Life Without Comcast: Watching the Inauguration…or Trying To, at Least

By  |  Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:49 am

Life Without ComcastI’m still trying to do much of my TV watching via an Apple TV box running Boxee hooked up to a TV that doesn’t have cable. This morning, however, I discovered that it’s not a great way to watch a once-in-a-lifetime event. Actually, the Internet isn’t great at broadcasting once-in-a-lifetime events yet.

I’d heard that Hulu would be streaming the inauguration live, which was good news: Boxee can put Hulu on a TV. But when I navigated over to Boxee’s Hulu menus, there was no mention of the inauguration, even though it was all over Hulu’s standard Web site. Discovery: Boxee’s Hulu presentation isn’t a direct, on-the-fly translation of the Hulu site into TV-friendly form.

Then I happened to stumble across the Boxee’s Twitterfeed, where the company was explaining that it was working on getting the inauguration up. When it did, it was Hulu’s feed of Fox News’ coverage, and it was linked to from the Boxee home page.

Nothing against Fox News, but I wanted to hop between multiple stations, and the Hulu-on-Boxee-on-Apple-TV version was in a sort of choppy slo-mo. So I switched to trying to watch the live streaming on The audio kept disappearing on me. And I noticed on Twitter that folks watching streaming coverage on multiple Internet venues all seemed to be squawking about the glitches they were encountering.

So I switched to Comcast. Live coverage on a zillion channels; perfect sound and audio; pretty easy to switch between stations. I may gripe about cable, and I most definitely get most of my news and analysis on the Web these days. But the Plain Old TV that’s been part of our lives for sixty years scales beautifully.

Anyone want to guess how long it’ll be until we can just assume that streaming Internet video will work just fine no matter how many people are watching it?



9 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Zatz Says:

    The local CBS-owned affiliates had 7 online HD stream via a Move player. Looked quite nice. Hulu’s Fox broadcast was pretty low res. But we had CNN HD up on the plasma via Comcast – never had to worry about it going down.

    Unrelated, I just called my best bud’s cell. He didn’t answer. Wonder if it’s due to his day job as a Capitol Police first responder. 😉

  2. tced Says:

    Here’s a clever idea – broadcast TV. I watched it high definition from my local TV station. I even had a choice of stations because they were all broadcasting it. No Comcast. No broadband. Free.

  3. dend Says:

    Inauguration day 2009 streaming in HD on CNN web-site:
    watch on CNN
    High speed and quality is checked!

  4. Jared Newman Says:


    Ditto. Bunny ears and a digital tuner work wonders.

  5. Tom Foremski Says:

    Yes, an antenna from Radio Shack brings in a bunch of HD broadcasts from local stations for free! It’s amazing how much bandwidth you can broadcast over air as opposed to cramming it into a cable or Internet connection.

  6. weekndr Says:

    We had Hulu on at work and the audio was okay but the video was frozen about 10 percent of the time.

  7. Wirecutter Says:

    I know, I killed my cable over a year ago now. I get HD from over the air. but when I need my fix of “enter your fav 24/7 news channel here” a slingbox works very nice as a backup.

  8. Xavier Says:

    Didn’t you get the memo- 2007 was the year of Internet video…
    I watched CNN HD via Comcast on my big screen.

  9. Wirecutter Says:

    I didn’t get the memo but I did keep my 100 odd something dollars that Comcast takes from you each month

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