Author Topic: Cutting Cable Cord  (Read 461097 times)

lac

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Cutting Cable Cord
« on: May 07, 2013, 04:45:46 PM »
I finally picked up a couple digital antenna's so the cable box/connectors are going back tomorrow.  We found we were watching the same reruns over and over just for background noise.   Now we'll check the news online if we miss it at the scheduled broadcast time and skip all the non-news with self-promotion (mainly our local news station).   I'm so excited for the extra $90 a month too!

JahWontPaytheBills

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 10:35:11 PM »
Congrats! I cut the cord some time ago. We still get great programming- we haven't tossed out our TV's yet. My wife and I have a Roku, as do each of the kids. Netflix and our 8TB NAS server (running Plex) do the heavy lifting serving up media. Although we do watch a bit of TV still, the price has been reduced to almost nothing, and we don't have to watch any commercials. Ever.

Have fun!

BlueMR2

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2013, 06:28:37 AM »
We haven't had cable in a very long time.  We mostly watch OTA TV, but occasionally watch some shows on the computer.  One nice thing about the analog to digital TV conversion is that there are all those extra subchannels now.  (Most of our local stations now have 3 subchannels, some just have 2).  However, the bad thing is that a much larger antenna is required, so there is some investment required.  The digital transmissions are lower power and instead of getting fuzzy/staticy, they just completely shut down when there's a weak signal.  Even though we live in a suburb right on the edge of the city we had to put an antenna up on a tower to get TV after the digital conversion.  Pre conversion, an indoor antenna was fine...

lac

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2013, 01:51:37 PM »
I bought an amplified flat antenna for the primary TV and pull in about 40 channels.  I like that the antenna looks nothing like rabbit ears. 

The only thing I may miss from cable is the DVR box.  Any suggestions for non-subscription DVR's so I can record and watch the few shows I like and watch later?

Storypage

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2013, 02:59:54 PM »
The only thing I may miss from cable is the DVR box.  Any suggestions for non-subscription DVR's so I can record and watch the few shows I like and watch later?

Well, you could build your own...

http://www.avsforum.com/f/26/home-theater-computers

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Spork

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2013, 03:14:32 PM »
I've long been a TiVo fan... going back to the series 1 (with all the fun hacking that went along with it.)

If you can find a used TiVo with a lifetime subscription, you're golden.  The lifetime subscription is tied to the box and is totally transferable.

It's been several years, but the last time I looked at building my own DVR (MythTV) it took beefy enough hardware (or video capture cards) such that it was a little pricey to build.  (But it does look fun to build.)

...and even a build your own box will need guide data.  I think Schedules Direct is about $25 a year, which isn't awful.  But it does still require a subscription.
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peace

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2013, 04:52:10 PM »
The only thing I may miss from cable is the DVR box.  Any suggestions for non-subscription DVR's so I can record and watch the few shows I like and watch later?

Walmart carries 2 different Magnavox DVRs with digital tuners and hard drives for under $300. Price difference is based on hard drive size. Once you've purchased one, there's no additional cost to operate it (other than electricity!). The DVR basically functions like an old-fashioned VCR, but includes features like rewinding and freezing live TV while recording. You can also dub from the hard drive to a disk.

The AVS forum has a thread with a good introduction to these DVRs -

http://www.avsforum.com/t/940657/magnavox-537-535-533-515-513-2160a-2160-2080-philips-3576-3575

I.P. Daley

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2013, 06:07:23 PM »
I bought an amplified flat antenna for the primary TV and pull in about 40 channels.  I like that the antenna looks nothing like rabbit ears. 

The only thing I may miss from cable is the DVR box.  Any suggestions for non-subscription DVR's so I can record and watch the few shows I like and watch later?

Series 2 TiVo with lifetime subscription and a compatible DTV to analog converter box. Shouldn't set you back more than $150.
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

Spork

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2013, 06:12:49 PM »
I bought an amplified flat antenna for the primary TV and pull in about 40 channels.  I like that the antenna looks nothing like rabbit ears. 

The only thing I may miss from cable is the DVR box.  Any suggestions for non-subscription DVR's so I can record and watch the few shows I like and watch later?

Series 2 TiVo with lifetime subscription and a compatible DTV to analog converter box. Shouldn't set you back more than $150.

There are also occasional sales and searchable coupon codes for finding lifetime subs for any box.  I took someone's stuffed-in-a-closet S3 TiVo, a large disk I had onhand and $300 (with coupon) and was set.  Not quite the $150 deal, but it was the deal I had in front of me and I took it.
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

lac

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2013, 06:44:41 PM »

Walmart carries 2 different Magnavox DVRs with digital tuners and hard drives for under $300. Price difference is based on hard drive size. Once you've purchased one, there's no additional cost to operate it (other than electricity!). The DVR basically functions like an old-fashioned VCR, but includes features like rewinding and freezing live TV while recording. You can also dub from the hard drive to a disk.

The AVS forum has a thread with a good introduction to these DVRs -



Awesome!  I will check them out!  Thanks everyone for the ideas!

Spork

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2013, 07:25:33 PM »

Walmart carries 2 different Magnavox DVRs with digital tuners and hard drives for under $300. Price difference is based on hard drive size. Once you've purchased one, there's no additional cost to operate it (other than electricity!). The DVR basically functions like an old-fashioned VCR, but includes features like rewinding and freezing live TV while recording. You can also dub from the hard drive to a disk.

The AVS forum has a thread with a good introduction to these DVRs -



Awesome!  I will check them out!  Thanks everyone for the ideas!

These will have no guide data.  If you've used a dvr, it won't function like one you're used to.   I suspect any unsubscribed DVR will also act in this manner.  (I know Tivo does... but... it's not a Tivo in that mode.)
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

kkbmustang

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2013, 07:29:52 PM »
Mailed back the DirecTV boxes this week.

MrSaturday

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2013, 09:00:40 AM »
I use my PC as a DVR.  It only cost me $15-20 per tuner buying them used or on clearance.  Windows Media Center has a free guide service and a pretty slick interface.  And if you've got an Xbox 360 you can set it up as a media center extender and get the exact same interface at the xbox, including the ability to watch live TV.

I leave my PC in sleep mode, and when it's time for a recording it wakes up automatically, then goes back to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity.

Storypage

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2013, 10:27:53 AM »
Mailed back the DirecTV boxes this week.

Excellent.
"There are too many books in the world to read in a single lifetime; you have to draw the line somewhere." --Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

What I'm reading now:  Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, by Brian Wansink.

thegreenworkbench

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2013, 04:14:07 PM »
I use the HD HomeRun device.  It has to be connected to my network.  I plug the OTA signal (antenna) into the device and then it distributes the signal to all of the computers in the house via my network.  It is supposed to work over wifi as well, but I find that it is just too much even over wireless-n.  Via a wired connection, I have one computer hooked up to my TV and use Windows Media Center for program guide information and DVR.  It is a dedicated home theater PC where I store other movies/media as well (it is my 7 yr old computer that got retired when I won a laptop in a drawing).  :)  I also have the tv signal setup on other computers in the house just in case we want to watch in another room (we only have one TV).  When my laptop is plugged in, I can set it to record shows.  Then when I take the laptop on the go, the shows are there already to watch, commercial free.  You can get a media center remote and IR receiver for your computer or just get the IR receiver and use a programmable remote.  Oh, the HD HomeRun is dual tuner as well, so two shows can be watched/recorded on two different computers.  It requires installation of a small piece of software on each computer.

crestheaven

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2013, 12:43:54 PM »
I called my local company and went with the antenae service and slower internet since I'm not a gamer. My Comcast bill is $42. I only watch tv on Saturday, and I have a power cord, so I can avoid power use when I'm not watching.

lac

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2013, 01:51:31 PM »
It's been 2 weeks without cable tv and I'm glad to say I don't really miss it.  Received an email with my monthly cable charge and it was a credit for this month - sweet!

Fixed an issue with my router so I can now stream Netflix with no problems.  Learned last night that I could use my cable internet login to stream CNN over the computer if I really needed it (wanted update on the OK disaster). 

Picked up a Magnavox DVR today from Walmart.  Should be a fun night setting it up!  Thanks again for all the ideas and support!

Meadow Lark

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2013, 06:10:01 PM »
So we are getting rid of cable at the end of this month.  I am trying to decide what to do to get a few channels still.  Mostly we watch online.  Should I get a digital antenna?  Which one is best?  I am really clueless about this stuff.  We use www.projectfreetv.com now.

oldtoyota

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2013, 09:16:29 PM »
I wish I could do the same just for the sake of getting rid of cable. =-) Unfortunately, Comcast ties cable in with Internet and charges *more* if you go without cable.

Spork

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2013, 07:43:18 AM »
So we are getting rid of cable at the end of this month.  I am trying to decide what to do to get a few channels still.  Mostly we watch online.  Should I get a digital antenna?  Which one is best?  I am really clueless about this stuff.  We use www.projectfreetv.com now.

start here.  Figure out where the signals are coming from.  In my current location, it is from EVERY DIRECTION.  Where I used to live, they were smart enough to plop them all on the same big hill in the southwest.

If everything is the same direction, you can buy (or build) a directional antenna.  If it is scattered, you'll want an omnidirectional antenna.  You can build either for almost nothing if you're inclined.  You can buy a pretty good one for probably $50-75.  If you get a powered one, you'll have a bit of a power vampire, but you'll probably get better reception.

"Digital antenna" is a marketing term.  It's RF.  There's nothing special for digital vs analog... they're the same antenna.


I have this one.  It works fine for me... but terrain, trees, distance, etc will make this vary wildly.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 07:45:26 AM by Spork »
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2013, 07:51:35 AM »
I cut the cord 2 months ago when I moved into my new house.  I had already had Amazon Prime.  About a month ago I also added Netflix streaming.  And for movies, I've gotten a couple from the library so far.  And I got an antenna for my TV.

And I'm finding I really not even watching any TV/movies as it is. 

I did break down and watch one particular sporting event via illegal stream a few weeks ago.


oldtoyota

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2013, 12:49:55 PM »
I cut the cord 2 months ago when I moved into my new house.  I had already had Amazon Prime.  About a month ago I also added Netflix streaming.  And for movies, I've gotten a couple from the library so far.  And I got an antenna for my TV.

And I'm finding I really not even watching any TV/movies as it is. 

I did break down and watch one particular sporting event via illegal stream a few weeks ago.
Or, you could get rid of Netflix and use the library. ;-)

brokeresident

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2013, 10:08:59 AM »
Hey guys,

I'm all for jumping on the bandwagon and cutting the cord when my fiancee and I move to our new apartment next month. I'll be in residency so watching TV really isn't going to be a priority, plus most of what I watch can be streamed online later. My fiancee's one reservation about cutting the cord is if we ever want to watch a live event on TV. I started looking at the Mohu leaf HDTV antennas for this purpose so we can get CBS, NBC, ABC, etc. but I'm a little unsure if I want the regular or the Mohu Ultimate with amplification. Anyone have experience with both?
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 10:12:08 AM by brokeresident »

olivia

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2013, 10:23:46 AM »
I cut our cable cord last month and I couldn't be happier with the money saved, not to mention the brain cells saved!  :P  We actually haven't even purchased an antenna-I kind of like just having zero TV.  We already had Apple TV and Hulu Plus and Netflix, so there are quite a few entertainment options.
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lac

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2013, 10:51:15 AM »
I have a Terk amplified antenna and a RCA non-amplified for two different TV's.  I honestly don't notice a difference between the two except the Terk is a more stylish shiny black versus the flat color off-white RCA. 

Spork

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2013, 10:58:27 AM »
It is going to vary wildly depending on where the transmitters are and the terrain.  tvfool.com will tell you exactly where the transmitters are and how much gain you need.
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

RedMaple

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2013, 11:10:34 AM »
I finally picked up a couple digital antenna's so the cable box/connectors are going back tomorrow.  We found we were watching the same reruns over and over just for background noise.   Now we'll check the news online if we miss it at the scheduled broadcast time and skip all the non-news with self-promotion (mainly our local news station).   I'm so excited for the extra $90 a month too!

Which sites do you get your news from?
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lac

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2013, 11:21:17 AM »
I finally picked up a couple digital antenna's so the cable box/connectors are going back tomorrow.  We found we were watching the same reruns over and over just for background noise.   Now we'll check the news online if we miss it at the scheduled broadcast time and skip all the non-news with self-promotion (mainly our local news station).   I'm so excited for the extra $90 a month too!

Which sites do you get your news from?

We used to watch the local and nightly news from 6-7pm.  Now that I have the DVR setup, I record it for watching (and fast forwarding through the junk) later in the evening.  Other than that, we use the Zite and CNN apps to check news.  We also subscribe to the local e-newspaper.  I can watch CNBC as needed through my trading software.  I don't feel I'm missing out on any important news.

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2013, 01:33:02 PM »
I cut the cord 2 months ago when I moved into my new house.  I had already had Amazon Prime.  About a month ago I also added Netflix streaming.  And for movies, I've gotten a couple from the library so far.  And I got an antenna for my TV.

And I'm finding I really not even watching any TV/movies as it is. 

I did break down and watch one particular sporting event via illegal stream a few weeks ago.
Or, you could get rid of Netflix and use the library. ;-)

Yeah, I'll be reevaluating everything after a few months.  Right now I'm finally getting finished with setting the new place up.  I'd like to see how my day-to-day life shapes up in a few months. 

I know after the 2013-2014 NHL season, I am dropping out of my season ticket group.  Way too pricey now for my financial goals.  I'm going to keep my share of our MLB tickets.  I end up trying to use half my allotment to draft for premium games (try to get 2 or 4 tickets to those) and then StubHub them to make my money back and then a little extra.  But I'll have 20+ free nights after getting rid of hockey tix. 

But I need to at least keep Netflix for the next few weeks to watch the new season of Arrested Development.


julieanderson

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2013, 03:17:32 PM »
My husband I cut satellite a year or so ago and watch Hulu and Netflix on a Roku box. Plus we have Comcast for internet so my husband just watches ESPN on the computer. It's worked for us!
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Storypage

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Re: Cutting Cable Cord
« Reply #30 on: May 28, 2013, 04:10:47 PM »
My husband I cut satellite a year or so ago and watch Hulu and Netflix on a Roku box.

I loves me my Roku. We are very impressed with how many free "channels" out there, particularly PBS, PBSKids, and the Smithsonian Channel.

"There are too many books in the world to read in a single lifetime; you have to draw the line somewhere." --Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

What I'm reading now:  Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, by Brian Wansink.