People look at television in different ways. I don't think it's particularly useful to try to convince the world that one way is better than the others. I just try to let people know what the options are -- hopefully, providing sufficient information that they can make an informed decision they will not regret.
I love television and have no memory of there being no television. I have embraced every iteration from broadcast to cable to satellite and back to cable then broadcast with a smattering of OTT. I think cable is amazing but our favorite premium provider was Dish.
My decision to cut the cable was a complicated one. Ronald Reagan famously said, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me." I feel the same way about Comcast. I didn't leave because their prices were too high. I left because, increasingly, their service did not meet my needs. The idea that I needed a box to watch HD channels did not appeal to me. HBO going from movies I wanted to see to nitwits talking sports and politics did not appeal to me. Waking to infomercials did not appeal to me. But there was more to the decision than that. I live in rural New Hampshire and deregulation of the utilities has lead to routine power outages of a week or more. When the power is off, cable doesn't work. We have all installed generators, but Comcast has done nothing at their end. Consequently, when you need news and entertainment the most, there is none.
My OTA adventure began during one of these outages. I installed a small antenna we take camping in my attic during a week long outage. To my delight, we received dozens of channels and the quality was amazing. When the power and cable were restored, I left the tv in my bedroom attached to the antenna. As Comcast moved more channels to areas that required a box, my kids asked to be attached to the antenna. The rest, as they say, is history.
We have seven televisions -- five that are used regularly. The five all have a Roku and a DTVPal DVR attached. Some also have SMP-N200s and Blu-ray players. The one in my bedroom/office has a PC attached. That PC runs Playon, Plex and WMC. We have a WII, a PS3, and an xBox 360. All of these devices are, to some extent, media centers. The xBox, of course is a media center extender. We have a Chromecast -- which I think may be a game changer...just not this week.
When we cut the cable, there was some remorse about loss of programming. Not HBO or Showtime, but the History Channel and the Food Network. To remedy this, I bought the Rokus and a lifetime subscription to Playon. The big problem, though, was the loss of the DVR. I did not expect this. I had been monitoring DVR use in the months before we cut over and it was nil. Bonnie Hunt and Who Wants to be a Millionaire were the only shows recorded. What I did not realize is that there was another use for the DVR -- PAUSE. It turns out that my wife actually answers the phone and she was in the habit of pausing whatever she was watching while she gabbed. And, during Jeopardy, she pauses the program to ponder the tough questions. She also hit the rewind button a lot. Not just in football games. So we needed something. I looked at MythTV, XBMC, Plex, Boxee, and all the PC based solutions. They were all pretty expensive and a lot different than we were accustomed to.
We had loved Dish. It was the best premium provider we had ever had and we liked the interface a lot, so the DTVPal was familiar and quickly embraced. It's been three years and all five have performed flawlessly. When Rovi pulled the plug on TVGOS, PSIP was good enough. The kids probably watch Netflix and YouTube more than anything, the wife is about 50/50 broadcast and Netflix, but I still mostly watch broadcast television. I'm old, so most of my vast DVD collection predates the ban on format shifting. I purchased box sets of my favorite shows and hundreds and hundreds of movies.
A lot of people are asking about DVRs. Most of the options are complicated, expensive, or disappointing. I just wanted to let people know that EchoStar is going to market a modern DVR that does not require a monthly fee or a computer science degree...and that I am very excited about that