After reviewing our recent cable TV bills, the wife and I decided perhaps we don’t watch enough TV each month to rationalize that expense. Sure, we have a couple shows we like to watch at any given moment but we never actually watch them when aired. We always get caught up later. We’re young, we’re hip. We’re going to cut the cable.
I did a bit of research (not enough, as it turns out!) and decided we would start on the cheap and see how things go. Off to Amazon I went and purchased a Chromecast, a mid-range HD antenna and then I signed up for the 30 day Amazon Prime trial to get access to their TV shows and movies. I figured I’d compare that to the Netflix streaming account that we already have.
The antenna and Chromecast showed up yesterday. Let the grand experiment begin!
First, I plugged in the antenna to our main HD TV, went into the TV’s menus and set the source to “antenna” and told it to scan. It gets about halfway through the scan (around 28 channels found) and the TV reboots, saving nothing. Hmmph. Tried again (and again) with same results. Factory reset the TV, tried again. Same results.
Out of curiosity, I disconnected the antenna and ran a scan which made it through to the end – no channels found, of course, but no TV reboot. Tried the antenna on a couple other HD TVs in the house. No problem on those. But our main TV (admittedly, a pretty inexpensive Dynex unit) just hates something it gets from that antenna.
Finally worked around that by setting the TV source to “cable” and running another scan. That finished without disaster, but only turned up 6 channels, as opposed to the 58 channels I found on the other TVs. Oh well, one of those is the main news / weather channel that we watch so we’re good enough for now. Perhaps I’ll pick up another antenna this weekend just to see if anything changes.
Next I setup the Chromecast and installed the associated app on my Android tablet. Fired up Netflix and was ‘casting a show in no time at all. Slick! Worked great for YouTube and Google Music as well. At this point I’m pleasantly blown away by how well this works.
OK, now to try out an Amazon Prime Instant Video.
First I belatedly realized there’s no native Android or IOS app for that. None. Then I realized most work-arounds or hacks are pretty kludgy or useless. And then I finally realized that the only way that Prime Instant Video thing was going to be useful is if I get a Amazon Fire TV (which is a contender for future purchase) or a Kindle Fire tablet.
For now I reckon we’ll use Hulu+ or purchase episodes or seasons from the Google Video store. We’ll run this way for a few weeks and see how it goes. Main concern being around the convenience factor (or lack thereof) of staring all TV shows from our tablets. That Amazon Fire TV or rumored new Android TV might be contenders yet this summer… Stay tuned.