by Peter Marus

Tonight I did something different, rather than watch the Giants beat the Cowboys tonight on my TV downstairs, I experimented by watching the broadcast on my Imac via web stream.  I di dthis after reading several articles on how to turn a Mac into a total media server-serving movies, music, broadcast and cable television.  I wanted to see what the quality and ease it would be to view content via the media companies websites.  the quality was ok, but due to my slow connection it froze and had to be restarted a couple times, but when it did work, the quality was quite impressive.  I have a DSL line, so I am guessing if I had a cable connection, it would have been better.  Put it this way: if you have Time Warner Cable, or Comcast, and how their HD feeds freeze and have to buffer, it's like that.  

Looking through and researching a bit about making me cable/satellite free, it isn't that hard.  I would need a huge external hard drive for storing content.  I owuld need a TV tuner for the Mac and software to make my Mac into a DVR.  Along with that I would need an antenna for broadcast television (I could stick with the web and see their shows off the sites, but getting it over the air is better quality).  For the cable shows I enjoy, I could look on the station's different sites or Hulu, but some don't have current shows up for viewing (FX does this a bit). One option is to pay or season passes through Itunes and get the shows that way an own it.  The cost of the season passes is a little short of what one would pay for the DVD box set down the road, but the quality of the file from Itunes is on par with the broadcasted program. 

Also there are sites like Hulu, and if you have a subscription to it, Netflix.  Both have current shows form different companies/stations, as well as older ones.  I hear Amazon also has their own service, but I am totally unfamiliar with heir service.

Sports programming I could get through the sites of the sports leagues, and Directv has their NFl package through the internet now for a hefty price.  I think baseball and basketball charge for the service as well, and for the most part all the sports leagues internet packages are identical to the cable/satellite packages.  

Movies, as I said, there's always Netflix or Itunes.  Anything on the movie channels like their shows can also be found on Itunes or Netflix.

Part of me would love to try and live this way for several months, but that's if I lived I my own.  Right now I have others here who love the satellite service, as do I, and it would cost me a lot to get rid of it.  I don't think it would be harder to live this way, just a way I would have to adapt to.  In theory it sounds cheaper than the monthly cable/satellite bill-the biggest cost outside of the hardware would be the Internet connection.  

Speaking of Directv, this was the first week I had their Sunday Ticket programming I subscribed to.  I ordered the lowest level deal, which only gives me the SD broadcasts, no "NFL mix" channel, and nothing extra.  the HD broadcasts and the other super-duper extras are an extra $100.  It sort of sucks that they went this route, where anything HD costs extra, but at the same time, the quality of the HD blows away anything Time Warner did for me.  Here's a truth for you Time Warner Cable Subs-they are REALLY ripping you off.  Their "HD" service, is mostly a jacked up SD signal.  They do this because their network, while fiber optic, is antiquated at best, and to give true HD service, on top of the phone and internet service, it would melt down their network in 3 days.  Time Warner is trying to squeeze as much blood out of the stone, and the customers.  Personally I think it sucks I have to pay for the HD stuff, but the extra money gets me true HD.  

This week the "Halo 3:ODST" video game comes out.  it's the latest game in the most overrated video game series ever created.  I know it's the biggest franchise in the Xbox's history and the most played multiplayer game online, but if you are older than 12, you should be able to look past the bullshit and see it for what it is: a mediocre game and online experience with a mediocre storyline throughout the series.  It amazes me how much other things have come out along with the games themselves (books, boardgames, and other crap). I dont' get it, but Microsoft/Bungie will be making a killing on this game, so God bless them.

Finally, her's a couple links/videos for a good video game series: "Grand Theft Auto".  the video is the trailer for the lates DLC coming out for it "The ballad of Gay Tony", and the link is for some great news in relation to it.



And there will be some Integrity on the airwaves in this new DLC...