Spring and the return of a "Zero TV" home

In the past, I would find myself sitting on my couch during a beautiful spring & summer day and using the excuse of a baseball game on TV to avoid chores or yard work. Today, I didn’t do that. I was doing yard work, on a beautiful spring day, and enjoying every moment of it while listening to the Red Sox on the MLB At Bat 2013 iPhone app.

The benefits of canceling Cable TV for a second time, joining a rapidly growing group of friends and colleagues in my generation, are really starting to show in small ways. In the morning, I seem to have more time to relax before heading to work. At night, I’m usually listening to music with my wife, perhaps watching an episode of The West Wing on Netflix, or devouring books like I used to back in high school.

This is a small step for me to become more minimalist with my life. A little less clutter, frustration (those awful Cable TV boxes), and entertainment on demand the way I want it (instead of being spoon fed it) really seems to be helping me out.

Broadcasters should be worrying about “Zero TV” homes big time.

Cable TV free

We have done it. As of yesterday, we are Cable TV free. Cable boxes were returned, bill adjusted (just $59 per month for Internet & basic cable), and now figuring out what to do next. The price drop is over $70 from our previous cable bill.

So far so good. We definitely have watched a lot less TV, although we haven’t been home much either. When we were home yesterday and this morning, my 4-year-old nephew was over, so I ended up streaming cartoons for him over Netflix. Including the original Popeye cartoon from 1936, which was really neat to watch with him.

While my bedroom TV can see the few Clear QAM channels in HD, my 2007 era living room TV cannot (it only sees the SD versions). This is something that will need to be rectified. I may experiment with a TV antenna just to see what channels are in the area.

I’ve begun to think of what is next. I’m seriously considering a Mac Mini server & home theater computer. Combined with the Elgato EyeTV we could work around the HD issue I mentioned in the previous paragraph, record anything on basic cable worth recording, and also have a centralized server for movies, music, etc. Then use an AppleTV for easy access. Another option would to build a Windows Media Center PC as that seems like fun to play with, although it seems to have its own annoyances.

I also have been wondering whether to get a receiver and start building a home theater sound system. The problem I’ve had so far is that all of the receivers I have found are bulky, have tons of connections & buttons I would never use, and aren’t my definition of simple. There are also very few that are even Energy Star qualified. Where is the Apple of home theater receivers when you need one?

Operation Cable TV free so far appears to be successful. More updates to come.