I have no idea if anyone reads this but this past weekend something happened that I thought would make a good series. I gave up satellite TV!!
We had been out shopping on Saturday and when we came home we sat down on the couch to watch some TV when we discovered that the DVR had had a catastrophic hard drive failure. Four words that you never want to hear in the same sentence. All of our recorded shows and movies were gone with no way to retrieve them.
I called tech support and they were very helpful with an idea of how to add an external hard drive to the DVR (After I got the new one of course) to save my recordings to in the future. But what I had recorded was just so many bits in the trash bin at this point.
So Iinterruptedthe technician who was trying to send me a replacement DVR and told him that we were done. And would he please cancel my subscription. This is the third time we have lost our recorded content and we were just tired of it. We had lost everything twice before on AT&T Uverse equipment (Uverse is a rant I will get into at another time) and now on the DishNetwork DVR. The tech was surprised but connected me with a customer service rep in their "We are going to try to save this account no matter what" department. I spent a few minutes explaining for the third time what had happened (The first person who answered the phone originally at Dish was a basic customer service rep who couldn't help me with my technical problem and passed me on to the technician who ultimately passed me on to the closer who was going to try to keep me subscribed). I told the very nice young man that I wanted to close my account and he immediately went into account offer mode,
Customer Service Rep: We can give you $10 a month off of your bill for a year.
Me:No Thank you Please just close my account.
CSR: I can offer you a newer DVR and $10 a month off of your bill.
Me: No Thank you, please just close my account.
CSR: I can offer you 4 free pay per view movies, a newer DVR and $10 off of your bill a month for a year.
Me: No really. I just want to close my account. We are going to go with an internet option.
CSR: Can I ask what provider you are interested in going with?
CSR: OK then I will send you out a box with a shipping label that you will have to pay $15 for and instructions on how to return our equipment.
Anyway they shut my account down within seconds and I was without TV for the first time in I don't know how long. It was actually a kind of neat experience. We had been contemplating getting rid of the satellite for awhile anyway so this was a great opportunity. But we have this big flat screen TV mounted on the wall so what should we do with it? We have a DVD player that gets some internet connections, notably Netflix, but they don't get some of the shows we like so we thought we would look into Hulu Plus.
I called my son and asked him what he thought about Hulu because I thought he had it on his XBOX on his TV. He said that our best option was to get a google TV and just go that way.
So off we went to BestBuy to look for a Google TV. Once I could get someone in the computer department to tell me where to find one (Oddly enough they keep them in the TV department) I had to go find someone over there to tell me where to find one. Turns out you have two options if you already have a TV and don't need a new one with GTV already installed. Sony makes a box and Logitech makes a box. But which one got Hulu and Netflix. No one seemed to know. So onto my phone to google google TV and see what the story was. (When exactly did google become a verb?) Turns out that Hulu has blocked Google TV as provider so we were back to square one. When the sales person suggested that we get an XBOX 360 or a PlayStation 3. They both get Netflix and she was pretty sure that they both got Hulu. I knew that the XBOX got both and I then remembered that PlayStation got both because they made a big deal about it when they started up.
So over to the video game area to look at XBOX's and PlayStations. I had been thinking about getting an XBOX anyway but there was an issue with it. The cheapest console was $249 which by today's standards is about average. But it only had a 4 GB hard drive and you have to spend $60 a year to use the XBOX network to get access to the things we wanted. The sales person in games suggested that we look at the PS3 because it has a much bigger hard drive 340 GB and the PlayStation network has a free membership level that give you access to the PlayStation store. All for the same price of $249. We went with the PS3.
Got it home (bought a couple of games, because after all I would want to play with my grandson more about that later) and spent about 3 hours (With Ronda's help) subscribing to Hulu, unhooking the old DVR, DVD Player and PlayStation 2 (it's getting moved to the downstairs TV) etc. Hooking up the new PlayStation, and running all of the updates to get the console working, Netflix and Hulu installed and updated (I don't know why PSN doesn't have the latest software in the store for download) and finally got connected to the WiFi and had a working entertainment system.
So far it has been a good experience. We have had only a couple of glitches with Hulu but seem to be getting the hang of it. The biggest issue was that Ronda wanted to watch a show on Hulu and pulled it up (She is getting to be a wiz on the gamepad / controller) the first episode ran terribly. It started and stopped and stuttered all the way through. Finally gave up and skipped to the end to see how it turned out. The next episode came on automatically and ran without a hitch. So I think that there was a problem with the first episode and how they may have encoded it at their end.
I will continue to report on our venture into internet entertainment and keep you all informed of how it goes. So far I am happy with it.