We got rid of our TV almost a year ago. The satellite service we dropped about two years ago. The kids never had TVs in their rooms.
Why? Nobody was watching TV. At least hardly ever. The kids, all teenagers, streamed whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. My wife and I weren't big TV watchers - she sometimes misses the news (I don't. I read news websites all the time), but I miss some of the sports (I try to catch at friends' houses or streaming video which isn't quite "there" yet).
I bought a used data projector from work and have it set up in the rec room with an old slide projector screen fixed to the wall. It's wired into a laptop, a dvd player and a Wii. The kids use it a couple times a week it to watch dvds, streamed tv shows, or play games with friends. My wife and I don't use it.
The quality isn't HD, though one can download HD quality shows, but it's good, at least good enough that none of the kids has asked for a new TV, satellite or cable.
The cost was minimal - used projector, and a bit a trim to make the screen on the wall look nice. Wiring no problem if you have enough inputs, or don't mind taking a second to switching cables from DVD to Wii or vice versa. Not sure how it would work with a TV instead of a projector.
I would love to "cut the cable". The only thing that keeps me from doing that is live sports... I have an ATV and we watch all of our movies and TV shows there. I love just getting what I want and not 200 channels of nothing...
Mac Pro quad 8 Gb, 2.4 Ghz Macbook, 2.0 GHz Macbook, 17"iMac, iPod tough 32 GB
Getting rid of the TV and using the computer - all you need is an EyeTV unit. I've used older versions these to record and watch. I use one with my notebook when away from home.
Ditching cable - Are you considering over-the-air TV signals? Depending on where you are you might be surprised at the number of channels around. In my rural area Schedules Direct lists over 30 channels and many of them are digital. That might be a bit optimistic but where I have seen peoples rigs doing this the results are amazing and the digital channels are glorious! You need an antenna and an EyeTV unit. I can't be specific about antennas as I am still developing my own action plan for ditching cable but there are a bunch of DIY ideas floating around on YouTube. I don't know anything about downloading shows (PTP?) except that my kids do this all the time. You can quickly blow past your bandwidth cap by downloading. If you can live with so-called catch-up (day later etc) programming most channels offer full episodes of many shows but streaming also eats bandwidth.
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If you're happy with what's available on internet TV, I don't think you need any special equipment at all.
I occasionally watch specialized programs that are broadcast over the net from Europe - you just need an internet connection that's fast enough to handle the required speed for that video and the quality is often not the greatest especially on a larger screen.
Higher quality requires a higher download speed and if you are on a ISP plan with a cap, you need to watch that as well or you'll pay through the nose when you go over.
I watch the programs on my 23-inch computer screen, but with the new Mini you can just run an HDMI cable from the Mini to your flat screen or if yu have an older Mini connect the video via DVI/HDMI and run the audio separately.
I no longer have satellite, or cable. The only "live" feed I really care to have is local / international news, which I can pick up easily with the usual "rabbit ears" on my HDTV. ... actually an indoor antenna that has a built-in electronic booster.
In any case the TV stations re-run the same episodes several times a week, or even twice a day.
Perhaps these might point you or give you some 'food for thought':
TvShowsTVShows: Download your favourite TV shows automatically
This is an Open Source Macintosh application, which automatically launches Miro to download the latest episodes of the TV programs to which you subscribe [free]. ... mostly US and British (UK) TV series. Since this Open Source, there should be no problem seeing this ported to Linux or Windows.
FYI: I myself do not ever use Microsoft Windows products.
I also have other web-based links to watch TV online, and I can connect both my Ubuntu netbook and my MacBook to my LCD TV to watch shows and movies fullscreen.
Location: Aylmer (Gatineau) across the river from Ottawa
^^^ I've downloaded plenty of torrents of TV programs when we have missed them. The image quality generally sucks. They are fine when you missed the original broadcast but are no replacement for the real thing (especially HD programs) in terms of image quality.
Location: Aylmer (Gatineau) across the river from Ottawa
Originally Posted by MazterCBlazter
...I am definitely fed up with commercials and dozens of cable channels playing the same stuff again and again, mostly lousy content. I am concerned about the level of quality of the content, I find most of the streaming shows so far to be of inferior video quality.
It would be nice to be able to watch whatever you want whenever you want and not have to channel surf and take breaks and rewind at will.
Many of the peeves you have are addressed by owning a PVR. We hardly watch anything live any more because it is easier and makes for a better viewing experience to record them first so you can skip through the commercials, pause when you want etc. That way you watch TV when you want to and what you want to. We never watch any crap any more, just the stuff we really want and it is all on our schedule.
There is plenty of good even great TV out there, when you have a PVR to help you filter things out it actually allows you to realize this. I would recommend getting a PVR before ditching cable and/or satellite TV and then see how you feel about it after that. My 2 cents.