For as long as I can remember, there has been some group of techno-folks who've been building home-brew solutions to gather web video and replace their cable with a broadband solution.
This Holy Grail of TV nerddom has been like the white whale, imagined but never seen in captivity.
There have been devices, many devices, that came close. But until now, the "Cut The Cable" contingent has been unable to find the ultimate solution.
Today, the iPad has arrived and it may just fill that need.
We took a look at four new apps on the iPad to see if cable has arrived on a web-connected device.
First up, Netflicks: Netflicks is providing a huge collection of TV offerings. Weeds, Arrested Development, Lie To Me, Bones, 24, Doll House, Prison Break, Buffy, Mythbusters, a virtual cable box full of hit shows all on Netflicks for one flat monthly price. Gorgeous quality, beautiful picture and solid streaming (no buffering), and an amazing collection of programs. Netflicks is offering many of the series you expect to get from cable, in full collections and on demand. The only downside, not everything on Netflicks is streamable right now so you're still stuck with some DVD's.
If you're a hardcore TV viewer and you're looking to move your TV viewing from the flatscreen and cable to your iPad device, the surprise winner in the space may well be the ABC Network iPad application. The good thing you're going to see on the ABC app right away is lots and lots of primetime streaming content -- free. What's changed about web television on the iPad is you're not seeing old shows; the Jamie Oliver "Food Revolution" program is there on the app. The episode that just aired on ABC is now available through their app on the iPad. Flash-forward, Lost, Castle, Brothers and Sisters. Noticeably no Hulu on the iPad yet, so the perfect marriage of ABC and Hulu may be on the rocks.
Movies and TV series from Netflicks. Primetime TV from ABC.
But what if you're a news junkie? What if you want to know what's going on, in real time around the world? The answer is CNN. You've got a video player that says that there's a video available. And with the flick of a finger, the videos jump to fill the screen. Turning a text and video experience into a full screen video player.
Now, let's face it, the folks who are cutting cable are often 'early adopters' who are willing to forge new ground. They are, lets face it, geeks.
So if you're looking to geek out on web video and watch the most technical of the tech, then there is only one place to go, TWIT: 'This Week in Tech' with Leo Laporte. It's hardcore geekvision for sure, but it's realtime, live and in many ways what CNET would have been if it had been invented now, rather then back before the realtime web and the iPad came into being.
We started with the premise that this might be a time when you can 'Cut The Cable,' and start to get all your video from the web. Do a content audit of what you watch on cable, and then dive in and see how much of that material is already streamable on the web. If the answer is 80% or better, it may be time. Check out streaming video on the iPad, there are many apps and good sites today, and many more on the horizon -- so its well worth a look.