TV Without Cable: March Review

As my DVD stockpile has grown and as I've spent more time at work, I didn't buy very much video in March. In fact, I'm still working through the $50 of iTunes Store credit I bought at a discounted price from a co-worker in February. My only iTunes purchase was of Andy Barker, P.I., at about $10. This series premiered on-line before it aired so I grabbed all six episodes for the price of five. (NBC also streamed Barker on-line with commercials, but the quality was so poor that I paid to download a better-quality equivalent.)

With my iTunes purchase and a single Xbox episode, I spent only $12.35 on video this month. Compared to a cable price of $70 per month, my year-to-date expenses of $107.96 represent a savings of $102.04. Once The Office comes back from hiatus, I'll probably end up paying more. Also tempting is MLB.TV's premium option: for $120 for the season I get video of all games that looks pretty good in 700 kbps -- nowhere near high definition, but on par with digital cable.

Joost 0.9

I installed Joost 0.8 and was satisfied with the video quality, but the content wasn't there. I can only watch Rocky and Bullwinkle and World's Strongest Man so many times before they get monotonous. The more recent version, Joost 0.9, just hit beta testers today, and its selection has definitely improved. There are now selections from Comedy Central, MTV, VH-1, and other recognizable networks. It looks like Joost is getting some good video choices as it picks up steam. I can't wait for what they have at their 1.0 release.

I also have a few Joost invite tokens. If you want to try Joost out, let me know.

Media Boxes

The more I look at media box options, the more I like the Sony TP1. Amazon even has it available for pre-order. My friend Dave has a Vista Media Center box running both to his TV and to his desktop monitor, with a wireless keyboard and mouse for either usage pattern. He built it himself, and I'm sure I could set up a similar arrangement since my computer is so close to the TV already, but I don't think it'll be necessary to even have a Windows desktop. Once I transition off Quicken for Windows and onto GNUcash on my PowerBook, I won't need my $300 Dell any more. That way I'll stick with my mantra of "never buy something without getting rid of something too."