Saturday, February 23, 2008

No TV for Lent (sort of)

I initially didn't give anything up for lent. I honestly couldn't come up with anything I have either a. not already sacrificed, or b. could stand not having for 40 days.
That is, until last night. You see, I got my friendly neighborhood Comcast Cable bill, and realized, "Gee! I'm paying too much for something I don't really use or need."
I haven't cancelled my digital cable service yet, but I haven't turned on the TV since Thursday night. This is my, "Can I really pull this off?" test. Lately, I've been involved in long rehearsals, working my second job, or reading, so the TV's been off anyway. This morning, I turned the TV on, but only to play some Wii-bowling.
Now, some of you may be asking, "Well, what about his American Idol fix? How's he going to watch Numb3rs, Monk, etc?" I've thought about that, and actually, my answer is the purpose of this post. I'll be keeping my broadband service through Comcast, so I testing out a few online video sites. I'm not an expert web2.0 reviewer or anything, so I'll list each of the three, include a little blurb, and my pros/cons of each. And...we're off!

Do I really need to explain this one? I think everyone has visited YouTube at least once. This site is great for exploring. It's not like sitting infront of the TV for an hour, mindlessly watching show. It still requires "work" (searching, clicking, etc).
Pros: Simple interface, social-networking as an option, submit your own videos, short "snack-sized" clips
Cons: Not regularly broadcasted shows, mostly user-generated content, short clips require "non-loafing" (i.e. work).

I was selected to mess with this when it was still early in Beta, and thought it was promising, but not quite ready yet. Joost requires an app download (that always tries to stay always-on for you), and it's definitely a band-width hog. That said, they have some great content, and a very cool layout. Most of the shows are geared towards a younger crowd (MTV shows, stuff from Comedy Central/Adult Swim, etc).
Pros: Sharp interface, channels make it possible to sit back, relax, and "watch TV"
Cons: Required app download, bandwidth/hardware requirements make multitasking almost impossible

Currently my new favorite, Hulu has an amazing selection of content including Monk, Lipstick Jungle (very new still!), Numb3rs, Heroes, and more. It also requires no downloads, still has a playlist feature, and has many options for viewing. As long as they continue to offer great content, Hulu will be my "drug of choice" while giving up my regular television viewing.
Pros: Content!, many options for viewing (full-screen, pop-out window, embedded, etc), no downloads and relatively normal broadband requirements.
Cons: Still in beta (closed invite, still)

So, try them out, lemme know what you think. And please, support me through this time of sacrifice. :P

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