My wife and I were locked into a two year contract with one of the major satellite television providers here in the United States and it recently expired. The monthly fee for the middle package that we purchased steadily increased every six months of the two year contract until we were paying almost $100 per month. We had about a hundred channels but it was deceiving, nearly half of these channels were infomercials and pay-per-view movie channels. The other half rarely had anything worth watching. It became truly painful to hand over $100 to this corporation month after month. We're both so busy we watch very little television anyway. We searched for other viewing alternatives and finally found the best solution for us. We found that Apple TV paired with a HuluPlus subscription ($7.99 per month) and a digital TV antenna to pull in the local stations in HD will give us nearly all of the channels we watched previously. The cost of freedom is $150 in hardware but less than 1/10th the monthly cost ($7.99 vs. $100).
Just a few minutes ago we took the plunge and began our journey, purchasing Apple TV and a digital TV antenna (RCA model ANT1650F) online. The hardware should be delivered by the end of the this week and I'll be posting periodically about how it's going. The major hurdle I envision is a psychological one, getting used to on-demand versus scheduled programming. According the Steve Jobs, this is the future of TV and if the popularity of TiVo is any indication, Mr. Jobs was correct.
With the rising cost of living many people, out of necessity are deciding to put more thought into where their money goes. I think it's also the public's growing uneasiness about corporate control of their lives. I just recently heard on the radio that people are leaving the cable and satellite television providers in droves. This will be the only thing that forces media companies to evolve, to morph into something different and consumer-friendly. Soon we'll see what television viewing is like on the "other side" of corporate control. Stay tuned, more to come.