– Ben Martens

Online TV Queue

onlinetvOne of the longstanding complaints about people who want to get rid of cable is that there isn’t a great way to watch live┬ásports without it. That roadblock is pretty much gone with the announcement of Sling. For $20/month, you get 20 pretty good cable channels and one of them is ESPN. Couple that with an over the air antenna and you can watch a lot of sports. Note there are a couple drawbacks of the Sling service, the biggest of which is that you can’t pause or record most of the channels so it’s live only. And of course, there are many of us for whom a digital antenna just won’t work at all for those local stations.

That being said, I ditched ESPN about a year or so ago and haven’t missed it. We saved $40/month and I think it was well worth it. I’m actually pretty willing to cut the cable TV cord completely, but there’s one thing that has me hooked: I really enjoy having all of my shows in one place. My custom DVR records all the shows I want to watch and I also have it set up to download all of the YouTube channels that I watch. That means pretty much everything I want to watch is available in a single interface and I instantly know when new episodes are available. My cable package is only costing me about $15/month right now and that is well worth the convenience of one stop shopping.

The online TV market has grown incredibly in the last year or two, but it lacks the “one spot for everything” feature. It feels like there is a market for some kind of web service that would look at all the shows you watch, figure out where you watch them, and then give you a big queue showing the unwatched episodes. It’s probably technically difficult given all the various sign in requirements on the different sites and this information probably isn’t readily available. If a couple of the major services could get together to do something like this, it would be a fantastic app. I’m not going to hold my breath though.