Apple TV

Craig wrote:

“I never got a Blu-ray player, but jumped on the Apple TV bandwagon pretty early and get my HD movies that way.”

Here in my cave, I’m only dimly aware of Apple TV, but a friend recently sung its praises. Better/worse than Chromecast, Roku, etc? I pulled the plug on cable/satellite about five years ago, now, and have grown so used to *not* watching TV that I am now like unto one of those obnoxious recovering alcoholic-types. I mean, we celebrate their sobriety, we really do, but I’ve had *crack fiends* come out of rehab and become obnoxious bores telling me what’s wrong with my life and how to fix it. I am that way about commercial television.

It’s not a religious thing, I’m not trying to preach to you, but I find it disturbing that, for all of its wide-ranging supposed inclusiveness, my visceral sense is at least 90% of what’s available on the Boob Tube denies God, which offends me. Now, wait, don’t click away, here’s what I mean: I don;t need or want every TV show to shake the hand of Christ. I loved House of Cards (which I saw on disc, as I see most TV). What I’m saying is, don’t be so freaking openly hostile, in every frame of every show, to who I am as an individual.

I don’t need every TV show to acknowledge God, but I do need a better ratio of shows that are not openly mocking what I am. For example: The Big Bang Theory. Like all of Chuck Lorre’s stuff, the show is hilarious and contains far too much sexual content, which makes me suspect Lorre could use a daily pill or something. Now, I’m not mad about the sexual content (other than it is repetitive and sophomoric, but then so is the target audience). What I’m most annoyed about is the places where the characters explore not only the sexuality but the emotional, philosophical impact to themselves and their community are rare. With the occasional exception, most of the Lorre-style sexcapades are laughed off, as are the binge drinking and other things stuffy prudes like me tend to frown upon. Worse: these values are presented as the baseline “normal” of American life, while typically mocking other values as extreme (or at least fringe).

Characters in my novels cuss like sailors and have sex and booze it up and behave not unlike much of what is on Netflix, but there are human consequences and reactions to their choices. Not moralizing, what I mean is much of what I see on TV not only denies God but denies and limits the scope and scale of humanity (and just as often logic); real life is not even remotely like this. Sure, maybe somebody does live their life this way but, for most of us, our relationships, sexual or otherwise, have more depth and meaning and our choices have real consequences.

What I see on TV is, for the overwhelming part, so incredibly stupid and, in too great a ratio, offensive to me personally, I had to ask myself why I was continuing to pay for it–and pay skyrocketing prices which I know, for a fact, are a blatantly obvious rip-off.

With the emergence of this new, much cheaper way to selectively view stuff on TV, I am becoming marginally interested in selectively reconnecting. I have to tell you, though, if you watched less TV, you’d be a much better person for NOT knowing who Justin Beiber or the Kardashians are; the only reason any of these idiots are “stars” is TV. The only reason money influences politics is TV. America is addicted to TV, and I’ve been clean for about five years now. I am a *much* better person for it.

Which is a long and rambling way around to asking opinions about the merits of inexpensive selective viewing.


  1. ireactions says:

    Subscribing to any one platform ultimately restricts you to what that platform offers whether it’s Netflix or Apple or Amazon. Media streaming devices like Chromecast and Roku will allow you to access some — but not all — streaming services.

    Chromecast and Apple TV can’t, last I checked, access Amazon; Amazon Fire can’t access Google — find a whole chart here:

    From a tech-standpoint — I bypass the choice between Roku / AppleTV / Chromecast by using a home theatre PC. I’d recommend buying the cheapest Windows laptop/desktop you can find with a minimum 4GB of RAM and an Intel i3 processor with Intel HD (for streaming and decoding HD video) and HDMI output. Plug that into the HDMI port of an HDTV along with a wireless keyboard and mouse. If needed, you can add an external blu-ray or hard drive.

    The result would be a platform agnostic home theatre system capable of using discs / iTunes / Netflix / Hulu / Amazon Prime / HBO / Yahoo / whatever. Use the platforms you want specifically for the programming you want.

  2. Trev Trev says:

    I’m thinking about doing away with my satellite TV sub as I hardly watch TV. I’m not going to lie, if there was actually something to watch on it, I’d watch it but although there’s around 500 odd channels it’s mostly repeats. For example: Discovery & Discovery+, History & History +. The worst thing about it is there’s hardly any History on the History channel. There’s shows like Pawn Stars and American Pickers. What the… Where’s the history in those shows?

    Satellite and Cable TV are rip-offs.

    • Priest Priest says:

      Yes, but are they in any real danger of going away? Or are they too ensconced within the American public– my mom said the other day, “Gotta have TV.” I said, why?

      At least with these new streaming services, you’re only paying a fraction of the cost and can be very selective about what you want. My friend as a gazillion channels of nothing, just movies I’ve already seen, reality TV flotsam and *dreadful* network stuff.

      The quality seems to be all HBO, Netflix and, presumably, Showtimes which you can stream a la carte. I can’t imagine why anybody pays $200 a month for the big package (unless they’re major sports freaks).

  3. Jason says:

    My wife and I watch a lot of TV and cut the cord a year and a half ago.

    We use our Roku 3 90% of the time paying for Hulu, Sling TV, Netflix, Amazon (which comes with Prime), and CBS All Access. I do use a friend’s login for HBO. Ourside of that, I don’t pirate TV.

    Sling TV is great for my wife who basically just needs it for Food Network and El Rey. Hulu is where I grab all my NBC stuff. CBS I got because I wanted to see Colbert’s debut and is the most expendable of my services.

    Even with all those services, it’s still MUCH cheaper than a cable plan. Sure Amazon Prime is expensive, but the 2-day shipping pays for itself each Christmas.

    There are moments of frustration. Buggy software. Futzing with an antennae. Repetitive ads on CBS and Hulu, but I’ll take it over the insane cable bill any day.

  4. Oscar Jimenez says:

    PC hooked to the LCD in the living room all the way.

    I just found out the other day by accident that our cats have been using the TV antena cable and plug as a toy snake for what I’m sure must’ve been ages. No clue ’til now because we don’t watch actual TV anymore.

  5. Priest Priest says:

    Wow… sounds like a movement: rebelling against the astronomical cost of traditional cable/satellite.

    Q: anybody know where I can get MSNBC, which I watch like a crack fiend? That’s all I really care about.

    I am likely to sign up for Amazon and Hulu. Hulu mostly for the classic catalog (or is Netflix better for that?). CBS maybe, also for the oldies and Trek. How much is CBS?

    • Ralf Haring says:

      MSNBC is streaming at but requires a cable subscription to login. Netflix and Hulu have free trial periods, 1 month and 1 week respectively. You can find bonus codes on the web to extend the latter to 2 or 4 weeks. Both have all Trek shows. I assume CBS does to, but they’ve just announced a new series for next year that is supposed to appear exclusively on their app.

      • Priest Priest says:

        re: MSNBC: I hate that “login in with your cable sub” nonsense. It also seems shortsighted, demanding viewers spend min $100/mo just to watch their three or four shows worth watching, when NBC could go the CBS route and at least offer some low-cost sub. I’m hearing rumors Trek 3 will be the last Trek movie, possibly ever (I’m sure Abrams lost interest in Trek the very second he got the green no Star Wars, and, n fact, only did Trek as a “demo” for Star Wars). Wondering if the new series will cannibalize the Abrams movie sets and/or cast. Hoping it’ll be worth watching, which Trek TV has not been. Hoping not to read the words “Berman” or “Braga” as either will trigger an instant skip.

        • Ralf Haring says:

          A lot of NBC content is on Hulu. It is a joint venture between NBC, Fox, and ABC. You can see many shows for free the next day. You pay to get fewer ads (or no ads) as well as access to some shows they have locked down.

          There is almost no information about the Trek show yet.

        • ireactions says:

          It is unlikely STAR TREK films or shows will go unmade so long as there’s a market for them. Creative criticisms aside, the TREK rebootquel series has been a financial success. Paramount — and all studios, really — will always try to get as much as they can out of any intellectual properties that stand to turn a profit regardless of the individual writer or director. It’s a bit like comics. When Dan Slott leaves SPIDER-MAN, they’ll find someone else to write it.

  6. Priest Priest says:

    Anybody want to triage the streaming services? What to get first (or primary), second, etc…? If you could only keep one, which one would you keep?

  7. Ralf Haring says:

    Netflix remains the best option at the moment. You get access to a large amount of streaming movies (and discs-by-mail if you want) and many tv seasons after they are finished. The streaming selection is not as expansive as it once was, and they are unashamedly pursuing a strategy of creating original content instead of being a conduit for others. “Become HBO faster than HBO can become us” is the explicit mission statement. They are device-agnostic as they sell no hardware themselves.

    Hulu is the best option for watching traditional shows as they happen. Many shows are free with commercials but only watchable via the web. The pay option unlocks many other shows, reduces the commercials, and allows streaming on all the various set-top boxes and mobile devices. Further pay tiers are for commercial-free and Showtime shows. They have access to a lot of niche content – Criterion movies, Anime, British/Latino/Korean shows.

    Amazon does not have as large a library as Netflix but they are the next-best option. The different services jockey for access to various shows and you will often see some leave one service only to appear at another. As Netflix adopted a more aggressive original content stance and given Amazon’s deep pockets, many shows and movies are here. You also get the many other benefits Prime offers like 2-day shipping. They have access to much of HBO’s content as well. They sell hardware (Fire Stick, Fire TV, etc.) so it will not stream seamlessly via Apple or Google devices.

    HBO Now offers what they have always done. Superior shows and a limited selection of the most recent movies. They are also device-agnostic.

    You can also purchase/rent individual movies and shows via iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon. They can all be watched on their respective devices (Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire) as well as the non-affiliated ones like Roku. Chromecast presents the best value for money out of those, in my opinion.

    • Priest Priest says:

      Ralf– thanks for the walk-through. Last Q: Chromecast requires you to use your smartphone as a remote, yes? Sounds like a pain. Roku vs. Apple TV?

  8. Ralf Haring says:

    Yes, phone or tablet. Or some sites lets you cast from their web player. And you can cast any chrome tab (so you can play Amazon videos that way, for instance). Far from being a pain, it’s perhaps the #1 thing I like most about it over the other options. One less new remote in favor of the thing I already have anyway.

    Between Roku and Apple the main question is if you want to play iTunes videos. If you do, Apple is going to be the only direct game in town. (unless you connect your laptop to the pc and such things)

  9. JD DeMotte says:

    I’ll second Ralf on this, best bet in my book is Netflix, or even better splurge for Netflix streaming and get discs in the mail. While it won’t have access to everything, but between the two, as long as you’re patient you should have access to most things. Unless you enjoy hunting down obscure film or tv or things that haven’t had a video release in long, long time, it’ll serve you well. Plus the original programming on Netflix tends to be pretty darn good, if you ask me.

    I also have a Hulu Plus subscription, but its value seems to lay mostly in allowing me to keep up with most (not all though, darn you CBS) current programming. If you don’t mind waiting for it to come to disc or Netflix (or whatever streaming service you might settle on), it’s probably unneeded. The ads in the basic Hulu Plus package is nuisance, but I can’t quite justify spending the extra money for the ad-free option. I mostly enjoy Hulu Plus, but if money became a huge issue, I’d cancel in a heartbeat.

    • Priest Priest says:

      As an Old Guy, Hulu holds a certain attraction for its vast(is it vast?) catalog of classic TV 🙂 Q: why would you order discs through the mail if you’ve already got Netflix streaming?

      • Mo says:

        Some people have bandwidth caps, so it’s better to order discs instead of using up precious, precious internet.

      • Ralf Haring says:

        To get the newest movies that Netflix will never have access to because a different service bought the rights. To get older things that aren’t streaming anywhere. Their disc catalog still surpasses all other services in breadth by a mile, streaming or not.

      • JD DeMotte says:

        Netflix has a huge streaming library, but their disc-based library is simply bigger. The deals between streaming content and attaining the rental discs are separate. As such, since streaming is the newer “it thing”, the deals are more cut-throat. Shows or movies will disappear from Netflix streaming because they expired and no one at Netflix thought it was a priority to renegotiate for it. Sometime they disappear forever, sometime they’re just gone for a few months, but it does happen.

        The discs however, seem to fall under the same rules of Blockbuster of ye olde days. Just instead of whatever they can cram into a store at the corner of a strip mall, Netflix has warehouses full of discs. If you can’t find what you want on streaming, odds are strong that you’ll be able to get it on disc. Though with that comes the fact that it takes a few days for it to arrive in the mail and sometimes the discs aren’t always in great shape. It’s not super common, but scratched discs do happen. So buyer beware, I suppose, but I find it suits me more often than not.

        • Priest Priest says:

          “Warehouses full of discs.” This actually surprises me. I assumed discs were going away, that discs were now officially the vinyl LP of our time. I’ve actually considered dumping my collection because it takes up so much space. At the very least, I’ve been considering destroying/recycling all of the packaging which is utterly useless and an ecological disaster. Used to be the thing to show off your various colorful boxes to impress visitors with your great collection. Now, I’m searching for osme kind of efficient bulk storage of only the discs and saving the enormous shelf space the packaging takes up. And I’m now extremely slow to buy discs and usually only buy used discs for a fraction of retail.

  10. Hypestyle says:

    Heh-heh. I think one of the reasons Ed Flanders is my favorite character on “The Simpsons” is that in a way, evangelical clichés aside, he’s one of the sanest characters on the show, especially in comparison to the goofily clueless and moronic Homer. 🙂

    I’ve found that I apparently don’t relate to a lot of what goes on with current TV series—in particular the sitcoms, which I mostly don’t find that funny. Even for those that I do find humor in, they all seem to populated with loathsome eccentrics and willfully ignorant jackasses, both the men and the women; “2 & a Half Men”, “Big Bang”, “Mom”, “2 Broke Girls”, and that new Tim Allen show that I’m surprised is still on the air. I can’t say that I blame Angus T. Jones of “2 & a Half Men” for bolting when he finally grew up. I can’t imagine what it might have been like to be the only child actor on a set where the punchlines frequently revolve around hangovers, sex and misanthropy. It’s almost as if today’s TV writers are getting a directive that the more vices that characters can be imbued with, then the more “relatable” they are, in a 180-reversal of TV from the 50s and 60s. I know that Norman Lear gets the credit/blame for developing shows that broke pre-existing molds on themes/subject matter, but now, 40+ years later, being hyper-dysfunctional is almost a virtue unto itself on a lot of these shows, lol.

  11. Ralf Haring says:

    fyi, if you want Prime, this weekend is a good time to order it

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