I feel your rage, my 'lives-in-a-downtown-highrise' fellow traveler. We had a darned good thread in here a few months ago
, lots of good information.
Here's my experience in a nutshell, starting with the 3 basics you need:
- As you've heard in here, you need a good antenna for local and near-local stations. Might need a digital converter box too, if your set's more than 5 or 6 years old.
- A high-speed Internet connection, preferably wireless with line of sight to the TV
- A digital streaming box like Roku, Slingbox or Apple TV. Game consoles like PS2 and XBox stream too, but they need a computer in the loop to function properly (Roku-like boxes need an Internet signal only).
Your timing is pretty good, they just rolled out the new Roku 3, reviews call it head and shoulders above the rest. Your box is a one-time cost, Roku 3 runs $100, but there's other boxes as low as $40
. ** If your TV set is less than 2 or 3 years old, check it first - it might have built-in digital streaming capability.
Programming comes in massive quantities, but it’s often maddeningly awkward to navigate. TV is different when you decide which shows start and when... and the depth of archive content presents rare opportunities. CAUTION
! IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH, STOP READING NOW. When Catharine saw Netflix had the full Melrose Place catalog, she set forth to watch the entire series. 225 42-minute episodes (no commercials of course). It took six weeks, and forced her to re-think everything she thought she knew about the 90s ...;-/ Past 3 or 4 months we watched The Shield first episode to last. It’s better watching a series this way ... waiting a week between 42-minute episodes seems prehistoric now.
Downside? The programming pillars that make live TV what it is - news and sports - are nowhere to be found. No CNN, ESPN, etc. NBC News and other networks have Roku channels ... you can watch the two most recent Meet the Press episodes any time, and Nightly News the next morning, but it’s not the same.
There's the local over-the-air stations, but we recently decided we need our NFL-Network and MSNBC. Here’s the twist: We need them so much, we decided we’re going back to cable!
New company here called ‘Wave Broadband” has the big bundle - Cable + Phone + 15x Internet - all for $85/month. Add the HD tier and a DVR, and the whole thing is $118 with taxes ... less $17 savings on Roku programming and $30 savings on (way too slow, don’t let the door hit you) Clear internet.
They're coming to set us up Friday ... we’ll see.