Monday, April 04, 2011
Cutting the Cable?
I keep fighting the urge to start this off by asking, "Do you know about Xfinity?"
But that comes across like religious recruitment, when I really just want to do what I always do - complain when something rubs me the wrong way and rave when it rubs me right.
Xfinity is Comcast's attempt at rebranding itself. I might guess that some of their raggedy reputation has driven them to change their name but it doesn't seem to be quite that simple. Regardless, I've had enough negative interaction with the company to lift an eyebrow in their general direction at the drop of a hat, yet this Xfinity thing is working for me.
Because they have an app on the iPad (and iPhone 4) as well as a website accessible for any old Mac or pc, that lets their subscribers - at no extra cost - access much of the content available through their cable service.
For example, tonight, I watched (with no shame) Sex and the City 2 on the iPad. I did this using Comcast's Xfinity app, which was free, and our subscriber i.d. So, you just sign in, it looks up your account and knows that you have, let's say, HBO, but not Showtime, then lets you have access to most if not all of the HBO movies and television shows, whenever you want.
Go to the website and you can do the same on your home computer or laptop. Again, this costs no more than whatever you're currently paying for your home cable subscription.
I've come to realize that I much prefer watching movies and tv shows on my own timetable, instead of adjusting my schedule to fit the programming schedule of the cable company. DVR's and PVR's are fantastic, but this is even better. I don't have to tell it to record anything. I just notice that my lady isn't leaving Forever 21 any time soon and decide that I'd better find a way to make the minutes pass more quickly.
Next thing you know, I'm sitting down outside the store watching Fast and Furious. Earlier, I was watching reruns of The Ricky Gervais Show. A few weeks, ago, I finally watched The Wolfman.
I'd seriously considered cancelling the cable tv subscription because we just don't watch it that much, but this convenience makes me want to add channels, believe it or not.
Now, I should mention that the iPad app, specifically, requires you to be on wifi, not 3G, to access the content...unless your device is jailbroken.
Otherwise, there's not much not to like. You could hook your computer up to your television if you just HAVE to see it on a bigger screen (or your projector, if I've already converted you to the dark side).
I've even noticed that many of the shows available through Xfinity are NOT available On Demand. How weird is that?
I can't explain it, but I hope they maintain it.
Other cable companies are coming up with similar services. Keep your eyes open so you can get the most out of your overpriced cable subscription.