Ideas for avoiding cable

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paulsiu
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Ideas for avoiding cable

Post by paulsiu » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:56 am

My wife really wants to get cable. I can't justify spending $100 a month for it and get really bad service. My past experience with cable have always resulted in me getting rid of it. Because they are mostly an monopoly, they don't seemed all that interested in customer service. Competition like FIOS and U-verse have change the landscape a bit, but cable is still a monopoly in my area.

I hooked up a DB2 antenna and was able to get virtually all of the station in the area except channel 2. We then use hulu to watch shows that we missed on channel 2. This arrangement worked pretty well for several years except recently she couldn't watch the Superbowl because it was on channel 2 (ironically, in my family my wife is interested in Superbowl and cars and I am not)

One reason to get cable is to watch movies. For about $10 a month, one can rent one movie at a time and watch unlimitedly on the net. Obviously, it's probably still cheaper to borrow from library and friends. Redbox for example rent for $1 a night, but I suppose there is the time saving factor for netflix.

Is anyone here anti-cable? What's your opinon of netflix. Do you know of alternatives?

Bob's not my name
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Post by Bob's not my name » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:07 am

I didn't know anyone still watched TV. Next thing you're going to say you still have a landline phone and read your news on paper.

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Rob5TCP
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Post by Rob5TCP » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:26 am

$100 for cable - I bought the triple play; internet, phone and cable for about $95 (plus Verizon's phone whore "taxes" add about another $20). The cable part is roughly $30.

If you need to break check out hulu.com

Quite a number of shows are there every week soon after they are broadcast.

Otherwise check out your local triple play or maybe direct tv.

slick_dealer_05
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Post by slick_dealer_05 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:39 am

Free online TV player
http://www.tvunetworks.com/

northend
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Post by northend » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:44 am

We don't subscribe to cable either. Like you I don't see much value. But were not sports nuts, so it hasn't been a big deal.

Besides my 80 year old mother-in-law subscribes to cable with video on demand and my spouse spends one night a week over there anyway to check on mom.

We don't subscribe to Netflix mainly because the library and Red Box are just a few blocks away and have plenty of movies for free or a buck.

Maybe the solution is to compromise. Subscribe to cable without the premium channels just during football season. Or go to a motel with cable TV for the Superbowl

natureexplorer
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Post by natureexplorer » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:52 am

Antenna. Free and includes superbowl even in HD.

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Rob5TCP
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Post by Rob5TCP » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:53 am

While Firefox's WOT rates this site as trustworthy - Mcafee's site adviser describes the download used from them as adware/spyware.

Need to check this further.

Here is Mcafee's review

http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/tvunet ... 0&pip=true


Here is the site mentioned above.

http://www.tvunetworks.com/

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soaring
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Post by soaring » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:53 am

Bob's not my name wrote:I didn't know anyone still watched TV. Next thing you're going to say you still have a landline phone and read your news on paper.
Suppose you were in jest but...You bet we have a landline ph. No need for cell after retirement and cell ph. sure costs more than $12.50 (+taxes) which is my cost for landline (magic jack for LD). Wife likes ink and paper in her hand so she reads USA today but won't read it on line.

And to the OP in most cases there are choices vs cable....two satellite providers.
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iceport
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Re: Ideas for avoiding cable

Post by iceport » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:58 am

paulsiu wrote:Is anyone here anti-cable? What's your opinon of netflix. Do you know of alternatives?
Yes, I'm anti-cable. We went the rabbit ears route for a while, and then on to some sort of amplified (powered) TV-top antenna. It was a royal pain for a few years. Then we just bit the bullet and sprung for "basic basic" -- the kind most cable companies don't even tell you about unless you ask for it. (Even then, it might take some persistence before they admit it's an option.) Well worth it, but then again we sort of lucked out. It seems the cable infrastructure is so old in our neighborhood that they don't filter out lots of regular cable channels (news networks, mostly).

It was something like $12/mo. maybe 7 years ago, and it's gone up to $17 now, all federal and state taxes included.

Trouble is, no good movie channels. The Netflix limited plan (2/mo.) seems too limited for $5/mo, and the cheapest unlimited plan, at $9/mo., has seemed too expensive.

--Pete

caklim00
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Re: Ideas for avoiding cable

Post by caklim00 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:01 am

paulsiu wrote:I hooked up a DB2 antenna and was able to get virtually all of the station in the area except channel 2. We then use hulu to watch shows that we missed on channel 2. This arrangement worked pretty well for several years except recently she couldn't watch the Superbowl because it was on channel 2 (ironically, in my family my wife is interested in Superbowl and cars and I am not)
The DB2 is a UHF only antenna, which is why you aren't able to get channel 2 which is low VHF. You might be able to pick up high VHF stations with the DB2, but for low you would be better off with a cheap set of rabbit ears. How far are you from the broadcasting towers? I have a cheap amplified set of rabbit ears and I typically have no problem picking up most UHF/VHF stations in my area.

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LadyGeek
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Post by LadyGeek » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:09 am

First, I'm with your wife, so I don't see any irony here. :)

You're missing the "happiness factor" here. She's not happy, which means you're not happy. Get the cable.

I've got one mean OTA (Over The Air) system (16 element UHF Channelmaster Yagi and preamp, etc.). (caklim00 - Before the HD transition, all the ATSC broadcast stations were on UHF. After the transition, Philly local WPVI-HD (6) and WHYY-HD (12) reverted back to their VHF channels. I'll have to rethink my antenna / preamp situation in the Spring.)

I've got cable. Why? I'm into sports big time. Comcast owns the broadcast rights to my Philadelphia Flyers (and Sixers if I followed basketball). Cable is the only option. In the Philly area, that means Comcast or Verizon FiOS, which also carries Comcast Sportsnet.

Movies are only one reason for cable, which I don't care about. If your wife is into the Superbowl, perhaps she's also into sports. Verizon FiOS carries NHL, MLB, NFL, and NBA networks. All in HD. Not to mention all the sports packages.

There's also the hundreds of other channels like Discovery, History, Science, news, etc. I'd mention the shopping channels, but I consider them a waste of bandwidth.

I can watch Hockey Night in Canada on NHL Network every Saturday night except tonight as local blackout restrictions apply. Flyers at Canadiens, on Comcast Sportsnet.

Ask your wife to research some cable / FiOS packages. You can get some pretty good phone / internet / TV bundles.
Last edited by LadyGeek on Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Bob's not my name
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Post by Bob's not my name » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:09 am

soaring wrote:Suppose you were in jest
Nope. No TV. No landline. No paper.

Don't know why anyone would use a landline when you have to have a cell anyway and videochatting is superior for longer, personal calls.

The one or two things worth watching on TV can be had on Hulu. You save the occupied space and ugliness of a TV, never mind the cost.

I can't think of any reason to get a newspaper. Don't have a parrot.

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SpringMan
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Post by SpringMan » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:14 am

A good outdoor antenna will pull in nice quality HD TV free from over the air but may not get your favorite cable channels. The problem, as I see it, is many alternative options for TV require high speed internet to work well and who provides high speed internet, the same companies that provide cable TV. We pay $125 per month for high speed internet, cable TV, and unlimited phone (VOIP), this includes a DVR and wireless capability. Nothing I would like better than to get out from under the monthly bill but the alternatives are not available in our area, i.e. free broadband. We cheap out in other areas, like our cell phone costs $7.50 per month (Virgin Mobile).
Best Wishes, SpringMan

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Re: Ideas for avoiding cable

Post by sscritic » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:31 am

caklim00 wrote:The DB2 is a UHF only antenna, which is why you aren't able to get channel 2 which is low VHF.
The virtual channel is the number the station uses for advertising and the number that shows up on your tv tuner. That is not the real channel that the station broadcasts on. Channel 2 can easily be broadcast on a UHF channel. For example, KCBS 2 Los Angeles uses virtual channel 2 for advertising themselves, but broadcasts on digital channel 43, a UHF channel. Your antenna and tv get KCBS on channel 43, and the DB2 does a great job. The DB2 doesn't do a good job on KTTV in Los Angeles, which uses virtual channel 11 and digital channel 11.

Your diagnoses of Paul's problem is probably correct: Paul's channel 2 uses digital channel 2 as well as virtual channel 2. I have never understood why the FCC allowed stations to use the VHF band for television after the transition. It forces people to buy two antennas that are shaped completely differently in standard form (one vertical, one horizontal), and defeats part of the purpose of the transition, to free up bandwidth for other uses. I don't know all the technical details; perhaps the VHF band is not useful for anything except tv.

The fcc has the complete list of digital and virtual channels.
http://www.dtv.gov/stationlist.htm

Added Edit: There are only seven stations in the US that use digital channel 2, and only four of them also use virtual channel 2.

Code: Select all

BANGOR	        ME	NBC	WLBZ
GRAND JUNCTION	CO	CBS	KREX-TV (channel 5)
JACKSON 	      WY	NBC	KJWY
LAS VEGAS        NV	NBC	KVBC (channel 3)
NORTH PLATTE     NE	NBC	KNOP-TV
FLAGSTAFF        AZ	NBC	o
RAPID CITY       SD	ABC	KOTA-TV (channel 3)
I can't figure out the Flagstaff station, so the real number might be three.
Last edited by sscritic on Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by OAG » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:38 am

"Basic - Basic" about $17.50 a month from cable company. We also get the Cable Internet from the same vendor - total bill is $53 and change. Strangely enough one of my monitors for the DT Computer (which also has a TV converter built in get several HD channels (great pictures for Football). Since I will not give up the Internet via Cable the TV add-on is cheap. Hula, Pandora (for music) and free Public Library DVD's are fine.

No land line either, just Cell for $10 a month (piggyback on F&F). No magazines or newspapers - it is all at the Library or on-line.
OAG=Old Army Guy. Retired CW4 USA (US Army) in 1979 21 years of service @ 38.

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Post by fsrph » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:53 am

soaring wrote:And to the OP in most cases there are choices vs cable....two satellite providers.
I have cable but I'm thinking of changing. As others have posted, "basic cable" won't cost anywhere near $100/month. More like $20-30/month, if that. I'm leaning more to the satellite providers myself. I don't know if we are allowed to use brand names here, but just check your Sunday newspaper. Usually you will see a satellite provider with a promo rate of $24.99 - 29.99 for 120+ channels. This rate includes installation and local channels. The rate is for 1 year, but I would take it one step at a time and see what offers are available after the year is up.

Francis

tim1999
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Post by tim1999 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:21 am

I have the unadvertised "basic basic" $20/month cable. And that's only because due to a mountain next to my house, I can only receive one channel using an antenna. What's nice is that for whatever reason, I get about 10 cable channels that I'm not supposed to, and they are channels I like - weather channel, VH1, etc. Don't rat me out to the cable company. :wink:

I can't imagine paying $100/month for cable. Most of it is junk anyway. I just don't watch TV that much, maybe 30 minutes every other day. I spend that money on other things I enjoy though.

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Post by Valuethinker » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:38 am

Bob's not my name wrote:I didn't know anyone still watched TV. Next thing you're going to say you still have a landline phone and read your news on paper.
Check and check to 2 and 3.

But TV? Don't own one.

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Post by TheEternalVortex » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:47 am

soaring wrote:
Bob's not my name wrote:I didn't know anyone still watched TV. Next thing you're going to say you still have a landline phone and read your news on paper.
Suppose you were in jest but...
I don't watch live TV (only watch shows on DVD or streaming), don't have a landline, and don't read news on paper. I suspect it's quite common.

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teacher
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Post by teacher » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:47 am

We had a giant antenna installed on our roof in 1979. We get crystal clear reception on our HD TVs. I am thinking that since we don't know what we are missing, we do not have a reason to spend money on cable or dish. However, when U-Verse comes to our area, we will likely consider stepping into the 21st century. That is one our planned retirement treats.

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Post by dratkinson » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:56 am

I don't have cable. Instead my home has a master antenna system (large roof-top VHF/UHF antenna) cabled to all TVs. Watched the Super Bowl on that.

I would like to receive more and more-current movies, but not enough to subscribe to cable.

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Post by ClaireTN » Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:05 am

We use Netflix and love it. We don't watch enough TV to justify having cable. Our rabbit ears work just fine for what we do watch.

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Re: Ideas for avoiding cable

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:19 am

sscritic wrote:I have never understood why the FCC allowed stations to use the VHF band for television after the transition. It forces people to buy two antennas that are shaped completely differently in standard form (one vertical, one horizontal), and defeats part of the purpose of the transition, to free up bandwidth for other uses. I don't know all the technical details; perhaps the VHF band is not useful for anything except tv.
There are a myriad of topics here, let me take a shot:

1- The VHF frequency band is highly coveted by the broadcasters. Due to its lower frequency (longer wavelength), you can transmit with less power and still achieve about the same effectiveness as a higher power UHF broadcast. When you want to reach a large audience, VHF is much better than UHF - bigger bang for the buck, so to speak. The broadcasters fought long and hard to keep their channels. The stations that were able to go back to VHF considered themselves fortunate.
Source: TV Fool Discussion Thread on AVS forum. Caution: Highly technical, better to google for "VHF UHF Frequency bands" and "RF Propagation". This thread is by the developer of the TV Fool website. Highly recommended if you want to understand which channels you can receive in your area as well as get suggestions on what you need.

The RF propagation properties in the VHF frequency band make this a highly used spectrum by many, many services other than TV. Public service (police, fire), FM broadcast (88 MHz - 108 MHz), and aircraft (108 MHz - 136 MHz) for example.

2- It's not the shape, its the size of the antenna. The higher the frequency, the smaller the antenna. There's a very large gap between VHF and UHF (VHF stops at 216 MHz, UHF starts at 470 MHz). It's not cost effective to build a single antenna that covers the entire range, so you need one for each. A large one for VHF, a small one for UHF.

Your TV antenna orientation should be horizontal, which matches how the broadcasters do it (horizontal polarization). Source: Common TV Antenna Types. Caution: highly technical.

There are easier to read references, but it's what I could find on short notice. Note my avatar is a TV test pattern...
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Post by MWCA » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:21 pm

You can negotiate with your cable company. We went from 125 for cable internet and Tv to 86 a month with a few premium channel. This lasts for 12 months. Then when its up call them again and negotiate. If you dont get what you like then cancel.
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Post by Rick_29T9W » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:48 pm

I do not have cable. I just have an old mid-1990s 13-inch TV set with an amplified rabbit ears antenna. In the part of Arizona where I live, most of the over-the-air TV channels are still analog. The nearest mountaintop television translator was exempt from the digital transition requirements and is still analog. Without the converter box, I still get 5 analog channels. When I tried using a converter box, I got one digital channel but lost all the analog channels.

After a summer thunderstorm, the TV channels from the mountaintop translator sometimes disappear for several days. The same thing also sometimes happens during snow storms, even here in Northern Arizona. We lost television reception twice this winter, once during a snow storm and the other time during a 75 MPH windstorm.

I plan to give Netflix a try. With Netflix, I could hang on to each DVD as long as I want before returning it by mail. I have never used ordinary video rental services, because I would be forced to drive into town each time, just to return a DVD. I normally only drive into town about once or twice a week. With Netflix that would not be a problem.

I realize that Netflix also now has the option of downloading movies over the Internet, but I would probably just choose the DVD by mail method instead. Netflix would probably be much less expensive than cable in most cases, unless an unusually inexpensive basic plan is available. For some reason, cable or satellite just does not appeal to me.

If I had cable or satellite, I would probably get addicted to watching television and spend too many hours watching TV. Besides that, it would require a significant monthly fee. For Internet access, I am happy with my 1.5 Mb DSL connection from the telephone company, which seems quite fast to me. An Internet connection from the cable company would be somewhat faster, but I doubt that I would notice the difference. By the way, I also still have a landline telephone and rarely ever use my cell phone.
Last edited by Rick_29T9W on Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by bmelikia » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:14 pm

Netflix. . .
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Post by Chuck » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:51 pm

I am using netflix and amazon with my roku. Amazon can fill the gap with new TV shows for $1.99 per episode. That seems like a lot, when when I realize I was paying $3/day for cable (whether I watched it or not) it looked better.

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Post by expat » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:26 pm

I cancelled the television portion of my cable and kept high speed internet.

Though I don't use it, the television portion still works from what I can tell.

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Post by Thor OnionLover » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:01 pm

Very slow adopter here. Latched on to basic cable for the first time, just about five years ago. Still watching TV on basic cable.

Still using a land line for my phone at home, live and die by it. You can have my land line when you pry it someday from my cold dead fingers.

Anyone who works in telephone customer service can tell you the differences between taking calls from cell callers and from land-line callers. My land line has never "dropped" on me yet. I do own a cell phone, pre-paid minutes only. Carry it around with me when I'm traveling around outside of the home. Actual cell usage by me ? About 30 minutes per year.

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soaring
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Post by soaring » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:16 pm

Bob's not my name wrote:
soaring wrote:Suppose you were in jest
Nope. No TV. No landline. No paper.

Don't know why anyone would use a landline when you have to have a cell anyway and videochatting is superior for longer, personal calls.

The one or two things worth watching on TV can be had on Hulu. You save the occupied space and ugliness of a TV, never mind the cost.

I can't think of any reason to get a newspaper. Don't have a parrot.
I didn't know anyone still watched TV. Next thing you're going to say you still have a landline phone and read your news on paper.
The jest is that you "didn't know anyone still watched TV" etc not anything to do with if you do or don't do those things. To each his own was my point and obviously there are many doing it both ways.

Also I'm not sure what you mean when you say
when you have to have a cell anyway and videochatting is superior for longer, personal calls.
As I wrote there is no need for a cell phone for me but obviously for you there is a need. Again just not everyone.

Anyway no argument here just the first time was just trying to make fun that you said "didn't know anyone still watched TV".

take care
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Post by catdude » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:34 pm

Cherokee8215 wrote:I have the unadvertised "basic basic" $20/month cable. And that's only because due to a mountain next to my house, I can only receive one channel using an antenna. What's nice is that for whatever reason, I get about 10 cable channels that I'm not supposed to, and they are channels I like - weather channel, VH1, etc. Don't rat me out to the cable company. :wink:
I had the same deal going for a couple years - "limited basic" cable for $18/month but with some extra channels thrown in, apparently unintentionally. But the cable company recently started updating its technology, i.e., scrambling of digital channels, so those extra stations went away. I've upgraded now to the "digital preferred" package, which is nice because it has the NHL network and the regional sports network (I'm a hockey fan). I've got a promo rate of about $50 a month. When the promo rate ends in six months, I'll try to negotiate a good rate, and if I'm not able to do that, I'll go back to limited basic, which I'll be OK with because it won't be hockey season.
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Post by catdude » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:58 pm

LadyGeek wrote:I can watch Hockey Night in Canada on NHL Network every Saturday night except tonight as local blackout restrictions apply. Flyers at Canadiens, on Comcast Sportsnet.
LG, I like HNIC too. In fact, I've got it on right now... your Flyers are doing well, up 3-0. Just curious, do you have the Center Ice package? I have the version that one can watch on the computer -- it's called NHL GameCenter Live. It's great; just the thing for a hockey fan. But I have to be careful not to overdose on watching hockey... if I overdo it, my mind tends to get kinda addled.
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Post by Gekko » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:17 pm

i squeezed Comcast down to -

$30/month - "Digital Starter" Cable TV
$20/month - "Performance" High Speed Internet

$50/month total is a good value for these services IMO.

i told the bastards i would switch to Verizon or Direct TV if they couldn't do better.

warning - salty language -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrOhvSvKIhc

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Post by gkaplan » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:53 pm

Cable. Paper. No cell.
Gordon

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Post by verbose » Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:59 am

We've never had cable. Every time I think I might want it and look into it, the price is substantially higher than what I'm willing to pay, and the basic packages don't even include some of the channels I want. It's just not worth it.

A few years ago, we moved to an area that is too far out for rabbit-ear reception. We decided to mount an outdoor antenna in our attic. It's in the attic for two reasons: high winds are very common here, and we didn't want to fight our HOA. Antennas generally work well in attics unless the house has aluminum siding.

We hired a professional to do the job. He chose the appropriate equipment including the antenna and amplifier, ran the cables from the attic to the basement where the coax cables met, and adjusted everything until the reception was acceptable. We paid about $300 for that service and considered it well worth the price.

We are able to rent movies on demand through our Apple TV device and the iTunes Store.

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Post by TJAJ9 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:14 am

LadyGeek wrote:I've got cable. Why? I'm into sports big time. Comcast owns the broadcast rights to my Philadelphia Flyers (and Sixers if I followed basketball). Cable is the only option. In the Philly area, that means Comcast or Verizon FiOS, which also carries Comcast Sportsnet.
Ditto. The main reason I have Comcast is for the sports. I would miss tons of Phillies games without it. It also has a lot of other great channels and on-demand is good for watching movies.

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Post by schwarm » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:25 am

Thor OnionLover wrote: ...

Anyone who works in telephone customer service can tell you the differences between taking calls from cell callers and from land-line callers. My land line has never "dropped" on me yet. I do own a cell phone, pre-paid minutes only. Carry it around with me when I'm traveling around outside of the home. Actual cell usage by me ? About 30 minutes per year.

I second this. Signal quality for cell is decent but not great where I live, and the land line is clearer. We also use pay as you go cell, maybe costs us $100 per year for both cell phones.

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Post by Valuethinker » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:03 am

schwarm wrote:
Thor OnionLover wrote: ...

Anyone who works in telephone customer service can tell you the differences between taking calls from cell callers and from land-line callers. My land line has never "dropped" on me yet. I do own a cell phone, pre-paid minutes only. Carry it around with me when I'm traveling around outside of the home. Actual cell usage by me ? About 30 minutes per year.

I second this. Signal quality for cell is decent but not great where I live, and the land line is clearer. We also use pay as you go cell, maybe costs us $100 per year for both cell phones.
Your fixed line provider has a legal commitment to the regulator for quality of service (or used to). The old Bell System it was 'Five 9s' reliability ie 0.99999.

The internet and computer industry has never lived by a reliability standard that hard. You just reboot, right? ;-).

And it has its own power source (assuming you don't use an answerphone or cordless). So it will often work when the electricity is down.

Cell phones, in my experience, do not work during emergency situations.

When the bombs exploded in London (7/7/05) then cell phone and texting service essentially quit for about 4-5 hours. Even if you could send a text, it never arrived. People had to resort to payphones.

One of the most poignant scenes was cellphones ringing in the rubble as loved ones called to see if the owners were OK. That and the police searching commuter carparks for cars left, to identify some of the victims.

Although I can see the rationale for abandoning it, nothing is still quite as reliable as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS in the jargon).

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NAVigator
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Post by NAVigator » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:29 am

Yes there are alternatives to cable; just say no.

No television for past 17 years.
Landline (Why pay for a cell so others can call me?)
News via internet. In depth news via NPR.

Quality of life is continually rising.

Jerry
"I was born with nothing and I have most of it left."

deerhunter
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Post by deerhunter » Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:10 pm

No TV period for the last 12 years. Don't miss it. Satellite radio and computer keep us up to date on the news. Travel a lot so we get TV in our motels and at our children's homes.
Living off the land is a family tradition.

TheEternalVortex
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Post by TheEternalVortex » Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:23 pm

Valuethinker wrote: Although I can see the rationale for abandoning it, nothing is still quite as reliable as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS in the jargon).
Well:
Last month, AT&T, the largest and oldest telecommunications provider in the U.S., filed a request with the Federal Communications Commission to waive the requirement that it and other phone service carriers maintain landline networks.

According to a story published by AFP, the filing was made in response to a request from the FCC for its input on expanding access to high-speed Internet service to the entire nation.

In the statement, the company said that fewer Americans rely exclusively on landlines for communication and that 25 percent have abandoned them completely. The main complaint from the telecom giant is that they still have to dedicate a “substantial amount” of their resources to maintaining landline networks.
link

SamB
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Post by SamB » Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:39 pm

I have Verizon Fios, cable, internet and phone for $110 per month. I did not have cable until about six years ago. I was a holdout. I only watch a handful of the stations offered, however. I stopped watching the main networks years ago, and concentrated on PBS for a number of years. I had a problem with PBS, and most of what I found interesting is broadcast on specialty cable channels 24/7. I rarely watch PBS or have any inclination to.

I do not subscribe to HBO, but found Netflix to be a very good deal. They have a library of old films that I think cannot be matched. I may eventually buy the box that will allow instant viewing via my router, but have not done so yet. Most of the films I have an interest in viewing still must come via the mail, which has never been a problem. I expect that to change, however. If you are a film buff, many of the Netflix rentals will have a commentary aimed at film students.

In short, I think cable is worth a try. You may find some offerings that you just could not get any other way both in terms of viewpoint and subject matter.

Sam

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Post by Triple digit golfer » Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:00 pm

$56.98 for Comcast Digital Starter in my area. Includes all the sports and good cable stations I want (ESPN, ESPN2, Comcast Sportsnet, TBS, TVLand, Nickelodeon, History, Discovery, E!, A&E, Comedy Central, Spike, FX, USA, TNT, TruTV, etc.).

I don't think that's such a bad deal. I watch a couple hours of TV every night while I unwind, more during baseball season, plus sports on the weekends. It comes out to me paying well less than $1 per hour for TV.

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Post by cuda74360 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:28 pm

I was in a similar situation when we bought our house. Comcast here wants $60+ a month for their cheapest cable, and there is no way I am going to pay that for TV.... so here is what we did:

1 - put up an antenna
2 - order DISH Network
3 - subscribe to Netflix

We watch mostly OTA (free HD), but my wife likes to watch some shows that come on cable. For $30, DISH Network gave us their Turbo HD Bronze (now called DISH America) package. This gives us the cable channels she wanted, in HD.

The Netflix 1 DVD/unlimited plan is only $9 bucks, and includes unlimited online viewing as well. We normally watch about 1 DVD per week, and we have a Roku box that lets us watch the online movies on our TV.

Go to antennaweb.org, and put in your address. It will tell you what kind of antenna you need to get your local channels, and where to point it. To get channel 2, you may need a different antenna, or may just need to repoint the one you have. Alternatively, DISH Network can provide your locals for an extra $5... we chose to use the antenna.

I also have 10Mb DSL and unlimited local and long distance phone service for $50 from a CLEC. This, added to what I pay for DISH Network and Netflix comes out to $89/month (not a promotional rate, either.) I've never seen anyone's HD "Triple Play" come close to beating that.

Gaviota
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Post by Gaviota » Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:57 pm

Apple TV + OTA.

Apple TV (assuming broadband connections is available) is a great platform for renting movies. Std quality is much better than std DVD's. HD is even better. There is little broadcast TV of interest on cable or satellite, I don't mind paying "as you go" for a must watch TV series. Otherwise there are other internet options, stuff like Moyers Journal and Mad Money (hold nose) are available as free podcasts.

It isn't that I like paying for an individual TV show or series, it is the lessor of evils. I really dislike paying a cable/satellite company for a mind numbing assortment of nothing. No contract with Apple TV, in fact you can use prepaid iTunes cards.

Chuck
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Post by Chuck » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:21 pm

NAVigator wrote:Landline (Why pay for a cell so others can call me?)
This is turning upside down lately. I have cell phone service that is cheaper than the equivalent landline service. $40/mo for unlimited calling, unlimited domestic long distance, voice mail, and caller ID, three way calling, and call waiting. (And also unlimited text messaging, which has no land line equivalent.) I dare you to ask your local landline monopoly for the same deal. In my area, cell reception is flawless, so the total replacement works for us, and saves money. (If we had a land line, we would also have cell phones anyway.)

When the kids get old enough to learn how to call 911, we're going to have to get some kind of token land line, though. That's going to hurt. It will be no less than $20/mo for the most basic service with no long distance. And they make you pay extra to not be in the damn phone book. :(

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Post by LadyGeek » Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:15 pm

cuda74360 wrote:Go to antennaweb.org, and put in your address. It will tell you what kind of antenna you need to get your local channels, and where to point it. To get channel 2, you may need a different antenna, or may just need to repoint the one you have. Alternatively, DISH Network can provide your locals for an extra $5... we chose to use the antenna.
Instead of antennaweb.org, use TV Fool. The website owner / developer is active over in AVS forum and has some pretty cool stuff. You can even plot the TV signals using Google Earth. 8)
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

cuda74360
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Post by cuda74360 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:02 am

LadyGeek wrote:Instead of antennaweb.org, use TV Fool. The website owner / developer is active over in AVS forum and has some pretty cool stuff. You can even plot the TV signals using Google Earth. 8)
Yeah, that one works, too!

jlq39
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Post by jlq39 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:39 pm

If she likes sports, better to make her happy. My wife and I are big sports fans, and we've tried twice now to go without cable. The first time, we made it about 4 or 5 months, and the last time 3. If it weren't for sports, then it would be easy, but both of us are huge sports fans and there is just no other better option for that in our neck of the woods. Besides, we don't go out much and all our other bills are cut to the bone, so spending $60/month (including DVR) is considered part of our entertainment budget. You gotta live a little. It's a quality of life thing for us.

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Post by metabasalt » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:52 pm

TJAJ9 wrote:
LadyGeek wrote:I've got cable. Why? I'm into sports big time. Comcast owns the broadcast rights to my Philadelphia Flyers (and Sixers if I followed basketball). Cable is the only option. In the Philly area, that means Comcast or Verizon FiOS, which also carries Comcast Sportsnet.
Ditto. The main reason I have Comcast is for the sports. I would miss tons of Phillies games without it. It also has a lot of other great channels and on-demand is good for watching movies.
This SHOULD not be true this year: http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/busi ... 74911.html

I'm hoping that there are no hidden loopholes.

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