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Okay first let me say and explain, after three years of being cable and satellite free we got cable again on October 22nd.

Our reasons for dropping it in the first place was bad programming and just being sick of commercials. What caused us to get it again? We moved and DSL internet was horrible here and Road Runner recently became available. We have had Road Runner before and loved it, so we made the jump to the total package, Internet, Phone, and of course at least basic cable. Since I know that there has been a lot of changes in the past three years, we went all out and got everything. Why not? It only costs around $80 more a month than what we were paying for DSL and unlimited long distance...

I can say I absolutely love having the History Channel, Discovery, and the Learning Channel back, but not much has changed with the premium pay channels. First, nothing is on! We have the HD DVR, but haven't found much to record. So VOD (Video On Demand) was my biggest interest. Not having cable I guess I didn't know what to expect or think. I 'guess' I thought there would be more movies and content and it wouldn't be the same stuff being shown on the movie channels! My niave lack of knowledge gave me expectations of being able to call up the Soprano's from espisode 1 through the end of the series, same with Deadwood and Rome as well as a wide variety of movies. I found out quickly that with Time Warner at least, the VOD content was very limited.

After excepting that, the next thing was a bit more than I could just say okay to. VOD is not ready for prime time. It seems down more than it is up (at least in my area and with my provider), and the worse... I selected a movie and was 3/4 of the way through watching it and boom... it stopped and I got the message 'Selection No Longer Available'. Okay, so that was my dumb fault, I didn't look at when it was done being shown, but I honestly thought if I started watching something it would play to the end, I was wrong. But that wasn't the only time I had VOD problems. Like I said, it isn't available more than I feel it should be down, but again while watching a movie it dropped out with 'Service Unavailable' message. To make matters worse, once service was back, the movie was no longer available.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not mad or ranting, this is what I think is a unique perspective since we went cable free in 2004 and decided to check things out again. I've heard people say that the death of the HD disc format will be VOD, and right now in my opinion I can say if I run across a movie on the Preview Guide that sparks my interest, I now put the DVD in instead of going VOD. (Being cable free for three years is a lot of money saved, think of all the DVDs you can buy, which is what we did, so we have a ton!) Even the HD content I've seen isn't as good as Bluray or HD DVD, and the sound quality is okay at best when compared to the HD disc versions.

Now the DVR is cool. We time shifted the Macy's Day Parade as well as other shows, but the 160GB HD runs out of room way too fast. I know I can add an eSATA drive and extend that, but right now I'm not so sure it's worth the money. In fact, after a month, my wife and I have decided to drop the premium channels since we have 95% of the movies being shown, and the other 5% are ones we're not interested in.
 
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