Cutting the cable, questions from a rookie.. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-17-2013, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys. I am seriously contemplating getting rid of satellite tv and want to see how other people in my situation have gone about it. Just seems like the bills keep getting more and more ridiculous!

What I currently have is a:
Synology ds212j with 2x2tb drives.
Xbox 360 (not necessarily going to use it but it might come in handy for something)
Receiver
Tv

In the works:
I guess a HD antenna?
Waiting for i5 nuc (have ssd and ram)
HD homerun pro (not sure if this is necessary or if I can configure the synology in some way)


Here in Albuquerque, from my research, it seems like I can get all the major networks ota from the antenna, is this the first step for most people who have cut the cord?

Ill be streaming movies that have been downloaded to the server through the htpc. I would like to record tv shows somehow. I'm sure there's probably other thing I want to that some of you have done the I haven't thought of. Any guidance is appreciated. Thanks guys

I do have local cable available, so maybe a cable card could drastically cut costs?
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-17-2013, 09:46 PM
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if your close enough to the broadcast towers [ under 50-60 miles ] and not down in a deep valley its very possible, I cut the cord years ago and have not regretted it at all, I use a channel master hd 4228 aimed at the futherest tower and pickup the closer towers off the backside of the directional antenna, my antenna is about 30 ft off ground.

for recording get digital ota hd tv card, pci card is good enough, pcie is easier to find.
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-18-2013, 09:14 AM
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You may find that "cord cutting" measures are not really adding up to the savings.

Most providers offer some sort of discount when you bubdle services. So, if you cut CableTV, but keep internet, you may find that Internet prices jump quite a bit.

Look at your bill, it should break down the fees for the services and then for the equipment rental. If you go CableCard route, you will cut the equipment rental charges. In some cases, equipment rental charges are greater than the cost of the service it self (i.e. Multi-TV household with a DVR and multiple STB's).

We pay $65/month for the triple play from Verizon (HD PRime, 25/5 internet, landline phone), $3.99/month for the cable card rental. With taxes our monthly bill is under $75.

However, had we chosen to use Verizon's equipment for the 6 TV's that we have, we would have had to pay $135/month ($65/month for triple play service + $20/month for whole house DVR + 5x$10/month for 5x STB's) + taxes on that amount = $150 give or take.
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6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-18-2013, 10:29 AM
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I built a HTPC about 2.5 yrs ago and had Comcast in California. I lived about 30 miles from Sacramento and used an OTA HD antenna on the roof and used HD HomeRun to record shows. It was great, but by "de-bundling" I went from a Comcast Double Play (cable + internet) of $80 to about $50 for just the internet. So, it was $30 a month savings and the HTPC build with antenna cost about $900. It wasn't a huge savings compared to the large start-up cost, but I needed a better PC to house all my photos, etc so that was the icing on the cake. I really only did it because we barely watched tv with a newborn and I was tired of the equipment costs from Comcast (they increased 2x in 12 months).

I have since moved to Texas and went back to cablecard. I bought the HDPrime and absolutely love it. I now have Verizon so I pay for internet + cable and I think it's about $80 with no major movie channels. My wife decided she had enough of only OTA tv and we have two little ones now (3yr and 1 yr) who are now being commercialized with the rest of America to Disney channel, NickJr, etc so there is no going back for me. I know I'm saving $15 a month with no HD box rental and if I get any more televisions I plan to just use an xbox360 as an extender which furthers the savings.

Short story: Do what's right for you, but saving about $30/month to say I cut the cord really wasn't worth getting rid of cable entirely because of the bundling discounts.
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-18-2013, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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All right, after looking over suggestions here, it looks like the HD Homerun can be used for OTA tuning. So, say I get that and plug it into my router, how do I get the shows to record to my NAS? Can XBMC do that? Or just WIN7MC and point it to the NAS?
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-18-2013, 03:25 PM
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Your router won't work alone as it needs software. I can't speak for XBMC, but use and recommend Win7MC.
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-18-2013, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Popeeta View Post

All right, after looking over suggestions here, it looks like the HD Homerun can be used for OTA tuning. So, say I get that and plug it into my router, how do I get the shows to record to my NAS? Can XBMC do that? Or just WIN7MC and point it to the NAS?

haven't used the hd homerun myself, but I would think instructions are included in the package, also may want to visit their site and look at the manual for setup and config instructions, or look around their forums.
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-18-2013, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcbaggins View Post

Your router won't work alone as it needs software. I can't speak for XBMC, but use and recommend Win7MC.

XBMC doesn't have any back end recording features. As long as you're doing OTA stuff, you can use any number of backend DVRs (ArgusTV, MythTV, MediaPortal) and use XBMC as a front end. I use XBMC with ArgusTV, and I think it's a much more powerful and flexible option, but it took some doing to get everything setup the way I wanted. For simplicity of setup, you probably can't beat WMC7.
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post #9 of 12 Old 06-21-2013, 11:58 PM
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I agree with sentiment with many the of the posts here. Cost savings is more on your time horizon you're planning to be without cable/satellie service. You're doing to have initial costs setting up to cut the cable, such as TV turner, antenna, or PC and peripherals. It's not hard to spend a thousand or more if you don't have extra equipment around. Never mind if you're looking a specific features that run up the costs such as PC with smallest foot print, blue ray drives, and so forth. Then you have compare how much you're going to save versus the costs. For me, if I remember correctly, I didn't go OTA, but to limited basic. I had already subscribed to Netflix and Hulu Plus, but still factored it in as well. My calculations showed it would take me about eighteen months to recoup my costs before I started saving money. My cable bill went down somewhere between fifty to seventy dollars.

I know if I cut my limited basic TV service, my bill will go up ten dollars for the internet service, which I used way more at that time when I did TV. Even more today. Internet can provide all kinds of sources of entertainment.

As for the HDHomerun, it fairly easy setup. The big thing, make sure you get the right one. The HDHR3 and HDHR4 are not interchangable between ATSC (OTA signal) and QAM/ClearQAM(cable). Yes, connect it to your network. Download the drivers from Silicondust. Run the setup so it will scan what channels you get. For Media Center, go into TV setup, have it detect your tuners. It will do another scan for your channels, based on Silcondust's scan. Then will download EPG data. Then just pick shows/episodes to record. Can pick channels to watch. It's easy. Takes about twenty to thirty minutes to setup. Scanning and dowloading takes the most time.

I haven't used XBMC's DVR software. But Media Center is easy enough to use. There are plenty of useful mods you can look up and find.
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-22-2013, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekeiiy View Post


As for the HDHomerun, it fairly easy setup. The big thing, make sure you get the right one. The HDHR3 and HDHR4 are not interchangable between ATSC (OTA signal) and QAM/ClearQAM(cable). Yes, connect it to your network. Download the drivers from Silicondust. Run the setup so it will scan what channels you get. For Media Center, go into TV setup, have it detect your tuners. It will do another scan for your channels, based on Silcondust's scan. Then will download EPG data. Then just pick shows/episodes to record. Can pick channels to watch. It's easy. Takes about twenty to thirty minutes to setup. Scanning and dowloading takes the most time.

The HDHR4 isn't out yet. Supposedly it will transcode MPEG-2 to H.264 on the fly, which might be of concern if you do a lot of conversion or are worried about streaming bandwidth. Otherwise, just go with the 3 since it's readily available. And the HDHR3 will do either OTA or ClearQAM. I haven't seen anything to indicate what the HDHR4's limitations will be, perhaps lovekeiiy can provide some more info. As far as I'm concerned the 4 is vaporware until I see it for sale.

One thing to note when you set up the SiliconDust software is to note whether you've got each tuner set for "Digital Antenna" or "Digital Cable." It won't work very well if you have the wrong one selected for your connection type...
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post #11 of 12 Old 06-22-2013, 06:57 PM
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I don't have any information. I just assumed it had been released. I hadn't been keeping up. The rest QAM verssus ATSC they stated in the initial announcement which falls in line with the HDHR3.

Nonetheless, what I said was true about them in regards to my point on being careful on which to purchase. Personally, I don't know they had to separate it considering the HDHR2 can do either or both (the both I wasn't expecting with the one TV feed).

I currently use the HDHR3CC. I got it in case, in the future, I decided to get more than basic cable. Odds are not likely. I also like it had three turners in one box. I'll probably get the HDHR4 just because, if what Silicondust says holds true, will have four turners in one box. For my needs, I won't need more than four.

As for OP's question about savings. As others have said, just need to read your bill. I know Comcast has the costs of most things if you decided to change. I've read some people getting a discount for using their own equipment. Unless, you've got the TV providers boxes in every room, the cost my not be as great. I know of rme, it wasn't so much the equipment, it was just all the additional services because most were charged per box. Never mind my work scheduled changed so I was only getting to watch one or two channels that were not showing news, Spanish, or infomercials when I was awake. This is why the cost of the all sports packages didn't effect me because I was using them to watch games I missed while sleeping or at work.
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post #12 of 12 Old 06-23-2013, 07:07 AM
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The most tuners I've ever needed was 3 but then again I don't have a house full of TV's running or huge recording schedule either.

YMMV.

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