No news yet on the topic of my previous entry.... We should know Sunday, though.
Our major decision of the week, oddly enough, was to try to ditch our satellite bill. We ordered DirecTV a year and a half ago, concluding it was a better deal than the local cable services or anything else we had access to. A little bit of a let-down for my Media Center construction, since the tuner is built to be capable of more than a single S-Video input from a set-top box controlled by an IR blaster, but okay. However, the low initial price has ended, and they keep nudging the price up a couple dollars a month. We're now paying nearly $60/month for basic TV service. This irks me, but it would be worth it if we actually used it. What's been getting my blood pressure up when I think about it, though, is that practically everything we watch is from a broadcast station. Emilie records movies from TCM during Oscar month. That's about it.
So I convinced Emilie we should try going broadcast for a while. I ordered an antenna (arrived today), and I'm going to try connecting that to the tuner on the Media Center. If the reception's good and we get all the signals we hope to, we can cancel DirecTV by the end of next week and free up our bill for this month. One month's DirecTV bill would pay for the antenna. For future months, we're considering subscribing to Hulu Plus when it's available (easy enough to get Hulu content on the Media Center, after all) and taking our Netflix account back to 2 disks at a time, so we can each have one rather than alternating. The total of those two would be $14/month, freeing up around $45 back into our budget every month. I'm motivated to make this antenna work out!
We're not going to the extreme of an outdoor antenna yet, though I've considered it. We ordered one that's listed as an indoor antenna with excellent directional reception. Our coax run already goes from the living room, into the comm closet where all the other cables interconnect, and thence to the input from the DirecTV sattelite dish. That closet is on the correct side of the house, with one poorly-insulated wall between it and the great outdoors. I'm hoping that the antenna can go in the closet, take the place of the patch to the DirecTV input, and go straight out the same jack into the Media Center without the DirecTV box in the middle. If not, we may have to do some tweaking, like putting the antenna in a window or something, but I'm hoping that won't be necessary. (The cats love to lounge in the most likely window, which would be a problem.) If necessary, we may add a signal booster to reduce attenuation over the run from the comm closet to the living room. What I've read said you'll need one if you're going over 50 feet; we're at 46.
We shall see, I suppose. Reception permitting, I really don't think we'll miss much. Mostly, I'll miss the ability to record Law & Order re-runs off TNT for watching on the bus. The replacement would be Instant Viewing from Netflix, which can't be recorded for offline viewing. Still, I should be able to manage.
Weight-wise, nothing major -- a nice, flat line. I'm still working out with Matt through the end of the month, but I've had my last appointment with Lynne of the official program, and my other "final" appointments are mostly next week. Looking forward to wrapping this up and settling into a "new normal."