Apple TV and the Mindful Media Experiment – Part 2

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So if you haven’t heard all the debate and uproar about Internet in Canada, you must have been hiding under a rock. I read a interesting globe and mail article today about essentially the major ISP’s wanting to make Internet usage much more like cell phone usage, whereby the user is punished for going over their limit and whereby the ISP’s not only expect this, but they actually profit from this happening and almost encourage it.

The ISP’s claim that it’s the “bandwidth hogs” who are the problem. Apparently about 10% of the users are going over quota at this point in time, and have hence been termed hogs. We’ll here’s the deal, I have Netflix on my Apple TV and we watch less tv than we used to, in fact we cut our cable and now survive solely on Apple TV. When I checked my bandwidth this past month we were running at about 145 GB. You see these hogs are actually more appropriately called “early adopters” and what they truly represent is not a small irresponsible minority, but a trend that will eventual become the overwhelming majority.

Canada and indeed the rest of the world is shifting to a high bandwidth and high usage reality. Now ISP’s who have neglected investing in infrastructure or are reluctant to do so  are in trouble. Canadians are going to start using more and more bandwidth, it’s not a question of if, but how much and when. More and more people will see they can live cable free, and that it’s not only less expensive, it just plain better. More people will download HD movies, more people will play HD online games, more people will share movies online.

What the ISP’s would like to do is put you on the hook paying for for these infrastructure upgrades while lining there own pockets and protecting their share holders at the same time.  On my current plan, I get dinged $1 per GB I go over my limit. My plan comes with 100 GB per month, but my plan doesn’t not cost $100/month, is more like $47, so why would I pay $1 per GB I go over? How much does it really cost to deliver 1 GB of data?

As technology progresses, it more less follows Moore’s Law, and every year we can deliver more for less.  Bandwidth costs should hence be dropping, not increasing. I have no problem paying for more bandwidth, but I do think the price an average Canadian pays for a GB of data needs to be reexamined and not left up to the CRTC and the major ISP’s to decide.

Apple TV and the Mindful Media Experiment

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I have been a bit concerned with the what we are watching on TV and the way we consume media in our household. There have been countless occasions where we have watched the same show 5+times and often 2+ times in the same week. Not only that, but on many occasions I don’t even think we were fully aware of what we were even consuming or how long we were actually watching.

As a result, my wife and I decided to do a little experiment, and go cable free and try a different approach to consuming content on our TV.

About a week ago I purchased Apple TV for our family. Essentially Apple TV is a tiny box that you plugs into your TV and allows you to stream content from your computer to the TV, play iTunes content, watch NetFlix, YouTube and much more. I costs just under $120 CDN and there are no monthly fees aside from the ones you sign up for.

We decided to sign up for NetFlix, which is free for the first month, and costs only $7.99/month after that. We also decided that we would allot a certain amount each month to purchasing movies and TV shows and music from iTunes.

Even with this factored in, we stand to save between $40-$50 per month on our previous cable bills.

The NetFlix has been fabulous so far. No more commercials and we can watch pretty much what we want when we want. We now decide as a family what we will consume and are not just simply leaving the TV on all day for noise. NetFlix has quite a bit of content for kids and I am really happy to see them not watching the same episodes time after time.

I am really not missing being bombarded by commercials and content I didn’t ask for.

After one week of this, I don’t think I could go back. Stay tuned for future posts.