My Journey to Cut the Cable Cord - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 11-02-2010, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
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My Journey to Cut the Cable Cord
By Julie Jacobson
Now that I have Netflix and Hulu Plus, I'm closer to cutting the cable cord, but there are still some content gaps and a problem with live news and sports.

I'm sick of cable, sick of CableCard, sick of cable bills, sick of "60 Minutes" not recording because a football game ran too long.

So I'm on a journey to cut the cable cord, once and for all. Hopefully you can help me do it.

I'm not concerned about movies right now. I get what I need through Netflix.



So it's my TV needs that must be addressed. I wish I didn't enjoy mindless TV as much as I do, and I sure hope my mother doesn't read this, but there you have it.

Here are some things you should know about me (and in some cases my husband).

Entertainment Content - Video

We must have "House," "Modern Family," "Big Bang Theory," "The Good Wife."

We enjoy the legal/crime/mystery shows but could possibly live without them: "The Mentalist," "Law & Order," "CSI," "Hawaii Five-0," "Terrier."

We can really get into some of the good series such as "Damages," "Flash Forward," "Breaking Bad" (never got into "Lost").

Click here to continue.
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post #2 of 34 Old 11-02-2010, 03:51 PM
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Sounds to me like he needs a TV antenna. Not video streaming..

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post #3 of 34 Old 11-02-2010, 05:58 PM
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I hate to be the bearer of ill tidings, but guess what? NPR reported today that the cable companies are going to raise internet access rates as more and more people cut off cable service.

Makes sense, but damn that sucks, especially since I don't watch even 99% of the crap that's around, cable or the internet!!
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post #4 of 34 Old 11-02-2010, 08:36 PM
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amen! walk us through
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post #5 of 34 Old 11-03-2010, 06:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnoyedBuyer View Post

I hate to be the bearer of ill tidings, but guess what? NPR reported today that the cable companies are going to raise internet access rates as more and more people cut off cable service.

Makes sense, but damn that sucks, especially since I don't watch even 99% of the crap that's around, cable or the internet!!

Good for the cable companies. Gives more reason for people to leave them in droves. There are other options compared to cable modem. DSL, satelite and now wireless with 4G is poised to take off cable can kiss their sorry business model goodbye.
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post #6 of 34 Old 11-03-2010, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnoyedBuyer View Post

I hate to be the bearer of ill tidings, but guess what? NPR reported today that the cable companies are going to raise internet access rates as more and more people cut off cable service.

Makes sense, but damn that sucks, especially since I don't watch even 99% of the crap that's around, cable or the internet!!

And the people who buy both internet and cable TV from the cable companies will see that increase too - so why pay for both?
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post #7 of 34 Old 11-03-2010, 09:10 AM
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Hey synergy3000,

While you might not like cable (modems), satellite internet is still very expensive, trying to run a home network from a tethered phone seems like an unrealistic option (no access to machines from work, or recording internet streams, or downloading stuff when your out, etc!), and DSL...

Well, it seems Verizon is phasing out DSL at least in our area (Pinellas FL). At the very least they are hellbent on not supporting any aging DSL infrastructure. We have been in a battle with Verizon and poor DSL service for a month now. I believe they want to push everyone to their much more expensive FIOS option. They sent out a Verizon tech whose only advice to us was since we were getting crappy service anyway, to downgrade from 3Mbps to 1.5Mbps!

I am dumping Verizon DSL like a bad habit and moving to a cable modem option. I have a guaranteed rate for the next 15 months which is very attractive. Hopefully the 8Mbps rate is reliable (and truthful). In any event, I didn't even need a service contract so I can switch again if other options become available and offer even better value.

In regards to Steve (err Julie). We dropped cable/satellite TV about a year ago and have not looked back. We have Netflix streaming on our XBox360 and OTA antennae and it works out great for us. Don't have Hulu or AppleTV but may consider one of those options in the future. OTA news is fine (if you don't care about CNN or MSNBC which I personally think is just a bunch of talking heads). Sports is a bit limited but our local Tampa Bay teams (Rays and Bucs) have been blacking out games; that's all I would care to watch anyway.

It seems the more media moguls squeeze the more of us will find interesting entertainment options!

Best of luck,
Ryan
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post #8 of 34 Old 11-03-2010, 10:03 AM
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Netflix + Hulu Basic + Downloadable Media = Cable Fail = Consumer Win.

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post #9 of 34 Old 11-03-2010, 11:20 AM
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Awesome topic. I had completely forgotten about ESPN3! Really cannot wait until there are robust a la carte systems out there to get my show content from. Apple TV (and all of these other things) are great steps in the right direction!
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post #10 of 34 Old 11-03-2010, 11:34 AM
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ive been dreaming of a time when i can drop cable in favor of internet sources and we are closer now than ever.

right now, my 7mc setup uses hulu, netflix, zinc, and boxee to access all the available content.

my only issue thats left is that there simply isnt access to all the programming i watch. i dont watch much from the main stations like cbs, nbc, etc. i watch mostly cable channels like history, tlc, discovery, science, nat geo, etc. there just is no source for all the programming those channels provide. until someone like hulu or netflix can provide those channels, im stuck using cable.

there is one other issue that isnt as big of a deal yet and that is that all of the content on the internet still isnt as high quality as hd broadcasts from cable/sat sources. some are close, but mostly its still lacking. saying that, id be willing to put up with lower quality in the short term if it meant i could access all the shows i want without needing that cable service.
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post #11 of 34 Old 11-03-2010, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FogAudio View Post

Hey synergy3000,

While you might not like cable (modems), satellite internet is still very expensive, trying to run a home network from a tethered phone seems like an unrealistic option (no access to machines from work, or recording internet streams, or downloading stuff when your out, etc!), and DSL...

Well, it seems Verizon is phasing out DSL at least in our area (Pinellas FL). At the very least they are hellbent on not supporting any aging DSL infrastructure. We have been in a battle with Verizon and poor DSL service for a month now. I believe they want to push everyone to their much more expensive FIOS option. They sent out a Verizon tech whose only advice to us was since we were getting crappy service anyway, to downgrade from 3Mbps to 1.5Mbps!

I am dumping Verizon DSL like a bad habit and moving to a cable modem option. I have a guaranteed rate for the next 15 months which is very attractive. Hopefully the 8Mbps rate is reliable (and truthful). In any event, I didn't even need a service contract so I can switch again if other options become available and offer even better value.
It seems the more media moguls squeeze the more of us will find interesting entertainment options!

Best of luck,
Ryan

I dropped Time Warner cable and internet due to their pricing. Kept jacking the prices up though their cable modem speed was pretty good.
Our local DSL provider offer fiber optic but not in my area yet and I would jump on that if available.
And you don't need to run a home network from a tethered phone. There are hardware manufacturers who sell wireless basestations that come with SIM cards or ports for the wireless cards sold by the cell companies. I am sure their prevalence will become greater with 4G.
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post #12 of 34 Old 11-03-2010, 11:57 AM
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I've never had cable. Never have. The reason is because even from the early days of cable most of the stuff was reruns of things I've already seen free over the air. The problem I always have had with cable is that you are paying a monthly fee for reruns with commercials. I originally thougth the subscription fee was in place so they wouldn't need to run commercials. another thing is that the channels keep changing formats. playing movies and reality shows on TV Land, movies on the weather channel, no music on the music channels etc. Except for an ocasional live special or sporting event I see no need for it. With my "old fasioned" antenna (as people like to call them) I can get all the major networks in pristine high definiton widescreen without the tinkering with the resolution the way the cable channels do. I get my HD straight from the source without the compression. I also get extra subchannels that some cable companies refuse to carry. I also get a few low power stations that are not on cable either. I get more local TV than most cable viewers get.
Your monthy fee to watch televison-$50 and up.
My fee to watch TV-$0
you have 150 channels of crap for $70
I have 20 channels of crap for free.
And my cable never goes out during my favorite show.
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post #13 of 34 Old 11-03-2010, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by clarkbr View Post

I get my HD straight from the source without the compression. I also get extra subchannels that some cable companies refuse to carry. I also get a few low power stations that are not on cable either. I get more local TV than most cable viewers get.

I'm convinced! I need a digital antenna for my apartment. Any recommendations?
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post #14 of 34 Old 11-03-2010, 04:00 PM
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Slate.com today has an article on how Netflix might "destroy the internet" when everyone in the world -- they've just expanded into Canada -- is busy streaming movies. From multiple devices within the same account, too! (Apparently you can have the one membership and unlimited streaming of different movies all at the same time from the one address!)

That will be another concern, bandwidth.

Here in Gravesend, Brooklyn, a Comcast cable modem is the only viable option. (In Queens, it's Time-Warner.) I hate them all, and it really sucks that I don't really have a real choice -- kinda like the elections that just passed, what? =)

So, basically unless "the market" delivers, we're looking at ever slower speeds and ever increasing fees. Of course, Google will bail us out, right? =)
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post #15 of 34 Old 11-03-2010, 06:57 PM
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I will be looking to drop my verizon subscription once my contract is up. Like yourself, i've noticed that my household watches 4 Channels out of the 170 Channel Line up they offer. Originally had HBO, just for true blood, then i said to myself heck! i get more movies on my netflix account than HBO has to offer (and also did noticed they recycled the same movies constantly. I expected new material each week).

A digital antenna will run you about $35-50 and will last a lifetime (depending on the specs), and wont' need a dish sized one either. Out the window or anywhere where you won't have the neighbors blocking the signal.

for those who think its harsh to cut the cable? $50 minimum savings a month (higher savings if you go nuts with the premium channels) = $600 a year or 3,000 for 5 years (trust me time surely goes by super fast)

Best wishes
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post #16 of 34 Old 11-04-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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You guys are really on the right track in advising Julie to go to OTA HDTV.

However Julie also has too many subscription based gadgets.

The solution to spiraling subscriptions and reducing gadget count is the highly integrated HTPC. The best HDTV DVR is the free one included in Windows 7 (WMC).
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1261691&page=5
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post #17 of 34 Old 11-04-2010, 06:53 AM
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Thanks Synergy3000, I hadn't heard of these cellular basestations. I'll have to go investigate those! Could definitely be a viable option for me in the future. I wonder if those basestations include a phone line as well? The only problem I would have right now is that I am on AT&T so will either have to wait for them to go to 4G or switch to Sprint. Luckily I have at the very least 15 months to weigh my options!

Thanks,
Ryan
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post #18 of 34 Old 11-04-2010, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarmanDXE View Post

I'm convinced! I need a digital antenna for my apartment. Any recommendations?

I did it last year and now have 30 HD quality digital cables...which they are adding to all the time. I have a music channel like VH1 called TheCoolTv www.thecooltv.com and 24hr movie channel like TCM called ThisTv wwwThisTv.com all for free.

Spend the money for a good outdoor antenna system and your pay back is in months.

These sites will help identify the channels you will receive and the signal strength. For antenna's I would use SolidSignal and they will help select the right antenna also.

http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx www.tvfool.com and www.solidsignal.com

In addition I use 3.0mbs DSL feeding Roku box to get Netflix and other Roku channels including movies from my media server. 3.0 DSL will provide SD (DVD quality) quality Netflix movies without any issues.

My monthly entertainment costs are $9/m for Netflix and $29/m for DSL.
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post #19 of 34 Old 11-04-2010, 09:41 AM
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I have been getting the unscrambled signals sent down by satellite for years. I am not hacking. I have an eight foot dish and a 1 meter dish for the two kinds of signal - C band and Ku band.

I too noticed when I had subscription service I only watched a very few channels. That was my reason for going with the free to air method. Also, I live in a canyon and can't get any OTA because I have no line of sight.

One coming problem with this. In past years I would get the NFL feeds, usually in HD. This year many fewer, due to the NFL going with fiber optics instead.

In fact, with the cheapness and durability of glass fibers, there is some credible talk as to the obsolescence of satellite tv of all kinds. Very possible I think.

But with my system right now, and with supplementing it with streaming and online channels, I get what I need and don't pay any monthly bills. The investment over the years has been about $2000. It has more than paid for itself
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post #20 of 34 Old 11-04-2010, 09:52 AM
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I had Charter Cable (near Charlotte) and it's modem. Their internet was down at least once per month and their HD bandwidth was lacking. So i had a wonderful day where I was able return the cable box and offer suggestions as to it's disposition.
Unfortunately, AT&T DSL was my only viable internet source, and at 1.5Mbps it isn't a lot better than dial up, and I can forget about any streaming. I do have a large digital antenna in my attic, but I'm back to using a rotor(!) to switch to various networks, which is a pain..a trip back in time.
So I have D*tv, which is pricey, but reliable..but no internet speed to speak of, so no VOD and no streaming. Bad cell phone area, so 4g is most likely not an option. Uverse is coming, but I've heard some horror stories about that.
Any Suggestions?
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post #21 of 34 Old 11-04-2010, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnoyedBuyer View Post

I hate to be the bearer of ill tidings, but guess what? NPR reported today that the cable companies are going to raise internet access rates as more and more people cut off cable service.

Makes sense, but damn that sucks, especially since I don't watch even 99% of the crap that's around, cable or the internet!!

Exactly. We just switched from Bhouse to FIOS. We switched due to pixelation, audio dropout etc. We were with BHouse for 10 years and they did not fix it. So, FIOS: We stupidly bought a 3 in 1 pkg, with Prime HD and basic fios (15/5 mbps) + phone.

We're not happy with the programming choices on prime. So I thought I would call up and upgrade to Extreme. It's only 15$ more right? Well guess what, if I do that, I am losing the deal I got when I signed up and the bill will be 180+ /month. So I said ok, just want internet.

We are a tech household and have ps3, roku, and HTPC, so we would be fine with internet only.

Guess what? It's 99 + tax etc....comes to almost as much as we pay for the bundle. Verizon know they are on the downward spiral and internet only is a pricey option.

Suggestions?
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post #22 of 34 Old 11-04-2010, 05:37 PM
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Cut my Comcast cable too since I don't watch all the crap shows on TV.
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post #23 of 34 Old 11-05-2010, 05:03 AM
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Quote:
Preferences
* Audio and video quality are secondary to content availability.

Sadly, a reflection of current American culture in general: we are so willing to go for "more" rather than "better."
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post #24 of 34 Old 11-05-2010, 06:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewDrinkRepeat View Post

Sadly, a reflection of current American culture in general: we are so willing to go for "more" rather than "better."

That whole "gotta keep options open" mentality is so far ingrained in us from our monkey days, it's really not all that surprising that's the way American culture is tending.

Check out this article on a (great) book called Predictably Irrational and pay close attention to the "Vanishing Door" experiment they did at MIT. Even MIT students -- whom you would expect to be extra-rational -- performed incredibly irrationally!
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post #25 of 34 Old 11-06-2010, 04:33 AM
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Everyone here is talking about cutting cable subscription. But never mention how they get broadband connection. Don't you have to get broadband from cable/phone companies?
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post #26 of 34 Old 11-06-2010, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccspruce View Post

Everyone here is talking about cutting cable subscription. But never mention how they get broadband connection. Don't you have to get broadband from cable/phone companies?

I think they are using the word "cable" to mean "cable television service" and they're only "cutting the cord" that's going to the TV.
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post #27 of 34 Old 11-06-2010, 06:43 PM
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how do u guys record tv shows from the internet etc
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post #28 of 34 Old 11-06-2010, 08:08 PM
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We were forced to cut the cable tv cord late last year due to major financial reasons. I all ready had an antenna in the attic and the cable run to the TV from back before Cox had HD in my area. It was a tough few months especially for the kids who were used to zoning out on Disney and Nick. I am into NFL, NHL, Nascar and will occasionally watch some other sports if on and with most games and events being moved to cable channels like ESPN, that means you need to get creative.

We have adjusted and don't really miss the mind less TV watching anymore. Instead of having a TV on during late Saturday morning, we will turn it off (most channels are all informercials anyway till football time) and do other things. This months electric bill is below 100 dollars for our ranch house and I am sure cutting the mindless TV watching has helped bring that down. We also have Netflix and will use HULU although I have not subscribed to HULU Plus. I have a Windows Media Center box in the family room with 2 tuners that DVR our shows from OTA. The company I work for reimburses my data connection (for now) so any increase in that bill will not hurt me. I do want to try and go back to FIOS data as Cox cable modem can be a little flakey on streaming during peak hours.

If you're not in contract I say give it a go. If it doesn't work out you can always get your services back.
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post #29 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 03:10 AM
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[I'm convinced! I need a digital antenna for my apartment. Any recommendations?]

i made one from scrap wood and clothing hangers = cost is $4 for the splitter,
it is not sexy but it gives me 27 channels in HD without issues (instructables.com)

I also bought one at Monoprice, $24, gives me.... hummm..... 27 channels in HD without issues but consumes power as it comes with a walwart and AN AMPLIFIER!!! lol



J-P.
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post #30 of 34 Old 11-17-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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Viewers pull plug on US cable television

"Although television services offered by telecoms and satellite providers added subscribers over the period, cable operators were hard hit, with subscriber numbers falling by 741,000 – the largest decline in 30 years.

The figures suggest that “cord-cutting” – one of the pay-television industry’s biggest fears – is becoming a reality as viewers drift to web-based platforms."


http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a3986a1c-f...#axzz15cEGJYz2

Its great to see consumers paying only for what they watch. The stranglehold monopoly days of being force fed are leading to the rapid demise of the cable industry.
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