Saturday, November 22, 2008

HowTo kill cable TV

Philips Stereo RF Modulator The missing link was this handy device from the "sense and simplicity" folks at Philips. For years, I have watched the evolving marketplace for consumer TV services. I have investigated DirectTV (et al) and have not been impressed enough to pull the plug. Until last week. When the good folks at Time Warner sent us "over the edge" of reasonableness: the latest price increase. Almost a 10% increase for the same crappy service (less than 70 channels, no digital or high def). I had discovered hulu dot com some months ago. In the back of my mind, this thought kept popping to the foreground: could hulu replace our cable service? But not just hulu, I also have used Apple's iTunes for four years now, and it keeps getting better and better. Ever wonder how Steve Jobs (and company) continues to make money? Good enough is never good enough! Anyhow, when we received the notice of the price increase, we immediately called and canceled our cable TV service. I had been experimenting with displaying YouTube and iTunes on the TV from my Apple Mac mini for several weeks. I had also priced the DirectTVs of the world (talk about bait and switch!), and just was not impressed. I did consider the Apple TV, but it still lacked (as far as I could tell), the ability to surf the net and therefore get hulu to display. Then it happened: I discovered the Philips RF modulator. The final ingredient! SKI's Cable TV Killer Bundle:
  • Apple Mac Mini
  • Apple DVI to Video Adapter
  • 1 each S-Video cable
  • 1 each 3.5mm Male Audio Stereo Plug to Dual RCA Female Jack Y cable
  • Logitech V220 Cordless Optical Mouse
  • Coaxial Cable 2-way splitter
  • Multiple coaxial patch cables
  • Philips Stereo RF Modulator
  • Optional: Multimedia Amplifier
Again, the only piece that I did not already own was the RF modulator. I was dragging the Mac down to the TV in the living room when ever we wanted to watch old episodes of the TV series "The Pretender" or the latest on the Homes & Garden network. Or a movie on hulu. No more. Now, I switch out the DVI to VGA converter on the back of the Mac mini for the DVI to Video, and grab the wireless mouse. That is it! The mouse works in every room of our two story house. We use it to navigate hulu or to launch iTunes (or even check email!). I probably will add a wireless keyboard with the money I am saving by not having a cable TV service fee each month. But right now, I am using those funds to pay for my new big screen TV. Just in time for the holidays! Talk about throughput? This will free up $65 per month for our home budget. Plus, more and more services will come online to complete with hulu. A true "win-win" scenario. Merry Christmas -ski P.S. We use the coaxial splitter to connect the Mac to the TV in the living room plus the TV in the master bedroom. As I already had the Multimedia Amplifier, I plugged it in between the RF modulator and the wall jack in my office. It really helped to strengthen the signal. It was not necessary for driving just one TV. Again, as I already had it, I used it. Your mileage may vary. P.P.S. Questions or concerns? Write me:
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