So I’ve been considering dropping cable television.
Before I cancel cable, I need to know if my plan will work for our family. We consume a fair amount of media in our home, so I need to do some testing before I pull the plug.
I already own a PS3 which can handle a variety of streaming media. I use it today to watch Netflix on my home theater.
I discovered PlayOn Digital Media Server software when doing some research on Amazon about streaming internet video to TV. Installing the 14 day trial of PlayOn on my laptop was simple. After installing PlayOn, I setup my media connections where I entered my Netflix and Hulu account information. I also downloaded a series of PlayOn Plugins and PlayOn Scripts so I could view shows on 4 Kids TV, NBC, PBS, Cartoon Network, and a variety of other content.
My wireless G network connects to the internet at 10 meg down, and both my laptop and PS3 connect to the wireless G network.
I turned on the PS3, looked for media servers, and PlayOn was available. Selecting PlayOn gave me a menu of Hulu, Netflix, Fox, CBS, NBC, and more. I could drill down through the menus and watch everything from CSI to vintage Smurfs episodes. We watched an episode of HGTVs House Hunter International and the video wasn’t quite as good as via cable but it was good enough. Then we watched the latest episode of The Simpsons and the quality was fantastic (720p). I’d say PlayOn via the PS3 was a success.
What do you need and what are the costs?
I’m going to assume you have a computer, a network, and an internet connection
- PS3 – $300
- PlayOn Media Server – $40.00
So I could replace $1000.00 per year cable bill with a one time cost of $350.00
If you go with a Netgear Digital Entertainer Live (EVA2000) instead of a PS3 you could cut that from $350 to about $130. I haven’t tested the Netgear device yet but plan to soon so I can tell you how well it works.
- No live sports??? Comments anyone?
- In many cases the picture was lower quality than cable
- Pausing, rewinding, and fast forwarding were problematic with Hulu and other internet TV
- If you quit in the middle of a show, only Netflix bookmarks where you stopped
- Can’t fast forward commercials like you can like you can with a cable DVR
- Hulu and other sites may find a way to block PlayOn and you’d lose most television
For now, I’m keeping cable. But I may change my mind after testing the Netgear device.