A little more than a year ago, Emily and I had decided to cut the entertainment umbilical cord and forgo renewing our digital satellite subscription. Moving to a new apartment seemed like the perfect opportunity to start anew with a clean slate and with one less monthly bill. The decision was partially born of frugality, but also for the fact that we always felt like we were paying a premium for something we could learn to live without in this age of Netflix Streaming, Apple TV, Hulu, and other free online sources. This patchwork of online and rental services has worked fairly well in keeping us entertained, if only for the fact we're fine with being the duds always behind the broadcast cultural curve. We use the Playstation 3 to rent and view Blu-ray content (and more), Netflix Streaming has let us catch up on notable television programming (albeit a year or two later), while the Apple TV fills in for the occasional rental download for newer releases. We've even dabbled in some alternative digital lifestyle choices, while calling upon the help of the old fashioned indoor antenna to pull down free local HD signals for the occasional public television broadcast.
But there has always been one glaring omission…one that has ultimately brought us back into the cable cult fold: live sports.
You see, we're huge NBA basketball fans. And while some may not care about sports, making a breakup from the cable company a simple hop, skip and jump over into Hulu-ville, for those of us who do like to partake in sporting fanfare, there's not yet much out there to satiate the heart of a sports fan.
Oh, we've tried…after more than a year without cable, we've tried both legit and gray area solutions, all in the desperate attempt to watch a game (you'd be surprised how many live streams there are of most every sport; we viewed Wimbeldon this year online, while Commissioner Stern would likely frown upon some of the international streams we discovered broadcasting NBA games).
One could make the case for watching television show episodes on a laptop screen or even certain movies streaming onto an iPad, yet there's little one could say to convince me watching the Lakers vs. Celts streaming on a small computer screen versus enjoying the game via a HD projector is even comparable. It's proven to be the Achille's heel for every cable-alternative out there currently and the strongest argument that cable isn't going anywhere for now.
So agree or disagree, we're falling off the wagon. We've been happy living without cable, but we're also excited about enjoying hi-def sports again. In some ways, it feels similar to when friends who were formerly vegetarian ease up and mix in a modest amount of meat into their diet again. They always sound a little bit guilty, but also somewhat relieved they can enjoy in some guilty pleasures again. So welcome back, Cable Guy. Hook. Us. Up!