My love of TV started early when I was sneaking episodes of “Salute Your Shorts” and “Hey Dude” after school and has truly never stopped. Every fall, I look forward to receiving the Entertainment Weekly Fall TV Preview issue and make a new grid of what shows I’m going to watch.
This fall will be different, however, since Jeff and I cut cable a few months ago. It took a fair amount of research and I wouldn’t say we have the perfect solution at all, but I feel like we’ve hit the perfect balance of:
- Still being able to watch the shows I liked
- Watching less TV overall and ultimately reading more
So… how did we do it? I’ve outlined our process and approach below and will stress that this is the approach taken by someone who loves TV more than any other form of entertainment and may seem extreme for more casual viewers.
I created this spreadsheet of everything we (I) watch, what network it’s on, where I could find it on streaming, if there were any caveats (like for example, it’s on Hulu but with a 3 week delay or a 2 day delay or a full year delay). THEN, I looked at the gaps, determined if it was a show I still wanted to watch and if yes, what it would cost to pay for it on iTunes, etc.
A general note that the biggest issue is with CBS shows. They’re not available real time on any streaming platform. I ultimately decided they weren’t really that critical. CBS is launching it’s own subscription service for real time access on their site but it seems ridiculous to pay another $6/month just for CBS all things considered. And since it’s not available on Apple TV, there’s no easy way from a tech standpoint to watch it. If you have Roku or Chromecast instead of Apple TV though, it’s available as an app.
After doing the above, we crunched the numbers and saw that even if I spent $20 a month on iTunes (which would be subscribing to 6-12 full seasons of a show), we’d save $60 a month with the change.
Because I’m a glutton for punishment, if you’d like to see my spreadsheet, you can view it here. Just remember any show you’d like to judge me for watching is probably something Jeff picked.
Subscriptions & Equipment
We already had an Apple TV and our DVD player is a smart DVD player that connects to Amazon streaming. In addition to that, we subscribe to Netflix and Hulu. Given my addiction to Bravo, that still means I have to subscribe to my Housewives (just NYC, Beverly Hills and Orange County) on iTunes.
Lastly, we got a digital antenna for live events. We barely use it but it means that for things like major events, we’re still able to watch and given that it was under $40 the ROI is pretty high.
Set Up & Tracking
However, given that we have shows on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime and don’t have a single or convenient queue for what to watch, I was still seeking some sort of resource to turn to to answer the question “what can I watch right now?” I researched apps and services for that and picked Episode Calendar. It’s far from perfect, but Jeff and I needed a shared account (a number of the top-rated solutions were apps tied to an iTunes account) and it covered all the basic needs. Now, we can go to the “Unwatched” section and it shows all the new episodes of current show OR we can add older shows and check them off as we watch episodes.