A long, long time ago, in a faraway place…. There was a cable box, and guess what, not much has changed!
Think back to the evolution of the cable box. Oh, that’s right, there hasn’t been any. I can think back to when I was 12 years old using my cable box, and the interface and menus were almost identical to what they are today. Granted, they did make one change, when cable went digital the box became much slower at changing channels or viewing the guide.
Cable companies have dominated the TV viewing experience for years. With this success and lack of competition, the products and services they offered became stagnant. Then in comes Apple TV and other set top media boxes to fill the huge market that cable companies tried but failed miserably at! Apple TV has brilliantly designed graphical menus that are fast, easy to use and, most importantly, functional.
When I started to use my Apple TV, I immediately wondered why my cable menu couldn’t work the same way; after all, the Apple TV uses my cable internet. The Apple TV remote has 4 buttons, that’s it! My cable remote, on the other hand, has as many buttons as the graphing calculator I used in Calculus. As a consumer I felt trapped, like I had no choice but the cable (or satellite) company. This angered me tremendously.
I am breaking up with you Cable!
The final straw happened the other night. My cable remotes where having huge delays when I was trying to navigate the guide so I called our provider. They “HIT” the box and the issue was resolved. “Excellent!” I thought, my wife had left the house for Mommies night out and the kids were asleep, so I figured it was safe to watch my new favorite show ‘American Horror Story.’ I knew my provider had the show available to watch anytime I wanted. So I poured myself a glass of wine, sat on the couch, put my feet up and figured I had my next 45 minutes of my life planned. Oh how mistaken I was! I clicked through the multiple menus looking for the latest episode, only to find out that they did not have it, only the prior weeks. I was furious! I thought, just for the heck of it, I would check the iTunes store on my Apple TV. I wasn’t surprised at all that a company like Apple, with its vision and innovation, actually had the most recent episode for sale. So, because I value my time and because I really wanted to watch my show, I paid the $3 for the show and resumed my evening.
When I began to cheat on my cable box
That evening, I thought to myself, “I just paid 3 dollars for a show that I already pay to watch with my cable provider.” I then immediately blamed my provider and decided to look at my bill. I examined only the TV viewing portion of my bill as I knew I would still need cable internet access.
Cable box rental Fee (for HUGE ugly boxes): $15 each x 2 = $30/month
Basic Cable: $45/month
Preferred Digital (whatever that means!): $40/month
HBO and ShowTime: $30/month
Grand Total: $145 a month (that doesn’t include all the taxes and extra fees that I don’t understand!)
Cable you’re a gold digger!
I had to compare the $145/month price tag against what it would take to buy all of my family’s favorite shows from Apple TV. I figured, on the high side, we watch 5 shows a week. At $3 per episode, per week, that equals $60 a month. Add in the $8 a month for Netflix streaming, which is what my children love, and at the end of the day, it’s half the price! Oh, and did I mention there are no commercials?
Will I miss cable after it’s gone?
The next thing I had to break down was: are the two services comparable? Well, I already pay for Netflix, and the kids watch that 95% of the time, so the children will be happy… CHECK! Almost every TV show we like is available for rent from the iTunes store…CHECK! Side note, it’s actually ‘to own’, so you can watch it for the rest of time. So now that our shows are accounted for, what do we do about news and sports? We will get an antenna so all of the local channels will come in for FREE… CHECK! Plus we still have internet access so we can read the news online as well.
Its official ….. I’m leaving you cable for a much more attractive Apple TV!
At the end of the day, with Apple TV we can get pretty much everything we need, the way we want it, and for less money. Plus, you can rent movies the same day they come out on DVD, as well as stream all your music, pictures, and movies right from iTunes to your TV. And now the journey has begun, tomorrow our cable will officially be canceled and we will operate exclusively from Apple TV and Netflix. I will keep you posted as we continue this journey!