Cutting ties with Cable

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awintensiveporpoises
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Cutting ties with Cable

Post by awintensiveporpoises » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:13 am

Hello, all. This is my first post on Bogleheads, so I welcome your advice!

I'm looking to cut ties with my cable company. I currently pay around $105 (promotional) for a cable/internet package. I'm looking at options to pay only for internet, around 25 Mbps, to complement my purchase of either Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV. Hopefully, this will cut my monthly expense in half.

Anyone have any experience with this combination? Even though these set-tops come with the ESPN app & Bloomberg TV app, I'm still concerned I'll miss sports and the news of regular cable; TV shows I can do without, thanks to Netflix, HBO Go, etc.

Thanks.

Onyxmeth
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Onyxmeth » Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:30 am

If I were you, I would look into getting the Apple TV over the Fire TV unless you have a desire to play the Android based mobile type games the Fire TV will offer. I would then look up how to install XBMC on your set top box, or PM me and I can give you a hand with it. It will really open up what you can do with your box.

The reason I don't suggest the Fire TV is because it doesn't currently support HBO Go. I'm not sure if it will in the future.

BogLearner
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by BogLearner » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:18 am

I cut the cord two years ago and now pay $39.99 a month for 30 Mbps with Charter. The promotion started at $29.99 but has crept up. It can definitely be done although your dependence on sports is really the only challenge.

I use Netflix and Amazon Prime for streaming but I also installed an 80" OTA antenna to pick up NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox that are about 45 miles away. You may be farther from your affiliates than that but if you're any closer then it gets easier when you can use an indoor antenna like the Mohu Leaf. I also built an HTPC with Windows Media Center to use as a DVR. This allows me to watch the bulk of the things I was using cable TV for in the past. I am also a big college football fan but I happen to live in the town of my team so I'm able to attend the home games which means even if they're on ESPN it isn't a deal breaker for me. For away games that are on cable I usually go to a friend's house which isn't as convenient obviously.

I highly recommend cutting the cord and replacing it with streaming and OTA broadcasts. Adding an HTPC to use as a DVR will make the experience even better, although if your technical skills aren't quite at that level then you may have some alternatives, such as using a Tivo with the OTA signal. You'll have to pay for the Tivo service. Others may know of free alternatives. If you have any questions about what I've done I'll be happy to answer them.

Hawkeye_Saver
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Hawkeye_Saver » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:43 am

Boglearner, can you recommend a good antenna? I'm about 50 miles from the tower and I've been fighting my antenna http://www.amazon.com/Antennas-Direct-C ... 28&sr=1-11

Some days its crystal clear and I'll pick up about 20 channels, other days nothing. Not sure if it's my antenna, amplifier, or what. Sorry for the hijack question.

RDB
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by RDB » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:48 am

We are going on about 1 year now with no regrets. We have one Smart TV and one Roku that we use to stream Netflix and Hulu Plus (which I am about to cancel). It has been a big money and headache saver. We also have cheap antenna's from Target that work great.

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Cautious Optimist
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Cautious Optimist » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:50 am

BogLearner wrote: It can definitely be done although your dependence on sports is really the only challenge.
Can you say more about this..?? I am close to considering cutting the cable cord but am ignorant about the alternatives. I am a diehard Yankees fan (would need the YES network) as well as football.

katzmandu
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by katzmandu » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:53 am

XBMC + XBMC hub and done.

bloom2708
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:21 am

We have 4 Roku 3. OTA antenna, Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. Had to keep Cable for Internet. 50mb for $50/month. Basically our only option. But we are "fully utilizing" our internet now.

Apple and Amazon don't play, so choose wisely. Specs on the FireTV look good, but I won't replace my Roku 3 anytime soon.

Are you an "in market" Yankees fan or "out of market"?

MLB TV is available for $119 for the year, but you can only get "out of market" games. Roku has an awesome app. I'm sure the others do as well.

I am a Minnesota Twins fan, but live "in market". So it isn't a solution. My current solution is "watching" on the radio. Which does have advantages.

Cut the cable, watch TV more deliberately. There is no shortage of content and it is constantly growing. The "original" series are booming.
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BogLearner
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by BogLearner » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:26 am

Hawkeye_Saver wrote:Boglearner, can you recommend a good antenna? I'm about 50 miles from the tower and I've been fighting my antenna http://www.amazon.com/Antennas-Direct-C ... 28&sr=1-11

Some days its crystal clear and I'll pick up about 20 channels, other days nothing. Not sure if it's my antenna, amplifier, or what. Sorry for the hijack question.
First things first: I am not an engineer - just somebody who spends a lot of time on Wikipedia! How familiar are you with UHF vs. VHF signals? TV Fool (http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29) is an excellent resource for finding out what you are dealing with. My ABC affiliate is still on a VHF channel while the others have moved to UHF so that required that I use an antenna that could work for both. I use a Winegard HD7694P (http://www.amazon.com/Winegard-HD7694P- ... WX4AEW99C3). While your antenna mentions UHF and VHF capabilities, my layman understanding of antenna design is that the bowtie style antennas are really designed for UHF signal and you need a yagi style (like the one I use) for VHF. However, the Winegard also contains shorter folded dipole elements that are supposed to focus on UHF only.

If TVfool shows you that you have some VHF signals, you may find that a yagi antenna gives you better results. However, I've read that if you only have UHF signal then an antenna like yours is actually the better choice. If that's the case then you might just look at a much larger UHF antenna to increase the gain such as http://www.amazon.com/Antennas-Direct-C ... GKXE62QKP9 or http://www.amazon.com/Winegard-WGDHD880 ... GKXE62QKP9.

I've found that an amplifier isn't as essential as you might expect unless you're splitting the signal. Instead I'm using quad shielded RG6 cable going directly from the antenna to the HTPC to minimize interference and loss of signal. Unless your cable run is particularly long or you're using splitters then an amplifier doesn't have much to do. Remember, it can't really "boost" a signal that isn't there if your antenna is the problem. It can only help if the signal is being lost somewhere along the way from the antenna to your TV setup.

BogLearner
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by BogLearner » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:30 am

Cautious Optimist wrote:
BogLearner wrote: It can definitely be done although your dependence on sports is really the only challenge.
Can you say more about this..?? I am close to considering cutting the cable cord but am ignorant about the alternatives. I am a diehard Yankees fan (would need the YES network) as well as football.
Sadly I don't know much about baseball broadcasts since I live in the deep south and the only sport we know of is college football. However, as bloom2708 mentioned I think your best bet is MLB TV streaming. I have a few friends that use it and say it works great.

For football we get the 11 AM games on the local ABC / NBC affiliates but this may change with the upcoming SEC network. I can also get the SEC on CBS afternoon or evening games OTA. For cable games I don't have many options, although I have used ESPN3 for the games that are available. Unfortunately ESPN limits a lot of those broadcasts to WatchESPN now which requires a cable TV subscription and can still be blacked out if you are "in market." As I mentioned earlier, I am lucky to live in the town of my alma mater and favorite team so I just go to the games which ends up using the bulk of my Saturday anyway. I'm sorry I can't provide much more sports advice. If I didn't live so close to the games and was missing them because they were on cable I'm not sure I would have had the guts to cut the cord. Live sports are really the last thing keeping a lot of people still with cable and I certainly don't blame them.

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Cautious Optimist
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Cautious Optimist » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:40 am

BogLearner wrote:
Cautious Optimist wrote:
BogLearner wrote: It can definitely be done although your dependence on sports is really the only challenge.
Can you say more about this..?? I am close to considering cutting the cable cord but am ignorant about the alternatives. I am a diehard Yankees fan (would need the YES network) as well as football.
Sadly I don't know much about baseball broadcasts since I live in the deep south and the only sport we know of is college football. However, as bloom2708 mentioned I think your best bet is MLB TV streaming. I have a few friends that use it and say it works great.

For football we get the 11 AM games on the local ABC / NBC affiliates but this may change with the upcoming SEC network. I can also get the SEC on CBS afternoon or evening games OTA. For cable games I don't have many options, although I have used ESPN3 for the games that are available. Unfortunately ESPN limits a lot of those broadcasts to WatchESPN now which requires a cable TV subscription and can still be blacked out if you are "in market." As I mentioned earlier, I am lucky to live in the town of my alma mater and favorite team so I just go to the games which ends up using the bulk of my Saturday anyway. I'm sorry I can't provide much more sports advice. If I didn't live so close to the games and was missing them because they were on cable I'm not sure I would have had the guts to cut the cord. Live sports are really the last thing keeping a lot of people still with cable and I certainly don't blame them.
I'm an in market Yankee fan. I had a subscription to MLB TV when I lived out of market though so I suppose that could work. As for the NFL games I'd have to wing it. I do wonder when and how the issue with live sports will be resolved by these non-cable TV service providers. I assume its a matter of when, not if...

Hawkeye_Saver
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Hawkeye_Saver » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:44 am

BogLearner wrote:
Hawkeye_Saver wrote:Boglearner, can you recommend a good antenna? I'm about 50 miles from the tower and I've been fighting my antenna http://www.amazon.com/Antennas-Direct-C ... 28&sr=1-11

Some days its crystal clear and I'll pick up about 20 channels, other days nothing. Not sure if it's my antenna, amplifier, or what. Sorry for the hijack question.
First things first: I am not an engineer - just somebody who spends a lot of time on Wikipedia! How familiar are you with UHF vs. VHF signals? TV Fool (http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29) is an excellent resource for finding out what you are dealing with. My ABC affiliate is still on a VHF channel while the others have moved to UHF so that required that I use an antenna that could work for both. I use a Winegard HD7694P (http://www.amazon.com/Winegard-HD7694P- ... WX4AEW99C3). While your antenna mentions UHF and VHF capabilities, my layman understanding of antenna design is that the bowtie style antennas are really designed for UHF signal and you need a yagi style (like the one I use) for VHF. However, the Winegard also contains shorter folded dipole elements that are supposed to focus on UHF only.

If TVfool shows you that you have some VHF signals, you may find that a yagi antenna gives you better results. However, I've read that if you only have UHF signal then an antenna like yours is actually the better choice. If that's the case then you might just look at a much larger UHF antenna to increase the gain such as http://www.amazon.com/Antennas-Direct-C ... GKXE62QKP9 or http://www.amazon.com/Winegard-WGDHD880 ... GKXE62QKP9.

I've found that an amplifier isn't as essential as you might expect unless you're splitting the signal. Instead I'm using quad shielded RG6 cable going directly from the antenna to the HTPC to minimize interference and loss of signal. Unless your cable run is particularly long or you're using splitters then an amplifier doesn't have much to do. Remember, it can't really "boost" a signal that isn't there if your antenna is the problem. It can only help if the signal is being lost somewhere along the way from the antenna to your TV setup.
Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to spell that all out for me. Huge help! I didn't really know what the difference between mine and yours was. After looking at TVfool, it seems my needs are mostly for VHF signals so I'll be switching to the antenna you have. Oddly enough, I was already considering that antenna but couldn't figure out why it might be different that the one I have. Thanks again!

ieee488
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by ieee488 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:52 am

Seems to me you can't really say that you have cut the ties with cable, if you are still paying money to Comcast, Cablevision, Time Warner, whoever for their internet.
You are still paying the "cable" company even if you are not getting cable TV.
They are legally-protected thieves.

I just spent over 15 minutes on the telephone with Comcast rep about the $1.99 rental fee that they charge for their HD uDTA box.
Thankfully, I kept the letter from them telling me I get free rental for 2 years since I am a Limited Basic Cable customer.
The rep had the nerve to ask me the date of the letter.

Thieves.
Dell Optiplex 3020 (Win7 Pro), Dell Precision M6300 (Ubuntu Linux 12.04), Dell Precision M6300 (Win7 Pro), Dell Latitude D531 (Vista)

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Clever_Username
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Clever_Username » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:00 am

There are plenty of great live sports you can watch without a cable subscription. For reference, my television set has an antenna (not a great one), a desktop computer, a Roku, and an Xbox hooked up to it. I've had exactly one year of my adult life in which I had cable.

* Football (Spring/Summer): Cox 7 Phoenix has a Roku app and a website that both stream every game my beloved Rattlers play, in lovely HD. I'd have to do this even if I had cable, since I'm out of market (except, I guess, games where they play against the KISS). The league website also has links to streams to most games (some teams do this in HD, some in SD. More are moving up to HD)

* Football (Fall/Winter): For the other half of the year, the NFL airs four games OTA every Sunday (one FOX, one CBS, a second from one of those, and one NBC). NBC also streams theirs on their website, and I'd expect that the other two will get into this before too long. Furthermore, if the NFL is your main sport during those months, there is probably an inexpensive bar (relative to cable costs) to watch the games if your team isn't in market. Or your friends might be paying for cable anyway.

* Golf: the PGA Tour streams Thursday/Friday rounds pretty much always, and also have their wonderful live@ coverage that I enjoyed, even when I had cable. Some of the weekend rounds are streamed, too.

* The MLB and NHL have their own programs that you can subscribe to for far less than you'll pay for cable (MLB TV and NHL Center ice). I don't have experience with these.
"What was true then is true now. Have a plan. Stick to it." -- XXXX, _Layer Cake_

awintensiveporpoises
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by awintensiveporpoises » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:11 am

BogLearner wrote:I cut the cord two years ago and now pay $39.99 a month for 30 Mbps with Charter. The promotion started at $29.99 but has crept up. It can definitely be done although your dependence on sports is really the only challenge.

I use Netflix and Amazon Prime for streaming but I also installed an 80" OTA antenna to pick up NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox that are about 45 miles away. You may be farther from your affiliates than that but if you're any closer then it gets easier when you can use an indoor antenna like the Mohu Leaf. I also built an HTPC with Windows Media Center to use as a DVR. This allows me to watch the bulk of the things I was using cable TV for in the past. I am also a big college football fan but I happen to live in the town of my team so I'm able to attend the home games which means even if they're on ESPN it isn't a deal breaker for me. For away games that are on cable I usually go to a friend's house which isn't as convenient obviously.

I highly recommend cutting the cord and replacing it with streaming and OTA broadcasts. Adding an HTPC to use as a DVR will make the experience even better, although if your technical skills aren't quite at that level then you may have some alternatives, such as using a Tivo with the OTA signal. You'll have to pay for the Tivo service. Others may know of free alternatives. If you have any questions about what I've done I'll be happy to answer them.
Thanks for the responses, fellas. I'll definitely check out some of these options. I'm leaning toward Apple TV - b/c I'm not a big gamer and I piggyback off of an HBO Go subcription, so Fire TV isn't sounding like the best option for me.

30 Mbps is pretty good for $40/month - the best I've seen.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:18 am

Hawkeye_Saver wrote:Boglearner, can you recommend a good antenna? I'm about 50 miles from the tower and I've been fighting my antenna http://www.amazon.com/Antennas-Direct-C ... 28&sr=1-11

Some days its crystal clear and I'll pick up about 20 channels, other days nothing. Not sure if it's my antenna, amplifier, or what. Sorry for the hijack question.

Take out the amplifier.

Chances are good that you have a low bandwidth amplifier meant for analog signals. I had one of these. I removed it and added 20 more digital channels. Digital channels transmit farther (75 miles vs 50 for analog) and as you have probably seen are either there and perfect or they go away. If you have multiple tv's on the antenna, use a high speed splitter
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hdcd
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by hdcd » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:24 am

There is a podcast in iTunes called Cordkillers that I have found pretty excellent. They discuss this very subject.

Costco has an excellent OTA amplified antenna at a good price. Here in the LA area I get over 100 channels. A lot are foreign language though.

We have found all the programming we need on Netflix, OTA, Apple TV, Youtube. Local channel KTLA 5 also streams their news live over the net.

The problem I've found with the sports subscriptions is if you want to watch your local games when they are at home, most likely they will be blacked out. So it defeats the purpose.. Good luck!

Hawkeye_Saver
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Hawkeye_Saver » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:38 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Hawkeye_Saver wrote:Boglearner, can you recommend a good antenna? I'm about 50 miles from the tower and I've been fighting my antenna http://www.amazon.com/Antennas-Direct-C ... 28&sr=1-11

Some days its crystal clear and I'll pick up about 20 channels, other days nothing. Not sure if it's my antenna, amplifier, or what. Sorry for the hijack question.

Take out the amplifier.

Chances are good that you have a low bandwidth amplifier meant for analog signals. I had one of these. I removed it and added 20 more digital channels. Digital channels transmit farther (75 miles vs 50 for analog) and as you have probably seen are either there and perfect or they go away. If you have multiple tv's on the antenna, use a high speed splitter
How do you know if its a high or low bandwidth amplifier? When I unplug it the signal goes to junk. This is what I have. http://www.amazon.com/Winegard-HDP269-A ... =amplifier

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Sunny Sarkar
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Sunny Sarkar » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:43 am

I've been sans cable for 2 years now, and here are my basic takeaways...
[*]The money saved is great.
[*]The freedom to watch shows at my own time is awesome. So is the freedom to binge watch multiple older episodes continuously.
[*]Some cable channels are fighting back and won't let you view their content unless you have a cable subscription. HBO is obvious, but the one that really hurts is ESPN. Stuff they used to show on over the air channels are also being pulled into ESPN - like Australian Open tennis finals this year.
[*]Every streaming device (roku, apple tv, chromecast, dvd/blu-ray player, etc.) is restricted by the apps available on them, so while they mostly work fine for the big prominent providers like netflix & youtube, there is always something that you want to see but can't. The solution that worked for me was to hook up a cheap Windows PC desktop via HDMI to my TVs. Even cheap & somewhat old PCs are ok - I'm using an old 2008 PC on one of my TVs and it works just fine.
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ajcp
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by ajcp » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:48 am

Cautious Optimist wrote:I do wonder when and how the issue with live sports will be resolved by these non-cable TV service providers. I assume its a matter of when, not if...
I'm sure eventually it will happen, but I wouldn't be holding my breath. There's billions of dollars being spent forcing people like you to choose between getting rid of cable and keeping sports.

surfer1
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by surfer1 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:52 am

Just the other day, I called to have my cable bill reduced because the discount package expired. Downgrading to internet + phone was the same price as internet + phone + tv. That's one of the ways the cable companies get you to stick with their "triple play" plans. If you can deal with just internet, that's your best bet. It will be around $39 or $49 a month. Get yourself an Amazon digital antenna for $30 and you can get the basic TV channels free. You just plug the antenna's coaxial cable into the same plug in your tv where the cable box cable went.

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Don_Qua
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Don_Qua » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:07 am

I threw Comcast TV out of our house when they started to encrypt even limited basic. Because we watch most of our TV on PC's and laptops via a Silicondust Homerun box keeping Comcast for TV would've meant we'd have to buy 2 more TV's and rent several of their decryption boxes to accommodate Comcast's downgrade (no more HD) in service. I got an antenna for OTA TV but but I was left with little choice but to keep the Comcast thieves around for Internet. Comcast cut me a deal, they'd sell us 25 megabit Internet service for $45.99 per month for one year. There are no taxes or franchise fees on that either, surprisingly $45.99 is the out the door price. But after a year I fully expect them to jack up the price to close to $75 a month for the same service, because they can. We have a VOIP landline from somebody else over our Comcast Internet connection and we're happy with the antenna for TV so there will not be a triple play in our future.

oxothuk
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by oxothuk » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:21 am

ajcp wrote:I'm sure eventually it will happen, but I wouldn't be holding my breath. There's billions of dollars being spent forcing people like you to choose between getting rid of cable and keeping sports.
Consider watching sports at your local brewpub, and compare that to what you are paying for cable. It's almost like getting the beer for free.

granpa
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by granpa » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:27 am

Is there a streaming device that has buffering sufficient that my 1.5MB DSL will let me stream movies?
(1.5MB is max I can get.)
Or is there some other way to stream them with the 1.5?
Thanks!

ajcp
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by ajcp » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:29 am

oxothuk wrote:
ajcp wrote:I'm sure eventually it will happen, but I wouldn't be holding my breath. There's billions of dollars being spent forcing people like you to choose between getting rid of cable and keeping sports.
Consider watching sports at your local brewpub, and compare that to what you are paying for cable. It's almost like getting the beer for free.
Depends on the sport. Someone who only cares about football could maybe get away with it, but a baseball fan would have a tough time. Plus even if they're not getting you're money, you're still paying more than you should have to.

BogLearner
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by BogLearner » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:38 am

granpa wrote:Is there a streaming device that has buffering sufficient that my 1.5MB DSL will let me stream movies?
(1.5MB is max I can get.)
Or is there some other way to stream them with the 1.5?
Thanks!
I think that's going to be a real challenge. I have to assume 1.5 Mbps is the advertised speed so what you're actually getting is even slower (try http://speedtest.net for a ballpark) not to mention if you're using WiFi you'll have the usual signal interference. Many of the streaming devices can be wired with ethernet cables in addition to wireless like the WD TV Live and the Roku 3 or the various gaming consoles. If your speedtest results are close to the advertised 1.5 Mbps and you have the option to wire your streaming device to maintain the optimal signal then I'd say you have a shot. How well does YouTube work for you? Try watching some movie trailers on YouTube or something equally official that is offered in 720p or 1080p and see how well it streams.

Trust me, you have my sympathies. Few things upset me more than the poor state of internet offerings in many places around the country. Sometimes the best options in a given area are outrageously expensive and seriously under-perform (kind of like bad 401k plans!).

hmw
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by hmw » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:42 am

To the OP, how do you plan to get HBO Go if you don't have cable subscription? We really want to watch Game of Thrones on HBO and unfortunately HBO does not sell HBO GO without cable. So we got an internet service and the most basic cable TV. We just called yesterday to add HBO to our service so we can watch the start of the GOT season. Once GOT season is over, we will cancel HBO and the basic TV package and keep the internet only. We use Hulu plus, Amazon Prime and Netflix. That's more than enough TV entertainment for us.

oxothuk
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by oxothuk » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:54 am

granpa wrote:Is there a streaming device that has buffering sufficient that my 1.5MB DSL will let me stream movies?
(1.5MB is max I can get.)
Or is there some other way to stream them with the 1.5?
Thanks!
I had 1.5MB DSL for years and was able to stream movies from Netflix on my Roku. Not in HD, however. I usually got 2 or 3 stars on the Netflix connection, which provided picture quality equivalent to a good VHS tape. Good enough to be watchable.

IIRC, the first generation of AppleTV boxes would buffer the entire movie (purchased from iTunes) on a local hard disk. More recent models are streaming-only.

Agwapijaw
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Agwapijaw » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:40 am

+1 on the Roku 3.

I have 3 Roku's and 1 1st gen apple TV (Roku 1, Roku 2 XD and a Roku 3.) The Apple TV sits in a box right now as the Roku's provide IMHO, a cleaner interface while consuming under 4 watts of power.

I've been cable free for 5 years now using Roku for Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO Go, Showtime, Epic, and NHL / MLB Live. I also was able to get NFL via a madden pass last year (i'm hoping they repeat that deal.)

For OTA I built a 6 dollar antena that picks up signals from 50+ miles away in clear crisp 1080p.

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Random Musings
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Random Musings » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:57 am

As others have said, cutting ties with Cable is doable - but you better not be a big sports fan. I used to be, but as I've gotten older, I have lost interest in watching sports and would rather do other things - doing versus watching.

On average, family watches about 2 hours a day streaming - about 1 hr for kids and 1 hr for adults. There is enough choices between Netflix and attenae to fill that need. If we really want to watch a newer movie, Redbox is cheap.

RM
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awintensiveporpoises
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by awintensiveporpoises » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:22 pm

hmw wrote:To the OP, how do you plan to get HBO Go if you don't have cable subscription? We really want to watch Game of Thrones on HBO and unfortunately HBO does not sell HBO GO without cable. So we got an internet service and the most basic cable TV. We just called yesterday to add HBO to our service so we can watch the start of the GOT season. Once GOT season is over, we will cancel HBO and the basic TV package and keep the internet only. We use Hulu plus, Amazon Prime and Netflix. That's more than enough TV entertainment for us.
We piggyback on someone else's HBO subscription, and give them our Netflix info. The CEO of HBO has actually encouraged this, so I don't even feel guilty about it.

sscritic
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by sscritic » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:23 pm

Re sports: there are 12 step programs for addicts. I used to be a sports addict, but when I cut the cable, it was mostly cold turkey for me. After a few years of not watching sports, I found that the cravings had subsided if not completely disappeared.

I watched zero minutes of the recent Winter Olympics and didn't miss any of it, in spite of the fact that my daughter was a figure skater and we went to Calgary in 1988.

oxothuk
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by oxothuk » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:09 pm

awintensiveporpoises wrote:We piggyback on someone else's HBO subscription, and give them our Netflix info. The CEO of HBO has actually encouraged this, so I don't even feel guilty about it.
What about the CEO of Netflix? I'm pretty sure that violates their TOS.

Agwapijaw
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Agwapijaw » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:00 pm

I solved the HBO go issue by just buying it on a friends subscription. I just auto cut him a check for 15 bucks. He doesnt mind and the CEO of HBO pushes for it. Should this become an issue in the future I wouldnt mind much. I only ever watch 1 show, but maintain the whole year of subcription. It would be nice if HBO allows a 10 buck a month subscription.



Trading netflix for HBO is a direct violation of the Netflix TOS.

songman52
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Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:20 pm

Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by songman52 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:24 pm

Great thread, thanks. I got an indoor antenna, that didn't work well for me, and returned it. Rather than giving up I am now encouraged by all of the advice here. Thanks much!

sscritic
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by sscritic » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:40 pm

songman52 wrote:Great thread, thanks. I got an indoor antenna, that didn't work well for me, and returned it. Rather than giving up I am now encouraged by all of the advice here. Thanks much!
I actually use a small outdoor antenna indoors.* My kids think it is ugly as sin, but I think it's not cardinal ugly, only venial ugly. It gets all my Chinese channels with my Chinese soaps, so that's all I need.

I am lying again. When I bought my house and moved, I could still get nine Chinese language channels, but I could no longer get
* Skyline2 31.5 天下衛視
* TBWTV 31.7 世界電視
* WCETV 31.8 銀視數碼台
* A DB2 equivalent, but not the real thing
http://www.antennasdirect.com/store/DB2-Antenna.html

Trev H
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by Trev H » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:25 pm

We live out in the country... no cable available... but we have had either Dish Network or Direct TV the past 15 years or so.

I cut the cord on that just a couple of months ago.

We have DSL internet service and have a Roku 3 streamer... we get lots of free channels there, including youtube... and have paid service for Netflix and Hulu Plus.

I also installed a long range uni-directional over the air digital antenna and we get all of our local channels that way (and the picture quality is outstanding, many in 1080p). We get a total of 22 channels over the air for FREE.

I now pay around $16.00 a month for TV (Netflix and Hulu Plus) - Not counting what I pay for internet service (which my company pays that for me). Happy !

Trev H

awintensiveporpoises
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by awintensiveporpoises » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:49 pm

oxothuk wrote:
awintensiveporpoises wrote:We piggyback on someone else's HBO subscription, and give them our Netflix info. The CEO of HBO has actually encouraged this, so I don't even feel guilty about it.
What about the CEO of Netflix? I'm pretty sure that violates their TOS.
I pay for my Netflix account. If that violates their terms of service, why do they give an option to create multiple "profiles," each with their own specific settings?

DSInvestor
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by DSInvestor » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:54 pm

I showed my brother the Mohu Leaf Antenna, an apple TV with netflix and hulu subscriptions. He cut his cable tv subscription the next day. The mohu leaf antenna is pretty good and is very thin. Can be taped to the back of the tv, a picture or to a window, mounted under a kitchen cabinet.
Last edited by DSInvestor on Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wiki

sscritic
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by sscritic » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:54 pm

awintensiveporpoises wrote: I pay for my Netflix account. If that violates their terms of service, why do they give an option to create multiple "profiles," each with their own specific settings?
Perhaps that is intended for members of the same family living in the same household. Why don't you read your TOS and see what it says? I no longer have Netflix (and they do a pretty good job of hiding things on their website) or I might try to read it for you.

awintensiveporpoises
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by awintensiveporpoises » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:58 pm

sscritic wrote:
awintensiveporpoises wrote: I pay for my Netflix account. If that violates their terms of service, why do they give an option to create multiple "profiles," each with their own specific settings?
Perhaps that is intended for members of the same family living in the same household. Why don't you read your TOS and see what it says? I no longer have Netflix (and they do a pretty good job of hiding things on their website) or I might try to read it for you.
Meh, I really don't care. The current situation works for me, thanks.

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ryuns
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by ryuns » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:44 pm

Agwapijaw wrote:I solved the HBO go issue by just buying it on a friends subscription. I just auto cut him a check for 15 bucks. He doesnt mind and the CEO of HBO pushes for it. Should this become an issue in the future I wouldnt mind much. I only ever watch 1 show, but maintain the whole year of subcription. It would be nice if HBO allows a 10 buck a month subscription.



Trading netflix for HBO is a direct violation of the Netflix TOS.
I'm not here to teach morals, but just to clarify, the CEO didn't actually "encourage" that behavior. It was taken out of context. http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/201 ... twork.html

However, HBO does put people in a tough position, since they're soooo restrictive about how to get their programming, so it's hard to feel too badly about it. If he WAS concerned about password sharing, he could always make it an a la carte option. I'd pay $10/mo for HBO Go if I could just cancel when I caught up with everything. As it stands, if you don't mind being behind a season or two, you can always sign up for the Netflix DVD service occasionally, or just post to your Facebook something along the lines of "Hey if anyone has Game of Thrones, I'll pay you $5/season", which is what I'm considering.
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton

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ryuns
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by ryuns » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:51 pm

Sunny Sarkar wrote: [*]Every streaming device (roku, apple tv, chromecast, dvd/blu-ray player, etc.) is restricted by the apps available on them, so while they mostly work fine for the big prominent providers like netflix & youtube, there is always something that you want to see but can't. The solution that worked for me was to hook up a cheap Windows PC desktop via HDMI to my TVs. Even cheap & somewhat old PCs are ok - I'm using an old 2008 PC on one of my TVs and it works just fine.
Agree with this. Another bonus is that you don't have to use Hulu Plus (since you're not using a mobile device or app) and you can save the $8 + tax. The extra features on Hulu Plus are really not worth much to me, and it seems odd that $8/mo earns me the right to watch precisely the same number of commercials. I bought a three year old refurb PC with i5 processor and 4gb RAM and have had pretty decent luck casting windows using my Chromecast. It gets a little choppy and HDMI is easy, so it's not really worth it to me, but folks with newer PCs might find the $35 dongle worth the money.
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton

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magellan
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Re: Cutting ties with Cable

Post by magellan » Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:16 pm

Aereo might be a good option if you live in a city they operate in and can't get decent OTA reception.
Aereo website wrote:Aereo membership begins at $8 per month, for access to Aereo’s cloud-based antenna/DVR technology and 20 hours of DVR storage. For an additional $4, consumers can upgrade their subscription and receive 60 hours of DVR storage for a total of $12 per month. Consumers who join Aereo will get their first of month of access for free. Aereo’s technology works on ‘smart’ devices from tablets to phones to laptop computers. Aereo is currently supported on iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and devices running Android operating system version 4.1 or higher. Aereo is also supported on Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Opera, AppleTV (via airplay) and Roku platforms
One downside is that a pending Supreme Court case, scheduled for arguments this month, could shut them down.

Jim

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