Apple TV & Cord-Cutting By Joshua Blagden | JB - Mac Help | JBlagden

Apple TV & Cord-Cutting By Joshua Blagden

The Apple TV is a very useful piece of Apple hardware. It has many “channels”, and it can use Home Sharing and AirPlay. More importantly, it reduces or even eliminates, the need for cable.

However, a significant number of its channels, such as HBO Go, A & E, History, Lifetime, ABC and the three Disney channels, make it a cable accessory. Those channels are missing the point, or rather the potential of the Apple TV as respects cable. The great thing about the Apple TV is that it enables more people to “cut the cord” on cable. 

Cable companies charge significantly more than they truly should, and in the process, you end up with hundreds of channels that you won’t watch.

Enter Apple TV, stage right. It has: Netflix, iTunes and the Weather Channel, which are pretty much all you really need. It also has Crackle, which is nice for watching older shows such as All in the Family and Sanford and Son, if you don’t mind commercials. It also has PBS, CBS News, the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Screen, Hulu and YouTube, all of which make it even easier to go without cable. If your family is like mine, you’ve likely gotten to the point where you mostly just watch Netflix and occasionally watch cable for The Weather Channel and either Fox or NBC.

With Netflix, iTunes and the Weather Channel, PBS, CBS News, the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Screen and YouTube, the Apple TV almost provides enough to put the cable companies out of business, or at least reduce them to ISPs(Internet Service Provider). However, with an antenna, you can likely pull in a few extra channels to make “cutting the cord” on cable possible. For example, my family is able to get ION, Fox, NBC, Ant TV(has a lot of old TV shows), and three PBS sub-channels on our antenna. My family is able to forgo cable and proceed to save $140 each month as a result of Apple TV and our antenna. Of course, you’ll still need an ISP. My family is paying about $90 per month for 30 megabits per second, which is pretty good. By the way, these numbers might not make sense, so I’ll clarify: we were paying $200 for cable, internet and home phone, so $200-$90=$110 in savings. That $110 per month we save adds up to nearly $1,200 per year and nearly $12,000 over the course of ten years.

Also, by copying your DVD’s, you can avoid watching things on cable/antenna that you already own on DVD, which helps reduce your need for cable even further, makes your videos more portable and allows you to watch them without commercials. For example, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory might be on TV, but I already own the DVD. So, I can just stream my digital copy of it from my MacBook Pro on my Apple TV. If you don’t know how to copy you DVD’s, please refer to my tutorial entitled “How to Copy DVDs”.

For quick reference, you can use The weather channel to check the weather and you can use the MLB.TV, MLB, NBA and NHL channels to check sports scores. It’s a lot faster and easier to check the weather on the Apple TV than on cable, especially because you don’t have to wait 10 minutes for the weatherman to get to the forecast for your area. Admittedly, the sports channels won’t let you watch a game unless you have a subscription to the associated company, but it’s still nice to be able to see the scores. Besides, since I’m a Red Sox fan and the they didn’t do too well this year, it was just as well that I checked the scores and standings instead of watching the games.

In conclusion, the Apple TV is a huge benefit to those seeking to “cut the cord” on cable.

© Joshua Blagden & Justin Barczak 2013-2015
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