Update: No subscription TV service

A little over a year ago I wrote a post detailing my one year anniversary into an experiment testing having no subscription television service. With it now being two years with no TV service, I thought I would provide an update and let you know how it’s going.

The good news is that I still do not subscribe to any television service. That means no cable, no satellite, nothing. The only exception is Netflix, which at $8 a month, I am happy to have. Some might argue that Netflix is a subscription service, but I think we can all agree that it certainly does not compete with cable or satellite (and is a tenth the cost of what I used to pay).

To date, I have saved $1,920 (not counting the increase in fees that Dish Network would certainly have imposed). This easily has paid for the substantial initial investment in hardware (mainly new Mac Minis and various other peripherals). We still use Plex, eyeTV, Hulu Desktop and a few other apps. We do most of our viewing in Plex, although my wife would argue that I spend a lot of time in eyeTV watching COPS episodes which have recorded overnight. I’m sorry, it’s a guilty pleasure.

Plex continues to become more and more stable. It’s install base is growing by leaps and bounds, given that it’s now available on iOS, Roku, Google TV, LG, and various other media devices. I love that I can start a show on my iPod, pause, and pickup right where I left off in the home theater. Additionally, with the fairly new myPlex service, you can easily access all of your movies and TV shows remotely with no effort at all. You just sign into myPlex, and all of your media stored at home is available.

Certainly Netflix’s catalog is lacking… their loss of Starz Play’s 1000 titles didn’t help. In our house, Netflix is great for the kids. It’s jam-packed with child-friendly programming. Now and then you might run across something suitable for adults, but for the most part my instant queue (and recommendations) makes me feel like I am in preschool. Amazon’s Instant Video service is becoming a solid competitor to Netflix, but seeing as how they provide no 10-foot user interface for Mac (you must access the titles via a browser), I’ll stay with Netflix (which plays via Apple remote in Plex).

I’m not saying this setup is for everybody, but to me, it’s been a success.

This has been today’s Clarified Butter.