1. Video quality: Streaming video is currently not as good as a blue ray disc or even over the air broadcasts. We all know how good a blue ray disc looks but a little discussed topic in these discussions is the image quality of streaming content. Just like audiophiles complain about the drop in quality for MP3s, steaming video is just not the best you can get right now. The main selling point is the convenience and low cost of streaming content. When I had cable, I usually got a great picture but I was paying nearly $120 a month. Broadcasts over the air can come in full 1080p and is free, of course. We stream NetFlix and Hulu Plus on our PS3 for about $30 a month. Sure, the image quality is not the best yet but for $30, I am not complaining. The other issue I have is the occasional stutter, which so far happens a little more often on HuluPlus.
2. Live sports: I am a HUGE soccer aficionado and the one thing I miss the most from cable is the plethora of live soccer. Fox Soccer, the ESPN networks, Galavision and the other Spanish language networks would all provide my weekly fix. Over the air broadcasts don't provide enough coverage, especially since I mostly follow MLS, the Premiership and the Champions League. So I sign up for Major League Soccer's Match Day Live. This service works great on my computer but is not available yet on my PS3 (more on this later). However, I can't always follow my Earthquakes live because of blackout restrictions. This is where the copyright/blackout restrictions can trip you up. If I want to reliaby see my MLS team, I need to have cable. Otherwise, I can see their matches after they are over. Of course, I can always go to my local bar and watch it but those pints ain't cheap.
The same blackout restrictions apply to the MLB.tv package. Being a Red Sox fan, my wife watches their games live almost without restriction. A cool feature is that she can choose the home or away broadcast. For me, being an A's fan, I am out of luck for watching a live game. I can only see them on the MLB package 90 minutes after the game ends thanks to the broadcast restrictions with my local cable sports channel.
3. Streaming device: We stream on our PS3. I got it a few years ago for the, uh, Blue Ray capability. (I swear, Metal Gear Solid 4 had nothing to do with it.) The PS3 has a built-in browser but it does not always display everything with a decent amount of resolution or the browser cannot handle the site's requirements. For example, we tried watching Top Chef on our PS3 but the image quality was very bad and navigating the web is very clunky. So we watch on our computer instead. As far as I know, there is no word on when Sony will upgrade the browser on the PS3. I think with this spring's hacking shanigans, that may be on the back burner for now.
All in all, we get to see pretty much everything we want streaming on the PS3 or our computer. It certainly is cheaper and we are delighted with some of the movies and shows we've encountered so far. More on those another day