Laying the groundwork for streaming
I grew up watching TV. Those classic shows from the 60s? Yeah, I was watching them. Star Trek? The original Star Trek? Yeah, I saw those episodes when they aired for the first time. I loved watching TV. I'm not going to try to self-analyze and figure out why I liked TV or watched it so much. But I enjoyed watching TV.
In 2006, after several years of my wife recording her soap operas to watch when she got off work, I did something she didn't want me to do. I spent the money for a TiVo. It didn't take long for her to enjoy the TiVo, and the ease of recording the shows and playing them back. No more having to swap out VHS tapes or worry about how you'd catch up on things. TiVo made it easy.
Why or how does that relate to streaming? Well, think about it for a minute. On a VHS tape, you're watching something you recorded earlier. On a TiVo, you can watch something you recorded earlier.
The show aired earlier, and you're watching it later. That's time-shifting your viewing. You're watching a show later, when you want. That's on-demand.
Whether you call it time-shifting or on-demand, it's the same thing. A show airs and you watch it later, when it's convenient. We were doing that with VHS tapes for years. And in 2006, we started doing it with TiVo.
In 2008, I began serious research into this whole watching TV over the Internet. I knew there was some Website called Hulu, but that's about all I knew. I wasn't sure how it all would work, so I started trying to find out more. What I finally decided was to give it a shot, if I could figure out what hardware I'd need and how much it would all cost.
Towards the end of 2009, I decided I'd at least try to figure out possible costs. I knew that I could buy content from Amazon, Apple iTunes, and other services. I knew that I could use that Hulu thing to watch stuff. What I needed to know was how much it would all cost.
I used my TiVo settings to determine what shows I was watching throughout the year, then looked them all up -- every one of them -- and calculated how much it would have cost to have purchased them, or watched them on Hulu (which was free at the time).
I then calculated how much my overall cable and internet bill would be after I dropped cable, and figured out how much I would have saved.
And, for 2009, I would have saved ... nothing. In fact, it would have cost me money. But not that much. So, I kept watching cable in 2010.
Maybe I'd do this calculation again in 2010.
Yes, I would do that, and with different results. I'll tell you about that later.