It’s not that we didn’t like our AT&T U-verse TV service; we just didn’t feel we were getting out money’s worth out of it. With U-verse and DirecTV before it, we paid a handsome sum monthly for programming packages that contained very little of interest to us. To gain access to a single channel we might wish to view we would be expected to purchase an entire programming package of stuff we did not want. So what if you can get 250 channels if, after scanning them all, “there’s nothing on!” Finally, last month, we asked AT&T to stop our TV service –though not that very nice high-speed Internet– and sought our entertainment elsewhere.
To help with the transition and enable “time-shifting” and alternative access we purchased a Tivo Premier XL digital video recording system. With a reasonable annual fee we have access to an on-screen programming guide from which we can select “live” programming or schedule recording. We can also download and record video content from the Web and video-on-demand paid programs from sources we choose. The slim, self-contained unit has HDMI and Internet connectivity and is easy to operate via remote control.
So far, so good! We get outstanding high-definition programming through local TV network affiliates (no charge), a few interesting and entertaining downloads from Web sources (free), a couple of video-on-demand cable programs through Amazon.com (cheap and a la carte, no subscription fee). A pay-per-view movie also proved to be a bargain and beautiful to view and listen to… Eat, Pray, Love via Amazon’s movie service; we’ll do more of that.
The biggest challenge so far has been getting optimal over-the-air reception via an attic-mounted antenna. (The condo people don’t like outdoor antennae.) Some signals are shaky at times but we see our favorite network shows in full HD and for free.
We don’t really miss paying $60 per month for the three or four programs we liked most. We didn’t miss the conclusion of Top Chef: Just Desserts (by the episode via Amazon) or the ongoing installments of The Little Couple. I do, however, sorely miss Storm Chasers… but the DVD of Season 4 is about to be released!