Friday, October 11, 2013

Weather Options On Roku

I'm planning to ditch cable later this month -- the thinking behind it is the classic "quality/quantity" conversation. Given my cable/internet/HD bill pushes $150 a month and I watch sports infrequently (used to watch them a lot more often than I do now) plus business and news programming, the wife and I found ourselves questioning the need to keep cable television. Any television shows I do watch are often a la carte via on demand, almost all of which can be watched via Hulu (or Hulu Plus), Netflix, and Amazon Prime.

If you ever decided to ditch Comcast or satellite and go back to over-the-air TV plus Roku or TV plus Apple TV or whatever Smart TV option you choose, what weather-related options exist?

I bought a Roku as an attempt to see if we can make a cable-free house a reality. Buyer-beware -- there's a lot of good channels but also a lot of junk on there. And, yes, to get good content you do have to pay for it...sometimes a fair amount on a monthly basis. It's the purist sense of unbundled content. While the local end of sports programming is more or less nonexistent (and that will take a bit of adjustment), there is enough that filled the pro side of the tank to justify saving a few hundred bucks per year.  In the midst of test-driving, one of the first things I wanted to check was the quality of the weather information available on it.

Well...the good news is that there are a couple of channels on Roku that delve into weather. Arguably the best at this point is WeatherNation TV, which is an initiative out of Minneapolis that was created a couple of years back by Paul Douglas. It features current conditions, 36 hour and extended forecasts, plus live content. You can use your location or whatever location you feel like searching for through the United States and beyond.

Weather Underground also has a channel. It doesn't have any live streaming weather news but does provide basic information -- temperature, satellite, radar, plus webcam of a nearby station. It serves the purpose of getting "just the forecast" in a relatively easy framework.

There are some other options out there -- mostly live radar or satellite graphics, plus streaming content from various television stations throughout the country. Roku, Smart TV's, and streaming content are still very much a developing genre despite the technological bandwidth to stream television stuff over the internet for quite some time. However, if one where to ditch the cord and had reservations about doing so because they lacked for weather information elsewhere, there are a few good options out there.