Sunday, December 11, 2022

Why streaming?

In 2011, I dropped cable. The reason, or so I told myself, was that it was cheaper to stream TV.

My son had first shown the about streaming TV a couple of years before. I had already heard about streaming TV, which was practically unheard of, back then. While I had heard and read about it, I never saw it in practice until I visited my son one day. He showed me some content that he accessed via his Xbox.

I think from that day forward, I was hooked. In retrospect, I think I decided right then and there that I would start doing TV that way.

I did not immediately jump right in to streaming. But I did begin my research. First of all, I didn't have an Xbox and didn't want an Xbox. I was never really a gamer, and didn't want to put a bunch of money into an Xbox just to stream TV.

That's when I found out about Roku devices. They were new, with the first devices coming onto the market in 2008, and the next batch of devices launching in late 2009.

I had a TiVo device, but at the time, it wasn't really a proper streaming device. I had to download movies then watch them, which isn't the same thing. But TiVo did have one thing: a list of TV shows I recorded and watched later. That meant I knew what I watched, and wondered how I would watch the same content without cable.

Using my TiVo list, I researched how to purchase the same TV shows over the course of a year. At the end of that year (2009) I found out that it didn't cost a whole lot more to have streamed TV than to have paid for cable. But, it did cost more. So, I decided to wait. I wanted to see how this went.

I spent the next year updating my spreadsheet of TV shows -- old ones canceled were removed, new series we liked were added -- and looked up all the different ways to watch TV. That, at the time, included purchasing from Amazon or iTunes, from Hulu Plus (there were two versions back then; Hulu Plus replaced regular Hulu and is now called just plain Hulu), and from an antenna.

At the end of 2010, I had discovered it was cheaper. I bought my wife an Apple TV device -- but not for streaming; she wanted to play back her iTunes music through the big sound system attached to the TV -- and I later bought a Roku device for streaming.

At the time, Apple TV was a very limited streaming device, but it did have a kind of "best of streaming" list of applications. Roku was like it is today in that it had a huge store of apps (they called, and still call, them "channels").

After the bowl games in 2011, I canceled cable. The wife wasn't happy with that at first. She quickly adapted, and still likes it. We're not together any longer, but she still streams and doesn't have cable, so at least I did that right.

In all the years, I've always said I dropped cable and went streaming because it was cheaper. And it was cheaper, and has remained so. But is that the only reason I stream TV today? No. The reason I stream today is that I simply like it.

I like it because, well yes, it's cheaper. I like it because of the cool tech. I like it because it lets me set the schedule -- I don't have to choose between staying out on a date and getting home to watch a particular show.

My Streaming Life began as a way to save money -- or so I said. I think it really began because it was cool and would give me more control over when I did things. The saving money only controlled when I made the switch to streaming.

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