Replacing Cable TV with Netflix

My family doesn’t watch a lot of TV yet we pay ~$80/month for cable. To paraphrase Roger Waters: Got fifty channels of shit on the TV to choose from.
netflix wii
My kids watch speciality children channels. We all watch Discovery channel for MythBusters and other cool shows, and we sometimes watch the science-fiction channel. That’s it.

I decided to evaluate Netflix as an alternative since it’s only $8/month here in Canada.

Netflix provides on-demand video streaming: movies, tv shows, documentaries.

To get the Netflix content to my television I had to use my Wii and download a NetFlix application to it – it then allows me to select what I want to view.

We tried it for the first time last night and it worked great – no sound or video problems – it streamed seamlessly to the TV via my wireless Wii connection.

I’ve also used Netflix with my PC, laptop, and iPod Touch – no problems.
ipod touch iphone netflix
There are no download limits to what you can download from Netflix.

The only limit is your internet data usuage limit imposed by your Internet Service Provider, who in my case is Rogers – the same company that provides my TV cable. My limit is 60gb downloads per month, but my average has been around 20gb, so I think I’ll be good. Even if I cancel Cable TV and get a better Internet package, I’ll still be saving lots.

We’re trying it out for a month.

Revisiting “Psycho”

Roger Ebert writes that, “Hitchcock deliberately wanted Psycho to look like a cheap exploitation film. He shot it not with his usual expensive feature crew (which had just finished North by Northwest) but with the crew he used for his television show.” Subsequently, Psycho feels like the best episode of The Twilight Zone ever, and seeing it projected like I did last night effectively cranks the thrill-o-meter up to 11. It’s a creepy, entertaining movie that isn’t nearly as much fun on TV as it is in a theatre.

Things that make it work — #1: The performance from Anthony Perkins as a shy, seemingly-harmless but kind of odd motel manager. I’ve met people like this and Perkins plays it convincingly. #2: The famous shower scene where Janet Leigh is murdered. Everyone in the theatre knew it was coming and it still made everyone jump. It’s unexpected. #3: The sudden, deafening soundtrack that cues each murder scene. From Wikipedia: “The soundtrack of screeching violins, violas, and cellos was an original all-strings piece by composer Bernard Herrmann entitled ‘The Murder.’ Hitchcock originally wanted the sequence (and all motel scenes) to play without music, but Herrmann begged him to try it with the cue he had composed. Afterwards, Hitchcock agreed that it vastly intensified the scene, and he nearly doubled Herrmann’s salary.” My only complaint is the basement scene near the end of the movie that should have been the big, shocking reveal but turns into a laugh-out-loud joke because somebody is wearing a dress and it just looks silly. Psycho does have its dated qualities (especially in that basement scene), but it’s one of Hitchcock’s most exciting movies. It definitely stands out from the rest of his work.

Keeping Kids Busy

iain's first soccer game june 2008My three year old son started playing soccer last week. My daughter’s in gymnastics and piano lessons. My wife goes to the YMCA for exercise regularly, and I play World Of Warcraft.

I watch less than a couple of hours of television a week, but the kids watch it a lot; it’s their baby-sitter. We want to reduce our dependency on it, keeping them busy with creative and engaging activities instead.

I know a couple people who are tv-less, which I respect a lot. I’m doing some googling about breaking the tv-habit, but I could use any advice and ideas:

How do you keep a 7 year old and 3 year old busy
without a television and without destroying the house?