Jump to content


Yo! You're not logged in. Why am I seeing this ad?

Photo

Cutting The Cord on Cable/Satellite TV Service?


334 replies to this topic

#1 LoweTek

  • 758 posts

Posted 29 May 2009 - 07:30 AM

I am undertaking research of the pros and cons of combining an over the air TV antenna, Netflix and high speed internet to replace subscription TV service. I currently have DirecTV. Because of their tiering restrictions, add-on fees, etc. I have to pay silly money for the dozen or so channels I regularly watch, mostly broadcast network from DVR and premium movie channels.

I can get MLB online. I can get virtually everything available on an HBO or Showtime, etc. from either of Netflix' rental library or streaming service. I can utilize free DVR software in a PC as well as receive and play multi-channel digital audio and HD quality picture from the PC. The HD channels over the air are better quality than the local feeds on DirecTV. There's Hulu, ABC, etc. available on line and many others I've not yet heard of I'm sure. I have the AV and PC technical chops to glue it all together.

I am starting to question, why not? It's clearly cheaper. Quality is there and I don't pay for 300 channels I never watch. I estimate a 60-70% savings over DirecTV.

Has anybody done this or starting doing it? Anybody done some research who can save me some digging?

TIA

#2 Monbo Jumbo


  • notices black scientists


  • 18616 posts

Posted 29 May 2009 - 07:59 AM

Good thread idea. I think more and more people are going this route. I plan to eventually.

#3 manny25

  • 982 posts

Posted 29 May 2009 - 08:36 AM

I've actually thought of this as well (already have the setup in place). Hulu's new desktop app is huge for folks going down this road. The only thing that is keeping me on cable is the fact that I live locally, and NESN is the only way to get the Sox (blackout on MLB.tv).

You can't get ESPN or TBS OTA either, which would severely limit the amount of sports watching.

Actually, now that I think about it - does ESPN 360 usually simulcast any live events on ESPN or ESPN2?

#4 Nick Kaufman


  • protector of human kind from spoilers


  • 8307 posts

Posted 29 May 2009 - 09:05 AM

I think the only reason against this is live sports and news. I just think it's more convenient that way.

TV also has the "look what did I came across into factor " too.

#5 LoweTek

  • 758 posts

Posted 29 May 2009 - 11:05 AM

QUOTE (Nick Kaufman @ May 29 2009, 10:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think the only reason against this is live sports and news. I just think it's more convenient that way.

TV also has the "look what did I came across into factor " too.
Don't forget, I would have all the network and local stations broadcast from the over the air antenna and in better quality. So I get local and network news as well as any network broadcast sports. Fortunately, I am only 10 miles or so from the primary antenna farm in this area. 90% of broadcast stations are there. I picked up an indoor antenna a few weeks ago to test some of this and I get like 50 channels. Admittedly some of them are spanish or informational but all the network and local stuff is crystal clear.

The interfaces I'm reading about suggest operating this can be done 90% from a remote control no different from changing channels on a cable or sat box.

Edited by LoweTek, 29 May 2009 - 11:06 AM.


#6 Haunted


  • The Man in the Box


  • 2156 posts

Posted 29 May 2009 - 11:10 AM

As soon as it becomes more available and more comprehensive, I plan to ditch cable altogether for IPTV.

What's frustrating is that as sites like Hulu, other streaming sites and the torrents cut into cable/internet providers cable business, they simply raise the price on the internet side.

#7 AlNipper49


  • Huge Member


  • 33584 posts

Posted 29 May 2009 - 11:18 AM

I basically do this in my bedroom. I used a hacked Apple TV but there are a variety of options. The reason I went ATV was the "wife factor" - there is no esoteric controls, it looks and feels like a simple system.

I basically keep the TV downstairs on DTV b/o the Sox

#8 wibi


  • SoSH Member


  • 7693 posts

Posted 29 May 2009 - 05:24 PM

I am DirecTv free for a month now and loving it.

There have been a couple of times where I wished I had live TV (ie baseball games) but between MLB.tv, HULU, Side Reel and EZTV - Torrent Site I have not missed anything I wanted to watch. Come NFL season I might have an issue but I went from spending $100/mo to spending 15 for MLB.tv. I have the WD TV device upstairs for the bedroom TV and a media center PC downstairs.

I've been too cheap to pick up one of the converter boxes for the over the air change coming but will get around to doing that soon.

I cant speak highly enough about the fact that I'm reading more than I did before (I used to read 2 books per week right after college and was reading 1 book a month right before I dropped DirecTv.)

Edited by majorwibi, 29 May 2009 - 05:26 PM.


#9 Rick Burlesons Yam Bag


  • Internet Cowboy


  • 16455 posts

Posted 29 May 2009 - 08:53 PM

I haven't had cable or satellite in almost 10 years.

You save a lot of money, you watch a hell of a lot less crap, you listen to more sports on the radio and you do a small amount of more productive stuff, but ultimately you really end up doing different stupid stuff.

Another advantage - for big games going to a bar is a lot of fun.

#10 drleather2001


  • given himself a skunk spot


  • 13930 posts

Posted 29 May 2009 - 09:32 PM

Another advantage is that when you have people over, nobody turns on the TV and kills the social atmosphere.

Goddamn I hated in college (and beyond) when I was hanging out in someone's room drinking, smoking, whatever and someone would turn on the TV. Fucking buzzkill.

The only con to disconnecting cable is that they get you by increasing your internet fee to within about $20 of what you were paying to get both internet and cable, so you might not end up saving all that much. Now, I don't know what DSL costs these days...

Edited by drleather2001, 29 May 2009 - 09:34 PM.


#11 SaveBooFerriss


  • twenty foreskins


  • 6089 posts

Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:19 PM

QUOTE (majorwibi @ May 29 2009, 11:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There have been a couple of times where I wished I had live TV (ie baseball games) but between MLB.tv, HULU, Side Reel and EZTV - Torrent Site I have not missed anything I wanted to watch. Come NFL season I might have an issue but I went from spending $100/mo to spending 15 for MLB.tv. I have the WD TV device upstairs for the bedroom TV and a media center PC downstairs.


This is more or less what my sister and her husband do. They get a couple over the air stations, one in HD. Besides that, they only watch stuff on hulu and whatnot. I assume they also still have netflix. My sister says she only misses sports (she probably doesn't even know about MLB.TV). Her husband isn't into sports, unless rock climbing is considered a sport.

They will be moving to the Tblisi in the Republic of Georgia in August so their TV viewing is going to change even more.

#12 8slim


  • SoSH Member


  • 6114 posts

Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:39 PM

This is becoming a more viable option for the small niche of folks who have the inclination to navigate the alternatives (OTA HD, Hulu, DVDs, etc).

The only chance of it becoming more mainstream will be when the TV becomes broadband enabled and features legit open browser capabilities. If I can buy a Samsung, have it hooked into to my broadband connection, and use Firefox to watch Hulu, etc. in HD right on the set... then you have something.

FWIW, cable companies understand this threat. It won't be long before more content is made available (e.g. streaming networks) but it will be secured behind an authentication system. Meaning, you won't be able to see the cable stuff online unless you're a cable customer. That's coming.

#13 LoweTek

  • 758 posts

Posted 01 June 2009 - 03:13 PM

QUOTE (8slim @ Jun 1 2009, 03:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
FWIW, cable companies understand this threat. It won't be long before more content is made available (e.g. streaming networks) but it will be secured behind an authentication system. Meaning, you won't be able to see the cable stuff online unless you're a cable customer. That's coming.
And then there's the cable company fees for broadband only service, much higher for non-cable subscribers. In my market, they are the only true broadband supplier as DSL still has limited speeds.

Does anybody have specific experience with one of the PC based DVR programs? I understand they're free and don't differ much from Tivo, DirecTV's DVR service or cable's.

#14 Orange Julia


  • kittens kitttens kittens kittens


  • 10000 posts

Posted 01 June 2009 - 05:24 PM

I have a tv tuner on my desktop PC and it recorded shows to the harddrive just like TiVO does. and then you can burn them to DVD. It is quite nice.

#15 cgori

  • 1449 posts

Posted 01 June 2009 - 07:41 PM

I noticed the other day that I would probably be OK with a TV package that had: ESPN, CNN, Comedy Central, and TBS/TNT, assuming I can get OTA coverage for ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox. I have 600 channels of DirecTV, simply so I can get Sox and Pats games here on the West Coast. It really is annoying to think about.



#16 wibi


  • SoSH Member


  • 7693 posts

Posted 01 June 2009 - 08:12 PM

QUOTE (LoweTek @ Jun 1 2009, 02:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And then there's the cable company fees for broadband only service, much higher for non-cable subscribers. In my market, they are the only true broadband supplier as DSL still has limited speeds.

Does anybody have specific experience with one of the PC based DVR programs? I understand they're free and don't differ much from Tivo, DirecTV's DVR service or cable's.


MythTV is a great setup

#17 CzarAlexander

  • 654 posts

Posted 01 June 2009 - 08:53 PM

QUOTE (LoweTek @ May 29 2009, 07:30 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am starting to question, why not? It's clearly cheaper. Quality is there and I don't pay for 300 channels I never watch. I estimate a 60-70% savings over DirecTV.

Has anybody done this or starting doing it?


I've had different set-ups over the last few years (OTA & Hulu, DTV, TWC Digital Cable, nothing at all), and here is my opinion:

1. The movie channels are not a particularly good value. Between Netflix and Redbox, you can catch whatever you really need to watch and usually before they debut on HBO et al. The only negative is if you are a boxing fan or want to watch any of the original entertainment. However, I usually prefer to watch the original entertainment when they come out on DVD, so that really augurs toward Netflix.

2. Sports-wise, college football will be really hard to follow, especially if you are a fan of either the MWC, Big Ten or Pac-10. The MWC and Big Ten have their own channels that are only available either under a digital or sports tier. Many of the Pac-10 games are only available on FSN. The ACC is hit or miss. Same with the SEC. Both have better regional-ish coverage that is broadcast OTA. The BCS is on cable, as are most of the Bowl games. College basketball is similar. You are basically at the mercy of CBS and ABC for weekend coverage and anything that the OTA channels offer. Your mileage may vary here, but the MWC and Big Ten are basically out of the question. But if you don't really care for college sports then the decision is pretty easy. Other than the specific sports contests, you won't miss ESPN and sportscenter. If you like out of market NFL teams or a non-contending NBA team, then you are SOL.

3. Unless you are a news junkie, you will get your news from other sources with less shrillness. Same with weather and other information-based channels. The internet does everything better and quicker on this regard.

4. I like Hulu on occasion, but I'm not much of a network scripted or reality show guy, so the usual caveats apply.

#18 manny25

  • 982 posts

Posted 01 June 2009 - 09:08 PM

QUOTE (LoweTek @ Jun 1 2009, 04:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anybody have specific experience with one of the PC based DVR programs? I understand they're free and don't differ much from Tivo, DirecTV's DVR service or cable's.


The good ones aren't free unless you use MythTV, but if you're going down a Windows route you have a couple of options.

A) If you like the little setup, ease of use, user friendly interface, the new Windows 7 Media Center does a very good job. It'll recognize a networked HDHomeRun device or ClearQAM PCIe card out of the box and set up your channels, # of tuners, etc. without any issues. The only issue is a proprietary video recording format that may not play well with other apps or OS's.

B) If you're into the tinkering aspect of getting everything set up on your own, extreme customization, more capabilities and a wide variety of format support, then SageTV may be it for you. SageTV supports a whole lot more features than Windows MC, but it requires a bit more customization and the user interface isn't as friendly. The biggest benefit though, is the fact that you can use a (still supported) extender device with your TV rather than using a loud HTPC in your living room. You can keep a media server with it's loud fans, 8 tuners, 12 TB hard drives etc. elsewhere in your house while using a silent no-setup device with your TV. It can support more than one extender accessing the same content as well. Sage is available on Linux too, but I believe Windows supports better encoding technologies. http://www.sagetv.com

I'm very close to executing the 2nd setup, but am not quite there yet. Happy building!

#19 SumnerH


  • Malt Liquor Picker


  • 14287 posts

Posted 02 June 2009 - 12:44 AM

QUOTE (majorwibi @ Jun 1 2009, 09:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
MythTV is a great setup


+1 on this. MythTV is absolutely awesome.

#20 LoweTek

  • 758 posts

Posted 02 June 2009 - 08:01 AM

QUOTE (manny25 @ Jun 1 2009, 10:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The biggest benefit though, is the fact that you can use a (still supported) extender device with your TV rather than using a loud HTPC in your living room. You can keep a media server with it's loud fans, 8 tuners, 12 TB hard drives etc. elsewhere in your house while using a silent no-setup device with your TV.
Well, this part isn't a problem for me. I have a spare bedroom I use as an office immediately off the main TV area. Its closet shares a rear wall with the big Samsung. There is a complex consumer electronics configuration and data center in the closet and connections to the TV simply go through the wall. The rear of the TV is literally less than 10 feet from the back of the AVR. There are as many as nine computers running in there along with all the supporting network stuff and CE gear: AVR, Sat box, CD, BluRay, etc., etc. The closet has filtered power and UPS capacity to hold everything in it for a half hour or so and it is ventilated into the attic with thermostat controlled old PC fans I rigged up. The only thing in the TV room is the TV itself, the speakers of course and a little infrared receiver which can hardly be seen. I highly, highly recommend such a setup if you're going to be messing with this stuff seriously. I will never by choice have another home which will not accommodate such a setup. It was a lot of work at first, plenty of trial and error, but the ongoing ease of adding new things, pulling old things, wiring things, testing things, etc. is over the top worth the effort.

Thank you for the PC based DVR recommendations. I'll continue to research them.

#21 8slim


  • SoSH Member


  • 6114 posts

Posted 03 June 2009 - 09:52 AM

QUOTE (manny25 @ Jun 1 2009, 10:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
B) If you're into the tinkering aspect of getting everything set up on your own, extreme customization, more capabilities and a wide variety of format support, then SageTV may be it for you. SageTV supports a whole lot more features than Windows MC, but it requires a bit more customization and the user interface isn't as friendly. The biggest benefit though, is the fact that you can use a (still supported) extender device with your TV rather than using a loud HTPC in your living room. You can keep a media server with it's loud fans, 8 tuners, 12 TB hard drives etc. elsewhere in your house while using a silent no-setup device with your TV. It can support more than one extender accessing the same content as well. Sage is available on Linux too, but I believe Windows supports better encoding technologies. http://www.sagetv.com


This is exactly why the "cutting the chord" phenomenon will be limited to a very small group of people, until the set manufacturers build a turnkey product that the other 98% of the population can understand and use.

#22 86spike


  • Currently enjoying "Arli$$"


  • 21951 posts

Posted 03 June 2009 - 10:20 AM

QUOTE (Monbo Jumbo @ May 29 2009, 08:59 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Good thread idea. I think more and more people are going this route. I plan to eventually.


I'm sure more people are... but as someone who works for a cable co... it's not anything close to an industry-impacting phenom. Cable subscriptions are very stable and still growing.

On a purely basic level, I think the affordability/proliferation of LCD and Plasma televisions is the most likely thing to keep people ordering cable. The vast majority of folks don't want to watch TV on a laptop... they want to watch it on a 46" flatscreen.

QUOTE (8slim @ Jun 1 2009, 03:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
FWIW, cable companies understand this threat. It won't be long before more content is made available (e.g. streaming networks) but it will be secured behind an authentication system. Meaning, you won't be able to see the cable stuff online unless you're a cable customer. That's coming.


HBO (my net) is testing out this very thing in the Milwaukee market right now. Coming soon to a town near you.



#23 Monbo Jumbo


  • notices black scientists


  • 18616 posts

Posted 03 June 2009 - 10:21 AM

QUOTE (86spike @ Jun 3 2009, 11:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm sure more people are... but as someone who works for a cable co... it's not anything close to an industry-impacting phenom. Cable subscriptions are very stable and still growing.

On a purely basic level, I think the affordability/proliferation of LCD and Plasma televisions is the most likely thing to keep people ordering cable. The vast majority of folks don't want to watch TV on a laptop... they want to watch it on a 46" flatscreen.
...


Most laptops come with HDMI out ports these days - fwiw.

#24 86spike


  • Currently enjoying "Arli$$"


  • 21951 posts

Posted 03 June 2009 - 10:25 AM

QUOTE (Monbo Jumbo @ Jun 3 2009, 11:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Most laptops come with HDMI out ports these days - fwiw.


sure, but picture qulaity is no comparison.

People (again, not all, just the vast majority) are buying HDTVs and want the best picture possible.

#25 manny25

  • 982 posts

Posted 03 June 2009 - 11:21 AM

QUOTE (86spike @ Jun 3 2009, 11:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
sure, but picture qulaity is no comparison.

People (again, not all, just the vast majority) are buying HDTVs and want the best picture possible.


If we're going down to picture quality... in my opinion OTA HD broadcasts have superior quality than either cable or satellite. Of course this is only limited to local networks though. High definition online video has gotten to a point where it's comparable to 720p from any other source, there's still a ways to go to 1080i/p though.

#26 8slim


  • SoSH Member


  • 6114 posts

Posted 03 June 2009 - 04:28 PM

QUOTE (86spike @ Jun 3 2009, 11:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
sure, but picture qulaity is no comparison.

People (again, not all, just the vast majority) are buying HDTVs and want the best picture possible.


True. Although I really think the key to it all is ease of use. Even if the picture quality was as good as TV, most folks are not going to run HDMI cables from their laptop, or whatever. Seriously SoSH is the worst place to have this discussion, because there's so many tech geeks here. But think of your family, how many are going to spend more than 5 minutes to get Hulu on their TV. I'm the most tech savvy person in my family, and even I won't bother doing that.

But if my TV had broadband and web browser capabilities... deal.

#27 SanFranSoxFan04

  • 135 posts

Posted 09 June 2009 - 03:39 PM

Hello Lowe, I just PM'd you.

See this post in another thread: http://sonsofsamhorn...&...t&p=2342569

#28 LoweTek

  • 758 posts

Posted 09 June 2009 - 04:33 PM

QUOTE (SanFranSoxFan04 @ Jun 9 2009, 04:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello Lowe, I just PM'd you.

See this post in another thread: http://sonsofsamhorn...&...t&p=2342569
Yes, got it. I am pretty familiar with both Niveus and Kaleidescape. $$$$$$, far in excess of hardware value, IMO. Anything you can do to help with the threads is most appreciated. I will get with you soon. - LT

#29 SanFranSoxFan04

  • 135 posts

Posted 09 June 2009 - 05:39 PM

QUOTE (LoweTek @ Jun 9 2009, 05:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes, got it. I am pretty familiar with both Niveus and Kaleidescape. $$$$$$, far in excess of hardware value, IMO. Anything you can do to help with the threads is most appreciated. I will get with you soon. - LT


The hardware is the easiest part, it's the software, the R&D the constant testing for compatibility amongst updates, hot fixes, patches, drivers, service packs that is the real headache. Anyone who has gone through the HTPC route can attest to that. For geeky DIY folks, myself included, they don't mind the time and hassle. For others, they just want it to work all the time, enjoy their content, not have to worry about a thing and god forbid a problem does crop up, someone is behind it to fix it quickly or replace it.
Hence the high price for Niveus and Kaleidescape. Then again Niveus does have a compact (6"x6"x2") silent running Media Center with Blu-ray that will output 1080p with 7.1 lossless audio for $1,499. Not the cheapest thing out there but for a system that can archive all your DVD and Blu-ray discs for instant playback throughout the home, not a bad deal.

If you are at all interested in integrating TV content, I would strongly recommend Media Center, whether it be Vista or Win7. You may prefer Apple OSX for a desktop OS over Vista, but Vista Media Center pretty much kills anything Apple has ever done in the media server category.


#30 LoweTek

  • 758 posts

Posted 10 June 2009 - 05:49 AM

QUOTE (SanFranSoxFan04 @ Jun 9 2009, 06:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The hardware is the easiest part, it's the software, the R&D the constant testing for compatibility amongst updates, hot fixes, patches, drivers, service packs that is the real headache. Anyone who has gone through the HTPC route can attest to that. For geeky DIY folks, myself included, they don't mind the time and hassle. For others, they just want it to work all the time, enjoy their content, not have to worry about a thing and god forbid a problem does crop up, someone is behind it to fix it quickly or replace it.
Hence the high price for Niveus and Kaleidescape. Then again Niveus does have a compact (6"x6"x2") silent running Media Center with Blu-ray that will output 1080p with 7.1 lossless audio for $1,499. Not the cheapest thing out there but for a system that can archive all your DVD and Blu-ray discs for instant playback throughout the home, not a bad deal.
A few years ago when I was seriously looking at reopening an HT store, I focused in on Niveus as a flagship product line. I saw and still see the concept of a turnkey integrated Media Server with an intuitive interface as a market juggernaut. As a necessarily value add operation, I was attracted by the services revenue potential Niveus could drive for everything from installs to a BR/DVD copy service. So I went to EHX (Electronic Home Expo - kind of a mini CES) here in Orlando where Niveus had a lot of reps and a dedicated demo room and extended demo planned.

At the time the MC interface was early Vista and while it was ok, its intuitiveness left something to be desired. When I asked the rep whether the MC was anything more than what was available OTS, he evaded the question. However, the thing I was really taken aback by was the configuration step options, frankly to the point of being offended by the Niveus rep's presumption of consumer ignorance if not outright stupidity. When he said the cost to increase storage capacity from 500Gb to 1Tb was an $1,100 option (with no other feature enhancement - just capacity) I asked what his suggested answer to the sure to come consumer objection to that number, given widespread access to knowledge it was worth maybe $100. The rep was dumbfounded. Later in the demo, I asked about backup and redundancy. The rep was happy to explain the available options from $1,000 disk mirrors to more than $2,000 external device options. When I reiterated my concern the there would be consumer knowledge of such options being worth maybe $500 at the high end the rep asked me, "Why are you being so negative?" He eventually conceded that Niveus' market was limited to consumers with lack of knowledge.

Anyone with even minimal knowledge knows and realizes that it is the software, R&D, compatibility maintenance, etc. that is the value of a particular brand of Media Server. However, anyone with even minimal knowledge also knows it's fundamentally a less than $500 piece of hardware driving it all. I found Niveus' market strategy presumption of consumer ignorance to be off-putting. As again demonstrated by your reference to the six inch box that plays BR and provides lossless audio for $1,499, Niveus doesn't get it yet, IMO. These price points coupled with broad and growing consumer awareness of the value of underlying technology and the general cocky ignorance displayed by the rep, (who was supposedly some big wheel and not just a lowly field guy), told me Niveus had decided for the time being to serve only the throwaway market. By throwaway I don't mean just the hardware but the target customer too. Given the price point/feature offerings, and the innate presumption of indefinite consumer dependency, it was my view Niveus would appeal only to the guy who had money to throw away. In 2006 I correctly estimated the size of that market would shrink considerably not to mention it was already crowded with other purveyors. Fortunately, I was right and declined to enter the business.

When Niveus (or anybody) can give us a turnkey box with an AC cord, gig ethernet port and an HDMI output along with a feature set as simple as a BR, DVR, OTA tuner and a couple of Tb mirrored with open expandability (e.g. eSATA, USB, non-proprietary storage add-on support) for around $599 or so, the sky is the limit. At $1,499 entry level the ceiling and the market size potential is very, very low.

IMO, Niveus should consider some kind of low entry cost, rental/subscription business model, possibly developing an interface which aggregates the viable online content services a la carte. Give away the boxes and maximize the long term subscription revenue at a price point significantly more attractive than that offered by cable/SAT etc. There is a black hole in the market for such a device offering. As demonstrated by the comments in this thread, it appears a lot of people would jump on it. I would.

#31 DLew On Roids


  • guilty of being sex


  • 11717 posts

Posted 12 June 2009 - 02:46 PM

I'm taking baby steps in this regard, starting with pulling in OTA broadcasts over the next few weeks to test reception. I've read CR for different antenna options, and it looks like I can make do with a small interior omnidirectional antenna (19.1 miles from the local antenna farm). Anyone have any recommendations for a specific make/model?

#32 LoweTek

  • 758 posts

Posted 13 June 2009 - 06:36 AM

QUOTE (DLew On Roids @ Jun 12 2009, 03:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm taking baby steps in this regard, starting with pulling in OTA broadcasts over the next few weeks to test reception. I've read CR for different antenna options, and it looks like I can make do with a small interior omnidirectional antenna (19.1 miles from the local antenna farm). Anyone have any recommendations for a specific make/model?
I have this one made by Terk. It is a bit pricey but small and easy to set up and is amplified. I get something like 30 channels with it. It has both directional and omnidirectional capability. Directional can actually improve reception for some circumstances.

#33 tonyandpals

  • 3285 posts

Posted 30 December 2009 - 09:02 AM

LT - Just wondering if you made any progress on firing cable. I've recently been thinking about cutting the cord and reading through this thread has given me quite a few ideas.

#34 Cumberland Blues

  • 4159 posts

Posted 30 December 2009 - 09:40 AM

QUOTE (Rick Burlesons Yam Bag @ May 29 2009, 08:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I haven't had cable or satellite in almost 10 years.

You save a lot of money, you watch a hell of a lot less crap, you listen to more sports on the radio and you do a small amount of more productive stuff, but ultimately you really end up doing different stupid stuff.

Another advantage - for big games going to a bar is a lot of fun.



It's only been about 5 for me - but we get nothing over the air at our house so we're completely without TV (if I futzed with the antenna I could get snowy reception of some french canuck stations). I do miss watching baseball - but otherwise this is right on...the first few months I got a bunch more done around the house and shit, but I eventually just found different ways than TV to waste time. If we ever move back closer to civilization, I'll likely go the route Lowetek is exploring (can't even get highspeed at my house w/out satelite) - I'll just have an out of market friend or relative get the MLBTV pack so I don't have to worry about blackouts and I'll be happy.


#35 yecul


  • appreciates irony very much


  • 14222 posts

Posted 30 December 2009 - 10:32 AM

Braiding your beard is hardly stupid and definitely not a waste of time.

#36 LoweTek

  • 758 posts

Posted 30 December 2009 - 05:10 PM

QUOTE (tonyandpals @ Dec 30 2009, 09:02 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
LT - Just wondering if you made any progress on firing cable. I've recently been thinking about cutting the cord and reading through this thread has given me quite a few ideas.
Had a bit of a tack change when life intervened. Not long after I started this thread I accepted a new full time job. It is home office based and the company pays expenses for among other things, internet service and office telephone.

Sort of coincidentally, two things happened. DirecTV pissed me off with a rate increase and a lame 10 year subscriber anniversary "gift." And secondly, the cable company from which I get my internet service offerred a so called "triple play" of bundled services which included internet, phone and TV for less than $15 more than I was paying DTV. Their "double play," internet and phone, was just a few dollars less than I was paying DTV. My company reimburses the double-play cost.

So after yet another negative customer service experience with DTV mostly revolving around their anniversary gift**, I called the cable company and explained I was a, "potential competitive switch from DirecTV and was possibly interested in the internet, phone, and TV package..."

Long story short, within the past two weeks it's all done. Due to the competitive factor, the cable company added on a several free features included in the triple play price. I get a bunch of channels I actually watch. My net cost for more TV than I had with DTV (after my company's internet/phone reimbursement) is less than half what I was paying DTV. I'm happy with that and don't really have time or energy anymore to futz with the HTPC, online and antenna stuff.

**I was actually with DirecTV for over 15 years. They opened a new account one time a little over 10 years ago when I moved. Their anniversary gift was four free Sundays of NFL Sunday Ticket, except it was standard definition only. When I called them about this, explaining the standard definition feeds were unwatchable on a large HDTV, they blew me off saying, "Sorry we can't do that..." A couple of days later I got an email survey about the call to customer support. I told them what I thought. A couple of days after that, I got a boilerplate email saying, "We're sorry about your trouble with Sunday Ticket. Here's three months of Showtime free...." Combined with the deal from the local cable company and the reimbursements, that was the end of my relationship with DirecTV.

Interestingly, a few days later I was called by the DirecTV retention department and offered literally hundreds of dollars in incentives and free channels to change my mind. Too little, too late I'm afraid.

#37 Drocca


  • darrell foster wallace


  • 15131 posts

Posted 30 December 2009 - 06:50 PM

QUOTE (DLew On Roids @ Jun 12 2009, 02:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm taking baby steps in this regard, starting with pulling in OTA broadcasts over the next few weeks to test reception. I've read CR for different antenna options, and it looks like I can make do with a small interior omnidirectional antenna (19.1 miles from the local antenna farm). Anyone have any recommendations for a specific make/model?


For us out-of-towners, I bought myself Roku for Christmas and it will completely have me off cable with the ability to do MLB online.

Just as soon as Real World DC ends, of course.

#38 tonyandpals

  • 3285 posts

Posted 30 December 2009 - 09:30 PM

LT - Not what I wanted to hear!

Anyway your company would pay for my double play ;-)

Thanks for the info!

#39 Bucknahs Bum Ankle


  • SoSH Member


  • 8489 posts

Posted 31 December 2009 - 10:45 AM

I'm looking into ditching the Dish as well. A few questions:

QUOTE (LoweTek @ Jun 13 2009, 06:36 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have this one made by Terk. It is a bit pricey but small and easy to set up and is amplified. I get something like 30 channels with it. It has both directional and omnidirectional capability. Directional can actually improve reception for some circumstances.


It looks like that antenna connects to the TV via a coaxial cable. Does that give you true 1080P HD? I was under the impression (perhaps mistakenly) that you needed an HDMI connection for that.

I can now connect to the internet on my main TV via a PS3. We just got it set up and I've noticed that some shows on hulu.com say they aren't available using this format, or something like that. Is this a PS3 issue?

Also we tried streaming with Netflix last night and it took forever to browse available movies on the TV. Once it started streaming it worked well with no interruptions, but my TV is saying that it's only in 480i. Does anyone know if there is a way to stream in HD with a PS3? I do have it hooked up with an HDMI cable.

Has anyone tried using MLBTV with a PS3?

#40 B H Kim

  • 2690 posts

Posted 31 December 2009 - 11:03 AM

QUOTE (Bucknahs Bum Ankle @ Dec 31 2009, 10:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It looks like that antenna connects to the TV via a coaxial cable. Does that give you true 1080P HD? I was under the impression (perhaps mistakenly) that you needed an HDMI connection for that.


There aren't any over-the-air broadcasts in 1080p.

#41 tonyandpals

  • 3285 posts

Posted 31 December 2009 - 11:20 AM

QUOTE
It looks like that antenna connects to the TV via a coaxial cable. Does that give you true 1080P HD? I was under the impression (perhaps mistakenly) that you needed an HDMI connection for that.


You don't need HDMI for HD. Think of it this way... From the cabel perspectice, most content is delivered to your home on a coax cable. If an HD signal is coming your your home on coax, why would you need an HDMI cable to get hd. This assumes you have an HD tuner built into your TV. In your case, the coax from the antenna is fine.

QUOTE
I can now connect to the internet on my main TV via a PS3. We just got it set up and I've noticed that some shows on hulu.com say they aren't available using this format, or something like that. Is this a PS3 issue?


It's my understanding that PS3 blocks you from playing hulu content. Not sure if this applies to all hulu content, or just some.

QUOTE
Also we tried streaming with Netflix last night and it took forever to browse available movies on the TV. Once it started streaming it worked well with no interruptions, but my TV is saying that it's only in 480i. Does anyone know if there is a way to stream in HD with a PS3? I do have it hooked up with an HDMI cable.


Not all streaming netflix content is available in hd. When browsing there should be an HD icon for the HD content. My suggestion, setup your "Instant Queue" using your PC. Makes it much easier to browse.



#42 PortlandSoxFan


  • Father of Idontgiveafuckism


  • 5806 posts

Posted 31 December 2009 - 11:25 AM

I have an oldish Dell that I put the Windows 7 RC on...I'm going to put a legit copy of W7 on it, spiff it up a bit hardware wise (upgrade what I can, make it as quiet as possible), and try using it as a media center PC on our main TV. If it is good enough, I might ditch DirecTV entirely. The main thing stopping me is the Sox...if MLB lifted the blackouts it would be an absolute no brainer.

#43 Bucknahs Bum Ankle


  • SoSH Member


  • 8489 posts

Posted 31 December 2009 - 04:52 PM

QUOTE (B H Kim @ Dec 31 2009, 11:03 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There aren't any over-the-air broadcasts in 1080p.


So what is the resolution?

#44 fenwaypaul

  • 3090 posts

Posted 31 December 2009 - 05:10 PM

QUOTE (Bucknahs Bum Ankle @ Dec 31 2009, 04:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So what is the resolution?

For HD channels, it's 1080i or 720p. Blu-ray (and some games, I guess; not a gamer) will give you 1080p.

#45 PortlandSoxFan


  • Father of Idontgiveafuckism


  • 5806 posts

Posted 01 January 2010 - 01:54 PM

QUOTE (PortlandSoxFan @ Dec 31 2009, 11:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have an oldish Dell that I put the Windows 7 RC on...I'm going to put a legit copy of W7 on it, spiff it up a bit hardware wise (upgrade what I can, make it as quiet as possible), and try using it as a media center PC on our main TV. If it is good enough, I might ditch DirecTV entirely. The main thing stopping me is the Sox...if MLB lifted the blackouts it would be an absolute no brainer.


Ordered the parts yesterday...upgraded video card with HDMI out, WMC remote (at the very least so I can manually program my Harmony), and I actually have a HDTV tuner card that I've had for a couple of years that I couldn't get to work on Vista64; but it will evidently work with Win7.

The new Hulu Desktop app is pretty cool; and you can rig it up to work with Media Center....that right there takes care of most TV we would probably watch; we'll see what kind of stuff I get via OTA.

Again, the main sticking point is the Sox; which is why I'll never cancel DirecTV, I imagine.

#46 manny25

  • 982 posts

Posted 02 January 2010 - 07:57 AM

If the main sticking point is the Sox - why not just get extended basic cable? You should be able to get NESN, ESPN etc. in standard def. along with local channels in high definition for $20 a month.

I have pretty much the same setup you're looking for though - and I'm using an XBox 360 Arcade as an extender where I can watch live tv, recorded shows etc. in my master bedroom (only hookup is ethernet cable). My main HTPC records everything and stores my movie collection in the family room, but I eventually want to move it to the basement and get another extender for that room - will probably just get a full fledged 360 for playing games too.

#47 PortlandSoxFan


  • Father of Idontgiveafuckism


  • 5806 posts

Posted 02 January 2010 - 06:12 PM

I may do that (although I JUST switched to DSL from cable); but my reasoning is if I'm going to have the Sox on TV, I'm going to have it in HD. So I'll either keep DTV, or possibly switch to Comcast.

While a cost savings would be a nice benefit, my main goals are to have a more interactive TV experience, as well as possibly have the family watch less TV.

I can use the basement Wii as an extender with PlayOn software; I've been looking at Roku and the western digital style extenders for use with the HTPC.

#48 tonyandpals

  • 3285 posts

Posted 02 January 2010 - 08:35 PM

Anyone have experience here with PlayOn?

#49 PortlandSoxFan


  • Father of Idontgiveafuckism


  • 5806 posts

Posted 02 January 2010 - 08:42 PM

I played with it for a few weeks a while back..worked pretty well; my directv boxes worked as extenders.

#50 alydar

  • 89 posts

Posted 15 January 2011 - 09:58 PM

Wondering if anyone in the Boston area has ditched Comcast for cable TV and gone to over-the-air HDTV.... if so, a) what does Comcast now charge you per month for internet only, and b) what indoor antenna are you using, and how well does it work for standard channels?




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users