Hey Snowbird and company.
We are bout 10 months in to cutting the cable and we have no plans at all to go back. The big test was with the kick off of fall shows and all went well.
Here's what we have today:
Eye TV 3 OTA software
HDHomerun OTA dual tuner
CM4221HD up on the roof here in Kanata
Mini keyboard and mini mouse
PS3 (optional in our case)
Here's how the programming breaks down:
* Hulu Plus for ABC, FOX, NBC, CW etc. CBS is not on there. You don't need "Plus" but it does allow you access to the full season for a bunch of shows - instead of just the last 3 and it also allows access from devices such as the ipad and ps3.
* EyeTV (OTA). Used to record anything off CBS as they don't make it easy to consume their shows online. We have access to Global, CTV, CTV2, cityTV so we record anything that originates from CBS and other stuff not on Hulu.
* Netflix. Fills in the entertainment gaps. We'll pick up documentaries on here, lots of tv shows and movies. We have Netflix USA...
* Browser pointed to http://bucketo.ca/tv
. I keep a little static webpage as a jump gate to everything else we can consume online
Notes from our experience:
* It can be done and it is fun once you cut the cable cord!!! My wife rocks the Eye TV software like it's nobody's business as she gets around the Hulu Desktop app and Netflix website just fine.
* You may be tempted to look at 3rd party hardware that are not true PCs. So googleTV units, Boxee Box, Apple TV etc. these do cool things but they aren't flexible enough to cover all your streaming angles. My experience is you need a PC, whether that is a macmini or some form of windows-based machine that can handle full screen flash/silverlight streaming with a way to connect it to your TV. You might also be thinking Linux but my experience with my linux machine shows silverlight doesn't play well on there (flash is fine though) and netflix isn't currently supporting linux. So flexibility = a PC of some form tucked away near tv.
* We tried various forms of controls for it and ended up going back to a traditional keyboard and mouse. Both are compact versions. A tip here is to get a KB with a mini directional pad/button on it. Apps like Hulu Desktop etc love to use directional buttons. We went with the Microsoft Arc (model 1392). It has the perfect little directional button on it.
* If your going to depend heavily on Hulu Plus keep in mind they don't have the rights to stream everything to devices. Everything will stream to a PC no problem but certain shows don't allow streaming to xbox, ps3, ipad etc even if you are paying for Hulu Plus...
* If CBS shows are important to you you're going to need OTA to see them from Canadian channels or look at other methods. Since they are the biggest boys in town they don't need the internet at the moment to flip a profit - they've even come out and said that. For us OTA fixed that problem right up.
* We spend 90% of our time on hulu, OTA and Netflix in that order. While I do have the webpage front end it only accounts for 10% - which is my streaming sports etc and some direct link to stations.
We really do love it. We watch a lot of cool stuff. My wife gets to see 99% of the stuff she watched on cable and we fill in any entertainment gaps with netflix (usa). We are finding ourselves watching early seasons of a show on Netflix and then catching up to the current season on Hulu Plus. In my case Parks N Rec, in my wife's case Nikita. A neat example: since cutting cable I stumbled on a streaming show called Live From Daryl's House. It's Daryl Hall (of Hall & Oates fame) chilling at his place with musicians playing music and cooking up some food. I most likely would have never stumbled on this but now that we entertain online I found this gem and watch it all the time. It's on Page #2 of my tv portal web page. Very cool stuff. And I can see more and more people moving their talents to the web.
My old camcorder died. Do you think I could get by recording the setup on my iphone? If so I can do it up provided it's not too shaky-cam.