Anyone tried cutting out cable entirely?

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by Papageno, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. Dec 2, 2010 #1 of 43
    Papageno

    Papageno Member

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    Hi folks, I'm a longtime owner of a Series 2 standalone box with lifetime service. I just got this thing in the mail last week with the offer of TiVo Premiere + lifetime for 469 or something. What I'm thinking is, what with all the Netflix/Amazon video on Demand/Blockbuster on Demand and eventually Hulu Plus functionality, is it practical/economical to tell Comcast to go stuff it and pay for just what I want from the named sources, plus grab ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox/etc. stuff free OTA? I suspect that 66 bucks a month I'm spending on cable (and more in January, apparently) would pay for quite a bit of digitally delivered content.

    Now, the fly in the ointment might be: I have Qwest DSL and unfortunately in my neighborhood it tops out at about 3 Mbps (yeah it sucks). I've never run up against a bandwidth cap with my (separate, independent) ISP nor Qwest, but if I started streaming and downloading a lot of shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, etc. would they be likely to balk? I'm in Portland, Oregon if it makes a difference.

    Separate question: with these TV services, do you own your copy of the stuff or is it a "watch it once" sort of thing?

    Anyway, thanks for putting up with a noob, and replies would be most appreciated.
     
  2. Dec 2, 2010 #2 of 43
    smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

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    Most of these services are streamed, a few like Amazon will actually let you purchase something and keep it but only at an additional cost.

    Cutting the cable is a good idea if you have good OTA reception. The one thing I can't quite replace is cable news, or I'd consider it myself. Cable fees are starting to get out of control. I'm shelling out almost a hundred bucks a month and don't even have any premium channels.

    With prices going up another 5% in january, it's certainly worth considering.
     
  3. Dec 2, 2010 #3 of 43
    Papageno

    Papageno Member

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    OTA reception is a good point. I think I would need to get a rooftop antenna to really have a good shot of getting all the channels with the antenna in a fixed position. Right now I have some amplified rabbit ear type things that I have to fiddle with to get a particular channel to come in steadily.

    Question: can the two tuners built-into the Premiere record two OTA broadcast shows at the same time?

    Needless to say I'm not a big sports fan, or cutting cable would probably be out of the question.

    I get most of my news from the radio (NPR). I haven't really watched the cable news networks much for years.
     
  4. Dec 2, 2010 #4 of 43
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Amazon and blockbuster does rent and do purchases of videos. When you rent, it downloads and you have a set time to watch, then it automatically deleted. When its purchased, you can keep and watch any time.

    Netflix is a DVD and streaming service, quality depends on your speed of connection, you can watch whatever and only pay the monthly plan price.

    The dual tuners are capable of recording 2 shows at once, even though there is only 1 coax cable going in.
     
  5. Dec 2, 2010 #5 of 43
    JimboG

    JimboG Member

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    Check www.tvfool.com to see what your over the air digital TV reception will be.

    As a rule, good amplifiers aren't cheap and cheap amplifiers aren't good. An amplified indoor antenna probably isn't a good idea.:)

    Finally, for the smbakers of the world who cannot contemplate life without cable news, give it a try. I don't care if you watch Fox News or MSNBC, the very low content per minute and very high level of vitriol are unhealthy. If you are functionally literate, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal would be a good replacement for left leaning MSNBC and conservative Fox News respectively. Ideally check out what the other side of the ideological divide are getting their panties in a wad about from time to time. At the very least, consider The Economist or NPR for an occasional update on what is going on in the world and step away from the "cable news and talk radio must be on during every waking moment" crowd.

    As an informed voter and a prudent investor you need to know what is going on in the world. However, you don't need talking heads on cable (and anonymous posters on the internet;)) telling you what to think every minute of the day.:D
     
  6. Dec 2, 2010 #6 of 43
    blackngold75

    blackngold75 Active Member

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    Solid OTA reception is a must. As previously stated, check tvfool.com to see what sort of reception you can get.

    I went OTA-only about a year ago: I installed an antenna in my attic just because it was easier than mounting on the roof, and I was pretty confident that the reception would be good based on what I already had with an indoor antenna. With all of the Neflix content available, plus PBS and a few shows on the networks, my family didn't really miss cable.

    It only lasted about 6 months, though, as I was missing NHL, Monday Night Football, and college sports that weren't available OTA. Verizon offered me a deal to add TV back in to my "bundle" for only $10 more plus the cost of the CableCard, so I jumped back in. When that price guarantee expires and they raise my rates again, then I may go back to just OTA + Netflix + whatever else is available on my Tivos.

    Bandwith is important for streaming. I have FiOS 25MB up/down and have no problems.
     
  7. Dec 2, 2010 #7 of 43
    jrfuda

    jrfuda New Member

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    I've been OTA + Netflix and Hulu Plus for about 2 months now. One thing that makes this easy is there are no sports fans in the house.

    The kids watch netflix and PBS (they're 4 and 6) almost exclusively. There are a few Disney offerings (Phineas and Ferb mostly) that they miss, but most of the Nickelodean content is available via Netflix, plus PBS and ION have a good bit of kids programming, and some of the older Disney stuff is available on ABC on Saturdays. I've also ripped all the kids favorite DVDs to our HP MediaSmart Windows Home Server, so they get fast access to all theire movies. My 6-year old can run the TiVo like a pro, and I think it has helped his reading a lot since he has to read to use it (though netflix helps with cover art).

    The wife and I did 80% of our watching on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and CW, all of which we get OTA without any problem. ANother 15% of our viewing was SyFy and the last 5% on HGTV, DIY and FOOD. What sucked was - on Dish, just to get all of the dozen or so channels we watched, we had to get the 250 pack which was their highest tiered non-premium channel pack they had, about $100/month. We can get all of this OTA or via netflix and hulu, though we have to wait 30+ days for some content, and Hulu is still limited to just our Rokus, with most of pur desired contaent only available on the PC now.

    My new home also has a 100+ year old oak and several Magnolias blocking the southern exposure, where the Dish would be pointing, which also steered me towards OTA only. Several family members have TWC, and I cannot stand the picture quality (looks like youtube quality sometimes) and the interface is awful.

    So far it's been great. We have 4 Premeirs, all with lifetime and all but one bought during those great deals Electronic Expo was having. I've got about $2075 invested in hardware and subs, so if I keep this setup for 3 years, that comes to $57.63 per month, $43.23 over 4 years or $34.58 if we keep it for 5 years. Add $16 a month for Netflix and Hulu Plus, and that gets us to about $73, which is still $25+/month less than what we were paying with Dish based on the the 3 year plan, with a 21-month break-even. Now, I do have a ton more flexibility that I did with the Dish Network setup in the previous home; I would have had to make a $800-$1200 investment in hardware, plus anohter grand in tree removal (too big and close to do myself) to get what I would have now with Dish since they would not provide me any new receivers, that brings the break even closer to 16 months with new Dish hardware and 13 months if you add in tree removal costs.

    Our setup: Tivo Premeirs in Living, Kitchen, Playroom and Master bedroom; HP MediaSmart for central storage (plus TiVo Desktop storing ripped DVDs); Dish DTV Pal recivers and Rokus in the Kids' bedroom and Guest Room. We have tons more flexibility now that we ever did with our old Dish VIP 622 and 322 (which fed 4 rooms, but only one in HD). The kitchen and Master BEdroom TiVos are in closets, so we have Slide Remotes for them. I can now record 8 show simultaneously plus get netflix (and eventually Hulu plus, whihconly works on the Rokus now) and all the TiVos can share eachothers recordings (couldn't do that with Dish). My Living Room box also feeds into a Slingbox so I can watch on one of the PCs or my Android phone (which was very nice over Thanksgiving and should come in handy next year in Iraq).

    Antenna setup: Channel Master Model 4228HD, VHF Rabit Ears, Radio Shack UHF antenna combined and amped with a CH 25 Jointenna (RS UHF gets only Ch 25, VHF Ant only Ch 11) CM 7777 preamp (which does the Joining duties for UHF VHF as well). I have these distributed throughout the house with a passive 1 x 4 splitter (upstairs) and a super home node (downstairs, plus lets me send three modulated signals from other video gear). I originally had an amplified splitter upstairs as well, but it added to much noise and was not needed.

    Note: I did not include the cost of the Antenna setup, Rokus, MediaSmart or Slingbox in the breakeven estimate. I would have had the antenna setup anyway becuase the Dish VIP receivers have OTA tuners as well as sat receivers. and the other things are things I already had. I also installed a robust home network in my home, with wired drops to every room plus multiple wireless access points (using all 3 non-overlapping channels, 1, 6 and 11) for thorough coverage of over 3800 square feet (more if you count the garage, and will get another 800 when we finish the attic). Funny, my 110-year-old house is probably one of the most modern in the neighborhood regarding communications infrastructure.

    Now, most folks are not going to have 4 TiVos, and money could be saved by feeding 2+ TVs with one TiVo (using HDMI and Component, or modulating the composite) so payback could be much, much faster. My sister-in-law's family just dropped cable as well and are deciding between a TiVo or a Channel Master DVR (they can get Netflix on their Wii); right now they're just using their TVs' native ATSC tuners. Honestly, if you're not going to use all the extra media features of the TiVo, you might be better off with the Channel Master DVR and some other streaming hardware (Game Console, Roku, or built-in to your TV) than a TiVo. The free guide info in my DTV Pal receivers is just as good as what I paid TiVo for. Channel Master DVR and Dish DTV Pal DVR are the same hardware, echostar is the OEM for both.
     
  8. Dec 2, 2010 #8 of 43
    smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes, you just wanna watch the news... There are programs on both FNC and MSNBC that are informative and useful, and there are programs on both that are partisan, exaggerated, and useless. At least the slant you receive is rather obvious.

    This is true regardless of what media you receive your news from, be it Network News, Cable, Print, or Radio. Often times Print and Radio are worse than cable news.

    Anyhow, back on topic, 'cutting the cable' is a good goal, but I think for most they'll find there's just that one thing that they still need from cable television, be it news or sports or a particular science channel. In this case, the cord is hanging by a string, but it's still there.

    How I wish we had true a la carte programming where we could pick the 2-3 channels we actually wanted instead of getting 100 channels of crap for a hundred bucks.

    How accessible did you find this programming without cable? Do you find the programs are available on netflix/hulu/amazon? SyFy would happen to be one of the few non-network channels that I do watch, primarily for SG:U, Eureka, and W13.
     
  9. Dec 2, 2010 #9 of 43
    kturcotte

    kturcotte Active Member

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    I'd like to. Unfortunately, we can only pick up NBC, ABC, and CBS here OTA without erecting a 315 foot tower for the others (I'm not exaggerating). Time Warner has a basic package which includes locals, but they're all in SD. If you want HD locals, you're paying $67 a month (Which I'm sure will probably go up next year). Plus my Grandmother likes Lifetime, LMN. I get my own place though, I'll probably go OTA only and what I can't pick up, I'll get on Blu-Ray when they're released.
     
  10. Papageno

    Papageno Member

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    Thanks for all the replies! One option that I just found out about last night is dropping to a tier called Digital Economy that the sneaky buggers at Comcast have been really quiet about. It's got like 90% of what I watch on cable including AMC, Comedy Central, and USA (although not FX, or Syfy). That tier is actually going down in price come January if you can believe it, by 25%. Right now I'm on "Digital Starter". Now the only question I have is, what sort of premium do I have to pay them to get a hi-def feed of those channels? The rate sheet that the authorities make them send you every once in a while, with the minuscule print, isn't real clear on that. Would a CableCard automatically get me the channels I've paid for, whatever the tier, in Hi-Def, or does it not work like that (I would think that HD would be a selling point of more expensive tiers)?
     
  11. jrfuda

    jrfuda New Member

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    Hulu shows SyFy shows 30 days after original broadcast... only regular Hulu, not on Hulu plus yet, so you have to watch on your PC. Don't understand this since NBC is one of the owners of Hulu (Fox and ABC are in too, I think) and NBC also owns SyFy. You'd think they'd all have their shows on right away and just make you watch commercials. I have yet to see a single commercial on any Hulu programing I've viewed (mostly SyFy stuff, though we did watch Chuck and Cougar Town a few times before we got the TiVos hooked up). I'd gladly view the commercials if they'd let me get the shows on my TV instead of just my PC.

    Netflix has last year's SyFy shows, including Eureka, W13 and the first 1/2 season of SGU. They also have the entire series of SG1, SGA and BSG. This is streaming. If you want to get the DVD in the mail, it's available shortly after the DVDs go on sale. Keep in mind that Netflixs' streaming catalog is only about 20% of their total catalog (more like 5% if you're looking at new releases). I think as licensing works out, this will improve.
     
  12. trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    I pay about $80 per month after taxes and fees for 2 cable cards, & FIOS internet and TV (and phone that I don't use.)

    I thought about switching to no cable but I'd still be paying around $50 for internet after taxes and have to deal with the hassles of OTA plus other options.

    I figure that $30 month difference would be eaten up by the handful of cable shows I watch plus a few my kids and wife might want to watch especially if I bought the hd versions from iTunes or Amazon.

    Even if I save $5-$15 per month I'd have to sacrifice some sports and one-time programming and it would all be more of a hassle.

    IN 1 1/2 years when my deal expires it may be a different story. Although where I currently live I have the option to get either Comcast or FIOS which should help keep the cost down.


    With OTA too I'd have to keep my Premieres which are big expenses.

    Ideally I'd like to ditch the PRemieres and just have Rokus, and ATVs or other little streaming boxes. Something cheap and small and energy efficient.

    What's a bit funny is here I am trying to cut the price I pay and yet I only added Netflix to what I pay to watch tv content every month. And now I can't really cut Netflix as wife, 4 yr old and myself use it. My 9 yr old rarely uses it. I think he's in-between the cartoons and movies/tv shows that it generally offers.
     
  13. wireless200

    wireless200 New Member

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    From my perspective, I cut cable TV almost 4 years ago and figure I've saved close to $5000 less the cost of two Tivos with LT. My TW was over $100 month. I do pay them $40/month for internet (8 MBS). We use that for work and everything else internet related so not bad. Time Warner raises their rates every year. I figure my no movie no special sport channels set up (DigiPic I think they use to call it) with DVR would be running $120 or more. I get a lot of content OTA and I'm more glad every year as the savings mount that we did it.
     
  14. rbranson

    rbranson New Member

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    I tried it with Hulu, NetFlix, OTA, and streaming from the web for some stuff. It's just, well, meh. It's such a hassle and not worth the savings, and you'll still be giving up programs you want to watch, which sucks. I have like maybe 8 hours a week to watch TV, and while it seems silly to pay literally $2.34/hr ($75/mo at 8 hours/week) for TV, at least I'm watching what I want to watch, not something I'm unhappy with.

    Eventually, after a lot of fighting, the TV part of cable will disappear for the most part and we'll be getting content directly from the providers over the Internet. All that will be left as a feasible business model will be OTA.
     
  15. aaroncgi

    aaroncgi New Member

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    Is this new? We were watching Warehouse13 and Eureka through Hulu less than a week after their original air date, this past summer. Yes, we had commercials, but only one minute max, with many only being 20-30s.
     
  16. forum junkie

    forum junkie New Member

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    I went OTA 2 years ago when I realized that 90% of what I watched were the networks anyway. 10% was not worth the $90 a month I was spending by the time all the fees were added. Adding Netflix which can now be had as streaming only for 7.99 was plenty to keep the grandkids happy and supplement my viewing. Anything I wanted on demand is just as cheap right from Amazon, Blockbusters, and others. Most networks including WB, Disney and others are all online for streaming. I did purchase a quality VGA to HDMI cable though so I can watch on my big screen instead of the laptop. This Chrismas though might bring me a wireless PC to HDMI so I won't have to fool with the cable. Using the monitor only mode on th PC let's me use the full resolution of the HDTV. All that is more content than I could possibly watch.
     
  17. jrfuda

    jrfuda New Member

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    I think so, when I first signed-up for Hulu, they were showing SGU a day or two after it aired (first 2 eps of season 2, anyway), then - all of a sudden - there was no new episode for a month, when they finally started airing them again, they had a note beside them saying "new episodes available 30 days after aird date." Not sure if it's the same for W13 and Eureka, but I haven't seen any new eps lately, have there been any in the last couple of months?
     
  18. kidvicious1973

    kidvicious1973 New Member

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    I recently decided to get rid of Directv and the 150$ bil each month. My situation is a bit different than others. Included in my HOA fees is basic cable so I am able to get some channels that way. Not in HD but good enough for the news. I also put up an antenna to grab the OTA channels. These look great. Along with netflix and hulu I cant say that we miss Directv at all. Netflix and hulu I subscribed to before cutting the cord, so after all is said and done I only spend $20 on tivo subscription to watch tv compared to the almost $150 with directv. The upfront cost was $99 for tivo premiere, $45 for antenna. so first month I break even after that its money that stays in my pocket.
     
  19. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    If you were to compare a lifetime subscription alone vs. the average cable bill, after about 4 months, the subscription wins hands down.
     
  20. aaroncgi

    aaroncgi New Member

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    Well that's a bummer! Eureka and Warehouse13 don't have full seasons in the traditional sense. They are more summer 'filler' shows, and as such, their seasons are only eight or nine episodes long. They started in July and finished in September. They won't have new episodes until next summer. :( So no, there have been no new episodes. But still, if they are delayed by 30 days once they start up again (or if?), that would bite, especially given the terribly short seasons.
     

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