When it comes to storage don't start small.
I started my video/music library with a 250gb external drive but quickly switched to two mirrored 500gb drives. I next bought a 1tb drive. After I outgrew all this I have finally installed a buffalo device with mirrored 4tb. I also have a hot swap raid that takes my old 1tb drives with the advantage that they can hot swap so basically now I have unlimited storage but not unlimited backup. Hmmm...
I too have "disabled the cable" and I subscribe to television on the iPad. As soon as an episode airs in the US it is available for download with the huge advantage of being commercial
I mostly rent movies but am slowly buidling up my library of "keepers"
At home I stream Netflix (through the apple tv) and there is ennough there to keep one busy for 50 years.
Apple will "gladly" keep your stuff in their cloud but I find that stupid - it's my stuff, I will store it thank you very much (also has advantage of not needing an internet
I travel a lot - I subscribe to everything on Apple on my iPad and have turned on device sync so all my devices (and my home library) get updated automatically yet I have the advantage to retrieve my shows no matter where I am.
I travel with a pocket router and plug it into the hotel
ethernet usually and create my own Wifi zone. This is also conevenient when visiting friends and relatives as if they let my hard wire into their router I need no passwords and use my own network.
I carry apple component video cables
and these days have a hard time finding a tv (even hotel
tvs) that won't plug in. Even if I can't the viewing on the iPad is fine. The only thing I would like is a "remote" control for the iPad so I don't have to get off the couch to start teh next 22 minute tv show - What is this? 1975? - LOL...
I used bit-torrent and ripped DiVx DVDs but frankly found it a PITA. Also I am not a "theif" and do respect the copyright
and intellectual property. Now that the industry will deliver the content conveniently and (for the most part) fairly, I don't mind paying.
In regards to Blueray and HD, I guess I can tell the difference in quality but I also had 8 track, cassette, CD, betamax, VHS, VHS-C, 12 inch laserdisk, VCDs and DVDs. Anyone buying
media on disk these days is probably a dinosaur.
As OP said - There are many ways to skin the entertainment cat these days...