The new Waldrep media room is still in progress. The painting, carpet and most of the furniture are in place. Yesterday was all about installing curtain rods for the black out drapes that are needed to keep out the bright afternoon sun. And I’ve made the switch from satellite TV (tens years of DirecTV at $140 per month) to streaming Internet entertainment delivery. Pretty cool…more choices AND I save money on my monthly bill.
I heard a piece on the radio recently about how quickly the tide is turning away from companies like DirecTV and Dish network in favor of Netflix, Vudu, Cinema Now and the others. The industry is rapidly shifting from the old paradigm to the new age of “anything you want, anytime you want it, anywhere you want it and on any device you own”. Of course, there are lots of tricky variations in the model, especially when it comes to image and sound quality. But it’s clear that connecting to a high-speed network is much more than faster Internet. You can get your data, TV and phone through the same digital pipe.
Here’s a brief summary of my own transformation. For about 10 years, my household has received its entertainment via two discrete channels. The satellite on the roof has been the gateway to our local TV stations, some premium services like HBO and the Discovery Channels and a whole slew of programming that neither my wife or I have ever accessed (although she does enjoy the HGTV channel). The other incoming stream of data bits comes via the DSL Internet connection provided by Verizon (until this morning when I my cancellation request pulled the plug on my 768 kbps data feed). The modem/router fed an Apple Airport, which then supplied wireless connectivity to my wife’s office and my daughter’s laptop (when she’s home and trying to do work at home…she’s complained bitterly about the anemic speed).
So here’s the new plan. I cancelled the Verizon service. In spite of the fact that they dangle promises of 50 – 500 Mbps in the online ads, the FIOS Quantum service is not available in my neighborhood (which is hard the understand because the Palisades is not a shabby part of Los Angeles…Giada Delaurentis of “Cooking with Giada” lives only a few doors away). I’ve heard that everyone hates Time Warner but they are the only high speed Internet provider in the area. So Time Warner it is.
TW installed a new cable connection in the house that will bring up to 15 Mbps downloads into my new Motorola modem, router and WiFi box and allow up to 5 Mbps data uploads…for the same price that Verizon was charging for a measly DSL connection.
After a few phone calls to DirecTV, I got the cost of local TV channels (I can’t live without 60 minutes or Frontline) down to less than $20 per month. I thought about going with OTA (over the air) broadcasts but there are mountains between my home and Mt. Wilson that prevent me from getting free broadcasts. I think I can live with the current numbers…we’ll see how many on demand movies we rent every month. But the new model promises to cut my entertainment bill in half! Why I’ve been paying for the “Xtra” DirecTV package all these years and not accessing more than a few channels has been a huge mistake.
And just how is the new high speed Internet integrated into the new hardware setup? It’s the Ethernet connector on the back of my Oppo BDP-105. The main remote in the new Waldrep media room is not the A/V receiver or the DirecTV remote, it’s the remote for the Oppo box.
After watching a couple of movies using the SD connection provided by the DSL line, I’m looking forward to the HD upgrade coming tonight. And I got 5.1 surround sound thanks to Dolby Digital Plus. This looks promising.