Goodbye Cable, Hello…Um….Hello?

So, we’re one of those couples.  We don’t watch much TV, and we don’t have cable.

I don’t mean we just have basic cable, I mean we have no cable. Just rabbit ears. Yes, they still make those.

That’s been all well & good since our daughter requires so much attention, it doesn’t leave much room to be able to sit and watch. I miss sitting and watching. Sigh. But every few days we’ll put on a DVD after she’s gone to bed, and we get our fix.

Although lately we’ve been wondering, why do we even bother having a TV at all? It takes up so much space. We have one of the older non-digital TVs, and the thing is huge. I certainly can’t lift it by myself. It takes up probably 4 square feet of living room space.  Which is a lot when you consider how little it’s used. So I’ve started investigating alternatives.  How can we still watch some TV without dealing with the behemoth electronic? And how can we do it pretty cheaply?

Image from Bloomberg Businessweek

Apparently I’m not the only one thinking about this. Bloomberg Businessweek published a great Top 10 Alternatives to Cable listing.

Image from CNET

This Samsung flat screen has a 26″ version for about $250, which seems to be a good option for an actual TV.

Image from Amazon

But then I had this other idea: what about a DVD projector? Theoretically, a projector would be perfect, because it would only take up space when we’d want it to. We could install a shelf and hook it up to the DVD player, and just make sure there’s white space on the opposite wall. The cheapest one I found on Amazon was only about $170, and can be hooked up via USB to other devices. Now that Apple TV is only $99, we could have the full package for under $300.

So I wrote the above paragraph and then talked to my husband who said no projector. He thinks the quality won’t be as good as a TV. Back to the drawing board.

Geez, I know absolutely nothing about this. Time for me to reach out to my tech savvy friends for help.

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8 responses »

  1. I have a flatscreen hooked up to a mac mini. I like that because I can get netlix instant streaming, hulu, DVDs yadda yadda.

    You might be surprised with the quality of a projector. I’d go look at them at best buy or something. Although a projector screen might make the difference in quality. Friends in NYC have a projector mounted to the ceiling to a retractable screen…all hooked up to a mac that’s networked so they can all control it from their laptops.

  2. At the risk of sounding old fashioned I still think a regular HD tv with a good digital antenna from radio shack and occasional dvd will be the most economical for the amount of viewing you claim. Early adoption of new technologies can be more of a pain than its worth. Nice flat HD screen and good digital antenna with a dvd player. If you need a movie right away and don’t want to wait for netflix delivery go find your nearest redbox machine and for a dollar a day get your flick fix. You can always add one of those internet boxes later if you aren’t happy.

  3. Get a flatscreen close to the size of the TV you are replacing–you know it’ll fit, it suits your needs, and will take up a lot less space. A projector can end up taking up a lot more space because you need room to project on. And remember your walls are lime green, so you’d need space for a screen, and then you have to set up a screen when all you want to do is plop down and watch some DVDs.

    I have a similar computer setup to Lev–flatscreen with Mac Mini attached. I wouldn’t recommend it to less computer savvy users, so take that into consideration. I’m not saying you’re not savvy, but it does take a bit more effort. And a mac mini is not the cheapest.

    But! Apple TV. The new one just came out, costs a hundred bucks, streams netflix watch instantly, rent/purchase movies and tv on itunes, and you can control it with the remote, a computer running itunes on the same wifi network, or an ipad/iphone. A hundred bucks isnt exactly cheap but for what the box does its really appealing. I’d get one, set it up, and if you dont like it after a week you can return it to apple (they have a 14 day policy).

  4. We just got Apple TV for Christmas and needed to upgrade to a TV with HDMI inputs. (Our two televisions were both bought in 2002, but suited us fine until we got Apple TV which requires HMDI). We also have no cable, just rabbit ears.
    Best Buy has a 32″ Dynex for $250.
    With the increase in cost to Netflix and watching streaming via Apple TV, we’ve taken our DVDs down to two at a time. Additionally, we get a ton of DVDs from the library.
    Despite simply being a way to watch Netflix or rent from iTunes (the remote is too problematic to do much Youtube searching), it’s definitely worth it.
    If you can wait for all of those cables shows to go to DVD, there’s no need to have cable.

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