A few months ago, I wrote about how we were considering blowing up our TV . Okay, we weren’t going to go quite that far, but we were considering dropping our cable service. We thought we’d save money and cut our screen time in one fell swoop. And we did! We rushed out and bought three sets of rabbit ears and shut that shark down.
Half of our plan worked. We did save money, but we didn’t cut our screen time. If anything, it increased. My kids binge-watched Hannah Montana on Netflix. Not even kidding. Every. Episode.
As it turns out, we are responsible for how much tv we watch, not our devices. Huh. Who knew?
And, irony of all ironies, a month or so after we cut the cord, I got an email from the DISH Network asking if I wouldn’t like to try out their service and review it on this here blog.
*Cue the Hallelujah chorus. Or at least my kids squealing with excitement.*
I will be honest, Andy and I debated on whether or not we should take them up on this offer – we had talked a lot about getting rid of cable and we felt rather morally superior with our rabbit ears. When it came down to it, though, we hadn’t seen the lifestyle changes we were expecting to magically happen and we couldn’t pass it up.
We are weak! And also like good television.
So, the lovely people from DISH Network came out to our house and got us all hooked up. This was no easy feat – they had to rewire our entire house (our mid-90s wiring wasn’t cutting it, evidently), but they did a GREAT job, and even put the satellite in a much less conspicuous place than our old one had been. At least, that’s what they told me. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have even seen the new dish. I guess that means it’s not sprouting out the side of our house anymore!
I really, really like DISH Network’s service. First of all, the picture is crystal clear, not only on our giant flat screen but also on the tube TV we have in our living room. But the biggest plus to DISH is the convenience, especially from the Hopper.
DISH’s DVR service is called Hopper, and it’s a whole-home service. That means we have HD DVR service on every tv set, and we can watch anything we’ve recorded from any of our televisions. This is a great change for us – before, we only had a DVR in our bedroom, which meant that was the main tv-viewing location for the kids. Now, we have reclaimed our room for ourselves! It’s a beautiful thing.
The Hopper also comes with a mobile app, DISHAnywhere , so we can watch live television, stream an On Demand or Blockbuster@Home title, or access shows we’ve DVR’d from our phones or tablets. This means… wait for it… that I can watch Teen Mom 3 on the treadmill.
Of course, that functionality requires 3G or wifi, which isn’t always available. But never fear – thanks to the Hopper with Sling, you can download shows or movies straight from your DISH box to your phone/tablet/computer and watch them on the go. Going on a trip? Download a movie for the kids and hit the road!
The other thing that’s really convenient about DISH is Prime Time Anytime, which automatically records all primetime shows on the major networks. This has come in handy because I didn’t have to set it to record each show that we like to watch, AND we’ve been able to go back and watch some shows we didn’t know we wanted to record, like some of the new sitcoms that came out this fall. Because there’s like a bajillion MB of space on the DVR, there’s no concern that it will fill up, either.
I almost forgot one very important feature! DVR’d shows can be watched commercial-free, which means it’ll just skip over the commercials automatically. No more fast-forwarding and rewinding until you get to the exact right spot. (#firstworldproblems)
While we certainly would have survived without cable, as our grand one-month experiment showed, we are really enjoying having DISH Network. The Blockbuster@Home service that comes along with it has enabled us to stream some fantastic movies like SpaceJam and Back to the Future. (They actually have new releases, but we like to stick with the classics.) Giving up our cable before wasn’t that big of a deal, but I can already tell that my family is going to campaign hardcore to keep DISH once our blogger trial is over!