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Old May 9, 2013, 09:50 AM   #1
palmerc2
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Have you cancelled your Cable / Satellite TV service?

With Netflix and Hulu Plus on the Apple TV, I'm strongly considering it. Directv is great and all, but I never use it as I'm always traveling.

I'm pretty certain you could meet over 90% of your needs with OTA, Netflix, and Hulu Plus.

Has anyone else done this or is taking this into consideration?
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Old May 9, 2013, 09:59 AM   #2
cdavis11
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Yep, did it 3 years ago and will never look back.

Started with a combination of Hulu Plus, Netflix and some iTunes season passes. I eventually realized that i'd need an OTA for local programming - we were feeling cut off without local news and weather. Once the OTA attic mount went in all was well.

I eventually decided to go with EyeTV and OTA recording vs. Hulu Plus. I just couldn't see paying $9 a month for the privilege of watching ads. EyeTV recording network shows from OTA and dumping into iTunes for viewing on aTV devices is perfect.

Netflix a few years ago was rough - but their kids programming has grown dramatically and gives my 6 year old more than enough commercial free options.

My kids aren't advertised to - no commercials. So we have wonderful xmas' without the "i want, i want". It's a seldom considered benefit of cord cutting.

We FF right through commercials from the OTA recordings, Netflix is commercial free. Season passes are also. For sports I use the OTA antenna for golf and football and MLB streaming for my baseball fix. A darn near perfect setup.

I save over $900 a year with my setup vs. a DVR and cable subscription.

The other benefit - I still have my internet service through my cable provider. Because i'm not tied in on one of their 2 year agreements, I can call and threaten to cancel any time I feel my bill has gotten too high. I speak to someone in retention and get my internet speed bumped up free, or my bill knocked down a few bucks. It's great not being tied to one of their contracts anymore.
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Old May 9, 2013, 10:17 AM   #3
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Yep, did it 3 years ago and will never look back.

Started with a combination of Hulu Plus, Netflix and some iTunes season passes. I eventually realized that i'd need an OTA for local programming - we were feeling cut off without local news and weather. Once the OTA attic mount went in all was well.

I eventually decided to go with EyeTV and OTA recording vs. Hulu Plus. I just couldn't see paying $9 a month for the privilege of watching ads. EyeTV recording network shows from OTA and dumping into iTunes for viewing on aTV devices is perfect.

Netflix a few years ago was rough - but their kids programming has grown dramatically and gives my 6 year old more than enough commercial free options.

My kids aren't advertised to - no commercials. So we have wonderful xmas' without the "i want, i want". It's a seldom considered benefit of cord cutting.

We FF right through commercials from the OTA recordings, Netflix is commercial free. Season passes are also. For sports I use the OTA antenna for golf and football and MLB streaming for my baseball fix. A darn near perfect setup.

I save over $900 a year with my setup vs. a DVR and cable subscription.

The other benefit - I still have my internet service through my cable provider. Because i'm not tied in on one of their 2 year agreements, I can call and threaten to cancel any time I feel my bill has gotten too high. I speak to someone in retention and get my internet speed bumped up free, or my bill knocked down a few bucks. It's great not being tied to one of their contracts anymore.
This is extremely intriguing...can you elaborate on the eyeTV setup you're running? Seems like I have the same needs/requirements that you have with sports as well as primetime tv on FOX and NBC.
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Old May 9, 2013, 10:29 AM   #4
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Nope, not a great option here IMO.

Netflix in Ireland has a relatively poor selection, and Hulu's not available here. The iTunes store is very poor value. And then you'd have to consider things like live sports which have no reasonably priced, high quality online alternative.

I love my AppleTV, but it'll be a supplement for my cable TV for some time to come.
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Old May 9, 2013, 10:44 AM   #5
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Unfortunately I can't. I live in a rural are where OTA is not possible. We have cable and satellite as options, but at my house we use cable because the cable company is also my ISP with the highest speed in the area. With 4 children and 8 total TV's in the house, there's just no way we could stream video and still expect to use our computers online with the 15Mbps or 35Mbps available to us as choices.

Once the kids have all moved out we may very well disconnect and just stream video via whatever choices are available when that day comes.
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Old May 9, 2013, 10:59 AM   #6
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No. If someone cares about live sports (not on the major OTA networks) and similar, one must own a subscription to cable or Satt. If someone cares about quality of picture or sound, it's often hard to match the quality of cable or satt vs anything streamed over the Internet (but OTA networks will tend to win this battle for those specific channels).

To fully cut the cord for all involves solving some fundamental issues or not getting to see certain programming like live sports or choosing to be satisfied with a lower quality of picture and/or sound than you can get with a subscription.

I look forward to the day when such issues are fully solved as tangible choices is the root of competition and real competition is the value-minded-but-quality-concious consumer's best friend. For those that don't mind those tradeoffs, there is a lot of cord-cutter benefits available now.
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Old May 9, 2013, 11:01 AM   #7
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What do you do about espn and other sports channels?
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Old May 9, 2013, 11:16 AM   #8
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What do you do about espn and other sports channels?
There is the MLB, NHL, and NBA networks on the Apple TV.
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Old May 9, 2013, 11:17 AM   #9
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No I haven't cancelled - only because I've never actually had cable service. I was in college using Hulu to watch TV and now post college I buy most shows in iTunes or use Hulu/Netflix.
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Old May 9, 2013, 12:42 PM   #10
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What do you do about espn and other sports channels?
You mostly live without or you try to get the sports you want to see through a hodge-podge of other sources. Inevitably, the quality will be at least a notch down, sometimes for both picture & sound. It's not just ESPN. TNT has some great sports too. Regional Sport Networks often have all of the home town teams. Most of that is not available as a stream, or- if it is- it's a lower quality video and/or audio signal than you can get by paying the money.

I think the biggest downside to the cut-the-cord crusade is in new show discoveries. Those rationalizing just buying the shows they like, etc can't know if they like a brand new show before they buy it. I perceive great threat to the established model of many pilots coming to market every year and the chance for each of them to find their audience within the bundle of a satt/cable subscription. In the general dream of this new model, we only buy the shows we like (so how can we like a show before we see it so it gets the funding it needs to actually last beyond the pilot stage?). Classic, much-loved shows like- say- Seinfeld took a whole year+ to find their audience. I'm not thinking Seinfeld would be able to sustain long enough in the cord-cutter dream to survive that long.

As is, yes, there's a lot of channels we pay for that we never watch but some of the glut of profit in that is what makes up the incentives for the artists to take the great financial risk to try to turn the concept of a new show into a show that we'll eventually like. In the dream, we kill off much of that incentive. I perceive if the dream takes hold with the masses, shows are going to need some kind of kickstarter-like model to try to get their funding. I foresee much fewer new shows getting backed. I foresee much more reality TV because it's relatively cheap(er) and thus lower risk having the best chances, and more expensive (more professional) shows never getting their backing because they require an expensive buy before you even get to see the show in this model.

Similarly, the dream usually includes wanting to be rid of those annoying commercials, ignoring the fact that commercials also represent other people throwing a lot of money into this machine to subsidize the overall machine. That's commercials running on the few channels "we" watch and commercials running on those hundreds of channels "we" never watch. All of that is somebody else paying money into the machine to help make it go. The dream is often to kill that. It's huge money to just kill off yet expect the stream of old and new shows to keep right on coming.

The last leg of the dream is the concept of paying for just what we actually want should cost a fraction of what we pay now. For example 200 channels for $100 per month. I watch 10 channels. $100/200 = 50 cents per channel. My revised bill in the new model should be $5 for the 10 channels I actually want. Oh, I want them commercial-free. And I still want all the Studios on the other end to keep cranking out pilots so that there will be new shows in the future for me to love even though the average revenue flow from each consumer is cut 80%, 90% or more and the OPM revenues from all those commercials are also eliminated.

What's never laid out in the dream is how we pay a fraction of the cable bill, get all of our current favorites, motivate the Studios to keep trying to deliver future favorites, without commercial-driven subsidies. It's easy to see what appears to be in it for us and it's easy to fantasize about how much better such a model would be for us. But I can't figure out how the names in the credits at the end of all of our favorite shows continue to get paid what they get paid and why the entrepreneurs who take great personal risk to try to deliver us new favorite shows will want to continue taking an already huge gamble when the odds of success are amped up so much higher in this new model. In other words, we seem to dismiss the realities of what happens when established cash flows get that kind of hair cut, instead- apparently- just assuming that lots of new pilots will continue to show up every year, we'll get some free crack at them for a while so we can see if we like them or not and so on.

I hate the big cable bill as much as the next guy. But the dream is a red herring if the masses try to move that way. I guess there's a reason that future sci-fi visions never seem to show anyone watching television. It all gets killed off when the masses had this dream fulfilled. All that remains is the old shows already in the can by the point in time when the machine is finally broken by the dream coming true. Cue the crew gathering in the staging area so that Data, Beverly and others can act out some play. Maybe that's the best that's available then (volunteers paid nothing to put on a live show in their spare time).

Last edited by HobeSoundDarryl; May 10, 2013 at 05:32 PM.
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Old May 9, 2013, 01:16 PM   #11
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i do all the sports through an ipad + airplay, nfl, nba, nhl, doing it through the ipad allows me to circumvent regional blackouts easier
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Old May 9, 2013, 02:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by palmerc2 View Post
With Netflix and Hulu Plus on the Apple TV, I'm strongly considering it. Directv is great and all, but I never use it as I'm always traveling.

I'm pretty certain you could meet over 90% of your needs with OTA, Netflix, and Hulu Plus.

Has anyone else done this or is taking this into consideration?
There are many threads like this on these forums. The bottom line is that cutting the cable/satellite subscription and relying on streaming services will only work if you are not a die-hard television fan. As others have posted, sports is a big deal-breaker for some. For others who watch a lot of cable shows, paying for iTunes seasons will quickly start to add up.

For my wife and me, we don't watch sports and only watch a couple of cable shows that we now purchase through iTunes or wait for the discs to be released on Netflix (we have both streaming and disc service). Between Hulu, Netflix, and the live network television we get just by being cable broadband subscribers, we get more than enough content for our viewing needs.

So figure out how much television you really want to or "need" to watch and make your decision. If you are like us, you'll realize that you don't need to pay for dozens or even hundreds of stations you don't watch. If not, then keep your cable or satellite connection.
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Old May 9, 2013, 02:09 PM   #13
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It depends a lot, I think, on what you watch. I doubt an avid sports fan can do without ESPN, but we've been really happy with Netflix, AppleTV (and mirroring the Internet using AppleTV), an attic antenna and amplifier, and a TiVo DVR.

We were paying about $90 a month for DirecTV, and while I love their service, it made little economic sense for what we actually watched. With the money we saved, it was easy to justify having a high-quality antenna and amp professionally installed and pointed, paying $8 a month for Netflix, $12 a month for TiVo (which channels Netflix and Hulu), and a rented movie or two a month from iTunes. (I understand there is also programming made available on the Internet that is available for streaming if you enter credentials associated with a cable or satellite account, and which the less fastidious have been known to share.).

There is a phenomenon that I think is important to consider, and one that we never anticipated. We found that in the event we just don't miss even the programs we thought we were sure we would. Talking to friends, we found out this is common. We find we really enjoy what we watch, and spend almost no time watching TV just to relax or to mindlessly pass the time, as we too often did before. A lot of this is personal preference, but consider that you may be surprised by what it turns out you prefer.

The DVR is a big deal. We watch almost nothing in real time, but we record a lot, and take full advantage of the "Season Pass" features. We had EyeTV, and it was just not nearly as pleasant to use as TiVo and its remote.
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Old May 9, 2013, 02:56 PM   #14
mslide
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Originally Posted by palmerc2 View Post
Has anyone else done this
Yes, we cancelled our cable about 9 months ago and haven't looked back. Netflix, Hulu, OTA and the occasional movie rental are enough for us. Keep in mind this is coming from 2 people who were very much hooked on cable TV, and for my wife, most of those shows are not available on Netflix/Hulu/OTA/TV station website. We adjusted just fine though.

Before, we used to just flip channels until we found something to watch. Now, when we watch TV it's because we know exactly what we want to watch. Plus, it's caused us to cut down on our TV watching which I'm also happy about.

I was most worried about my wife adjusting but she didn't have any problems at all.

It also allowed us to ditch DVRs. Hulu pretty much takes care of that. For the few current shows we watch that aren't available on Hulu (e.g. CBS shows), we play them back on my MacBook Pro and Apple TV/airplay. Either that or we'll stay a season behind and just wait until they're on Netflix.

In the end, it saves us about $50 / month.

Last edited by mslide; May 9, 2013 at 03:03 PM.
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Old May 9, 2013, 03:39 PM   #15
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This is extremely intriguing...can you elaborate on the eyeTV setup you're running? Seems like I have the same needs/requirements that you have with sports as well as primetime tv on FOX and NBC.
Sure, be happy to.

I run EyeTV on an early 2011 iMac. a large VHF/UHF attic mounted OTA antenna feeds 2 Silicon Dust HDHR-3 US tuners (a total of 4 tuners). EyeTV records network programming and transcodes it, then dumps it into iTunes for viewing on aTVs.

HDHR boxes are cabled via gigabit switch (4th gen airport extreme) to the iMac.

I also use InstaTV Pro to grab streams from the HDHR tuners on my phones/ipads when on my home network.

I use a combination of Hazel, iFlicks and custom scripts to watch the iTunes TV show folder and implement tagging with square artwork and metadata as new shows come in. Script also emails me when a new show is ready.

Also run ETVComskip, a comskipper mod to mark commercial breaks in recorded material from EyeTV as chapter heads - allowing you to skip through them when watching a show just like you would skip ahead to a new DVD chapter. ETVComkip, when properly tuned, works very well about 80% of the time.

As for sports - you just have to learn to live with less. You're not going to find NFL streaming like MLB. You will have to make due with Sunday network TV broadcasts - but that's fine for most. I watch Golf on weekends too, through the InstaTV Pro app streaming to my iPads.

I'm a huge baseball fan. I have subscribed to the MLBtv package for years. I have to say - it seems like they finally have their stuff together this season with streams. Quality has been hit or miss on Roku and aTV boxes for a few years, but it's been consistently very good so far this season. I like it so much that i've started subscribing to the minor league baseball package - they've really expanded this year. Their app and $40 subscription allows you to watch many, many minor league games per year - and airplay them to your tv.

My wife likes the setup so much that she's now taken to airplaying some regular hulu (not hulu+) stuff to the TV from her laptop. Pretty nice that she's got a high WAF - speaks to how easy all of this is to use once it's all dialed in and working well.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepman88 View Post
What do you do about espn and other sports channels?
You don't watch them.

Just this year i've found podcasts supplement a lot of what I missed from SportsCenter, MLB Network and the like. There are many, many daily sports podcasts that keep me up to speed on my sports without commercials. WIth podcasts you generally get more in-depth coverage of certain issues.
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Old May 9, 2013, 03:51 PM   #16
mic j
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No. If someone cares about live sports (not on the major OTA networks) and similar, one must own a subscription to cable or Satt. If someone cares about quality of picture or sound, it's often hard to match the quality of cable or satt vs anything streamed over the Internet (but OTA networks will tend to win this battle for those specific channels).

To fully cut the cord for all involves solving some fundamental issues or not getting to see certain programming like live sports or choosing to be satisfied with a lower quality of picture and/or sound than you can get with a subscription.

I look forward to the day when such issues are fully solved as tangible choices is the root of competition and real competition is the value-minded-but-quality-concious consumer's best friend. For those that don't mind those tradeoffs, there is a lot of cord-cutter benefits available now.
You summarized that quite nicely!!!

Thats my situation. Too far away for OTA. Would really like some live sports (ESPN). And it's hard to beat DTV image/audio quality. Also, I have a pretty cheap package.
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Old May 9, 2013, 03:57 PM   #17
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Unfortunately I can't. I live in a rural are where OTA is not possible. We have cable and satellite as options, but at my house we use cable because the cable company is also my ISP with the highest speed in the area. With 4 children and 8 total TV's in the house, there's just no way we could stream video and still expect to use our computers online with the 15Mbps or 35Mbps available to us as choices.

Once the kids have all moved out we may very well disconnect and just stream video via whatever choices are available when that day comes.

8 TVs!?!?! Wow!

I bet the 35Mbps might do SD on them, but no HD. (just guessing)
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Old May 9, 2013, 04:00 PM   #18
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This is all great input....I'm thinking when my directv contract is over in September I'll shut it off (that or cancel now with a termination fee).

I'm a bachelor living alone and I watch maybe 2 hours of recorded (DVR) TV a week, and most of them are available on Hulu anyway. Only exceptions would be Tosh.0, Breaking Bad, and Top Gear UK...which the later 2 are available on Netflix after a few months anyway. I don't watch sports anymore, and for OTA I'll definitely look into EyeTV for recording local programming.

Looks like for my needs I can definitely live without directv.
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Old May 9, 2013, 04:02 PM   #19
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With Netflix and Hulu Plus on the Apple TV, I'm strongly considering it. Directv is great and all, but I never use it as I'm always traveling.

I'm pretty certain you could meet over 90% of your needs with OTA, Netflix, and Hulu Plus.

Has anyone else done this or is taking this into consideration?
I haven't had or paid for cable/satellite/OTA in probably 8 years. I only use iTunes and Netflix for my entertainment sources via the Apple TV.

I couldn't be happier with this setup especially since everything is "on demand" and there are no commercials at all.
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Old May 9, 2013, 04:09 PM   #20
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Nope, I'm still connected.

I have something like 130 premium HD movie stations (no commercials). Several thousand free HD On Demand films, and a similar number of pay-per-view titles.

I know it's just so 1990's, but I'm very happy with it.
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Old May 9, 2013, 04:11 PM   #21
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Thats my situation. Too far away for OTA. Would really like some live sports (ESPN). And it's hard to beat DTV image/audio quality. Also, I have a pretty cheap package.
I'm in a little better boat than you (I do have OTA for all of the majors). However, I also have DirecTV for now. I'm set up with with the cord-cutter toys but just can't accept the quality tradeoffs. What seems to work better (for me anyway) is just bounce back & forth between DirecTV and DISH, enjoy their promotional discounts (which seem increasingly sweet for longer periods of time in the first 2-year commitments). Then, as soon as the 2-year boundary arrives, flip to the other provider. Rinse & repeat.

I've found this can keep the monthly well below $100 for more channels than I want to watch (but I do get all the channels I do want to watch). No quality tradeoffs. No hoping I can find a good stream. No juggling computers for airplay. Etc. I still rent/buy a few things from TV and similar and we still have a Netflix subscription too but nothing touches OTA plus one of the Satt services if live sports and certain other programming (hard to find or not available via cord-cutter options) are desirable... especially if one cares about maximizing picture & sound.
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Old May 9, 2013, 04:13 PM   #22
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Nope, I'm still connected.

I have something like 130 premium HD movie stations (no commercials). Several thousand free HD On Demand films, and a similar number of pay-per-view titles.

I know it's just so 1990's, but I'm very happy with it.
1990's or 1890's? Hey, happiness is what counts!
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Old May 9, 2013, 04:48 PM   #23
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1990's or 1890's? Hey, happiness is what counts!
Wait...how did you know that was my birth year!
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Old May 9, 2013, 05:01 PM   #24
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I did recently. I do miss a few shows that I can't get OTA or streaming, but they weren't worth what I was paying per month for cable.

Oh, piece of advice regarding OTA: try to get a good quality antenna. The cheap ones may not pick up every channel. (Though the channels you do get will be crystal clear regardless. This being one of the advantages of digital broadcasts.)
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Old May 9, 2013, 05:22 PM   #25
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I ditched cable over a year ago. My wife and I watch OTA, stream Netflix, Hulu, and I have MLB.TV. We are also getting rid of Hulu, though, because we can airplay so much free content from apps on our phones.

We do purchase a few iTunes season passes for shows we love per year. We use Handbrake for shows we love and can watch over and over (Curb Your Enthusiasm for us) to get all the seasons on our hard drive for airplay as well.

Also, to save more $ we sometimes rent/purchase from iTunes in SD, unless it's a show or movie that's worth the awesome picture in HD due to the cinematography.

We would gladly rent shows in HD for a one time viewing (which you used to be able to do), but Apple said people would rather own than rent shows a few years ago and took away the option.

I've found that there is enough football on network TV for me between Thursday and Monday night that I don't need cable to suit my own needs.

That doesn't leave much out there for the two of us to miss. In fact, I never even think about it.
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