My wife and I have been internet-only movie and tv watchers for probably a full 5 years or more. I’ve never once said “I wish we had broadcast tv again.”
We started with Netflix, added Hulu a few months later, and eventually Amazon Prime as well. Even with all these subscriptions and our internet service, we’re spending only a fraction of what we did for cable.
For several years, I was a dedicated Google fan. I still had, and have, to use Windows at work, but at home I was all Android and Chromebook. I especially liked the experience of the latter. ChromeOS is sleek and stable, and is capable of far, far more than most people realize. Even as a developer, I found it not only possible but also convenient to program on my Chromebook. Most Open Source languages have a considerable number of online tools nowadays, including IDEs, interpreters and compilers, making it entirely possible to program online rather than locally. Proprietary languages are, unsurprisingly, a more difficult nut to crack when it comes to online tools. You probably know all this, Robert.
Back to entertainment: In my Google phase, described above, I used Google Play Movies and TV exclusively for recent releases or material that wasn’t available on any of the popular streaming services. I also subscribe to Google Play Music All Access. For a long time I was fairly happy with Google’s streaming services, but about a year ago or so, I noticed a number of playback problems starting to appear. To my dismay, they weren’t corrected as updates came out. I’ve reported the problems numerous times. I have several Android devices: an old Samsung tablet running Android 4.2.2, a Samsung Note II running 4.4.2 (no longer used as a phone), a Samsung Galaxy S5 running 5.0, and a Google Nexus tablet running 5.1.1. All of the devices display similar playback issues when using Play Movies and TV.
Several months ago, we needed to replace a home computer, one that took up residence on the dining room table and was used by everyone. At the same time, I spotted a nice little Windows-based, touch-enabled Dell laptop and thought it wouldn’t kill me to learn more about the modern Windows OS (work is still using Windows 7). It wasn’t expensive so we got a desktop for the dining room and my little Dell laptop, both running Windows 8, but now upgraded to Windows 10.
Windows 8 wasn’t bad, but Windows 10 has turned out to be a pleasure, and it made me question my “allegiance” to all things Google. I tried the Microsoft streaming service (for Doctor Who, and a few movies so far) and it works without a hiccup. Both new computers have HDMI-out, so watching Microsoft content on the TV isn’t a problem.
I still hunt for free content on the internet sometimes, but as you say, Robert, it can be time-consuming. I’ve got to *really* want to see something that’s unavailable on the major services before I invest time in trying to find it. Years ago, I tried streaming content from the BBC servers, as was basically told “shove off, yank,” and since I’m still not a UK taxpayer, I haven’t tried again.
Barring some sort of disaster, of either a technical or a pricing nature, I can’t see us ever going back to traditional tv.