As much as I would like to cut the cable TV cord the only way that can be done is by losing much of the television content I want to watch. A digital video recorder (DVR) is the best tech entertainment invention since sliced bread and it works wonderfully with the 300 channels on my cable subscription so I can watch what I want, when I want to watch it.
How can an Apple watcher and gadget geek girl cut the cable TV cord?
Frankly, it’s not easy, but there are plenty of entertainment and information alternatives if you’re willing to explore what cable TV does not provide. First, you’ll need an Apple TV connected to the internet and your television.
Second, you’ll need to explore the alternatives. That means Apple TV apps (many of which require you to have a cable TV subscription anyway; what a waste) combined with some good old fashioned elbow grease, and a healthy dose of YouTube.
YouTube is built-in to Apple TV but all too often YouTube videos get pulled and can’t be viewed (I’m not talking videos of cats and babies). I get plenty of mileage from using the Mac app Downie to download YouTube videos and keep them stored locally, on my Mac, DVR style.
Downie will cost you a few dollars but you’ll see the value right away, especially if you’re willing to try cutting the cable TV cord. Downie is a video download app for the Mac. Drag and drop a video link to Downie and it downloads the video and stuffs it into iTunes in a format you can use to view on Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad.
Oh, and it’s not just YouTube. Downie supports downloaded videos from over 500 different sites that do video, but also handle 4k video on YouTube. That’s Ultra HD resolution. It’s simple to use, too. Drag a video link to Downie and it just works.
If there’s a better, easier-to-use video download app than Downie, I haven’t found it yet. It’s that good.
The problem with cutting the cable TV cord is the barrier to entry for alternatives. Unlike a DVR which can be set to record specific shows automatically, Downie is a manual effort. That’s the same issue with other cable TV alternatives. Cable TV, with 300 or so channels, is just there, ready to be captured by a DVR and time shifted.
Every other alternative requires manual intervention, even though the number of video sources increases substantially. You have to go get the content you want to view, and some of what you may want to view can only be obtained through a cable TV subscription.
Using Apple TV, the Mac, and iPad through AirPlay is a good combination, and can certainly fill the day with plenty of information and entertainment– just not all the two dozen channels I want out of the 300 I pay the cable TV company to make available.