With more and more streaming options being added to our online lives all the time, it’s becoming more and more tempting for some people to cut the cable cord altogether. If you’ve got a Roku box or gaming console along with Netflix and/or Hulu Plus accounts, paying somewhere around $80-$100 for full cable service might seem like a bit much. To many, though, cutting out regular TV altogether is too extreme, but now we have something to give consumers a middle ground. Simple.TV ($149 + $5/month) allows consumers to cut costs by only paying for basic cable (network TV) or using an antenna while still offering the convenience of DVR features and full 1080p HD live TV.
Users must connect the small device to either a coax cable or use the included HD antenna, hook up the box to a home internet network, and attach a USB external hard drive; after all that is said and done, users will be able to watch live HD TV on the hooked up TV as well as other devices (iPad, Roku, Boxee, and Google TV) and will also be able to set program recordings, pause live TV, and view an electronic channel guide. The company estimates that over two years the device could save users $1,800-$3,000 in cable bills. What do cable DVR boxes have that Simple.TV doesn’t? Usually multiple tuners. If you want to record programs on two different channels at once, you’ll have to buy two Simple.TV boxes and have external storage for each of them, making the cost/benefit a little less enticing.
We don’t imagine that this would work out very well for TV junkies, but for those who could survive on just Netflix and Hulu Plus but like the idea of having access to live network TV as well, this hits the nail on the head. The device won’t be available until spring, but you can reserve one now.