Tag Archives: Movie

Cutting the Cord – Part 2

In my first post on the topic, I looked at accessing the “over the air” HDTV signal in our area. That went pretty well. That brought me to the next question, how will we get the shows that aren’t on the “free TV” channels (ex. Mythbusters). Not only do we need them in a timely fashion, but also we need to be able to see them from all over the house. Oh, and it needs to be easy enough for a child to access (as easy as Netflix).

Step Two – Verify that we can access purchased media from different locations around the house.

The biggest source of content (shows and movies) for the family is Netflix. We have both the streaming and the movie subscriptions. With that we have most of the content from previous years. The current season of shows aren’t on Netflix though, so we need another way to see shows from the current season (the next day after they air on the TV). The first things that came to mind were iTunes and the Xbox Video Marketplace.

The problem with iTunes is that we don’t have an all Apple ecosystem. We do have an iPhone and an iPad, but no Mac computers or Apple TVs. Even the two Apple devices that we have are linked to different iTunes accounts. In the past, people would use the same account on all devices. With iCloud, you need separate accounts so that your email and calendars don’t get mixed up.

The problem with XBox Video Marketplace is also that the content will be tied to a specific account and you can’t have simultaneous logins on different XBoxes at the same time. This is definitely something that Apple, Google and Microsoft will have to figure out if they want their ecosystems to flourish.

One company that isn’t dependent on their hardware is Amazon. They do have the Kindle, but it isn’t so popular that they refuse to allow access from other devices. Just the opposite is true. They provide Amazon Instant Video clients for the XBox, PS3, Computer, Kindle, Blu-ray players and Smart TVs. They also have season passes (show ready next day after airing on TV) for most popular shows. Another option from Amazon is their Prime subscriptions. This bundles a set of TV shows & movies with an ebook library and free 2 day shipping for $79 per year. I don’t think it provides enough value for us yet, but we could easily pay for it with the savings from cancelling cable.

There may be other options out there (Vudu comes to mind), but Amazon Instant Video library should do the trick for us. It’s cheap enough and easily accessible.

In the Van

We spend a good chunk of time riding in the van. Whether we are headed to Grandma’s, vacation or just to music practice, the kids are strapped into their seats for the duration. Since I can’t turn around and look at everything that is going on, I typically get the audio only version. It can be pretty humorous at times.

For instance, on the way to church yesterday Maggie treated us to this little chestnut of a statement:

Maggie: I’m looking for the dead deer. Where’s the dead deer?! Well, he’s not really dead. He’s alive, but he’s fake.

What she was talking about is one of the houses just outside the neighborhood has a full size deer decoy sitting in the front yard (no, I don’t know why they would have it in the front yard). I suppose Maggie is still working on the full definition of “dead”. One other little bit on Maggie is that she constantly refers to any time in the past as “When I was 3”. She’s five now, so I suppose that seems like a long time ago… being 3.

Given that we have a TV/DVD in the van, the kids each take turns selecting the TV show or movie that they watch. Obviously, the boys and the girls don’t always share the same tastes and these discussion can frequently be maddening and humorous all at the same time. Lots of wheeling and dealing going on.

Now that each of the kids have a Nintendo DS (one is an ‘i’, but the others are plain ones), they play 4 player Mario Kart DS. The boys got some used DSs at Christmas time from their cousins who were upgrading to iTouches. I was pretty amazed that they worked it all out and got it going. It also is pretty funny to hear (w/o seeing). Brought a tear to my eye.

My favorite thing though is listening to Maggie sing along to the songs in the shows. This is priceless. She has such a sweet little voice and with her headphones on, she doesn’t know how loud she is singing. Last night on the way home from small groups, it was Veggietaless “Rock Monster”. Oh, I just soaked it up.

Sure it’s different than when we were kids. Yes, they are spoiled with all the electronics. Yes, I would have loved to have those gadgets when we were young. It would have probably meant a lot less fussing and fighting on my part.

Media Organization and Consolidation Continues

Perhaps I’ve mentioned before my goal of media consolidation. The process continues with the conversion of all of our video into video files onto our Vista Media Center. Our tape collection dates by to January of 1997 which coincides with the purchase of our first Sony 8mm camcorder (how about that strange coincidence). As I type, the final tape is humming along in my Digital 8 camcorder as it is imported into the computer. Like most of these projects, it’s a long and drawn out process. Queue up a video…. go to bed. Queue up a video and go to work.

So what are the benefits of this conversion and storage process?

Continue reading Media Organization and Consolidation Continues