"The Experiment" (of going without cable TV) has been going well. Switching from an OTA HD antenna to free QAM HD via Comcast was an improvement. Until a QAM HD DVR solution is devised, this Apple TV user is still discovering gems like the free NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Podcast. It would be nice if NBC provided an HD feed, and back episodes. However, it's a major improvement over the MSNBC clips on Xbox LIVE.
Final Cut Pro just made a non-linear leap from version 7 to X (ten)—using just a fraction of Apple's R&D budget—itself a fifth of Nokia's R&D budget! Come June, Apple is about to make television and film more awesome and affordable once FCPX lands in pros' hands by way of the Mac App Store. It blows the mind to think that FCPX will only cost a mere $300, a price made possible because it's designed to sell Mac hardware.
Major League Baseball, and the National Basketball Association have arrived on Apple TV! Alas, A's and Giants ballgames are blacked out for local fans. Would-be MLB.TV subscribers can check the blackout status for their teams here. It would be nice if "NBA.com League Pass Broadband" offered a similar feature though the Kings are sure to avoid a Bay Area blackout should they move to Anaheim (to be confused with hockey). :p
Facebook is a beneficiary of Super Bowl XLV advertising, as many brand advertisers promoted their presence on the social network. Facebook itself has seized upon the opportunity by promoting its Sports page as the place to watch and vote on all of the commercials—totally usurping the official site. Apple also scored with Verizon, AT&T, and Motorola sparring over the iPhone 4 and iPad.
A key piece of equipment for "the experiment" is the Winegard SS-3000 over-the-air HDTV antenna. The SS-3000 is designed for indoor use, and works impressively well in a San Francisco apartment with windows facing away from Sutro Tower (albeit less than 5 miles away). Now the trick is to figure out an OTA HDTV DVR that's not as big or expensive as TiVo, nor requires a dedicated computer like Elgato...
Channels 2.1, 2.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 14.1, 14.2, 20.1, 20.4, 26.1, 26.2, 26.3, 26.4, 26.5, 26.6, 28.1, 28.2, 28.10, 28.15, 32.1, 32.2, 32.4, 32.5, 36.1, 36.2, 36.3, 38.1, 38.2, 38.3, 44.1, 60.1, 60.2, 60.3, 65.1, 65.2, 65.3, 66.1, and 66.2 come in crystal clear. Alas, Telemundo doesn't quite lock on from Mount Allison in Milpitas.
The most difficult part of "the experiment" so far has been the lack of local live sports. (Need to get an OTA antenna ASAP!) ESPN3.com on Xbox LIVE has helped with the occasional NBA game, but its programming leaves a lot to be desired. One wonders if Comcast participates in this initiative so they can degrade the quality of the streaming video to less than HD at times in order to stave off a future of à la carte channels.
Gave up on trying to find a matching TV stand after the fools at Datavision Computer Video cancelled my order without notice. It turns out Target sells some decent assemble-it-yourself furniture that's made of more solid "wood composite" than most stuff from IKEA. Target also improves upon IKEA by organizing all of their hardware in a blister pack. This Target shopper might have also picked up the matching coffee table, but it's only sold online (i.e. no instant gratification).
It's fitting that Hulu Plus launched out of preview yesterday because this TV viewer is about to embark upon a great experiment... Can he survive with Internet alone? Forgoing cable television in the new place will save at least $1,000 a year otherwise wasted on mostly crap channels. The funds will be used instead to pay for quality, on-demand content.