Author Topic: Cutting the cable cord  (Read 1606 times)

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Offline PastyWhiteGuy

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Cutting the cable cord
« on: July 12, 2018, 02:05:13 AM »
We've got Google cable and with an upcoming rate change, we're trying to find a reliable alternative, preferably one with no hidden grenades. And one with a good record of service.

I'm hoping for a robust conversation with some great thoughts and ideas for a solution.

Thanks in advance.   :)
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Offline Aaron Hulett

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Re: Cutting the cable cord
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2018, 03:26:44 AM »
Huku, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Instant Video here, along with over the air antenna. We haven't had cable TV for years. What can I help answer? :)

Offline GR@PH;<'S

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Re: Cutting the cable cord
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2018, 08:00:50 PM »
PastyWhiteGuy,
Can not see the point in paying all that money out of cable just to watch all those repeats.

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Offline winchester73

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Re: Cutting the cable cord
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2018, 09:59:36 PM »
Except for some regional and sports programming, most live programs can be viewed with Hulu With Live TV and/or Sling TV.
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Offline Corrine

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Re: Cutting the cable cord
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2018, 10:59:08 PM »
Aaron, advice about a good over the air antenna would probably be helpful so they can get local channels with an HD TV. 

Dropping cable is a major discussion in the town Facebook group because there is a company in the area installing fiber (not Google) but does not offer cable service.  According to an article in the local newspaper yesterday, the major Internet TV services (Sling TV, DirecTV Now, and PlayStation Vue) are raising their prices $5/month. 

This may be helpful:  The 2018 Beginners Guide to Cord Cutting - Cord Cutters News.

Since you have Windows 10, there are also some TV apps in the Microsoft Store, not the best and many non-English or mixed English and other languages.  For example, Classic Movies is currently spotlighting John Wayne in "Rio Lobo" and has a bunch of Alfred Hitchock movies.  There are a lot of "shorts" (just a few minutes) but full movies such as "State Fair", "Grease", Some Elvis films and a bunch of movies from the 50's.  Another is TV for Windows.  It is out of PA and part of USTVNOW.com.  It is intended for US military families living overseas but selection "other" as the location when installing it works.  The free version only has ABC, CBS, CW, NBC, the local PBS and my9 ("MyNetworkTV").  They had FOX until recently but, for some reason, that was removed.



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Offline Pete!

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Re: Cutting the cable cord
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2018, 12:01:24 PM »
Aaron, advice about a good over the air antenna would probably be helpful so they can get local channels with an HD TV.  .........
If I didn't live in a valley, I would have gone back to an antenna long ago.
After I got over the novelty of cable, I found myself watching the same channels, I used to get with "rabbit ears".

Looking at contour maps, I've estimated that I'd have to build a 100 foot tower (30-1/2 M) to get the same reception I got when I lived one town east of here.....

Not sure what I'd be doing about internet. Maybe I'd still be using "NoScript" to make dial-up usable, and taking hours to do MS updates.

Offline techie

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Re: Cutting the cable cord
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2018, 08:09:25 PM »
Aaron, advice about a good over the air antenna would probably be helpful so they can get local channels with an HD TV.  .........
If I didn't live in a valley, I would have gone back to an antenna long ago.
After I got over the novelty of cable, I found myself watching the same channels, I used to get with "rabbit ears".

Looking at contour maps, I've estimated that I'd have to build a 100 foot tower (30-1/2 M) to get the same reception I got when I lived one town east of here.....

Not sure what I'd be doing about internet. Maybe I'd still be using "NoScript" to make dial-up usable, and taking hours to do MS updates.

I live in a valley between two mountains or very large hills and I didn't have to do any crazy tower to receive HD channels over the air. You just have to know the direction. Cable is pretty much a ripoff, I do have cable because even if I cut the cord, I have to pay for internet service. Then I have to pay for the extra services like Netflix, Hulu, etc. I as well do watch sports and none of them offer what I want. If I was to stream everything I would have to pay even more for internet service, because there is data caps. The alternative internet is a no go, absolutely useless in my area.

Offline techie

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Re: Cutting the cable cord
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2018, 08:54:30 PM »
Some things I don't like on a Cable bill, you get hit with a sports access fee, a local channel fee. If you want HD, then your paying for a box, another fee. If you want anything more than extended basic, then you have to have a box. The cable companies broadcast in digital format and that's what your TV will receive. If it's a QAM capable TV then you receive local channels, i.e. ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and PBS in HD. This is because the FCC doesn't allow the cable companies to block there HD transmission, on over the air channels.

It's a catch 22, you can watch the local channels for free with the cost of the antenna. The cable company is charged a rebroadcast fee if they broadcast the channels. The consumer winds up paying the fee. The Sports access fee is pretty much everywhere, Cable, Satellite, etc. The plus is I can watch pretty much any channel HD with a Roku, Firestick, smart TV, as long as they internet. I can go anywhere and stream the channels, if they don't have them, like my daughters house, we can stream a game. It's not that I advocate for any Cable company. It's what works for me.

My problem is I get a discount on the internet and it would go up 20 a month. Add the cost of Sling, Netflix, etc and I won't really save, plus I will have to giving up the sports channels I do watch. I've looked at it from many different angles. I might save a few dollars.

Offline Aaron Hulett

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Re: Cutting the cable cord
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2018, 09:22:28 PM »
Aaron, advice about a good over the air antenna would probably be helpful so they can get local channels with an HD TV. 

This site will help determine what can be picked up with an over-the-air antenna: https://nocable.org/hd-antenna-coverage-map

Based on that, you can figure out what type of antenna you need (indoor, indoor amplified, outdoor..). One of the fun parts with antennas is moving it even a foot can make the difference between picking up a station and getting nothing. Before permanently mounting it, try it in a few places. Naturally, higher up is better, as well as fewer walls between the antenna and the station's tower. The map at that site above can help with whether the antenna should go on one side of the house or another.

The other part of the equation is how to get the TV stuff to move within the house. I went with a Tablo 4-tuner device  (http://www.tablotv.com) and an external hard drive (some Western Digital thing I can't recall the model of) for DVR support. I did have to fork over some money for the programming guide, but I went with the one-time lifetime fee. The nice part with this is it works with Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and a few of our TVs (Samsung, Sony) have the app "in the TV" so I don't even need streaming boxes on those to use Tablo. The boo-hiss is sometimes the app is a little laggy in updating the DVR content. For example, after opening the DVR recordings page, you may need to wait a minute while the content updates to show you a recording it made the night before.

The other side of this is services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. We have all 3 of these. Hulu is nice because I don't have to skip through ads (for those shows coming down without ads, cuz we have the cheapy plan rather than the pricier plan that has even fewer ads). There have been moments where Hulu is a little late in getting content, so the Tablo comes in handy there. Netflix has some good original content. Amazon Prime Video is something we really hardly use, but we have it as part of our Prime subscription, so it's there.

These online services take some bandwidth, but you don't need a giant plan if it's only a few screens at a time. Because our household is online-intense, we have a 150/150 FIOS plan which is probably overkill for most folks for about $70/month.

At the end of the day, when we visit my parents, they have DirecTV and when we scroll through the programming guide and see it's the same ol' garbage we had enough with when we told Comcast goodbye, it confirms how much we don't miss having cable TV. My parents would consider cutting if they weren't in the middle of nowhere where their DSL line is "up to" 3 Mbps and they really only get 1.5, and instead use a cellular hotspot to 'make it work' for daily browsing.

//A

Offline Corrine

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Re: Cutting the cable cord
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2018, 11:36:57 PM »
Thanks, Aaron!


Take a walk through the "Security Garden" -- Where Everything is Coming up Roses!

Remember - A day without laughter is a day wasted.
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Offline techie

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Re: Cutting the cable cord
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2018, 03:14:18 AM »
Most people went out and bought new antennas. The old standard antennas work really well. They were designed to pickup UHF and VHF signals. Most all HD is broadcast in the UHF frequency, so those V-shape on the end of those antennas are usually just as good or really better capable of receiving the HD signal. The newer antennas are usually smaller. It's just if you already have one of the older antennas use it. There definitely larger though.

I had put a 14 foot one in my attic many years ago, I had Directv satellite and back then the local channels didn't allow them to broadcast the local channels. It is still there and I have a separate line on A-B switch and have used when the cable went out. It's in the attic because I didn't want a lightning rod on top of the house ;)

I have seen people just take the old large antennas to test them, throw then on the ground and pickup everything. I did that at my daughters house to test one. They just use the antenna for local HD channels and stream. Sub channels are usually only broadcast in 480p, due to limitations of allotted bandwidth.