Life Without Cable: Week Two

the cable guy tbi

So, it’s been two weeks since we cut the cable cord. And our transition from an analogue to a digital world continues.

Now that we’re totally reliant on the Web for video, text, music, and news – we’ve taken a hard look at the quality of our internet connection. It’s slow. It’s glitchy. And a few times a week something breaks. It may be the cable modem, or the wireless router, or the connection between our house and the rest of the world.

But now that it makes our TV glitchy – we want MORE bandwidth. Sadly, there’s no FIOS in our building, and no clear sense of when there may be fibre to our curb, or up the building. Still, cutting the cable cord has given us the ability to reassess a whole collection of cobbled together digital decisions we’ve made over the past many years.

First to go – Vonage. Yes,  e loved Vonage when it was cool and hip. But now it’s our ‘back up’ home phone at a time when everyone in the household has a cell phone. So, having a VoIP line that has strangely gotten expensive. Kind of shockingly so for a line we don’t use. So, out with Vonage.

Next, Broadband. Seems like it’s time for a change there too. Research says that Verizon DSL is almost twice as fast as the Roadrunner service we have, and cheaper too. So after a zillion years with cable broadband, we’re going to give Verizon a spin. Not the ‘triple play’ – no TV from Verizon, but a double play with phone and Internet.

And finally, in our shift to a fully digital world, we’re cancelling some subscriptions to good old paper news sources. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still a news family – but the iPad has made it possible to read the news at the breakfast table without having to send dead trees to the landfill. So we’re swapping from the physical paper to the digital one.

We’ve cancelled both the Times and The Wall Street Journal physical delivery – and going digital. And, we’re exploring The Daily as well, which my 13 year old says is interesting to read. I have to say, after just a week, I agree. It’s an interesting hybrid between a newspaper and a magazine, with glossy features and updated content. Jury is still out, but so far it seems to fill a niche.

Which leaves me with video. Video is still bit of a mess. So far, Netflix is the best service in terms of both UI and streaming quality. In fact, it’s rock solid. But, its movies and some series. Google TV – which I use now – is still in its pre-alpha form… because it is essentially a ‘search’  device, it doesn’t discriminate between sources, quality  or playability. So that means lots of searches on GTV result in Hulu, or Fancast  or Viacom, or other services blocked by the provider.

Strangely, the hacker community hasn’t been able to really crac  Google TV in the way that they have with Apple TV, so there isn’t a frothy sense of new code around the box. This may change once the Android store allows apps for GTV to be moved to the box, but there’s no timeline for this.

So, for now – the best thing I’ve found is a pair of digital rabbit ears. Those, it turns out, ROCK and bring in great HD video.  ext up, taking a spin with Tivo Premier and HD signals. Could be a winning combination.

Stay tuned for my next update from the front lines of the digital revolution.

Steven Rosenbaum is a Curator, Author, Filmmaker, and Entrepreneur. He is the CEO of, a Realtime Video Curation engine for publishers, brands, and websites. His book “Curation Nation” is slated to be published this spring by McGrawHill Business.

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