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Ask Slashdot: Are You Streaming-Only For Home Entertainment? 697

Posted by timothy
from the rely-on-the-kindness-of-the-network dept.
hinesbrad writes "I'm getting really tired of paying ridiculous fees to my cable company just to have a DVR and high speed internet access. A neighbor of mine bought a cheapo Dell computer with an HDMI output. Apparently he streams all of his news live from respective websites, and also watches many of the shows on NBC and Comedy central using this method. He's effectively turned his PC into a DVR and gotten rid of his cable subscription fee. I wonder, how many people have completely gotten rid of their cable/satellite subscription and have now instead moved to a Hulu/Netflix/Content producer website streaming solution instead?" If you've done this, what does your approach include? If you'd like to, what are the bottlenecks?
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Streaming-Only For Home Entertainment?

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  • Nether kinda (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:56PM (#35901548)

    I'm Canadian, so the Hulu/Netflix/etc thing doesn't quite work out so well.

    I did ditch the cable a while ago though.

    News has gotten progressively more useless, to the point where it actually annoys me to watch it, and I'm not a big fan of sports... which is where cable seems to win. The occasional time I want to see a game, I'll go to a friends house (which is usually more fun anyway).

    I just buy the DVD box sets of shows I like .. and download if they haven't been released yet (I know this is technically stealing .. but I can live with it). I prefer watching stuff this way anyhow.

    I can't even remember the last time I heard about something being on TV and thought "damn, if only I had cable".

    • by bolverk (31238)
      XBMC with the Canada on Demand plugin works extremely well for TV in Canada. It's a very effective replacement for Hulu. http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?t=97262 [xbmc.org] Netflix exists in Canada and is starting to get decent.
      • Unfortunately, there's a handful of channels I would not be happy without. I have considered going this route, with Netflix and streaming to a media center. I even have a silent media center PC bolted to the back of my TV for my MP3 and downloaded video collection (it doubles as my home file server), but I would be miffed if I couldn't get BBC Canada, Oasis, eqhd, or TreasureHD. I have grown to really like those channels, especially Oasis. Plus, even for the channels I do watch that're on that list, not all

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by thedarb (181754)
      My girlfriend lives in Canada, so I set her up with a Tomato-USB based router, got her a cheap OpenVPN service from the United States, and now her entire NAT is all sharing a US based IP. Works like a charm. Hulu, Netflix, Comedy Central, Pandora, etc etc all work great for all the devices in the apartment, even the iPhone and Android. I highly recommend this setup... Plus, the router has USB, so it serves as a cheap NAS and wireless print server, too.
    • Re:Nether kinda (Score:4, Insightful)

      by canadian_right (410687) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:59PM (#35902258) Homepage

      It isn't technically stealing, it is copyright infringement.

      If you steal my car, I can't drive it. If you copy my book, I don't get my royalty.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anrego (830717) *

        From the moral perspective I view it as stealing because I'm depriving someone, somewhere of a royalty payment.

        Directly however, I agree. The crime (actually not actually a crime here.. kinda) isn't theft.. because as you said I have not actually taken the copy.

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          Not buying MY book deprives me of a royalty payment too. Not being interested in it in any way shape of form doesn't change that.
  • by floop (11798) * on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:56PM (#35901550)
    I will never pay for cable or dish or watch broadcast tv again. Roku [roku.com] streams Netflix, Hulu, even Aljazeera and Democracy Now to my TV. Device only cost $60. You don't need a DVR when you're watching on demand. I also watch tv and movies on my laptop, which enables me to sit outside and drink and smoke. Roku has tons of channels and you can even create your own.
    • I love my Roku. It has replaced cable tv and even most bit torrent in my house

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        But what do you use for Internet? Unless you are one of the lucky FIOS ones (lucky bastards) most places DSL sucks compared to cable, and I don't know about everywhere else but I know Cox will NOT sell you net without at LEAST basic included. I ended up just picking up a cheapo USB TV tuner just so I could watch the occasional documentary (I haven't watched TV since Firefly left the air) and to not feel so ripped about having to pay for basic cable that I otherwise would never ever use.

        So while I like the

        • by cayenne8 (626475)

          but I know Cox will NOT sell you net without at LEAST basic included.

          Not true.

          I get a business Cox internet connection to my house...only $70/mo...no caps, I can run servers, static IP and fantastic service on the few times I've had problems or outttages.

          I get anywhere from 12-15 down and from 5-9 up speedwise.

          And...so I hear...hehehe...you can split off that cable and get full analog channels on tv plus all the HD ones hat aren't encrypted for not 1 cent extra.

          Of course...I just hear you can do that.

    • If you don't mind waiting a week for content, and then only having a subset of available content available.. sure. I find Hulu and Netflix only have about 20% of the content I like to watch. Meanwhile, it's filled with crap i don't like.

      You don't get the variety of, say, the discovery channel and History channel via those services because the content is so varied and doesn't lend itself well to a subscription based episodic service. Of course, I consider the cost of cable to be relatively cheap compared

    • by thetartanavenger (1052920) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:21PM (#35901824)

      I use "free" streaming virtually all of the time where I am, but as odd as this may sound, I still pay for my content. Over here in the uk we have no hulu, we have no netflix, none of the streams coming from the other legitimate sites, all we have is iPlayer, which is a bit of a joke as far as most of its content is concerned. But that's never stopped me, plenty of less legitimate sites out there to give us what we should already have.

      However, I don't think the content should be free, it should be available, how it is now illegally, for a reasonable fee (or at least ad supported). But no-one wants my money.. Here's the clincher though, in this country, if we watch anything that is being broadcast on a tv channel at the same time we have to pay a license fee to the government. Technically I don't need to pay it, but I do because it directly supports british content being created. Also, I have an internet connection, which we're pretty much forced to bundle with cable tv and a phone line. So, whilst I use the internet solely for my entertainment, I still indirectly pay what I consider reasonable(ish) for what I'm getting. It's kind of a guilt and responsibility thing.

      Now, if the companies pulled their heads out of their asses and provided me with the streaming methods that are clearly feasible, preferably for a reasonable price, then they could drop out the middle men, I would drop the rest and they would get all the cash. But they're morons who would rather whine that they don't have my money rather than actually allow me to give them it. Go figure..

  • I don't see why anyone needs cable. It's just entertainment. There are plenty of alternatives for entertainment including streaming Netlfix or playing video games. If you get an over the air TV signal you're sacrificing even less.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      I don't see why anyone needs cable.

      But how will I get my internet?

    • by tepples (727027)

      I don't see why anyone needs cable.

      Three reasons:

      • The Internet comes over it, and the bundle pricing structure is such that Internet customers get limited-basic TV (locals and public access) for essentially free.
      • A growing number of streaming sites are starting to verify that a customer is a cable TV subscriber before unlocking most videos.
      • I've tried to talk 65-year-old relatives into learning to use Netflix on a Wii console, but they're happy with what they have (Xfinity Starter package, DTA cable boxes with no program guide or video on dem
  • Between Netflix, Hulu (free), and Redbox all of our household entertainment needs are taken care of. With the savings we can pick up a season or two (or more if we buy used) of our favorite shows.

    Recently picked up an HD Homerunner box and things are great! Awesome to watch shows on *your* schedule

  • by jaymz666 (34050)

    Comcast's 250GB cap limits you to 4 hours of HD streaming a day for a 30 day month. Assuming you do NOTHING else with your internet

    • by atheos (192468)
      AT&T Uverse is the same way. I'm seriously considering getting a T1 to bypass the Comcast/AT&T bullshit.
      • by cdrguru (88047)

        A T1 link doesn't have the bandwidth required for HD streaming. At 1.5Mb/sec it is about half of the lower boundary.

        With a box with a hard drive (Boxee?) you might be able to buffer enough that it wouldn't matter but I don't think anyone is thinking along the lines of handing connections that are too slow for real streaming right now.

    • by earls (1367951)

      250GB oUGHT tO bE eNOUGH fOR aNYBODY

      • by jaymz666 (34050)

        In the discussion of replacing cable TV with internet streaming, it's not for a lot of use cases.

        Do you surf the web, read email, and watch TV for 4 hours a day? It's not enough.

        If you want to use more advanced things like VPN and remote desktop, the odd youtube video, download your music and games .... oops, too bad.

        Add an offsite backup service to the mix and you're easily blowing through that 250GB cap

    • internet streaming or DVR streaming? DVR streaming doesn't count towards the cap, and the, ahem, content I've gotten in HD is closer to 1.5G/hr
      • by jaymz666 (34050)

        Netflix HD streaming averages 2GB/hr for me.

        If you have no way to get content to the DVR, i.e. you cut cable.... Ummm, what are you streaming on your DVR?

  • One thing you didn't mention was that you can use a PC as an actual DVR (as in a recorder) by hooking up a tuner for those pesky shows no one seems to want to allow to stream. If you're in a decent service area you'll get all the networks in full hd for free, and be able to record them (and skip ads) for no subscription fee. With a tuner and streaming access you'll only be limited by shows that are both not available to stream and not broadcast over the air.
  • LIve Sports (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:07PM (#35901650)

    I'm almost there, however live sports is a hard thing to find an alternative channel for.

    • I was the same with Baseball, but I started paying $99 a season to watch it through MLB.com. I hear you can do the same with Hockey, but not sure about the other sports. I'm going to assume they are all going to have this option eventually.

      I cut the cord 2 1/2 years ago and I'm not looking back.

      • by bluemonq (812827)

        NBA is available via Apple TV, and you can get NFL Sunday Ticket via computer/iOS as well.

    • by bluemonq (812827)

      Apple TV now streams NBA and MLB games, and I think they were already available on other devices like Roku, as well as via desktop/laptop. I'm a little unclear on how the pricing for NFL Sunday Ticket works, but it's doable via computer or iOS device. Anyway, if it's just those three sports that's keeping you tethered to cable, there's plenty of alternatives and it'd probably end up being cheaper (especially if you're only into one or two of those Big Three).

      • Works if you live not in the same market as your favorite team. If you want to watch in market games, then you can't, they are blacked out on all streaming sites.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Baseball: MLB.tv, $100 a year, regional blackouts apply, but as soon as the game ends, it becomes available everywhere

      Hockey: NHL Game Center, $80 a year, same restrictions as baseball

      Soccer: MLS Game Day Live, $60 a year, blackouts are for 48 hours, but easy to avoid spoilers because no one talks about soccer in this country anyway

      Football: NFL Game Rewind, $15/month, games are only available the day after they end, which makes it hard to avoid spoilers. The NFL has a contract with DirectTV until 2014, so

  • I use Boxee on a HTPC (you could also just get a Boxee Box), coupled with a digital antenna and a Netflix account. I don't miss out on anything that I wouldn't want to. About the only thing you'd really have to worry about are sporting events... assuming you'd even care about lame stuff like sports. :P

  • by Monkey Angst (577685) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:09PM (#35901672) Homepage

    I'm now cable-free, which has its advantages and disadvantages. Whether it's right for you comes down to one question: What do you want to watch?

    For most broadcast networks, streaming is great. I use Boxee on my Mac, which aggregates a lot of shows from a lot of sources, just not Hulu. Combine that with the Hulu desktop app, and voila. Most of the shows I watch.

    But not all. HBO, for instance, is (last time I checked) still aggressively married to the subscription-cable model. You can get their content on their website, if you are an HBO subscriber through the traditional means. I would have no problem paying for HBO, but I don't know of any cable provider that offers JUST HBO. So I have to pay for a package of nonsense like the Food Network and whatever's become of the History Channel. I want to give HBO my money, but they don't want to take it. Showtime is the same way.

    I don't know what FX's current attitude towards streaming is, but I'll look into it before Rescue Me starts back up again.

  • by mellon (7048) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:10PM (#35901680) Homepage

    We aren't streaming-only, but we're streaming plus iTunes plus disc, and we've been doing less and less disc, to the point where I've fairly frequently sent discs back unwatched simply because I decided I wasn't that interested, and there was something better on iTunes or NetFlix. We might be an exceptional case though--we haven't had cable for about ten years, because it was too tempting to channel surf. With on-demand streaming and iTunes, you watch when you decide to watch, rather than being at the mercy of the schedule, which is a *huge* win. Plus, no commercials.

    • by davevr (29843)
      I am in the exact same boat. I never really was in to TV and never had cable. I can't stand commericals. I used to just watch VHS, then DVDs, Blu-Rays, etc. Now I use netflix streaming and am discovering that maybe I did miss a few good shows over the years. Of course, I still pay ComCast a ton of money to get my high-speed net access so I am not sure if I am saving any money...
    • by hjf (703092) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @09:55PM (#35902710) Homepage

      We aren't streaming-only, but we're streaming plus iTunes plus disc, and we've been doing less and less disc, to the point where I've fairly frequently sent discs back unwatched simply because I decided I wasn't that interested, and there was something better on iTunes or NetFlix. We might be an exceptional case though--we haven't had cable for about ten years, because it was too tempting to channel surf. With on-demand streaming and iTunes, you watch when you decide to watch, rather than being at the mercy of the schedule, which is a *huge* win. Plus, no commercials.

      What's so bad about channel surfing? I was watching a documentary the other day, and they discussed Netflix's profiling, and how they send you things you will like to watch. You end up being more like you (the stereotype you), and never try things you might like, if you weren't you.

      And this is the kind of documentary I would have never watched, if it wasn't just because I randomly landed on that channel.

      Same with a "chick flick" I saw the other day. A silly movie but in the end I thought it was... cute, to put it some way. If I had to search for it, buffer it, etc... I would have never watched it.

      That's why I'm not ditching cable anytime soon.

      But of course, you're a smarter-than-average person who thinks for himself and doesn't need luck to find shows or movies to watch. You just read the description and reviews and decide if it's worth watching, right? I don't. I don't take anyone else's word. Even if someone tells me a movie is "bad", I watch it anyway. I don't need anyone telling me what to watch. And most of the time, "bad" movies aren't really bad - it's just silly people that don't understand them.

      • by mellon (7048)

        Channel surfing is a waste of time that could be better spent on facebook. (Just kidding, sort of.) I have a wife to get me to watch chick flicks, and my dad is pretty good at finding documentaries for me to watch, as are the interwebs. I've seen a lot more really informative and cool stuff online than I ever saw on TV. Did you see this one, about making vacuum tubes by hand [youtube.com]? Or this one about making books [youtube.com]?

        I get much less discreetly biased reporting online (bias is inevitable—it's when someo

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:10PM (#35901684) Homepage

    I have a Roku XDS. It is really nice for movies from Netflix and (Prime member) Amazon which are all covered by buying the box and paying a really cheap $9.99 a month to Netflix.

    I am planning on dropping the movie channels from cable, but will keep the "basic" (non-premium) cable connection as well as (of course) the Internet connection. You need 3-5Mb/sec bandwidth pretty continuously in order to get any streaming to work.

    Roku does not offer much in the way of playing movies from a local source, however. There is a "channel" called PlayOn which lets you connect up a PC as a web server to the Roku box and some people have this working pretty well, others have had plenty of problems with it - mostly, I believe due to networking configurations.

    Now for the bad news. This isn't going to last very long. The current cable infrastructure in the US simply cannot provide 3-5Mb/sec dedicated bandwidth to every home. It wasn't designed to do that and no matter how many promises the cable companies make about 20Mb/sec connections, this is bursting only. The bottleneck isn't the cable to the home, it is the fiber to the neighborhood node where it is converted from from a fiber link to coax. Once the neighborhood node gets saturated, the performance of any streaming service will suffer significantly.

    One possible solution is for the local "streaming box" to simply buffer lots and lots of content using whatever bandwidth it can get. Then you can watch from the local buffer, whether it is disk or flash based is immaterial. Roku has only a small RAM buffer today but future devices could include a hard drive. Certainly no Blu-Ray player or TV solution is going to be as flexible. Boxee from what I have heard is having a terrible time getting their act together but once they do this might be the better way to go.

    For now, I have a $99 Roku box and it is working. Maybe in a year or two I will need to replace it with something with more buffer space. For $99 I figured it was worth it for a couple of years of service.

  • Cord Cutting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EndingPop (827718) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:10PM (#35901698) Homepage
    I pulled the plug on Comcast over six months ago, and I love it. I bought a Dell Inspiron Zino HD 410 and hooked it up to my big ol' TV. It has HDMI out which actually sends the audio as well, since this computer is designed to be TV connected. It does a great job for streaming Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon VOD. I'm saving $60/mo., and enjoy a better experience. On demand streaming is wonderful, since there's so much out there to watch already. I do have to be patient, waiting for TV shows to hit Hulu or movies to hit Netflix, but it's been worth it to me. The only thing I really miss is the ability to just sit down and let the flashing box entertain me. Now I do have to make a choice. Before, I could sit down and let a Mythbusters marathon entertain me. I can still do that, but I have to think to do it before I can do it. I've also been spending more and more of my time watching podcasts from TWiT [www.twit.tv] and others. I watch very little actual TV these days, only those shows I really want to see.
  • by hedronist (233240) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:11PM (#35901704)

    When our TiVo died we were a bit short on cash (think: October, 2009). So we tried streaming and ... it was pretty decent. Then we looked at our $96/month DirecTv bill and thought, "Hmm.....," and canceled that sucker.

    Since then 1) we've saved over $1,500, 2) we've totally fallen in love with Neflix Watch Instantly, 3) Hulu is good for the few shows we used to watch regualrly, and 4) we generally watch less TV than we used to (a Good Thing ®). It hasn't bothered us in the slightest. We have two other families who have decided that if a couple of old fogies like us (we're 61 and 65) can do this, so can they.

  • Sometimes it's just nice to have instant access to channel flipping, sports, and news. I still use Hulu to watch shows that I miss, or sometimes download them. But I can't watch a college football game live without cable unless I want to watch a low-quality stream on the computer. And as much as news channels tend to spout crap on a regular basis, I just like watching CNN while I'm eating breakfast or if a major event is happening. For $40/mo I get 50+ HD channels, so I'll hang on to cable a bit longer.
  • I stream lots of content off the Net. Beyond that, I have Windows 7 on a desktop with an HDTV tuner card and over the air antenna and record lots of content with it. I then watch the recorded content on my HDTV by way of the Windows Media Center extension capabilities of the XBox360. (Aside: Spare me fanboy stuff) If you have an iDevice, check out RemotePotato. You can control what Windows Media Center records and stream videos to your iDevice when you're afar from home. With Netflix (streaming + discs), Hu

  • by BobSutan (467781) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:12PM (#35901732)

    I cut the cord about a month ago and got a Roku. Netflix, HuluPlus, and Amazon Prime, plus the channels on Roku have more than met my needs. As for my wants, HuluPlus is near worthless since the shows I'd use it for aren't available for streaming to the TV despite being able to watch them online (eg Fringe) and Amazon Prime is utterly worthless unless you like Dr Who. Netflix is a champ though with them getting streaming for current shows still on the air. Once the networks/studios knock of being stupid and start looking at streaming like pay channels I think we'll see the streaming services start to look more like HBO than not.

  • For the last 2 years I've been using a WD-Live.

    It connects to my home network, then I run a program called "PlayOn" on my PC. This shows up as a upnp server on the WD Live, and lets me watch Hulu, CBS, netflix, Amazon VOD, MTV, and a crap ton of other networks for free. I think playon costs like $20 a year.

    The WD-Live will also play .mkv and .avi files up to 1080p off network shares.

    • by morari (1080535)

      I used PlayOn with my Asus O!Play for a while, but was ultimately unimpressed. It does the job, but it's really more of a stopgap for those unsure of whether or not they want something better. Of course, it probably is the best option if you want to stick with your cheaper media boxes (WD-Live, O!Play, Box Office, etc).

  • by Osgeld (1900440)

    little late to the bus there chief, as most of us discovered computers are easy to hook into tv's and theres tv on the internet, quite a while ago, but whatever ...

    I use an XBOX 1, linux and a little murga lua front end I whipped up (see how long? a 8 year old game machine with enough time to fiddle fart the perfect for me UI, ... sorry) works fine for SD tv

    XBMC worked much better, but its not actively updated on the XBOX and the plug-ins slowly die.

  • by tool462 (677306) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:16PM (#35901768)

    I use Apple TV for newer content and PS3/TiVo for Netflix. I'll also use an antenna for OTA HD viewing. Assuming you get reception, the OTA picture is my higher quality than my cable connection ever was. Live sporting events are crystal clear.

    Got rid of cable about 2 years ago. Haven't missed it once.

  • by nion (19898) <nion AT geekfest DOT net> on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:17PM (#35901778) Homepage

    Boxee for the frontend, Giganews for newsgroups, Newzbin to grab the news feeds, and Sickbeard to grab the shows I watch and update Boxee automatically. Works FABULOUSLY, and it's only about $30/mo for the Giganews subscription.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:18PM (#35901782)

    I've done this. I use the following services:
    Netflix (1 DVD at a time, $10/month)
    Hulu (free version)
    MLB.tv ($100/year)
    PlayOn (I got a lifetime license for $30 by getting in early. Now it's $80 for a lifetime.)

    PlayOn allows streaming of new shows (Hulu), old shows and movies (Netflix), MLB games, and individual channel sites (like Comedy Central) to my XBox at a total annual cost of $220, or under $20 a month. The only cable service I could get at that price is the super-restricted version that only gives about a dozen channels, most of which I could get OTA anyway.

    I get the added advantages of being able to watch everything on my own schedule, and also watch while travelling -- unless I leave the country, which unfortunately blacks out most services. But that's what the Netflix DVDs are for. I rip them to my harddrive as fast as I can get them, and now have a nice stockpile of movies to watch while overseas.

  • by frooddude (148993) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:21PM (#35901828)

    Ditched cable when we bought a house. We've had Netflix the whole time, wife does the CNN dance on her laptop. Netflix is mostly DVD, not much streaming. There's nothing on cable worth watching that I'd pay 1 month's price for the entire year.

  • by macwhizkid (864124) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:22PM (#35901830)

    I did something like this last year. Wasn't really willing to pay $1000 for a "Media PC", so I bought a Dell from circa 2005 at a local resale shop, P4 2ghz or some such, for $50. Then got an ATI Radeon HD 4000-something off NewEgg for $20. The Radeon 4000 is, AFAIK, the lowest-end card that supports 1080p hardware decoding. ("DXVA support" is the Microsoft buzzword that you need on the hardware + software side for this to work.) 2TB hard drive + USB enclosure for $100. Threw in a cheap BD-ROM drive just for fun ($50).

    Total cost: $220. Less if I'd had the parts lying around.

    On the software side, with MakeMKV + Media Player Classic, the box can rip + play Blu-Rays at full resolution with 0% processor utilization. Synergy to control from my laptop while sitting on the coach.

    The final kicker was that the Adobe Flash team finally got off their collective butts and included support for hardware decoding in Flash 10.2. Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix all look fantastic.

    I wouldn't dream of ever going back to cable and trying to program a DVR. Too much work.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > I did something like this last year. Wasn't really willing to pay $1000 for a "Media PC"

      A "media PC" costs $300, not $1000.

    • I could post with the same title, but my decrepit old computer is tasked with content acquisition. It polls an RSS feed periodically for new torrent files. When the download is complete, it is made available over HTTP on the LAN, so technically I stream content to whatever computer I happen to be sitting in front of. I can't speak for all content, but for what I want to watch, it's pretty reliable.

      The automation is important for me. I have a crappy DSL connection, but as long as I don't end up staring a

  • We live in Reston VA, and I have asked Comcast to discontinue our cable service, which is their most basic level, and only retain the Internet service. They told me that if they did this, they would charge me _more_ than if I keep the cable service. They claim that they have no way to centrally disconnect the Internet service: yet they have the ability to centrally turn on and off all other kinds of channels, so I don't think I believe them. I think they just don't want me to disconnect the cable service, s

  • I'm considering getting an antenna to get local channels, since they are all HD over the air now, but I haven't bothered.

    So the advantages are:

    1) Less cost. Even with a few DVDs out at a time, Netflix is less than basic cable. I don't watch a lot of TV (spend too much time playing video games) so I always had trouble with the price of cable. Netflix is cheap enough it is worth it, even if I only watch a half an hour every other day or the like.

    2) No ads. Having used Netflix, TV ads annoy me these days. I do

  • I've got a Wii which provides Netflix and gaming, and also an attic antenna which gets ~8 channels. We don't watch TV enough to justify cable or satellite.

    We've got a DVD library as well, but that won't be used much until my toddler grows out of the "let's play with the SHINY BLUE BUTTON" stage.

  • by jimpop (27817) * on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:27PM (#35901888) Homepage Journal

    > If you've done this, what does your approach include?

    I did this last year. Dumped Comcast TV, kept the Data. Cut my Comcast bill in half. I pay for Netflix streaming. I had a Roku and Google TV, but I recently upgraded to a new TV that includes Netflix and Vudu. I also bought a $20 HDTV Receiver to pick up local broadcasts (works very well). I could add a DVR, but anything I would DVR is pretty much available on Hulu (but that's only on my PC because I don't use it enough to justify Hulu+ on the Roku, ymmv).

    > If you'd like to, what are the bottlenecks?

    The chief "bottleneck" is that there are too many options (Apple TV, Google TV, Roku, TV's with Apps, etc). You will probably not get the right combo of apps+device+TV on your first pass, thus it will take a few purchases/cancellations/equipment-swaps to get a solution that you like. For instance, I started with the Google TV (which is a decent product), but left if behind (gave it to a friend) when I realized that I only used it for Netflix and my new TV had built-in Netflix.

  • HDTV reception gear is quite inexpensive compared to cable fees.

    We use MythTV but I understand other packages work as well.

    The quality is excellent, much better than Hulu or Netflix for the same show.

    You gotta invest in some disk storage if you want to keep more than a few days worth of shows.

  • Big A la Carte channel fan here and was always irritated cable wouldn't support it. Had never even considered it for individual shows however, but now that NetFlix legitimized that model at the program level I haven't looked back.

    So it's streaming to my desktop (soon to be TV), discs by mail for the TV, and 1000s of movies and TV shows ripped to my HD which I stream to a PC or burn and watch on the TV. Local TV weather is now online and local news is available if spotty atm, but I never got into the "eyewit

  • We need all A la carte cable so you can buy the channels that you want I need my CSN Chicago but don't want to pay for crap like lifetime.

  • It's only marginally climate controlled and it's inconvenient. But it is connected to a Mythbuntu box that I thought I would use with the HD Homerun. But the inconvenience factor wins most of the time. I occasionally watch stuff that Miro downloads, but I don't have that many subscriptions and I've only finished the January videos. The TV does receive a few cable channels over the internet-only cable. They don't bother to block all the local programming. I believe that my wife has a couple of stories she f
  • When I moved 2.5 years ago, I never bothered turning on cable (or phone, but that's a different story) in the new place. It was weird because I had just bought a 45 inch TV and it suddenly became a big Xbox monitor. I hooked my PC to the TV (VGA port FTW) and started streaming Hulu and Netflix (been a subscriber since 2003).

    A month later I bought a dedicated HTPC, installed XBMC and Hulu Desktop on it, hooked it up with the wonderful USB-UART infrared reader and the free/libre EventGhost software to control

  • comcast will find away to take away the free NBC on line stuff and look for them next year to put NHL games on G4 HD just to get Directv to have G4 again.

  • Here's a point of view from another Canadian. I ran my own SageTV/Windows PVR at home for probably 3 years, but now I just use an AppleTV. SageTV with an SD tuner for my satellite connection was fine, but when I bought an HDTV and then an Hauppague HD-PVR, things just got progressively worse. My hardware was starting to get noisier, and I was spending probably 10x as much time messing with the setup as I was spending watching TV. I figured out that we were paying probably $15+ per hour of TV actually wa
  • Dumped cable (TV and Internet) in December 2008 and got the mid-range AT&T no-contract DSL for about 1/3 the monthly cost.

    Right now we're going with a mix of OTA (local news and hockey, don't give a damn about any other sports), Hulu (simply because it's a relatively good aggregating service), and some network stuff (Comedy Central, History, PBS, etc.) that's not found directly on Hulu.

    For news, Al Jazeera is the only one which I'm aware that is legit. I have found some "dubious [channelsurfing.net]" sites that rebroadcast

  • Here in New Zealand we don't really have Cable TV (except a couple of smaller areas). Sky TV [skytv.co.nz] (similar to DirecTV) has the whole Pay-TV thing sewn up.

    However there is a free to air digital service called Freeview [freeviewnz.tv] that broadcasts on satellite (PAL 576i) and terrestrial (1080i).

    Sky has all the movie channels and all the sport as well as the standard Free-To-Air (FTA) channels, and Freeview has only the FTA channels with a couple of extra's. Sky costs about $100 a month and has only just added a DVR to their

  • Torrents + Tvduck.com + Netflix = everything

  • The main issue I ave is that my wifey watches things like Amazing Race and Survivor... (geck...) None the less... So I have to accommodate her need to see these programs ON THE DAY THEY ARE BROADCAST.
  • Because I'm a married man. My wife could certainly learn how to use a streaming setup (she already uses Netflix on our Wii and on our Blu-ray plaeyer), but it really doesn't cover all of what we want. We also have playon.tv, which gets a few more things for almost no money, which is OK.

    But in the end, cable TV is just more convenient. It works consistently and if something is wrong you know what to do immediately.

    Although on top of that, where we live cable TV is the only option for high speed intern
  • I have "a friend" who uses that all the time.
  • by Eggplant62 (120514) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @10:02PM (#35902784)

    Last October my budget was crashing hard and I had to make some decisions on what to cut to get over the hump. I looked at the $110/month bill and figured, if I spend that same amount of money, I can get me a Roku box, then tell the cable company to cut out the cable TV portion to save over half that. Add just a few bucks to that for the Netflix and Hulu subscriptions, and I was well under the original. Worked great, but the little decoder I got for local broadcast TV didn't work well. So, now that we're over the budget hump and can afford it again, we're getting the cable back in. I just spotted an offer to keep the bill at a lower rate than before, and they'll toss in a DVR. The Roku did work well, though, and if the cable company starts jacking the rates again, they'll lose my business forever.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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