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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

At Home Experiment: Cutting the Cable Cord

Purpose: To experience what it's really like in Canada in 2011 to get all content over the Internet.

Hypothesis: Cutting the cord will not be something that most Canadians consider in 2011, but inevitably, it will be more of a reality in the years to come as behaviors change, content selection improves, and Internet speeds/quality improve.

Method: Last week, I cut my cable. I've now subscribed to Netflix and have watched content via my laptop, PS3 and on my iPad and all three have been a great user experience so far. The interface is easy to navigate and the suggested viewings based on your previous viewings are really helpful. There's still room on the content side for improvement, but the selection for now has been sufficient. I've also got the Global TV app on my iPad, which gives me access to TV episodes like House, NCIS, The Office, Rookie Blue...etc.

I'll be blogging about my experience about getting content over the top, and about any good discoveries I make with respect to finding great sources for content online.


  1. Krista, I know this test is to use strictly online sources but something you might consider as well if you are just looking to cut the cable cord and save $ is to tap into over the air broadcasts using ATSC. Being in Toronto, you have a great selection of OTA broadcasts available to you. All the major canadian broadcasters broadcast in HD (in Toronto) and there are lots of Channels from Buffalo as well. You will need a newer flatscreen TV and an antenna (rabbit ears, that sort of thing) for it to work.

    I have my Windows 7 box recording ATSC from Watertown, NY. We watch the shows via Xbox as a DVR on the TV in the living room. We use Netflix to fill in the holes of what we can't pick up. Unfortunately, there is no canadian stations here (Kingston) broadcasting in ATSC.

  2. Good luck. The question is, can you cut the cord and not tap in to the dark side (i.e. piracy)? Still, I've been sans-cable for years now, and only really missed it when I wanted to watch a CP24 show a friend was on and realized I haven't actually watched proper television in years. I had to call Rogers to reactivate my box.

  3. You forgot to list free legal satellite TV as an option. With a 36 inch dish and an HD FTA satellite receiver, you can receive about 85 English channels with over 10 of those in HD on Ku Band FTA satellite. If you have room for a bigger dish to receive C band FTA satellite, you can get even more with over 200 additional English channels and over 50 of them in HD. All currently available FTA satellite channels are listed at http://fta.channels.drsat.ca.

    In addition to these full time channels, you may also receive temporary “wild feed” channels which don’t appear on the above list but carry many sporting & special events along with breaking news coverage. You may find these channels yourself by rescanning certain satellites on your receiver or by following a few feed hunting groups such as the Dr. Sat SatHunters Club at http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=170234.

    These channels are unencrypted so they are legally available for free with no monthly subscription and complement nicely the channels you may already receive using an OTA antenna. However unlike OTA, FTA satellite offers near-nationwide coverage which is great for people who have a limited amount of OTA channels available in their area.