As a Denver sports enthusiast, April started as a great month. The Nuggets and the Avs both made the playoffs and both appeared like they would do fairly well. Of course, neither of them did and by April 30th, both teams' seasons where over. I watched the final Nuggets game of the season in Seattle and was so disgusted I decided to turn off my TV for a month.
When I first told my kids (who spend 50% of their time at my house), Jack's lower lip started to tremble (mostly because it meant no Wii). Abbie quickly asked "What about the iPad?" I said that was OK and both kids quickly cheered up. I don't generally watch a lot of TV (~10 hours/week), and I grew up without electricity, so this wasn't a huge change for me. However, I do have some shows that I've been following this year. Namely, 24, FlashForward, The Office and American Idol.
For the last 6 months, I've been developing an online video site, so it wasn't long before my brash "no TV" decision turned into a nice opportunity to research other sites offering online video. Here are some observations from my month without TV.
- Almost no online video sites work on the iPad because of Flash. I get the feeling that most online video sites aren't doing HTML5 <video> because of DRM and progressive download vs. streaming.
- Netflix is a cool app for the iPad, but most of the streaming content is crap. My kids found plenty to watch, but I never found anything.
- Hulu is the bomb if they have shows you like to watch.
- The ABC app for iPad is great if they have shows you like to watch.
- I watched a lot less movies because I didn't have onDemand and didn't feel like renting/ordering DVDs.
- I found my laptop offered a better viewing experience than the iPad.
- My kids found the iPad offered a better viewing experience than my laptop (easier to hold/share).
- The iPad isn't loud or comfortable enough to replace the modern TV.
- My TV (and surround sound) offers a much better viewing experience than a computer.
- Ads on Hulu are short and sweet (15 seconds) and seem to inspire higher engagement because you're willing to wait for the show to resume.
- My team has developed both a webapp and a native app that work on the iPad, but I was never inspired to use either due to lack of shows I wanted to watch.
- American Idol was difficult to find online. When I did find it, it was very poor quality.
- I did not use BitTorrent because I forgot what a good resource it is.
- I found myself going to bed a lot earlier.
Overall, it was a great experience and I recommend others try it. However, with the Stanley Cup Finals, NBA Finals and World Cup this month, I'm glad I turned my TV back on.