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Old 04-19-2011, 09:26 AM   #1
pbannist
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Cutting the cord...

So I've been thinking quite a lot about ditching cable. I live in Manhattan and currently have Time Warner Cable. I pay the utterly ludicrous price of $120/month for two DVRs (one HD), HBO, and all of the standard channels. Also completely sick of the horrible TWC DVRs - had Tivo many years ago when I had DirecTV and still miss it. We get internet through the phone company, so no issue there. My wife and I don't watch that much TV and are watching even less since our son was born a year ago.

Currently we watch a few prime-time TV shows on the major networks, my wife watches some PBS shows. We occasionally VOD something from TWC, and once in a blue moon watch something on a basic cable channel like Food Network/Bravo. My son doesn't really watch any TV yet, but I figure he'll survive with PBS and stuff from the internet/DVDs once he does.

Cutting the cord, I know I am going to lose my occasional Food Network show, and also lose the occasional great HBO miniseries/special/etc. I can live with that, or just watch them later.

What I'm thinking of doing is getting two Tivo Premieres, OTA antennas for both, and possibly subscribing to Netflix - although is the Amazon Instant good enough for watching just newly released movies? I was pretty unimpressed with the selection of movies available via Netflix on my Wii, and not sure it's any different on Tivo?

Does this sound like it'll basically do the trick? Doesn't seem like Roku or Boxee or another solution will really work for us as I really want the DVR since you can't easily get all of the major network shows off the net (seems kinda hit or miss), or am I missing something? Oh and I can still record two shows and watch another with OTA, correct?

I've read a bunch of posts here and sounds like Tivo isn't the awesome company it once was, but Premiere is still better than pretty much anything out there, so probably worth taking the leap.

Also, not sure anyone has any experience with the Mohu Leaf antenna, but seems like it is getting a lot of good early reviews and seems great for an apartment. I'm on the 16th floor, south-facing, without LOS to the Empire State Building, but only ~3 miles away.

Anyway, thanks for any thoughts!
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:14 AM   #2
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You sound like a prime candidate to cut the cord. And if TiVo ever gets it's act together with Hulu Plus you can still keep the Food Channel (and many others) for $7/month.

You can record two OTA at the same time and then watch a third recorded program.

You have options for both Amazon and Netflix. Amazon is a pay per view while Netflix is monthly subscription ($8 per month). If you watch 2-3 per month Netflix could be a good choice, but you'd still have the option to watch Amazon also (for the rental fee).

There are some reports that the Premier is not great for OTA, but it sounds like you're in a prime area for reception.
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:32 AM   #3
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Our family did cut the cord (with the approval of the entire family). We are now in our 2nd month of OTA and internet streaming with a Roku.

Prior to cutting the cord we were with DirecTV. We had season passes for 40 shows. Between OTA and internet (with Roku) we still see 35 of the shows.

What is amazing is the amount of content available with internet streaming. We bought a Roku to stream. That is an amazing little device (the $80 and $100 versions can output 1080p). We pay $8 / month for Netflix (streaming only) and $9 / month for Hulu plus. Netflix has about 18,000 movies and shows available for streaming most of which are in HD (and they are rotated). Hulu plus has complete seasons for a lot of shows (all in HD). Roku also has many "channels" both in their "store" and "private." (Private means they are not supported by Roku, not that they are adult channels.) There is so much available in those channels, many of it in HD. THere are lots of old classic shows / movies as well as new stuff. The Roku is an amazing device. I'd recommend getting a Roku even if you don't cut the cord. You will be amazed at what it does.

OTA HD quality is amazing. The PQ for the OTA we recieve is better quality than what we got with D*. Further, any shows you watch from a major network is usually available OTA. We use a Tivo S3 with lifetime just for OTA recording.

We started the migration to cutting the cord slowly. Even if you decide not to cut the cord, I would recommend you get a Roku and try it out. (If you want to try it out and not sure you'll want to keep it, the $80 version is available at Best Buy, where you could return it if it didn't work out.) As long as you have 4 MB d/l speed you will have no problem getting HD streaming. My entire family was amazed at what we recieve. (Having used streaming through both the Roku and TIVO, I would not recommend using the TIVO. The netflix interface is heads and tails better on the Roku than on the TIVO [as well as having better PQ].)

The negative is loss of sports programming. MLB and NHL offer internet subscriptions you can play through the Roku. However they black out the local team. (MLB makes our local teams games available 90 minutes after the game is done.) However, if you have an Xbox 360, gold membership and an ESPN3 affiliated ISP, you can stream many, many sports through the Xbox 360. Over the weekend we were watching live HD streams of NBA playoff games through the ESPN channel on the Xbox 360.

If you do go OTA / internet streaming and have a PC that you can run most of the time, I would recommend you install the PlayOn program on it and get the Roku private channel MYPLAYON. This combination will allow you to stream Hulu regular (not the premium version) to your Roku as well as many other "channels" offered by optional playon scripts (none of which cost $). Hulu regular has many, many more shows than offered in Hulu Plus (premium version). PQ with PlayON will not be as good as Hulu Premium on the Roku but it is very acceptable.

Our TV went from $87 / month with D* to $18 / month. We basically are watching everything we did before. If you have any questions, post them here or PM me.

Last edited by rayik : 04-19-2011 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:41 AM   #4
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Also check to see what shows are available as free podcasts from iTunes. These include "Mad Money", "Fast Money" and "The Suze Orman Show" from CNBC and I assume there are more. I know that CBS has "The Amazing Race" available for streaming as Tivo missed one episode due to a long football game (since fixed with a 2 hour pad at the end of "The Amazing Race" in my season pass).

I have only found one movie and two TV shows that I wanted to watch via Netflix streaming. Even movies that are 10 years old are still DVD only.

Good luck.
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:23 PM   #5
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I have only found one movie and two TV shows that I wanted to watch via Netflix streaming. Even movies that are 10 years old are still DVD only..
Our experience with Netflix streaming has been the opposite. We found ourselves finding everything we wanted streaming and not bothering to order DVD / Blu-Rays anymore.

We don't use the Tivo interface for Netflix streaming. We use a Roku which offers more through the interface. The Roku interface includes suggestions based on what's in your instant queue, what you've actually watched already and what you've searched for in the past. For example, we watched "Kitchen Nightmares." Roku offered 25 different suggested shows / movies for just that one watched show.
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Old 04-19-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
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I knew it would come in handy not to have cable all these years

I haven't had cable for over 20 years, so I can go to the library and get HBO series and movies by the boat load for free. I grab 10 DVDs and don't have to really look through them that much. I have found a lot of great shows that I have never heard of and have never read about online either.
OTA has new channels almost every month so I do a lot of recording on Tivo and watching in bits and pieces when convenient. Am enjoying watching the Outerlimits again after 40 years.
I will probably break down and use a Premiere that I have for online downloads when I get a job, but for now with 4 lifetime Series 2 Tivos, I am set.
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Old 04-19-2011, 01:39 PM   #7
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What you're going to want to do is go to www.tvfool.com and input your address. This will tell you what type of antenna you'll need to pick up the channels you want. With any luck it may be as simple as a small indoor antenna to get what you want. There may be a particular channel you need/want that just may not be an option, or may require a large antenna on the roof.
Once you've figured out what you'll need, if it looks doable, get the antenna you need, and get the Premiere(s). Remember, the Premiere can record 2 OTA channels at the same time while playing back something that's already been recorded, so a 2nd Premiere may not be necessary. Either way, run the antenna to the Premiere(s) (Use a splutter if you do go with 2) and run the guided setup, and tell it you have OTA only. When it's all done, check your signal strengths on the channels you want/need. If everything looks good, you're probably fine. If it doesn't work for some reason, you have at least 30 days to return the Premiere(s) (May be longer, not sure, but I know it's at least 30 days).
Also, if you can get the antenna local, do that as well, in case you do need to return it.
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:27 PM   #8
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Our experience with Netflix streaming has been the opposite. We found ourselves finding everything we wanted streaming and not bothering to order DVD / Blu-Rays anymore.
My recent rentals that did not show as being available for streaming were: "The Fighter" 2010, "The Shooter" 2007, "Frequency" 2000, "A Bug's Life" 1998, "Gandhi" 1982. And the list goes on. I'm on 1 DVD out at a time.

The Netflix website has the same features as the Roku interface you mentioned. I'm fine with using my PC to populate my Netflix queue since using the Tivo system to enter titles would be a pain.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:37 PM   #9
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From what some are reporing you may be opening up a whole new can of worms going with Tivo, an Netflix...

Yet, you'd still have 30 days to opt out so good luck
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:52 AM   #10
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We cut the cord two months ago, in Astoria, Queens, just over the East River from you.
We got a TiVo Premiere from Woot, which wouldn't let us buy a lifetime, but we got the $129'yearly sub. We got a flat RCA digital antenna (it's amplified but not plugged in) and an apple tv.
We are quite pleased. We miss the occasional hgtv or SyFy show, and the daily show, but watch em on my laptop plugged into the tv's extra hdmi input. Hulu plus on the premiere will solve much of that, although some shows are only available on Hulu regular. I think the atv has a much better Netflix interface than the TiVo. We are in the middle of a free moth trial with Netflix. I'm surprised how many things are not available for streaming. Haven't tried Amazons service yet, but did rent a movie from iTunes and AirPlay it to the Atv with great results. I've also had great success pushing video content onto the Premiere for later viewing.

No regrets here.
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Old 04-27-2011, 06:59 AM   #11
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I pulled the plug three months ago and haven't regreted it one bit. OTA in my area is pretty straight forward with a small amplified antenna. I fill in around the local channels with my AppleTV 2 and iTunes (for my movie and TV show library). The new ROKU boxes are interesting and I may add one of those to the media mix after summer.

One things you should watch out for though is the $10 a month creep that can happen with all of these new services popping up for a "small monthly fee".

That said, the picture quality of the uncompressed HD signal is awesome and I haven't looked back.

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Old 04-27-2011, 08:19 AM   #12
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Yep. Mark us down as another family who dropped Dish 4 months ago. Haven't looked back. I'm not all that satisfied with my Premiere to be honest, and I've actually used my EyeTV on my Mac Mini more than my TiVo, but I LOVE paying $30/month for what was costing me well over $120. There are a few things that we kind of miss like Mythbusters & Dirty Jobs, but it's a great reminder for us that Television isn't life, and we can get along just fine without it.
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Old 04-27-2011, 09:00 AM   #13
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I have also been pay TV free for awhile. It is less of a money issue for me than I just don't have that much time to watch TV. I live alone and TiVo with OTA, and some minor streaming through a computer is more than enough.

I put together a HTPC over the winter to play with steaming - I have used Boxee, Hulu, Crackle, and other web sites to watch video. The stuff that is free is normally 480p quality, watchable if I sit far enough away from my 50 inch plasma, but certainly not anything like a Blu-ray disk or OTA HD. Streaming is interesting, but does not in my mind replace cable/satellite due to quality and usability issues.

I honestly don't think a $100/mo cable/satellite TV bill is that bad if you have a large enough family. But for small or single person households there are better options. For that same $100 I can rent lots of DVDs or Blu-ray disks from Red Box or Netflix and go watch a movie in the theater every weak and still have money left over. Add TiVo with OTA and that is more entertainment hours than I am willing to use watching TV/Video/Movies.

Thanks,
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Old 04-27-2011, 09:01 AM   #14
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We cut the cord a few months ago and really haven't missed it. Take an inventory of the shows you really like that are on cable and look for them on the channels website. Many cable channel shows are available streaming on the web. I would suggest also having a way to hook your computer to the TV to have access to some of these shows. We figure it will take about a year to pay off the cost of the TIVO as compared to what we were paying for Dish and then we should be free and clear minus Netflix (which we had anyway) Hulu + if we decide to keep it. The one warning with Hulu+ is the programming is really limited. There are hardly any what would be considered basic cable shows available. Mostly just ABC/NBC/FOX. CBS has a deal with TV.COM and aren't available on HULU. Good luck with switch it is good to be free from paying for 100's of channels you don't even watch.
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Old 04-27-2011, 09:08 AM   #15
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We made the jump three months ago. Went from DTV to OTA with a Premiere and a Netflix subscription (which we already had). Best decision we've ever made. We really don't miss anything and we're saving a ton. Netflix streaming isn't great for "I want to watch this particular movie", but it really does have a pretty good selection for whatever you're in the mood for, and some really good TV. And picture quality is SO much better OTA.

I say go ahead and give it a try. For us, after two days, it was a no-brainer that we had made the right decision...
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:49 PM   #16
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Yep. Mark us down as another family who dropped Dish 4 months ago. Haven't looked back. I'm not all that satisfied with my Premiere to be honest, and I've actually used my EyeTV on my Mac Mini more than my TiVo, but I LOVE paying $30/month for what was costing me well over $120. There are a few things that we kind of miss like Mythbusters & Dirty Jobs, but it's a great reminder for us that Television isn't life, and we can get along just fine without it.

Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs are both available on Netflix streaming. They have past seasons of both shows.
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:34 AM   #17
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Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs are both available on Netflix streaming. They have past seasons of both shows.
Last I checked they didn't have current shows, and not entire seasons. Maybe that's changed?
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Old 04-29-2011, 05:04 PM   #18
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I checked last night. Mythbusters had six seasons available. Dirty Jobs had seasons available but I did not click to see how many.

Netflix tends to not have the "latest" season. However, our family really doesn't care if they see the "new" season 6 - 9 months after it's first aired.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:22 PM   #19
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I just called DirecTV today to have them close my account. It's amazing how far they will attempt to go to retain a customer. Two TiVo Premieres with lifetime service subscriptions cost me about the same as one year of DirecTV.

Streaming with Roku gave me the confidence to go ahead with it. I have a Netflix streaming account, though I'm concerned about their loss of Starz. I'm trying out a six-month Hulu Plus subscription and will see if I'm getting enough value from it.

So far I feel like I'm so far ahead from being tied to DirecTV!

Mojo
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:07 AM   #20
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The only thing I miss is sports. There are some shows that I must wait for that are on premium channels, but saving $70 a month is worth it to me. I also canceled my DVD plan on Netflix because I went back and looked at my rental history. I had just 20 movies out in the last year. With Netflix's idiotic 50% price hike, it had to be done. Believe me, with the amount of tv I watch, you won't miss much by canceling your tv service. I got tired of the every 2 year price hikes.
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:41 AM   #21
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Budget-Friendly Alternatives to Cable TV

From Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, October 2011

http://www.kiplinger.com/magazine/ar...ml?topic_id=41
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:12 AM   #22
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Also, not sure anyone has any experience with the Mohu Leaf antenna, but seems like it is getting a lot of good early reviews and seems great for an apartment. I'm on the 16th floor, south-facing, without LOS to the Empire State Building, but only ~3 miles away.

Anyway, thanks for any thoughts!

The wife and I were a little disappointed with dropouts while watching Grimm last night. As I may have mentioned before the TiVo tuner seams to be a little picky with the $5 UHF bowtie antenna.

Last week I spotted the news story about a local cable system refusing to run the advertisment for the Leaf flat antenna by Mohu. Bless the cable company. Mohu is probably getting more exposure for the Leaf from this than they would have from the advertisment.

Well in addition to the Leaf I also spotted the Wall-Tenna at Amazon. I know that every antenna works perfectly at some location but I would still love to read comments from the forum.

I have ordered both for testing at my house. In the worst case scenario both get returned. I have a feeling that these won't outperform the bowtie, but time will tell.

PS It was a little scary watching the CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes tributes to Andy Rooney in high definition.
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:37 AM   #23
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Last week I spotted the news story about a local cable system refusing to run the advertisment for the Leaf flat antenna by Mohu. Bless the cable company. Mohu is probably getting more exposure for the Leaf from this than they would have from the advertisment.

.
We cut the cord several months ago, and I purchased a Mohu Leaf and it does work better than the cheap rabbit ear/bowtie antenna I tried first. Although in order to get the local FOX affiliate (which was the most important because of football), I did have to tape it to the living room window AND connect a signal amplifier to it.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:54 AM   #24
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We cut the cord several months ago, and I purchased a Mohu Leaf and it does work better than the cheap rabbit ear/bowtie antenna I tried first. Although in order to get the local FOX affiliate (which was the most important because of football), I did have to tape it to the living room window AND connect a signal amplifier to it.
I really wanted to see the Leaf succeed but at my home the Wall-Tenna wins. I played and played with orientation and placement for a few days and when all was said and done all of the primary network affiliates in Philadelphia, CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, Fox, CW etc, came in just fine on the Wall-Tenna. The Leaf, like the $5 UHF bowtie, just couldn't consistently pull in the local ABC and PBS stations. I know that every person will have a different experience but the $35 investment is worth it IF you live in a UHF only market and don't want to go with a serious rooftop or attic antenna. We'll see what happens come the summer when the trees are full of leaves. Who knows I still might need that roof/attic antenna.
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Old 12-11-2011, 02:27 PM   #25
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I bailed on the WallTenna as well. It just wasn't consistent with the low VHF ABC and the high VHF PBS affiliates in Philadelphia. I opted for a roof mounted Antennacraft 5884 which is a low end VHF/UHF antenna. We now have rock solid reception of all the major network affiliates in the Philadelphia area. I also changed from Verizon Fios to Comcast Xfinity for internet.

Our monthly internet/TV/Telephone bill is down to about $64.

$30 Internet
$15 Vonage Telephone
$9 Netflix
$10 TiVo Service

I will break even on the cost of the TiVo, TiVo Blue Tooth Remote, Blu-ray player, ethernet cables, antenna and antenna labor in about seven months. My wife hase even been exploring and trying out "new" old shows like "the Borgias" on Netflix.

My only regrets are not opting for a roof top antenna from the word go and not buying and activating a second TiVo befor the $9.99 offer expired on November 15th.

The only programming challenge is what to do when the Phillies return in April. I was planning on setting up a Slingbox but there still isn't an affordable sub $100 Slingplayer solution. Hopefully the Slingplayer function will be added to the dead in the water Logitech Revue Google TV thingy.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:09 AM   #26
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It's been a year since we've cut the cord. Have only missed ESPN on occasion. Have a Roku in the kids TV for Netflix and Amazon. Tivo in the main room for everything.

We utilize Amazon VOD. We found ourselves renting TV shows from Netflix more than movies, so we cut the Netflix DVD service with the price hike. Now, if we want to watch a season of say "Sons of Anarchy" (1-3 were on Netflix too!), we buy the season from Amazon. It's a bit pricey for HD ($3 per episode), but it would have been the same price to watch the season a year later over two months with Netflix. And it really makes you think about what you are watching when you pay $3 per episode. No more junk. We are also Prime members, but their selection isn't very good right now.

Still may go back to Netflix DVD in the summer to get HBO seasons (Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire). That is when we don't watch much OTA and rely on DVD's from Redbox, which doesn't have TV shows.
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:10 PM   #27
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Update: 12/18/2011 - cord cut!

DirecTV really want's to keep their subscriber base as they offered some nice promotions. But they got kicked to the curb!

Two Premier units can do the recording and the Apple TV will be used for season passes for the channels that we will no longer have. FX is what we watch the most, Son's of A, and Justified...

All OTA now for us! It will be nice to save that $100 per month!
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