When trying to cut the cable cord in my house, we had a few goals.
- We wanted to get access to a few of our favorite network TV shows like NCIS
- Have local TV station access for local news
- Have a selection of things to watch the rest of the time that satisfied my wife, our young daughter, and myself
- Sports and reality TV shows were not a priority
Here’s how we did it for our household.
The Hardware Setup
- Vizio M401i-A3 HDTV
- Roku 3 for watching streaming video
- Samsung BD-H5900 BluRay player
- Apple iPads for personal, wandering around the house video streaming
- A Tivo Setup for local OTA Digital TV
- Netflix and Amazon Prime for subscription streaming video
- PlayOn for the rare web content assist
- The Austin Public Library for movie “rentals”
How It Plays Together
The workhorses of the house are the Tivo, which records the local TV stations for our latest episodes fix, and Netflix on the Roku 3. The Tivo and OTA antenna provide local news access and the latest network TV, including CBS access without paying for it. My wife and I catch up on TV series and movies we haven’t seen on Netflix. Our daughter has her own Netflix profile with parental controls turned on that she uses for Horseland, Pokemon, and other shows that drive the parents nuts. Amazon Prime gets minor showing when Amazon has secured a show exclusively.
When we’re wandering around the house doing chores, we stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, or the occasional Tivo video to our iPads. It makes folding the laundry more tolerable.
The great irony of our setup is that we’ve got 4 possible Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming devices hooked up to our TV: the Vizio TV, the Samsung DVD player, the Tivo, and the Roku, yet the stand alone Roku wins. And it will continue as long as Roku keeps trying to have a good customer experience. Vizio and Samsung don’t update, so they get stale with time. Tivo, for some reason that escapes me, continues to be clunky with their streaming video platforms. Roku updates firmware regularly and the Roku 3 has enough horsepower to do everything smoothly.
We are down to two subscription services in addition to our internet. Netflix for $7.99 per month and Amazon Prime for $99 per year or $8.25 a month, although we have it also for the 2-day shipping so it’s not all streaming. After Texas state taxes, I end up at about $17.60 per month for more TV that I can ever watch.