Digital Entertainment Options – Cut the Cable TV Cord


couch potatoOne of the things that a truck driver desires is to have some semblance of a normal routine. At the end of our day we simply can’t just plant our butt on the couch, grab the clicker and browse what’s on TV. We are usually 100’s if not 1000’s of miles away from our couch and TV. And we are sitting in some truck stop parking lot, rest area or even a plain old off ramp. When we stop we are looking for a nice way to wind down. Some sort of passive entertainment where we don’t have to work too hard to get it going or stay engaged. We are looking to do the same thing most average American’s do at night. Which is to fall asleep watching TV. The setup for the average truck driver can get quite costly. You either have to pay several hundred dollars to get a mini satellite setup on your rig or your working with a digital antenna. And who knows if you will be able to pick something up.

This is where the awesomeness of modern technology enters the conversation. At this time there are plenty of options available to help us stay entertained on the road. And if you have a family at home, they can be entertained as well. The first little bit of technology we want to discuss is the Roku. What is a Roku you ask? It is a little box about twice as big as a deck of cards. It has two cables one plugs into the outlet on the wall and the other is an HDMI outlet that goes to your TV. The only other thing you need for this little guy to run is a Wi-Fi signal. Once you have it plugged in and connected to the internet. You can browse through the different apps on the Roku. It is set up just like your smart phone. You just go through the channel library and find the apps you want and add them to your page. Then once they are added to your page you are set up to watch these programs.

The next question you will immediately have is, what apps are on the Roku? Well there are literally thousands of different apps or “channels” as they call them on the Roku. Some of them that are extremely useful are Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu to name a few. Now, I know you may be kind of confused. Why would we put a set top box in our truck? Well, if you don’t have an inverter for this little box, I would suggest you getting this device for your home. This way your wife and kids can watch all of the programming they want. And you can save big bucks by getting rid of that monthly cable bill. They can watch zillions of hours of cartoons and kids shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime and you and the wife can watch your shows on the same channels. I will go into more detail about each useful channel a little later on.

If this little box is sitting at home, what am I supposed to do for entertainment in the truck? Well, the great news is that you will be able to get all of these apps on your cell phone, laptop or tablet. You can stream most, if not all of the available content to your device or devices. I personally watched the first season of Walking Dead on my cell phone. Most of the apps on the Roku are also available in the Android app store and also in the Apple iStore.

Let’s now discuss what type of programming you can get on your Roku and also on the devices in your truck. The first, must-have program you need is Netflix. Netflix costs $8.00/mo. and you have access to hundreds of hours of movies, TV shows and documentaries. Think of Netflix as all of those DVD’s or video tapes you keep around the house and are eventually turning into junk. Netflix is the digital version of your DVD rack. With the TV shows it takes a few months to become available after the season ends. But, if you are a penny pincher then it will definitely be worth the wait. The next app you’ll want to add to your arsenal is Amazon Prime. Right now its $79 a year, however it will be going up to $99 towards the end of the year. This service is much like Netflix, however you get the option to buy movies and TV shows that aren’t available anywhere else. Also, you get a few perks on Amazon like free 2-day shipping and rentals on their Kindle store if you have one of those. And if you have a Kindle, all of our Big Rig EBooks are available in that format as well.

The next few apps that I like are Hulu Plus, and the WWE app. So let’s start out with Hulu Plus, it’s also $8.00/mo. just like Netflix. Hulu is an app that gives you access to all of your network shows the day after they air. And they will send you email reminders when an episode airs. So, think of Hulu in terms of a DVR. You pick the shows you like to watch, add them to your queue and when they come on you get an email saying go watch your show! How awesome is that! The next cool app that I just recently checked out was the app, it’s just $10.00/mo. This app gives you access to a ton, a ton of UFC content. It also allows you to see Fight Pass Fights that aren’t even aired on TV. And I ordered the last UFC 171 PPV Lawler vs. Hendricks through this app. It worked great! And the last one we want to talk about is the WWE app. I want to mention this one because both of my kids absolutely love WWE. This app is also $10.00/mo. and includes all of the PPV. Yes, that’s right! The $50 to $60 dollar PPV’s are included for that $10.00/mo. This would be a great app to have for the kids at the house or if you are a fan yourself.

So as you can see there are many, many choices out there now with the new digital streaming apps. I personally think that Blu-Ray and DVD are going to be extinct within a few years because of digital content streaming. And to be fair let’s break it all down, let’s take a look at the cost for all of these streaming services that I mention versus regular cable or satellite. So if you signed up for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, UFC and WWE it would cost you $44.25/mo. And if you buy the Roku it would cost you a one-time charge of $100.00 if you don’t buy the Roku on sale. So you can compare that to your monthly cable bill or satellite bill and see for yourself that it will save you $50 to $100 dollars a month and you won’t have so many boring channels to surf through. So whether or not you want to go Roku or just get the apps for your phone, tablet or laptop you can see that we as truck drivers have some new options when it comes to entertainment in the truck. And with a little research you can find the option that fits you best!