(This article was written for Vallarta Tribune, edition # 1161.)
In broadcast television, cord-cutting refers to viewers that increasingly cancel their subscriptions to television services available over cable in favor of those available over the Internet. If you enjoy Netflix at home, you are a cord-cutter. And if you enjoy performing arts, this article is for you. That said, Internet-based content and programming can vary greatly depending on the country you are located, and in the case of paid services, the country where you do your banking. As such, we will focus on features and services presently available in Mexico.
Cord-cutting can seem daunting because of the many different ways you can access Internet content at home. For example, if you own a smart TV (a traditional television set with integrated Internet and interactive web-based features) it’s quite likely that a mainstream service such as Netflix is already built-in, and all you have to do is establish a wired or wireless connection to your Internet. For other lesser-known services or “stations,” if you will, most TV brands feature their own app stores for you to install/download whatever service you desire. Unfortunately, not all services are supported by all TV brands.
Die-hard cord-cutters rely on hardware for a better variety of services. This hardware can be your computer or laptop, a tablet, or dedicated online streaming devices, such as Roku, AppleTV or Google Chromecast. Online media players are connected to your TV with a dedicated (HDMI) cable and serve a dual function: you can install services on them, or stream content wirelessly to them from your computer or tablet. For the most part, all the services/channels/apps described below can be accessed with the aforementioned gear.
The Big Three
Along with Netflix, you can access HBO and Amazon Prime locally, and enjoy their content. And the best part is, you don’t need a credit card to do so. Prepaid cards for Netflix and Amazon are readily available locally at supermarkets and convenience stores. HBO content is available through AppleTV, and prepaid Apple Store cards are also easy to find. All three services feature an excellent selection of movies, TV shows, documentaries and some concerts. For performing arts buffs out there, consider the following lesser-known options.
Digital Concert Hall
The Digital Concert Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is a website which transmits the concerts of the Berlin philharmonic orchestra to the internet for registered users to access on demand. Aside from being able to enjoy live performances by the orchestra, you have access to a comprehensive archive of pre-recorded concerts, mostly directed by Sir Simon Rattle, but also older performances such as 1990s concerts with Claudio Abbado.
Medici.tv is an online platform for streaming classical music videos. Their catalog includes concerts, operas, documentaries, ballets and masterclasses by top performers, such as mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato or cellist Steven Isserlis. Medici.tv also offers live broadcasts of exciting classical music competitions, such as the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, held in Warsaw every five years; or the International Tchaikovsky Competition, held in Moscow every four years—it ended last week, and I didn’t get much sleep! Like Digital Concert Hall, Medici.tv is a subscription service, but both offer free content for you to test the waters.
Met Opera On Demand
Aside from producing live broadcasts of their Saturday matinees, available at theaters and cinemas throughout the world (but not Puerto Vallarta, alas), New York’s Metropolitan Opera Company provides online access to more than 700 full-length Met performances, with subtitles available in several languages.
Based in New York City, BroadwayHD records and distributes live theater performances and previously recorded theatrical productions through its platform. Aside from bringing some of the best Broadway shows to your living room, BroadwayHD has partnered with leading theatre companies such as Roundabout Theatre Company, The Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Geffen and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to complement their very extensive catalog.
If the film selection available on The Big Three described above, and you crave cult, classic, independent and award-winning films from around the world, consider Mubi. Mubi takes a different approach. Every day their experts introduce you to a film they love and you have a whole month to watch it, so there will always be 30 extraordinary films for you to enjoy.
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