Last July my satellite TV subscription ended and I gave back the TV I was borrowing. During this time, I thought, why not give up satellite service for a month which will save me about $65 and then purchase a new flat panel TV for my living room. My one month experiment turned to two, it’s now been over a year with no TV and no cable/satellite service.


In order to get my TV/movie fix, I put my computer monitor in my bedroom and hooked up my work laptop to it so I can watch TV shows over the internet or streaming movies. In September, I brought home an HP TouchSmart computer and was so much more convenient than using my laptop that I didn’t really see a need to purchase a TV anymore. The TouchSmart has a 720p screen resolution so watching HD movies was a good experience. The 25.5″ TouchSmart has a 1080p screen resolution and I’m thinking of getting that at the end of the summer.


I did turn on satellite service for about a month to test out the user experience for hooking up a set top box to the TouchSmart using S-video, L/R audio to view TV and my DVR content on the computer. The setup through Media Center was a huge pain and I found I wasn’t watching enough TV to justify the cost of keeping DirectTV service when most of the same content I wanted to see was available for free on the internet. That was including watching newly released movies which are streamed over the internet. It took some searching to find out which streaming movies were of better quality than others but overall it was easier than trying to find someone to go to the movies with at the last minute. I’m somewhat reconsidering DirectTV again since it’s football season but then I can always go downstairs to watch football at the bar.


The switch to internet TV bought me more time to do other things instead of waiting for commercials to fast forward on my DVR. My viewing habits changed because I would search for shows I really wanted to watch instead of turning on the TV to keep me company while I sat on the computer to work or IM with friends. I had a stack of books and magazines I wanted to read that I was finally able to because I wasn’t spending hours watching TV. I also workout a little bit more because I can go to the gym and sit on the stationary bike if I can’t tear myself away from a particular book.


Here are some of the sites I would check to catch my favorite shows and movies:


Here are some interesting statistics which show America’s TV viewing habits.

Studies from Nielsen and Leichtman Research Group (LRG): A2/M2 Three Screen Report 4Q2008.  In the U.S. each month the average TV watcher soaks in 151 hours of television (an all-time high)
  • The average online video viewer watches some three hours’ worth of content on the web
  • People who use mobile video watch almost four hours of video on their phones and other wireless devices.
  • 8% of adults who watch video online strongly agree that they now watch TV less often, while 75% strongly disagree
  • 1% of adults view recent TV shows online daily, and 8% weekly – compared to 6% weekly last year