With the baby due in five weeks, I’m having to deal with the fact that movie outings and date nights are going to go on hiatus for a while. I hear that a new baby kind of necessitates a lot of days and nights at home, rather than kicking around town. So, in an effort to avoid the future house-craziness that my wife so loves in me, I’m looking for alternative entertainment options. Enter streaming TV.
I have a great TV. It’s a 42″ Vizio beauty. And, of course, I have tons of devices attached to it. From my spot on the sofa right now, I can see the AppleTV, Tivo Series 3, upconverting DVD player, and the Wii. Behind the TV, I have an ethernet hub splitting my data line between the Tivo and AppleTV. There’s some magic in that there cable.
First, the Tivo. The day Netflix first came out on the Tivo, I wrote a post expressing my disappointment. Well, that disappointment has vanished. Since then, Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” has worked perfectly through my Tivo, delivering a large catalog of free streaming movies and TV shows to the big screen with no problem. Granted, the selection isn’t that great yet, but I’m sure that’ll come. The technology works; that’s the big deal. And, my wife and I have enjoyed re-watching the first two seasons of The Office already—in gorgeous HD no less—at our convenience and with flawless playback. Cool.
Tonight, I took my streaming media to the next level by hacking my much-loved AppleTV. I love my AppleTV. It is a tragedy that it has not become more widely adopted by the masses. The HD movie rental options on iTunes get better every week, so a movie is always a click away with no trips to Blockbuster and no waiting for movies in the mail from Netflix.
Whereas I loved the AppleTV before, though, I super-all-out-crazy love it now. Why? Because I hacked it with the Boxee media player, which allows me to stream the entire catalog of Hulu movies and TV shows to my TV. (instructions HERE)
What’s Hulu, you ask? That’s the place where NBC/Universal moved all of their streaming content last year. I didn’t think it’d make it, especially since NBC pulled out of iTunes to do it. However, I was wrong. Hulu rocks. It has tons of old classic TV shows to browse and watch and, more importantly, it’s the place to go if you miss a current TV show.
What if my Tivo is already recording the two maximum-allowed shows when I want to watch The Biggest Loser? No worries. I can just watch Loser the next day through Hulu for free. Same sofa. Same remote control. Same TV. Free. Love it.
This is an incredible time to be a geeky fan of TV and movies. Much to Comcast and Charter’s chagrin, cable television is becoming less and less relevant. If they don’t change their models soon, I wonder how they’ll make it. Honestly, I don’t care. The internet loves me, so I’ll never be starved for shows.