Network and Studio Websites
Networks and studios generally provide access to their original content on their websites. The trick is that in many cases they've only got the last five or so recently aired episodes available, so it's great if you want to keep current on a series, but not helpful if you decide three seasons into a series that you want to start watching from the beginning.
Here are some of the cable networks you can't get with an HD antenna that have full episode content on the web:
Can You Really Live Without Cable?
Here are some deal-breakers that will keep you using cable: If you're a big-time sports fan and you need ESPN, Fox Sports, NFL Network, and so on in order to cover all of the events you want to watch, there's really no substitute for cable.
If you're a news junkie and want 24-hour, up-to-the-minute broadcasts from CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, you can get that only from cable.
If you want the near-instant gratification and very simple interface (read: easy for your kids) of turning the TV power on and pressing a few buttons to be watching a show, you won't get that using Netflix or other streaming sourcesit takes a minute or two to get a show started.
Finally, if you have lots of TVs in your home, you may not be interested in the trouble and initial expense of getting them connected to a single HDTV antenna and buying Internet devices for all of them for streaming.
If you weren't caught by one of those deal-breakers, live within 100 miles of a major metro area, and have broadband Internet access already, go for it! You can always spend a few extra dollars per month with Netflix or RedBox to fill in the gaps for movies you can't stream that you want to see, and you can be sure that the cable company will gladly take you back if you change your mind (and you'll probably qualify for a new subscriber discount!).
James T. Stanley is the Product Development Director for Inkubook, a photo book creation site based in Indianapolis and is a Ball State graduate. James is a past conference speaker at VSLive and author of several tech magazine articles and he is currently passionate about Silverlight and Amazon Web Services. If you've got tips on more (legal!) ways to stream content via the Internet, he'd love to hear from you. You can reach James by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.