Chris J Powell

Apps Friday – Cutting the Cord

There are many, many times that I really think that the need for cable is a real moot point.  That $60-70 per month could be so well spent else where and while as a household we did spend 8 years without the cord we jumped back in just over a year ago because we thought we were missing something. I had a Trial that we ran through our game console back in 2010 and well because of Canadian Content rules…it really just sucked so we never went beyond the 1 month trial.

NetFlix has definitely come a long way since those days and there are real alternatives to viewing other TV online as well.  All the major Canadian Networks have strong offerings that have for the most part next day delivery of streaming content that was available so you are never too far gone from being able to view your favorite shows.  On both the iPad and my Android Phone there are some great Streaming Video Apps available starting with NetFlix.


What was a real concern is mostly gone in 2012 with a wide variety of newer shows and movies, a great interface and a very intuitive GUI that lets me find what I am looking for both quickly and efficiently.  The challenge will be to maintain a relatively moderate usage until our contract is up with our Cable Provider and find a new way of displaying the content in the living room (I guess the PS3 vs XBox 360 debate reignites).  

Now as far as bandwidth goes…this is a bit of a challenge with streaming video and one that our plan with our ISP (which is actually the same as our Cable TV) and setting up the world we live in without wires.  So far I have had absolutely no issues with buffering problems on either the iPad or my Droid Razr but with the intermittent loss of connection of the iPad after the iOS 6 update, I expect this to become an issue sooner rather than later.

aVia Network Media Player

I have an extensive digital music and video collection that I have amassed over the years and some times it just doesn’t make sense to pay even the reasonable $7.99 per month to watch the tube, but the reality is on the iPad I would be paying through the nose for even poor quality apps that can’t do half of what the aVia Network Media Player does for me without any problem.

I tested dozens of supposed DNLA compatible apps before coming across aVia and I am more than just a little happy, I love how it connects directly to the network sharer and can view any of the potential 3GB of storage that I have assigned for media only.  Other than a small hiccup that I had with my previous Network Attached Storage device (for what ever reason I had set it to restart daily at 12:00 AM) it works flawlessly.  I am less impressed however in the media Servers that are available on the market so that all my media is available when I want it.  I will be heading out soon to look at some NAS units that possibly have a TV output or maybe…just maybe I will build myself a Boxee Box using a miniITX or my own Google TV box using the newly minted Via Banana (yes a fully baked system for just $49).

But for now, I will continue to lead the double life of a Cable TV Subscriber who longs for the day of being able to forever cut the cord and move on with real choice and affordable entertainment.  Now all we have to do is get Hulu to finally get off of its high horse and allow us here in Canada the opportunity to view that content without having to setup proxy servers and pretend to be located in America!

Well have a great weekend everybody!


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