switched sooner!!

What is Roku/Internet TV?
Okay, they aren't one in the same. Internet TV is just what it sounds like - you hook up the Internet to your TV and you can stream videos through various "channels" (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.). In order to do this, you have to have the right equipment. That's where the Roku box comes in.

Why did you choose Roku?
We narrowed our search down to Roku and AppleTV. Even though we like Apple products, the Roku just seemed like a better purchase. Honestly, I can't tell you all the reasons we chose it over AppleTV - that's really Blake's department! But, we had friends who had a Roku and liked it and didn't know anyone with AppleTV. I believe AppleTV didn't have as many options.

What are the advantages?
- Advantage Numero Uno: We pay $16 a month for television. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am (pretty sure that's not appropriate, but whatevs).
- Advantage Numero Dos: It limits what we can watch (more on that in a moment), so we watch less TV.
- Advantage Numero Tres: We only pay for things we actually watch. With Dish (or any other cable/satellite provider), we a buncha channels we never watched. Like, how many MTV channels do we need to not watch???
- Advantage Numero Quatro: We feel cool.
- Advantage Numero Cinco: DID I MENTION WE ONLY PAY $16 A MONTH?

What are the disadvantages?
- Disadvantage Numero Uno: We can't watch many shows live (more on that in a moment). We have to wait until they're loaded onto Hulu.
- Disadvantage Numero Dos: Not all of our favorite networks are on Hulu. TLC, Food Network, HGTV, sports channels. However, this doubles as an advantage (see Advantage Numero Dos) because it means we watch less crap.
- Disadvantage Numero Tres: You have to have a Roku box for each television UNLESS you have a Wii (like us!!!!). We can stream Netflix & Hulu in our bedroom through the Wii.
- Disadvantage Numero Quatro: There are no more disadvantages. See, the pros outweigh the cons!

Why not just stream Netflix and Hulu through the Wii?
Roku simplifies the process. Plus Roku is connected to Vudu and Amazon, so if a tv show or movie we want to watch isn't available through Hulu or Netflix, we can "rent" it from those places (meaning - no more trips to RedBox)!

What about news and local channels?
We bought a digital antennae so we can access local channels (and therefore watch some programs live). Unfortunately, because of the hill next to our apartment, we can only get ABC. I've had to start watching Good Morning America instead of the Today Show, which was a little bit of a tragedy. However, we do get James Spann, so that's a good trade-off. We also have access to Blake's parents' online Charter account so we can watch shows on the unavailable channels (like NBC's The Voice) online. So far, I haven't done that. I realized that once I didn't have access to certain shows, I didn't miss them all that much!

I hope that answers some of your questions. Even though we lost several of our favorite channels and features, the cost is totally worth it to us. I think we will continue to have Internet TV for a long time. Sports channels are really the only thing we're missing, but we can always go to a friend's house to watch the big games!

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