I think an antenna is a better option for those who just want limited basic. This assumes you can get the channels from the local TV stations. Otherwise, maybe when something like HDHomerun4 is released which has the build in transcoding, maybe boxes like the Roku will be able to be media extenders for the DVR and live TV. A lot nicer at $50 to $100 per box versus a Xbox 360 or Ceton Echo at around $200.
I probably wouldn't be annoyed with the encrypting the channels if the reasons the TV providers and FCC gave was more reasonable and logical. The part the really kills me is how they said it would save the consumer money, yet since that FCC announcement I've seen the prices go up twice. All it does is pretty ensure that the cable companies get a box in every house, which is what they've wanted to do for as long as I can remember.
And Satellite isn't much of alternative either. I haven't shopped in a while, but last time, when comparing standard cable to it, it was at most, $10 cheaper, and usually only $5 per month.
I dropped Comcast about 3 yrs ago as the bill was $99 for one of their digital packages & a single HD DVR & no HBO, etc. They would not give any more promo rates.I went with Dish for something like $40 starting out & of course it has crept up & is now $71. Comcast does have a lot better OnDemand selection. If you missed recording a program it was probably going to be on their free OnDemand. Dish has very few TV programs OnDemand. I just have to make sure I record what I want. I also have an OTA antenna which I use quite a bit.
Dish has rain fade however it does not usually last very long when it does happen. With Comcast some construction somewhere cut a cable & I was without service for a day or so. Kind of a toss up which problem is worse. A friend just recently lost Comcast Internet service because squirrels supposedly chewed on a cable, however TV service still worked. It took Comcast a day & a half to get out there & fix it.
Some people suggest changing providers every couple years in order to get "New" customer promo rates. But if you have Comcast high speed Internet that may be hard to match with DSL.
The point people here are trying to make is that they already had fully working devices they already paid for until Comcast decided to cripple them for no good reason. Cable operators sking users to go buy new equipment AND pay more for what they already had working, makes it even a tougher pill to swallow. I wouldn't be surprised that this ultimately backfires on them by losing a good part of their customers to alternate solutions.
Antenna = Limited Live Sports unfortunately.
Got to join the club. Comcast here in Seattle is up to the same stuff as elsewhere but have not heard about encrypting the basic channels. The wife purchased a little antenna from costco which consists of strips of foil in a square of plastic about 14" square or so. It has a little pre-amp built into it. I was highly skeptical but we got good signals on 31 channels including all the major networks and some of the minors. There are some religious channels (please spare me...) and some repetition on some of them. Cannot forget the channel selling the Brazilian Butt Lift system either... Anyway, this goofy little antenna is doing wonderfully as I am loath to admit but I cannot argue with the success. One other thing - the picture quality is dramatically superior to what comcast was delivering. Will be saving something well over $100 per month. I don't understand any of this.
It's perfectly understandable that newcomers to HTPCs may not have the same mentality as some of us who've recorded on-the-clear basic tier cable (whether analog or digital) since the 1990's. In fact, the concept of recording unencrypted basic tier cable on PC's is all many of us have ever known for many, many years. So, when that functionality get's taken away; and, asking to pay more (in addition to what customers are already paying for basic cable), is why there are some frustrated people.
It really hasn't effected me because what was available in QAM for me was really bad.. The locals and a bunch of Spanish and Korean language channels. It has been that way for years on Charter in my area. I'm sorry if you are being effected by this but providing people with free cable is not a model that is sustainable for the cable companies. I pay a lot less with CableCARD than I would with Uverse or Cable STB/DVR's.
thus is why there is VPN and internet sport packages.
Nonetheless, more and more sports are going to local cable channels versus the local major network affiliates. Never mind the others that are going pay per view. Sports is really big money in TV. Thus, for us sports fans, cable cutting will present its challenges. Luckily, except for a small few sport leagues, they can be had for a fee. And for some, it's not a big deal because they were going to buy TV providers package, such as MLB at Bat.
But as one person said earlier, I think most of us are upset because we're paying more for the limited basic. On top of it, now were getting less and loosing more functionality. And were told by the FCC and the cable companies it's better for the consumer.
No one service is perfect. Considering I use services like Netflix, Hulu, various sports, all I'm looking for is the local channels for news and the occasional local sports team. I'm lucky enough that OTA is an option. I know when I do, my internet will go up $10 a month, but I'll be cutting $30 a month in TV service, which ultimately means I'll save $20 a month.
The sad part, I found that having more channels just gave me more channels of content I wasn't interested in. It didn't really give more content I wanted.
You should only have 1 outlet, to your network attached tuner, which I believe is "1st outlet is free" with any provider. From there on, you distribute everything on your LAN.
CableCard fee is minimal, compared to the cost of CableBox or DVR rental, considering your get 6 streams for that fee. In some cases, you will have to pay 10X for 6 boxes as you would for a single CableCARD. Some providers give it to you for free.
If you don't have HD TV's then you don't need HD service, and no fee.
I wouldn't get cable for basic package. I can get the same channels off the air with an antenna and SDHR Duals.
In fact, we have been using both ATSC and CableCARD tuners for almost 5 years now. Initially because we had 2x ATI DCT's and had to rent 2X CableCards, and it was just cheaper to use ATSC for what was on OTA and only use CableCARD for what was only on Cable. With advent of multi-tuner systems, it was just nicer not to have to reply on the local franchise negotiating with the broadcaster for rebroadcast rights, as well, as reliably getting local news coverage in a power outage, or otherwise severe weather that took the telephone poles down, along with Cable/FiOS lines.