Now that I have a method to easily view and listen to internet content on my home theater, when will there be enough programming available on the internet to allow me to end my cable TV subscription? Obviously, I’d have to sacrifice some television programming if I made the switch, but ~75 dollars per month in savings would probably be worth it. Besides, there are probably better things to do with my time than watch the House Hunters reruns. Given that a lot of new shows are available online via Hulu or the actual network websites, and Netflix streaming has a fair (and hopefully growing) amount of movies and shows available, the only thing that I would really miss if I cancelled my cable subscription today are the guaranteed HD video and sound quality that digital cable offers…and sports.
You might say, “Why would you give up HD video and sound when you went to all that trouble to install a home theater?”. Well, when watching episodes of 24 via Netflix streaming, I can definitely detect HD video and surround sound. Additionally, the quality of streaming French Open and US Open tennis tournaments from the internet was very close to HD, though the sound wasn’t that impressive. And my A/V receiver seems to make the most out of the streaming sports content, both visually and aurally. So, I wouldn’t be giving up all HD content by any means. I would just be cutting back a little.
So I’m on a path to see how much content I can stream satisfactorily, with a focus on sports and video quality. The shows below fill up the entire screen when I use this method. And to give you an idea of my bandwidth, my connection is 15+ mbps. So far, this is the content that I’ve tested:
- Major network programming
- Hulu takes care of about half the shows I’m really interested in. Not perfect, but doable.
- Major networks host most of their shows online. Able to pause these programs.
- 60 Minutes… HD quality…fills up entire screen
- How I Met Your Mother is online and HD quality…fills up entire screen. Brief periods of poor resolution (30 seconds total during whole program). 3 advertisements during commercial break…less commercials than cable TV.
- Modern Family…HD…fills up entire screen
- Netflix streaming has some popular shows like Mad Men and 24.
- Sunday Night Football is HD and provides stats alongside display which was useful.
- Surfing is covered nicely by online webcasts.
- ESPN3.com hosts a good number of college sports.
- Haven’t determined how many games they show that I’m interested in.
- So far this year, French Open was streamed perfectly by tennischannel.com and the US Open on usopen.org
- US Open allows for all courts to be viewed online but sound (other than commentary) for secondary courts wasn’t great
- NO Monday Night Football is streamed legally, from what I’ve seen.