As a young pro, l try to watch my budget so I can save up and spend a little on my favorite things. One thing that has continuously irked me over the last few years: my cable bill. $89 monthly in addition to a $40 internet plan = a lot of money over a year. That’s $1,068 yearly alone on cable, and considering my work schedule and tendency to only occasionally watch about three channels, it was nothing short of ludicrous for me.
So I finally took the plunge and bought a media streaming player: A Roku Player! Are you curious about cutting the cable cord at home too? Here’s how my switch went down:
1. After searching online for media players I narrowed down to my top two: Roku Player and Boxee.
2. Then I headed to Best Buy to look at both options and talk to the sales guy (who was not very knowledgeable… so I ended up buying both to compare and return the loser.)
3. After plugging in both options and trying them for about 30 minutes, Roku Player was the clear winner for me thanks to Hulu Plus. Hulu Plus is a media streaming site like Netflix, except it has even newer content like current seasons uploaded as early as a day after airing. My monthly subscription is only $7.99 and so far I’m loving it, minus occasional pauses/ buffer load hiccups. The savings far outweigh any temporary frustrations, though, and I like being able to access the content on my computer, too. Check out Hulu Plus from the link above and you and can get a free two week trial.
4. Most of my favorite shows have been available to watch on Hulu Plus within a day of airing, but I did still miss having access to my favorite shows same day. So I decided to just try an antenna from Walmart (Philips $30 Indoor Tilting Digital TV Antenna). I was thrilled when it actually worked- and now I can watch Bachelor and Revenge live, among other shows same-day! :)
Cost of Roku: $99 one time. Cost of TV antenna for basic live channels: $30 one time. Cost of Hulu Plus: $8 monthly = Big time savings over my old cable plan. Yay for cutting the cable cord!
Update 3/10/12: Overall, here’s a quick Pros/Cons list of what I saw in Boxee and Roku. Again, I only tested both for about 30 minutes, so I made the decision fast. You will definitely want to check both out for yourself thoroughly to decide what is best for you. :) (Thanks Levitkon for the idea to add more info on how I made my decision.)
Pros and cons of Roku Player for me:
- Cheaper than Boxee (only $99 for Roku vs. $169.99 for Boxee)
- Hulu Plus supported (this was a big factor for me since I wanted access to my favorite shows)
- The remote is not as high tech (no QWERTY keyboard)
- Smaller profile (not a big deal, but it does take up less room on my mantle)
- Both Roku and Boxee do have iPhone apps that function as remotes, which were handy for me
Pros and cons of Boxee for me:
- More expensive than Roku and I didn’t see the value add, although maybe you will- let me know! :)
- Nicer remote with QWERTY keyboard on one side
- From what I could tell, Boxee doesn’t support Hulu Plus. (This was the a deciding factor for me)
- Easy to stream in your own media from other devices/hard drives
- New pro: Boxee has since added a new plug-in to their offering: Boxee live TV! This might have swayed me more had it been available when I purchased. It is still an extra cost ($49 for the plug-in on top of the $169 for the Boxee unit)