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Cutting the Cable

How can cultural elitists like ourselves put TV in the Culture category? Well, where the hell else is it going to fit?

Cutting the Cable

Postby john_titor » Thu May 02, 2013 5:42 pm

I have done it again; cancelled cable TV. This time around, they actually gave the impression of giving a doo-doo. They sent me to the retention department and a nice woman tried to keep me using cable. When I mentioned the last time I called that they stated there were no better deals, the woman on the phone told me that they had brand new special pricing just available today!

Anyway, going to all internet tv for the family. We have been Netflix subscribers for a long time. Are there other online video services I should look into? Amazon? Hulu+? Anyone really pleased with one of these services? Any new ones I might not know?

cheers!
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby Huckleby » Thu May 02, 2013 6:01 pm

you go, girl!

I am in the process of cutting the cord. Just like Jerry Seinfeld described ending a relationship, it's like tipping-over a refrigerator - you have to rock it back and forth a few times before it falls. I'm helping a friend make the transition before I leap.

Aereo service is coming to Madison, probably before July, and this is a very good thing. For $8 per month, you'll have a virtual DVR-in-the-cloud that allows you to record programs from 15 local channels in Madison.

Do you have a Roku box? That's a $90 investment that seems close to a must. A few Roku channels I've experimented with:
Al Jazzeera News
BBC News
Acorn - collection of British TV, small monthly charge
Channel3000 - Madison is one of the very few cities where a local channel is putting local content online as a Roku channel.
Crackle - free movies, not great but a few worthwhile
Yoga Channel - free instructional videos
Hula Plus - I don't know if I'll subscribe, not enough interesting shows. I would like to see all the British Office episodes.

Netflix looks like the best content source at this point in time.
Streaming is no paradise, but it does the job.

BTW, it's a bit of a daunting website, but you can find all manner of discussion about technology and streaming content at this site:
http://www.avsforum.com/f/
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby Dairylander » Fri May 03, 2013 12:43 pm

We too are cutting cable.
Can anyone opine on Roku vs. Apple TV boxes?
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby Huckleby » Fri May 03, 2013 1:13 pm

This is more of a homework assignment than you likely wanted, but go to this forum and scan the separate threads for Apple TV and Roku 3.
http://www.avsforum.com/f/39/networking ... -streaming

If you're not back in half an hour, I'll call 911.
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby Athena » Fri May 03, 2013 4:25 pm

I have Netflix and TiVo. Even with just the over the air channels, TiVo is incredibly helpful since now I never need to actually know when anything is on. TiVo also can stream Netflix (although my bluray player works better) and download from Amazon Video on Demand. Amazon is great if you're looking for just a few shows and want to see the episode the day after it airs on whatever cable channel it might be on. It's usually $2.99 per episode for HD but there are discounts if you do the season pass and it almost always works out to be less than buying the dvds. Because you download the episode it doesn't have the stuttering issues that streaming sometimes has and no commercials.
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby Dust Mite Rodeo » Fri May 03, 2013 6:32 pm

Don't forget channel 27.2 on yer bunny ears.
http://metvnetwork.com/index.php
Batman, Sgt. Bilko, Wagon Train, Star Trek, Bonanza, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,...
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby pattymcnutt » Fri May 03, 2013 7:30 pm

We got rid of cable about a year ago and have been pretty happy with the decision. The only channels we really miss are HGTV and ESPN, Big Ten Network, etc. We got a Roku box and subscribe to Hulu Plus (something like $7 per month).

The Roku has lots of free channels with shows and movies, but we haven't been that impressed with the offerings. We do use the free Pandora channel to listen to music fairly often, though.

We stream Hulu Plus through the Roku on one TV and through the Wii on another, and we can also watch it on our computers. The main benefit of Hulu is we get to watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and that we can queue shows (like with a DVR) and watch them whenever.

Overall we've been pretty satisfied with both Roku and Hulu, but if you are a more frequent TV watcher you may want to add a few other paid channels (like Netflix).
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby john_titor » Fri May 03, 2013 8:16 pm

Athena wrote: It's usually $2.99 per episode


Ouch. I guess that answers my questions about Amazon.

I have an antennae for the locals and have enjoyed the old shows on 27.2. The last few MASH I watched sure seemed as if they were showing the version without the laugh track. Also, Charter wouldn't push down the full 1080, so that is another bonus for the aerial, especially for sports.

I have been using a Western Digital Live box for a while and relatively happy. It has wireless and usb so I can attach an external hard drive or flash. Streaming an HD movie off one of my internal servers via wireless isn't quite up to snuff, but they have a lot of built in "apps" e.g. Netflix et al. I suggest anyone in the market take a look. It plays pretty much any format.

I have never used Tivo. I think the thing I will miss most about Charter/Dish is the dvr. I might have to look into Tivo. Didn't they do some jerk move with subscriptions a while back?

I can imagine streaming services are only going to get bigger as bandwidth goes. Perhaps the evolution of a la carte, but I am not sure that I want to sign up for an account with every movie studio out there. If someone could figure out how to be the middleman and not rip people off directly there is money to be made.

I will wait for reviews on Aereo. avsforum bookmarked! More research on Hulu+.

Thanks!
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby Huckleby » Fri May 03, 2013 9:41 pm

john_titor wrote:I will wait for reviews on Aereo.


What you really have to wait for is the service to come to Madison, and this is not a certainty. With most of the entertainment and information industry fighting against Aereo, outcome could be affected by legal rulings or buyouts.

Some reviews:
http://readwrite.com/2013/04/09/aereo-s ... -on-review
http://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/apps/aereo.aspx
http://www.videonuze.com/article/aereo- ... -on-review
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby Huckleby » Fri May 03, 2013 10:05 pm

Here's a decent overview of devices for streaming:
http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/roku-2 ... -streamer/
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby john_titor » Sat May 18, 2013 5:38 pm

So far. so good. The only complaint so far from the kids has been about Adventure Time.

Charter left a voice mail on my home phone saying I had to return the DVR. I had the device for at least five years and since when I discontinued the service and wasn't told to return it, I assumed it was mine. I took it back today. Their offices are always so depressing. I think I have a $50 late fee. I will have to call them up.

I need to figure out a dvr. Netflix still satisfying most needs.
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby Huckleby » Sat May 18, 2013 7:49 pm

john_titor wrote: I need to figure out a dvr. Netflix still satisfying most needs.


Aereo will give you a dvr for 16 over-the-air channels. $8 per month for channels & virtual DVR. Aereo is in three cities now, Madison on the list.
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby john_titor » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:02 pm

I really miss the dvr and I haven't got a replacement yet. Not being able to pause a show stinks, but at the same time it is a bit retro and visceral. Netflix has produced an odd opposite. While blowing through a series, episode after episode, I sometime miss having a commercial. I need to go to the bathroom or get some food or cheese. I lack the will to hit pause.

I have an outdoor antennae, but it is about six feet off the ground. When a truck goes by, I lose the signal. When weather is weird, I lose the signal. I really need to put an antennae on the roof, but that seems so 1950s (please don't mention Aereo)

Kids have been fine without it.

If you are on the fence, you can do it. There are lot of devices that will get internet content inexpensively. When I get a good signal over the air, it is incredible, especially at 1080.
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Re: Cutting the Cable

Postby Huckleby » Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:55 am

john_titor wrote: I need to go to the bathroom or get some food or cheese. I lack the will to hit pause.


I've been there too, it's rough. Perhaps a dorm mini-fridge and a plastic urinal might help you out of your dilemma.
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