Cord Cutting 7: Niche networks (and Motor Trend On Demand disappoints)

One of the disadvantages of cord cutting is that you have hundreds of sources of programming — many being narrowcast, niche networks, some being streaming services, some both — from which to choose and pay for enjoy. Traditional pay channels like HBO, Showtime, etc., sure, but segmented ones like BritBox (for anglophiles), Motor Trend On Demand (for petrolheads), Quello (for concerts), and many more. Whatever your “thing,” there’s probably a way to pay to watch all of it you want.

I just bit the bullet and signed-up for my first such service: Motor Trend On Demand and not 24 hours in, I can summarize my review in one word: disappointing.

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Cord Cutting 5: The last piece of hardware (for now)

The last piece of cord cutting hardware (for now) arrived yesterday: The SiliconDust HDHomeRun Extend. This dual OTA (over-the-air) tuner with integrated transcoding was my approach to resolving the last gap after cutting the cord from DISH Network: being able to stream all my local OTA channels, not just the tiny subset supported by Hulu with Live TV, and secondly, to have DVR capabilities for all of those — especially The CW (Channel 2.1 here in Denver), and my occasional indulgence, Buzzr (which is carried on Channel 3.3 here). So, how’s it working out so far?

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Cord Cutting 4: Why did I take so long?

There’s a quoted stat in the Wikipedia article on cord cutting that states that cord cutters numbered about 900,000 in 2008, and 9 years later, it had increased to 22.2 million. I’m a tech guy, to be certain, but I don’t really tend to jump at every new tech trend, and cord cutting is yet another area where I was late to the party.

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Cord Cutting 3: The hardware

All the great replacement programming in the world is of no good to the cord cutter without replacement hardware — the subject of this latest in my cord cutting series. In fact, for me, the hardware was as much of the motivation to make the change as anything else. And after thinking for weeks now that I’d invest (heavily) in recent-generation Apple TV units, doing my homework suggested a different approach.

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Cord Cutting 2: The programming

Any cord cutting exercise begins with an analysis of what you watch, and how you’re going to replace it all when you get the scissors out. And this is the part that pains me. Oh, it’s nothing to do with the scissors; in Cord Cutting 1, I mentioned the ever-escalating bill for DISH Network, whose cord I was planning to cut. When I canceled service last weekend, the bill was just over $105 a month. And what did we watch?

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Cord Cutting 1: Bye, DISH Network

DISH Network and I go way back… It was 1997 (by my recollection) that I first signed-up for service; the company I worked for at the time counted Echostar (which started DISH) as one of its clients, and I seem to recall we got some deal to sign-up initially. Regardless, other than a few months along the way, I’ve been a customer since. No longer.

In this first of a series on “cord cutting,” I bid farewell to DISH, and my words for the company? Don’t let the screen door hit ya where the dog shoulda bit ya.

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