If you were to tell me ten years ago that in 2012 I wouldn’t have TV, radio, a CD player, or a membership to Blockbuster, I would have thought you were nutso. How would I watch all my favorite shows? How would I listen to music? How would I get my news? How would I rent movies?
HOW WOULD I BE ABLE TO SURVIVE?
Well, thanks to that wonderful thing we call technology and the interwebs, I can do all that without having to have all the junk. Now, I know some of this is old news to some of you. You might be thinking, “Well, duh…I haven’t listened to a CD since I got my iPod eight years ago.” Or, “What’s Blockbuster?” And yet some of you might be thinking, “Wait, you don’t have television? How do you watch TV?”*
*Which of course I’m reminded of the scene in Back to the Future when Marty is having dinner at Lorainne’s house and they ask him if he has a television set and he’s all, “Well, yeah, we have two of them” and the mom is all, “Don’t be silly, nobody has two television sets.” Haha. But I digress.
I was inspired to write this blog from a friend and fellow blogger who also wrote about not owning a TV and how she gets by in life. And thought it may seem like the end of the world, it’s actually quite easy. Let me explain.
When we moved from California to Minnesota, we were pretty wiped out in terms of money. We carefully went over what we needed and didn’t need and decided – quite bravely, I might add – that we would forego getting television. Oh, we have a TV set, just no channels. We figured that by just continuing our Netflix subscription, we would save over $100 a month. And friends, let me tell you…it has been pretty awesome. Netflix has loads of TV shows that we watch, plus loads that we’ve always wanted to watch but never got the chance.
Edwardian awesomeness streaming on Netflix
And here’s what’s even more awesome: no commercials (take that, politicians!), and most shows in HD on our TV. And they stay on Netflix for a really long time. It’s like buying the entire series of a show without having to spend all the money on the DVDs. The downside, of course, is not being able to see new episodes. You have to wait a while before new episodes get on Netflix. But like I said, if there’s that show you’ve wanted to watch but missed when it originally aired, and now you have to catch up on seven seasons (like me and Supernatural), Netflix is the answer.
Finally get to watch you, boys
But what about that show that you just have to see that you can’t wait a year to see on Netflix? Well, that’s where Hulu Plus comes in. We just recently decided to suscribe to Hulu (which is $8.99/mo just like Netflix) because they’ve finally partnered up with Apple TV (which we have), which means we can watch Hulu on our TV. Of course you’re not going to find every show you want on Hulu, but I’ve been lucky with a couple of my shows. I still can’t watch the show live (but who can these days?), but I can watch shows like Glee, Supernatural, Castle, The New Girl, and Once Upon a Time the day AFTER they’ve aired. Which, if you have a DVR, is when most people are able to get to their shows anyway. So it works out. I still feel like I’m connected to the real world by seeing new episodes of my shows.
Keeping up with the fairy tale
Of course there’s going to be the one show that’s not on Hulu but you have to see. For me that’s Doctor Who, and the way I solve that problem is iTunes. Yes, I’m going to have to spend a little money. But it’s Doctor Who, and I love it, so I’ll pay to buy the season in advance. It goes into my iTunes, which I can watch on my TV, and new episodes are downloaded the day after they air (technically they download at midnight, so you can stay up and watch them and feel like it’s still the same day). But I’ll only put money into the shows that I really, really, really want. Other than that, Netflix and Hulu are pretty damn amazing.
I also turn to Netflix and Hulu (well, more so Netflix) for movies. Netflix has hundreds and hundreds of steaming movies, and I can always find one to match my mood. We still watch our DVDs and Blu-Rays, of course, because Netlflix doesn’t have any Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc, or any Disney animated movies (which are all we watch when it comes to movies), but everything else is pretty much watched on Netlflix. Even some that we own on DVD we’ll watch on Netflix because it’s easier (sometimes I get lazy and don’t want to put a DVD in the DVD player), and the picture is better (Netflix=HD, DVD=not HD).
And if for some reason we want to watch a new movie, we don’t have to rent it from Redbox or any other place that rents movies. We can just rent it from iTunes (for usually around $5 in HD) and watch it until it disappears a few days later. We don’t usually do this, though, because of our hook-up with someone who rents blu-rays from Netflix (my dad) who lends us the movies when he’s done. So again, we’re still connected.
But what about music? We all know that iPods revolutionized the whole music industry ten years ago, sending CDs into oblivion. I haven’t listened to a CD since I got my new car four years ago that came with an iPod adapter. I listen to my iPod in the car, at work…pretty much everywhere. But sometimes I need something new. I can listen to the radio in my car, but what about when I’m not in a car? I don’t have a radio at home. But I do have an iPad, and I can stream music through that.
This should be on everything
We’ve all heard of Pandora Internet Radio, and that’s all well and good, letting us make our own playlists based around one artist (I once caught my husband listening to my Lady Gaga Radio playlist and still make fun of him for it). But I recently discovered Songza, which is all about the playlist. They actually create playlists for you based on your mood. For example, when I got ready for work this morning I went to my Songza app and the first thing it did was say, “It’s Wednesday morning. What are you in the mood for?” and then listed playlists called “Waking Up”, “Working Out”, “Reading the Paper”, “Singing in the Shower”, and “Feeling Confident”. I picked “Waking Up” because, well, that’s what I had just done. Then after I selected that, it went even further by asking me what genre I wanted: Bright & Happy Pop, Timeless Pick Me Ups, Indie Pop & Rock, Hip Hop & R&B, and Country. I picked Bright & Happy Pop, and then it listed three different playlists to choose from. Since it was 4:45 in the morning I didn’t want anything too bright and happy, so the playlist “Soft Pop” was perfect for getting ready.
I find that I like Songza better than Pandora because not only are there no commercials, but I have an unlimited time limit. With Pandora you can only listen to so many hours per month. Of course since I’m usually listening to my iPod I’ll never come close to reaching those hours, but Songza is just more fun to play with than Pandora. So that takes care of my music listening.
This post has become a lot more long-winded than originally planned, but I guess I had a lot of information to share. Basically what I’m saying is that if you have the right tools (internet, tablet/smartphone) it is very possible to get what you want and stay connected to the world without breaking the bank. It’s just coming to terms with cutting the cord that’s the hard part.
But it’s 2012. You can do it.