Author Topic: Need advice on Apple TV or other options  (Read 5147 times)

hhehe45

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« on: October 31, 2015, 12:19:42 PM »
My cable bill is outrageous. I have a bundled service but cable alone is $99 and Internet is $75. I was thinking of canceling cable completely and getting Apple TV. If anyone has this I've got some questions. I've read things about how some apps or channels you will still need cable for? That would defeat the purpose of me getting it.

Also, are most channels free? I know Netflix, Hulu, HBO are monthly charges. But if a lot of them are like that I could see it adding up fast.

I'm also wondering if it's worth it to get at all. I don't have shows I absolutely have to watch each week. I don't watch sports. I like some sitcoms and reality shows but some of them I could do without honestly. I currently have Netflix and love it. Am wondering if maybe I should just get one of the top tier Netflix plans???

lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 930
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2015, 12:57:17 PM »
Apple TV works to watch: Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, etc.

They have apps for channels like: CNN, MSNBC, NatGeo, etc. but you need to pay for cable to access those.

The main benefit of Apple TV is to watch Netflix and use AirPlay, which is wireless streaming/mirroring between your Apple devices. For example, i can have Spotify going on my computer and have my computer stream the screen + audio to the TV (useful for parties and such).

Why do you need to move to a "top tier" Netflix plan? The only difference is 1) the addition of DVDs (useless to me) and 2) the ability to watch on more than 1 screen at a time (useful for a family). I have the mid-range plan, which is online-only (no DVDs) for 2 screens.


geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1830
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2015, 12:58:21 PM »
Yes, some do require a subscription, but some don't.  We watch a lot of PBS and Smithsonian shows (free) via Apple TV. 

If you want to watch the networks, just get an antenna.  If you want to time shift, there are OTA DVR options.  I went with a  Tablo (but need a Roku to stream it to the TV).  I believe there are some TiVo and Channel Master options as well.

Noodle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1124
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2015, 11:42:28 PM »
Welcome to cord-cutting!

Basically, there are three kinds of content you might like to watch on your television: current TV, new movies, and older TV and movies. There are two kinds of streaming devices--Apple, and non-Apple (Roku, the various Amazon widgets, other brands). Apple will work with Hulu and Netflix and sell/rent you content via the iTunes store. Non-Apple devices will work with Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime and sell/rent you content via Amazon or other providers. Apple TV will also let you play content from your iPhone or iPad on your TV. What you get depends on your needs.

Current TV has the most options but is the most complicated also. You can use a digital antenna (with a DVR like TiVo to record and watch later). A digital antenna is free but TiVo, for instance, has a monthly charge to keep track of the content. You could also use Hulu ($8/mo with ads, I think around $15 w. no ads) for most broadcast channels and occasional cable content. Shows are available the next day. Or you can purchase shows by the episode for $2-3 each from Apple or Amazon. This option can be great if there's just one or two shows (like Mad Men, for instance) that you especially want to keep up with from cable. CBS is an oddball; they keep their shows off Hulu and have a separate service with a monthly fee. Various cable channels offer apps that make their content available for people with a cable package; those are mostly meant for people who want to be able to watch on their phone or tablet.

If new movies are most important, you can rent those from Amazon or Apple; you could also use one of the Netflix DVD plans or Redbox kiosks if you have those nearby.

If you just want some kind of TV available to watch, but aren't too picky about it being up-to-date, you can get Netflix, or Amazon Prime, or to a lesser extent Hulu. They all have big libraries of older television and movies. Some content can be found on multiple services; some on just one.

Also, keep in mind that your cable company is legally required to offer you a package that is broadcast-equivalent...but they don't have to advertise or bundle it. So before you cut the cord, it might be worth pricing that, especially if you don't have good antenna reception and think you might want to watch live TV occasionally (during weather events, the Oscars, etc).

hybrid

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1669
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Richmond, Virginia
  • A hybrid of MMM and thoughtful consumer.
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2015, 05:50:15 AM »
My cord cutting setup is:

Ridiculously large Vizio (splurge, but I do love it)
High speed Internet through Verizon (50)
Hulu Plus, no commercials (12)
Sling (20)
A Roku 3 to play them on (came with Sling subscription)
A Mohu Leaf (amplified version) for OTA broadcasts

This setup gives me most current content commercial free (I put a premium on my time, and broadcast TV is 30% commercials), and a "basic cable" lineup that the missus appreciates (HGTV junkie)

This is far from the most optimal Mustachian solution, but my old cable bill, cut over two years ago, was $162. So today I spend $960 a year less on TV/Internet than I used to and get 95% of the broadcasts I used to watch.



realityinabox

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 85
  • Age: 31
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2015, 07:49:08 AM »
A big question is what ecosystem you are a part of.  Are you an iOS/Mac person, or an Android/Windows person, or some mix (like me)?

I have an Apple TV and I'm not in love with it, partially because I'm an Android guy.  I got the Apple TV because I got HBO GO for free with my internet, but it only works with Comcast through the Apple TV (not Roku).  There are some good things if you are embedded in the Apple ecosystem already, but there are some really annoying things to me as well.  The UI is not good, searching sucks, the keyboard is in alphabetical order and doesn't 'wrap around' so you have to scroll through all the letters to get from a to z and back to a, etc.  Same with navigation, you can't hit up to get the to bottom, which is really annoying to me.  I rented my first movies via iTunes the other night.  I mistakenly did it from my computer, expecting to be able to just pull it up on the Apple TV and stream it right away.  Nope: I had to wait for it to completely download to my laptop, then I had to Airplay it to the Apple TV.  It is stupid stuff like that that really annoys me about it.

Once nice thing is an app called Beamer.  It will play basically any video format from your laptop to the apple TV, which is nice if you acquire your TV shows through certain nefarious means.  It is pretty ez to find tv shows if you know where to sear.ch

I also have a Chromecast (got it back when it first came out for $11 due to the Netflix promotion).  I really like the Chromecast.  I'd honestly recommend that over the Apple TV at this point, if you want to stay solely in the Netflix/Youtube/Hulu realm.  It has a ton more support and works more smoothly that when it first came out.  That, or a Roku.

dang1

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 135
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2015, 10:32:34 AM »
Chromecast definitely. stream Netflix, etc. from your smartphone or PC to your TV at a great price.

SMCx3

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 111
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2015, 10:58:21 AM »
Try to go without watching cable TV for a week or two.  See if you can find all of your entertainment, news, movies using your computer, iPad, or even a phone.  Ex. Give up football unless you can watch game on OTA antenna.  If you can make it a week or two without turning on the TV, than boom cut the chord and start saving. 

In regards to streaming devices I personally like the Apple TV.  I stream my IPad, I like the interface, and offers the main streaming channels we watch as a family.  It is a higher cost than some of the other brands which do the same thing.

I would not go back to regular cable.  We cut the chord almost two years ago.

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8759
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2015, 11:27:35 AM »
I'm a mac person, but I love my chromecast. We got one of the first ones (DH was in the beta) and it's still working a couple years later. It's starting to have an issue where the volume is quiet until we reset it, so we may buy the new version when it comes out.

As for the services, we just use free online content. It's shocking how much entertainment you can get for free as long as you're not obsessed with keeping up with the entertainment jonses.

GrOW

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
    • Gringing Out Wealth
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2015, 03:12:15 PM »
I have owned Apple TV, fire stick, roku original and 2 and 3' and used chromecast at families house. I would say that there is no perfect streaming device. Each has interface strengths and weaknesses and I would say they are very personal. So I would recommend purchasing them from a seller that has a solid return policy to let you try and decide.

On your specific request on Apple TV, I would give a thumbs up to apples interface and a thumbs down to their fight with Amazon resulting to no access to Amazon prime.

I do like both the roku and the Amazon Fire interface but they don't have access to iTunes content. I would give a slight nod to Amazon fire's interface over roku even though I have more rokus than fires.

My current setup,is as follows. I can elaborate if anyone is interested. One note - it is more robust than others have describes above but we are huge tv watchers and I wanted an interim step to give my family a soft landing to this cord cutting change.

Comcast Internet - currently 100 Mbps but may downgrade
Clearcast4 antenna
Tablo 4 tuner ota dvr
Table ota channel guide $5/month or $50/year or $150/lifetime
2x Roku 3
Amazon Fire stick
Amazon prime content $8/month or "free" if you get it for other reasons

We have considered but not yet decided to get Netflix or Hulu.
We save $82/month with this setup. Hardware cost was $480. So saving after 6 months. Again it is a bit of a robust setup as noted above.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2015, 03:23:43 PM »

Why do you need to move to a "top tier" Netflix plan? The only difference is 1) the addition of DVDs (useless to me) and 2) the ability to watch on more than 1 screen at a time (useful for a family). I have the mid-range plan, which is online-only (no DVDs) for 2 screens.

It's different content.  I.e. The streaming content and the dvd content are not the same.  There is overlap, but each also has things the other doesn't have. 

As to Apple TV... I've never tried it.  I have tried Roku and wasn't overly impressed.  I was expecting more integration between all the various apps instead of several stand alone apps.   I expected to be able to create a master list of shows and just have it create a TiVo-like play list from across all platforms.

I've always been a TiVo guy... and my understanding is that they do this well.  But my Tivo is ancient and works more like the Roku (with non-integrated apps.)  Tivo has gotten a really big head over time and has gotten a bit ridiculous in price, so I'm not likely to upgrade.

You can also find very inexpensive bluray players that have built in Netflix/Amazon/Hulu/etc apps. 

pk_aeryn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 119
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2015, 05:19:01 PM »
Electronic boxes that stream stuff to your TV is a waste of money.  If your TV is newer-ish, it probably has built in Hulu and Netflix and media server capabilities.  If an older TV, get a really long HDMI cable from your computer to your TV-- then set up the TV as a second monitor display.  You then never have to worry about what Hulu will let you watch on your TV.

Exprezchef

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 80
  • Age: 51
  • Location: San Diego County, USA
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2015, 05:55:41 PM »
We just cut-the-cord a few months ago and now wonder why it took us so long to do so. Previously we were in a bundle plan (cable/phone/internet) through Cox Cable and a streaming only Netflix plan. We had no fancy packages except for the HD programming and our monthly bill was just shy of $200.00. We cut the cable and landline and just kept the internet.

Here is our new set-up with monthly fees:
COX high speed internet- $46.00

Roku 3 for streaming
Sling Television- $25.00 (gotta have my AMC for the Walking Dead!)
Netflix- $7.99
Hulu Plus- $7.99

I purchased and installed an OTA antenna and get approximately 20 free channels which include all on the major network channels in HD. (I live near the Mexico border so many of my OTA channels are Spanish language broadcasts)

The team at www.antennasdirect.com were very helpfull in my OTA antenna selections. I am very rural and far from the broadcast towers but after a little trial and error, was able to get everything dialed in.

It took a little adjustment with the new methods for watching our programs but all is well now.   I think we have more program viewing options now than we ever did with cable.

 

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1593
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2015, 08:33:59 PM »
My daughter left Apple TV here when she went to college.  I have Hulu for $8 per month and receive about 8 channels with my old fashioned rabbit ears antenna.  I like Apple TV and Hulu for the convenience of watching shows at other than scheduled times. 

2bor!2b

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
  • Location: California
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2015, 04:14:22 PM »
Chromecast is perfect for your situation. It just works and is the most frugal/wise option IMHO. I use it with Netflix, HBO and Sling TV. We cancel subscriptions when we do not need it.

2bor!2b

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
  • Location: California
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2015, 04:16:54 PM »
Chromecast is perfect for your situation. It just works and is the most frugal/wise option IMHO. I use it with Netflix, HBO and Sling TV. We cancel subscriptions when we do not need it.

Also they routinely have many offers which you could take advantage of. I had Hulu for 3 months for free and the offer keeps popping up all the time. I start a series and can finish it within 3 months easily :)

Brilliantine

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 171
  • Location: Redmond, WA
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2015, 06:00:58 PM »
Or you can just cut the chord. Cut it. Don't replace it with something else. Like this weird guy on the internet says:

Quote
Immediately giving up all forms of TV and spend that time walking and doing other things outside. How would your life and your health change, if you spent at least 4 hours out of every 24 in the great outdoors?

sisto

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 948
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2015, 06:11:59 PM »
Just get chromecast and you can use any online device you like to stream the content to your tv. You don't need to pay for any service, you can watch any network show from the website directly a day or so after it airs. You will have to watch commercials with this setup, but the only cost is your internet you probably already pay for and ~$30 for chromecast.

Eric222

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 901
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2015, 05:53:09 AM »
Chromecast definitely. stream Netflix, etc. from your smartphone or PC to your TV at a great price.

+1.  Chromecast is cheap, works great, does a good job of streaming netflix and can stream things from Chrome.  You can control it from your phone (iPhone or Android).  Streaming only is $7.99/month - that is the entirety of my 'tv' bill.

Also, you can use Plex or Videostream for Google Chromecast™ (Chrome extension) to stream local media to your TV.  (Plex may require a payment (I made a one time payment a long time ago), video stream is free. 

+1 for an HD antenna if you want to watch local TV occasionally. 

BTDretire

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2445
Re: Need advice on Apple TV or other options
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2015, 01:44:19 PM »
I have a friend that cut the cord.
He uses a program called Kodi to stream, movies, tv, networks, loads of content.
It is not quite plug and play, you will need to do some internet searches and watching of youtube videos to get it working. There is content to keep you watching for years.
  Here's a video to wet your appetite.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeZr_SibuUY
 You need the Kodi program, then you get addons for different programing.
There are tens if not hundreds of addons. The Phoenix addon has tons of programs to watch.
International TV from around the world, sports, auto racing, a poker channel, documentaries, CNBC, Bloomberg, many other networks and much much more.
 You can use your computer to stream or, there is a program for the Raspberry Pi.
A Raspberry Pi is a 3" x 5" computer that you run an HDMI cable from to your TV.
http://www.makershed.com/products/raspberry-pi-2?gclid=CJ6nvPHT_MgCFdQ2gQodFwwNcw

Kodi has a website, there is a wiki, tons of youtube videos.
 It's not as easy as fliping channels, but very usable.
 Did I mention it's free, they do appreciate donations though.