Lets face it. We live in an on-demand culture where instant gratification is not accepted, it is demanded by the consumer. Our (the average American) pastime, watching the tv, fills this need, but at an insanely high price, for poor broadcast quality and not very much content. When my cable bill started getting past the $100 a month mark (for internet, cable, and HBO), I started to freak out and began to look for alternative solutions to my viewing needs.
First off, I canceled my Comcast subscription and ordered high speed DSL from my local phone company. They tried to get me to sign up for the dish network, but mounting a dish on the side of my building violates my lease (even though there are already two dishes on the back from tenants past), so I refused that offer. The goal was to become independent and choose my own programming. Goddamn it!
After my DSL was up and running, I began looking at a way to substitute the on-demand movie functionality that I had with Comcast. I found a small company called ITVN that offered Stars and Encore, and well as the promise of providing pay per view movies in the near future. I do feel that IPTV is the future of home entertainment, but it is unfortunate that the future still is far away.
After struggling with tech support to get my box to talk with my network, I began to watch all the movies Stars and Encore offered on-demand, as well as their live streaming. The whole experience was very frustrating, the movies would pause every few minutes to re-buffer, and the picture quality was very grainy from the artifacting. That being said, if you like your porn (and I know you do!), it offers over 100 flavors of genital grinding goodness.
The next step was a google search for streaming tv, and I found a site called TV LINKS, that had decent quality (for free) of most of the shows I like watch. I still had a buffering problem, but when something is free you have a little more patience with it. A lot of the major networks also have their flagship shows for streaming as well. The commercials are annoying, but at least you are in control of your content.
Netflix filled my HBO/Skinamax void, and there is something to be said about having the ability to watch a full season of your favorite show without having to wait until next week comes around. If you don’t mind paying a small fee for each show, direct2drive and iTunes have a lot of content these days as well.
One last way to get all your programming, is the most illegal of all, the dreaded torrent and usenet downloads. Easynews.com is a great usenet server for the novice user, and has more porn, music, and movies than you could ever dream of, just remember you are taking a risk when using this service, but if you don’t care about stealing, it is the best way to go.
So use this information as you will, and keep pushing for more choice in content selection. Eventually the media giants will fall, and will give affordable time wasting goodness back to the masses.