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Entertainment

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.

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Entertainment

The LOST finale

Last night my favorite show of all-time aired its last episode. LOST was finally done after a mind bending six season. I have been organizing my thoughts regarding the entire series and its conclusion all day. As sad as I am to see it go, it was time. I first started watching between season 1 and 2 and became immediately hooked.

Never have I watched a show that incorporated so many genres, whether it was drama, sci-fi, mystery, comedy…it was all there and all well done. It was certainly a show that required people to think and that was the best part about it. I knew I wasn’t going to stumble across a casual LOST fan, those people simply did not exist. You either were all in or all out.

One thing is for certain. There will never be another TV show like LOST. Thank you.

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Netflix on PS3 a sign of things to come

Over the weekend my wife and I decided to start our Netflix subscription again. During the spring, summer, and fall we are just too busy to watch movies and much TV, outside of Red Sox games that are on practically every night. We usually just place a hold on our Netflix subscription until winter comes, when the bad weather forces us to stay inside and we have lots of time for movies, TV shows, etc.

Yesterday we received our Netflix streaming disc for my PS3 and a DVD. The DVD remains in its envelope, unopened, thanks to how fantastic the Netflix streaming works on the PS3.

Last night my wife and I watched the first 6 episodes of The Office over the Internet, in HD, on my PS3 for just our $8.99 Netflix subscription. The quality was stunning for internet streaming and it started up within a minute after some quick buffering. In fact, I couldn’t tell the difference between watching a HD episode of the office streaming or on our regular Comcast HD channels. It seriously looked like a HD show, no pauses for buffering, no moments of digital blocks appearing on the screen, nothing.

I am seriously impressed and love the direction Netflix is going with Internet streaming. I hope this means in the near future I can get my live sports in HD via streaming of my local teams. MLB.TV works, but still has blackout restrictions so I can’t watch the Red Sox via streaming. Fix that and I cancel cable TV.

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Dear TBS

I get the hint. You want us to watch FrankTV. Just in case we miss the commercial, you have kindly decided to play it every freaking’ commercial break, at least once with a few 2 times sprinkled in (heck, I am sure you threw a three-peat in there somewhere). Since this isn’t nearly enough, you decided to have the baseball announcers pretend to be really excited as they pimp the show during the game.

On behalf of baseball fans across the country, I just want to say one thing.

We. Don’t. Care. About. Frank. TV.

End of story.

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Some HD rants

Just a few HD rants to share with you:

  • Not making the effort in the little places: NESN outside of ESPN probably is the best HD sports channel in the country. Every Red Sox and Bruins game in HD, plus lots of other programming in HD. Yet it is common for it to use NESN promo ads in SD! It really makes the channel seem like it is half trying with HD. I can understand (some) 3rd-party ads not being in HD…but there is no excuses for NESN promo ads to not be in HD. While I am ranting about this, when a local network channel claims it is HD, it should have its local news in HD (yes I am talking about you WMUR). If your field cameras aren’t HD, that is ok, just at least get the in studio stuff in HD. Talk about riding a bandwagon.
  • Launching a HD channel without enough HD content: Katie and I are big fans of the Food Network and there is nothing that makes someone hungrier then watching Food Network in HD. Except when you see the same episode 5 times in a single day. Yes, that has happened to us several times. Plus, what the heck are they smoking not having Rachael Ray and Emeril on the HD channel yet?
  • Let me subscribe to just the HD channels: I don’t care about the 150 SD channels I can get. I just want the 20-30 HD channels. Sell me a package (at a discount) where I can get just HD channels.
  • When I say channel 49, I want the HD version: It is idiotic that I have to type 849 to the the HD version of ESPN while still being offered channel 49 for ESPN in SD. If I have a HD box, just assume I want the HD version of a channel.
  • Seriously, get TiVO: Comcast, if there is one thing you could do that would make millions of people get DVR’s? When the TiVo software upgrade is released, offer it as a free automatic upgrade for all DVR renters. Seriously. The Comcast DVR software is by far the worst piece of junk I have ever used (outside of Windows ME).

Done rant.

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Synchronized version of LOST plane crash

Now this is cool:

Can’t wait for season 4.

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If I could buy only the TV channels I wanted

It seems like being able to choose what TV Channels you pay for is back in the news again.

So it made me wonder: what TV channels would I want if I paid for them individually?

So I decided to make a list. Key factors: I would only select HDTV channels, unless there is no HD version of the channel.

  1. CBS
  2. NBC
  3. ABC
  4. FOX
  5. NESN
  6. Fox Sports New England
  7. ESPN
  8. ESPN2
  9. Food Network
  10. Travel Channel
  11. HGTV
  12. MSNBC
  13. Discovery Channel HD
  14. National Geographic

By my count, that is 14 channels. If it were $3 per channel, you are talking about $42 a month, which is about $20 cheaper then what I pay right now.

Well worth the discount, since I don’t remember the last time I watched something outside of those channels.

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24 – Season 5, Episodes 1 & 2

Wow. This was worth waiting for.

Part 2 of the premiere looks even more amazing…

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Lost

Just saw the season premire of Lost. Wow.

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Season 4 has ended

I just recently discovered 24, just hours before the first episode of Season 4 aired. I have been hooked on every minute of the show since. In fact, all season long, I have watched all but 20 minutes total of the season.

I can see why everyone is hooked by this show. What an ending to Season 4…with plenty of possibilities to go with on Season 5.

Why do we have to wait till January? Why? 🙁