Happy New Year ! How do you think HTPC will change or evolve in 2014 ? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Only one more day left in 2013 eek.gif. We saw a lot of changes in HTPC in 2013; What do you think 2014 will bring ?

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post #2 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 07:07 AM
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Unfortunately, nothing, Mfusick. It depends on the content.
Maybe if all the content suddenly turns to 4K.
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post #3 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Unfortunately, nothing, Mfusick. It depends on the content.
Maybe if all the content suddenly turns to 4K.

This is pretty gloomy outlook tongue.gif

I think 4K is some of it- but how fast that comes depends on how fast displays and material make it to consumers. The age old chicken or the egg thing. MFG won't make displays if there is no content and content makers won't make content if you can't display it. But these battles happened with HDTV and while slow adoption rate at first- HDTV exploded once it got a little momentum. It was not that long ago we had NON HD TV's or very much of 4:3 content and broadcasting. I don't expect huge success for 4K in 2014 but certainly some progress will be made.

You can already buy a 50" set pretty cheap. And high resolution PC monitors are also growing in popularity. (I so want a 30" IPS high resolution display! )

Some of the trends I see emerging I would expect to gain additional momentum in 2014:

- Increasing popularity of a "media server" as a storage solution versus the traditional hard drive in a PC approach
- Increasing popularity of "media server software" like Plex Server or MediaBrowser3 Server- That feeds a wide range of different devices and allows you to enjoy your media anywhere you want, any way you want, on any device you want.
- Increasing popularity of more powerful NAS and media servers to take advantage of media server software programs and capabilities.

also, on the HTPC side :

- I see and increasing separation of the low end and high end HTPC. The middle class is shrinking, and the i3 that once was the most popular option for a midrange HTPC is no longer as popular- making way for either much cheaper Pentium and Celeron based machines (CPU half the cost) or quad cores like i5 for not much more money (better value ?) for those that want advanced functionality or quality. Things like SVP, MadVR, or transcoding are better handled on a quad core. i3 is often too much, or to little depending on what people need. I'd guess with the popularity and easy implementation of MadVR with front ends like MBtheater, Jriver or MediaiOS (all three do MadVR native) - or even traditional MB or XBMC set ups with MPC-HC that trend continues in 2014. The way I see it you either need it and want it- or you don't need it and want it. 3D required, but no desire for anything more or GPU card is the only reason I would choose an i3 personally. But then again, if you are looking for integrated GPU and 3D on a budget- screw the i3 and go get an AMD.

I am guessing we will see a good amount of full performance HTPC builds for the hardcore AVS folks that have serious home theater systems and are looking for something that is appropriate to them. These are folks that are not PC people, but rather theater enthusiasts looking to enjoy their hobby in a digital media world. Eye candy, easy of use and set up, and good performance are paramount - much more so than the $200 saved on what was once a "cheap" or "value" build. The new "value" build is actually the quad core in this new way of thinking. GPU cards that will do full MadVR and SVP and also do 3D (even 4K) are getting cheaper and cheaper. You don't need a $300 video card, and with time we will see the next generation of GPU cards even more efficient and powerful in 2014 and also the next generation of CPU chips even more efficient and powerful too.

While the midrange seems to have moved up to the upper midrange(i3>i5), or down to the low end (pentium/celeron/sub$80 AMD) - I am also expecting more and more competition on the very low end by streamer boxes like the ROKU which can run PLEX or MB3 pretty well and cost less than $100, come with remote, and are easy to set up. Now that these options can do 1080p and HD audio pretty well I think the budget folks and simple folks will gravitate toward these options because they are cheaper, easier to use, and simple to set up. Folks that only want 1080p and HD audio and not much more will find attraction in these low priced, easy to use options and this will eat away at the low end of HTPC. Basically you are left with upper low end(you could call this lower midrange too), and upper midrange (or lower high end) as the popular options based on needs. The reason is that in terms of performance something like a Pentium in 2014 will be very equal to the performance of an i3 back in 2012/2013. (LGA1155)

I see the HTPC landscape changing in that it's not just about building an HTPC to enjoy on a single display anymore. It's about finding an HTPC solution that fits your needs and allows you to enjoy HTPC and digital media anywhere, any time, on any device. Divergence is the new trend in 2014 I see.

To me the perfect HTPC solution is the one that give me full quality and performance on my theater system for critical listening or viewing- but also supports my other devices and needs. This includes watching my media on other displays (other HTPC's, Laptops, Tablets, Smartphones, Roku etc..etc.. ) in less critical conditions. It's nice to be able to grab the ipad and watch show on it, wife be able to watch her show on the living room TV when I am watching a movie on the main theater system.

I am expecting the trend of a "media server" that supports all kinds of clients and devices to continue- and in some ways a powerful media server and a less powerful HTPC might be the trend versus the previously very popular all in one machine option.

Who knows... I am just guessing. I could be wrong. Things can change a lot in a year with electronics. biggrin.gif

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post #4 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 08:15 AM
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I guess it depends what you're looking for.

For computer based DVR to survive Ceton, Silicon Dust, or someone else really needs to step up. I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen (maybe at CES?) but I wouldn't hold my breath. If you want a full blown DVR experience with the fewest caveats you really have to use WMC, but so much of the available htpc technology has moved beyond it and Microsoft isn't following up. WMC in W8 is more or less the same product sold with Vista. What happened since then? bluray, DTS-MA, 24p, Pandora, Hulu, HBO Go, ESPN3, etc.

Regarding those streaming sources - they all can be used on a computer but not natively inside most of the front ends. HBO Go on an htpc should look like it does on a PS3 or Roku. Without a major player like Microsoft stepping up to bat for us and getting them included I'm not sure how it will happen. XBMC, Plex, Media Browser, etc are all doing great things but they don't likely have the weight ($$$$$) to get real apps (or cablecard drm) developed for their platforms.

The next gen 4K video system will probably be showcased either this year or definitely by CES 2015. I'm wondering what kind of lengths they will go to to protect it - can you imagine a world where optical disc drives for the system aren't sold for PC? I can.

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post #5 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post


I am expecting the trend of a "media server" that supports all kinds of clients and devices to continue- and in some ways a powerful media server and a less powerful HTPC might be the trend versus the previously very popular all in one machine option.

Two year ago I wouldve agreed. I could have imagined where every house would have some sort of networked storage for family pictures, music, etc.

That won't be in their home though. Its going to be on Google or Amazon's server. Quality of the media isn't the concern so lower bitrate streaming files will only become more the norm.

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post #6 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 08:34 AM
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Are we talking about for the "AVS HTPC user" or the "Average Joe Best Buy Guy"? Two EXTREMELY different markets. Trust me --- I know this first hand.
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post #7 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Are we talking about for the "AVS HTPC user" or the "Average Joe Best Buy Guy"? Two EXTREMELY different markets. Trust me --- I know this first hand.

Great point. I am talking AVSer. I am an AVSer. Everyone here is AVSers. Average Joe BestBuy guy can go hang himself with the overpriced Monster Cables they sold him for his LCD TV.

I think what I say about the low end (popularity of streaming boxes) concerns Joe Best Buy Guy significantly. At a certain point price, ease of set up, and ease of use triumph over quality and performance. This happens much sooner for Joe Best Buy Guy than Mr AVS theater enthusiast in most cases.

For Mr AVS member guy I think there is still a place for that stuff (all over the house actually) but there is still a significant value placed on quality and performance in the critical area (main home theater system). If someone is a member on AVS they tend to care about such things.

Mr AVS member guy has always been the early adopter, and paved the way for Average Joe Best Buy guy to chase that experience with cheaper consumer products. This is not just true on HTPC, but video, audio, home automation, etc...

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post #8 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 08:55 AM
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There are a fair amount of cheap people on AVS as well. I think its still a mixture of both. And I would guess that there are a ton of lurkers that are looking for the cheapest way to add HTPC-type functionality to their home that don't post but just come here for research and learning purposes. I see this all the time across all AVS forums as well.

The Average Joe Best Buy Guy (AJBBG) [tm] is looking for something like Google Chrome, Roku or Raspberry Pi, etc. Many of us, like myself, are looking for something completely different. Unfortunately for people like me we are only about 1% of the target market which means that there is probably going to be more advances in the AJBBG [tm] market than in our market as that's where the money is.
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post #9 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 09:30 AM
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I see different trends for different segments of the population. I have 8 rooms with various levels of components in them. The last two that I upgraded were for my wife. When we met ions ago she had an AM radio.

She still doesn't use my HTPC or asked why I have Meridian speakers, but she's streaming and downloading music all the time now.

I've heard friends and relatives ask others, have you seen and heard a concert on his system yet? They're aware I have an HTPC but not why. The interest is there but we'll always be the leaders and the others will always be catching up.

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post #10 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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There are a fair amount of cheap people on AVS as well. I think its still a mixture of both. And I would guess that there are a ton of lurkers that are looking for the cheapest way to add HTPC-type functionality to their home that don't post but just come here for research and learning purposes. I see this all the time across all AVS forums as well.

The Average Joe Best Buy Guy (AJBBG) [tm] is looking for something like Google Chrome, Roku or Raspberry Pi, etc. Many of us, like myself, are looking for something completely different. Unfortunately for people like me we are only about 1% of the target market which means that there is probably going to be more advances in the AJBBG [tm] market than in our market as that's where the money is.

I agree and disagree at the same time.

I do agree with what you say to some extent, but I also believe that there is and has always been a "trickle down effect" where the top end 1% seeks it, achieves it, perfects it - often at a good amount of cost or effort and then that trickles down to AJBBG [nice trademark biggrin.gif] in the form of cheaper products and solutions.

There is still a good amount of "cheap" talk about here, but for whatever reason people don't seem to be posting or asking for cheap builds. I posted a cheap build recently just for the heck of it, that I stumbled across browsing NewEgg. $200 complete with 128GB SSD. No one seemed interested. There is some great deals right now on good products. I saw a $74 128GB Vector and Vertex450 and Vertex3 MAX IOPS SSD today on NewEgg. OCZ troubles mean good deals it seems. The ECS version 2 H61 mobo was $15 again (AR) and Microcenter is selling the G series celeron for $35. That's $125 so far. Spend $40 on some DDR3 (this stuff expensive now) and you still have plenty of money to afford a nice case and PSU. Trouble is I don't see many folks excited about this anymore- and I am suspecting it's because they are finding alternative solutions in streamers.

Most people at this point are looking to cut the cord and lower the cable bill- not record it. It seems like DVR and recording TV is falling in popularity, while streaming, and downloading is growing in popularity. I suspect this is because it's the path of least resistance. Cable companies and rights holders make it hard and hard to record TV- forcing people into other options. It's funny that some of that is directing people towards piracy. If you were a cable company or rights holder would you rather have someone pay for your content via cable subscription and record it and enjoy it DVR style - or download it illegally because they can't easily record and DVR it ? The whole thing just makes no sense to me, but again sometimes few things do.

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post #11 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 09:47 AM
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Sure. But you asked how it will change or evolve. IMO its going to change the most in the market that has 99% of the users and that is NOT the average avs user. I don't think we are going to see major advances in our 1% niche market. I am still amazed that microsoft didn't further embrace and develop its wmc product. I think though to really have something there they would have needed to really adopt the torrent/downloading/ripping aspect of replacing cable which is probably not something they wanted to do.

That's the real holy grail here and for whatever reason no one has really put out a product that does it all. My suspicion is that if someone ever did they would be sued into bankruptcy by Hollywood and the cable companies.
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post #12 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Sure. But you asked how it will change or evolve. IMO its going to change the most in the market that has 99% of the users and that is NOT the average avs user. I don't think we are going to see major advances in our 1% niche market. I am still amazed that microsoft didn't further embrace and develop its wmc product. I think though to really have something there they would have needed to really adopt the torrent/downloading/ripping aspect of replacing cable which is probably not something they wanted to do.

That's the real holy grail here and for whatever reason no one has really put out a product that does it all. My suspicion is that if someone ever did they would be sued into bankruptcy by Hollywood and the cable companies.

I do agree 100% here.

It's a shame because such a service is actually worth paying for. But rather than embrace the consumer's wishes and profit from it by supporting them they try to sweep it under the rug. The current content distribution and sale process is broken and it leaves much to be desired. When you can achieve a superior experience on your own without paying - there is something wrong. Clearly their strategy is not working. It's getting worse everyday. It amazes me they want to swim against the current so much. So much money could be made if they embraced it.

Imagine buying the rights to digital library or digital pack. Like Paramount, or Sony, or Universal etc... and it just downloads or streams via your HTPC, streamer box, media server, or smart TV. You pay the rights holder directly. There is no cost in distribution, in theft and shrink or product defects and returns, no cost in MFG or shipping of discs. The sellers can capitalize on the consumers natural desire for instant gratification (I want it now) by selling with the push of a button.

Imagine- where you had a slick front end or server program (think XBMC or MB or PLEX) to browse them and you have two options. First- stream it. At the best quality your internet connection will support. For those that want more they offer a full quality download option. It might take some time, but for those that don't need it instantly they can click a sync button on that title to place it locally on the machine in full quality. Things can be un-synced just as easily freeing up storage space, and you could re-add the title any time again in the future after you watched it from the cloud. (legally)

That would solve 90% of the problems of storage space. You would not need huge media servers to do it. You probably could realistically get by with a single 4TB HDD.

The solution is there if they wanted it. Charge a monthly subscription for a "media server + streamer playback box" combo. Either supply your hardware and pay a monthly fee (or a one time fee to access to certain things, or even a single use fee) via software- or rent the solution turn key for the Average Joe BestBuy Guy. Cable subscriptions suck. They cost too much. They look and sound bad. Consumers don't want to pay for tons of channels and things they don't need or want to watch. Commercials suck, and the DVR and remotes suck too. The interface and menu sucks... the list goes on and on.

The fact the HTPC experience is so much better than cable or satallite or optical disc experience is not going to change or go away. You can't sweep this under the rug. Someone needs to step up and embrace it and profit on it. But cable companies and content makers don't want to mess with the huge system they have now. Eventually they will (they will have no choice). The consumer is standing up and speaking.

2014 will see things move in this direction. Popularity of instant video rentals, netflix, streaming directly from the content owner webpages or apps (think HBO to go, NBC, etc.) It's just inevitable someone will figure out that can take this to the next level and make it ultra awesome (and profit)

Average Joe BestBuy Guy does not want to spend hours and hours ripping his media, naming it, organizing it, fetching meta data, building hardware, building servers, setting up software, investing in storage solutions etc... When you think about how much we go through and how much we really spend chasing this hobby- it's only natural to think people would happily pay for a turn key solution. Everyone that sees my HTPC set up is blow away by it, yet non of them are smart enough or willing to put into it what I have to achieve the same. They want it- but don't know how to buy it.

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post #13 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 10:04 AM
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I think though to really have something there they would have needed to really adopt the torrent/downloading/ripping aspect of replacing cable which is probably not something they wanted to do.

They have done this, in a way, with Xbox Video. I powered up my 360 the other day and on the welcome screen I saw I could rent Man of Steel for $0.99 - thats a pretty good deal. But none of that ever made it back into WMC. They could have sold season passes ala Amazon, ran an ondemand rental service, sold digital movies that you could access on your htpc, laptop, etc. Most of that was never even tried. They left it to Best Buy and Netflix to develop WMC plugins.

No respectable company like Microsoft is going to embrace copyright infringement. Roku and Apple are sellings lots of boxes that don't dont require locally stored media. Ditto Samsung, Sony, LG, Vizio, etc via connected televisions and bluray players. I suppose my friends aren't the most tech savy in the world but they are all young guys. None of them rip discs or pirate movies. They quit that with Morpheus and Kazaa in college.

What do they do? Pay for Netflix, Hulu+, NHL Game Center, Sirius XM, and rent movies on demand. None of which is really available natively in any major htpc front end. All of them work on a $75ish dollar Roku.
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That's the real holy grail here and for whatever reason no one has really put out a product that does it all. My suspicion is that if someone ever did they would be sued into bankruptcy by Hollywood and the cable companies.

I'd honestly be afraid to use that product. I think I'm pretty on point with technology and I have no idea how I could either a) use it legally or b) not get caught doing illegal things with it. After seeing someone I know get named in a torrent lawsuit I will never install a client on any of my pcs.

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post #14 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 10:52 AM
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They have done this, in a way, with Xbox Video. I powered up my 360 the other day and on the welcome screen I saw I could rent Man of Steel for $0.99 - thats a pretty good deal. But none of that ever made it back into WMC. They could have sold season passes ala Amazon, ran an ondemand rental service, sold digital movies that you could access on your htpc, laptop, etc. Most of that was never even tried. They left it to Best Buy and Netflix to develop WMC plugins.

No respectable company like Microsoft is going to embrace copyright infringement. Roku and Apple are sellings lots of boxes that don't dont require locally stored media. Ditto Samsung, Sony, LG, Vizio, etc via connected televisions and bluray players. I suppose my friends aren't the most tech savy in the world but they are all young guys. None of them rip discs or pirate movies. They quit that with Morpheus and Kazaa in college.

What do they do? Pay for Netflix, Hulu+, NHL Game Center, Sirius XM, and rent movies on demand. None of which is really available natively in any major htpc front end. All of them work on a $75ish dollar Roku.
I'd honestly be afraid to use that product. I think I'm pretty on point with technology and I have no idea how I could either a) use it legally or b) not get caught doing illegal things with it. After seeing someone I know get named in a torrent lawsuit I will never install a client on any of my pcs.

I hear you and I agree. But a company that really could replace satellite and cable is sitting on an absolute goldmine. I just don't see how this would be possible in the current data age without allowing torrents, downloads or rips and this, IMO, is largely the fault of Hollywood and the cable/satellite companies. This is really a shame as the consumers should be allowed a replacement option given the plethora of technology available now.

I know that personally if it wasn't for sports I would have cancelled satellite a long time ago. The cable and satellite companies will unfortunately never release their stranglehold on this and allow a la carte purchases which is a shame. It just seems like in the year 2014 we should have an multitude and diverse amount of options in our homes for cable and satellite replacement but instead we are stuck in the 1990s with maybe the exception of some of the streaming options which, again, were largely ignored by Microsoft, WMC. Netflix, Hulu and others have ignored the PC market as well.
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post #15 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 11:24 AM
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The cable and satellite companies will unfortunately never release their stranglehold on this and allow a la carte purchases which is a shame.

I posted in AVS's top stories of 2013 that I thought Time Warner Cable's CEO saying that cable was getting too expensive was a big deal. The cable companies are stuck with bundles/tiers because the content producers force it on them - "if you want to carry cable's top tv show (Duck Dynasty) then you have to stick Crime and Investigation Network on the same tier." So their hands are tied a little bit on what they're able to offer.

I'd spend $30-$50 on a pack of 10 channels I really want to watch, whether my access is via cablecard of some kind of on ip demand service. The authentication based access apps on devices like the Roku and Xbox 360 are pretty good - easy to use and right to the point. I'd love to have them on my htpc. But with computers as a dying market in general I don't see the the resources going there.

The interesting unintended consequence of that would be what channels would disappear and which would florish that way. The channels I really like are definitely lower watched ones - things like Military History and Smithsonian. Would they survive if they needed individual subscribers?

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post #16 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 11:26 AM
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Cable companies and rights holders make it hard and hard to record TV- forcing people into other options. It's funny that some of that is directing people towards piracy. If you were a cable company or rights holder would you rather have someone pay for your content via cable subscription and record it and enjoy it DVR style - or download it illegally because they can't easily record and DVR it ? The whole thing just makes no sense to me, but again sometimes few things do.

Case in point: FX moved one of my favorite shows, It's always sunny in Philadelphia, to FXX. Many cable cos, inc. mine, put FXX on a higher tier. So if I want to continue watching it, I now have to either pay for yet another tier, or...

Oh, btw, I missed your recent cheap HTPC build thread. I'll look for it.

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post #17 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 11:45 AM
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I posted in AVS's top stories of 2013 that I thought Time Warner Cable's CEO saying that cable was getting too expensive was a big deal. The cable companies are stuck with bundles/tiers because the content producers force it on them - "if you want to carry cable's top tv show (Duck Dynasty) then you have to stick Crime and Investigation Network on the same tier." So their hands are tied a little bit on what they're able to offer.

I'd spend $30-$50 on a pack of 10 channels I really want to watch, whether my access is via cablecard of some kind of on ip demand service. The authentication based access apps on devices like the Roku and Xbox 360 are pretty good - easy to use and right to the point. I'd love to have them on my htpc. But with computers as a dying market in general I don't see the the resources going there.

The interesting unintended consequence of that would be what channels would disappear and which would florish that way. The channels I really like are definitely lower watched ones - things like Military History and Smithsonian. Would they survive if they needed individual subscribers?

The really low tier channels could package themselves together based on demographics that might view them. I would think that possibly cutting out the middle man (the satellite and cable companies) would increase their revenue as well possibly. There are a ton of ways that this could be done and all of them are better options for the consumer than the current model.

I saw recently where Directv and Dish are already announcing a roughly 5% increase in price again in 2014.
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post #18 of 69 Old 12-31-2013, 12:29 PM
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I know that personally if it wasn't for sports I would have cancelled satellite a long time ago. The cable and satellite companies will unfortunately never release their stranglehold on this and allow a la carte purchases which is a shame. It just seems like in the year 2014 we should have an multitude and diverse amount of options in our homes for cable and satellite replacement but instead we are stuck in the 1990s with maybe the exception of some of the streaming options which, again, were largely ignored by Microsoft, WMC. Netflix, Hulu and others have ignored the PC market as well.

I finally have my wife okay with the HTPC for TV Show viewing and I am the reason we have not jumped ship. It is amazing that sports cannot be viewed legally w/o a subscription.
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post #19 of 69 Old 01-01-2014, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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ROKU3 and PLEX or MB or XBMC can replace a cable company basically. I like how you can get channels (free) on the ROKU and how easy it is to use. Plus it plays your own media libraries inside the same unit, rather than switching inputs to a cable box.

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ROKU3 and PLEX or MB or XBMC can replace a cable company basically. I like how you can get channels (free) on the ROKU and how easy it is to use. Plus it plays your own media libraries inside the same unit, rather than switching inputs to a cable box.

Except for sports of course.
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My local comcast offers a basic cable tier for $5 a month that includes NBC, ABC, FOX and CBS... along with some others. Most of what I watch (NFL) is always on those and I can get the games on the Sunday Ticket app too (all games) With a VPN it's pretty easy to get everything also but that is more advanced and cheating so I will stick to the basic ways.

With such, I have no use for $70 cable subsription with tons of channels I don't want or watch. Cable TV needed to evolve to a pay per channel service and al la carte in order to survive long term IMO. I love to see the competition high speed internet brings to the traditional cable companies.

I think it's inevitable that once we get gigabit internet that cable will go the way of the dinosaur.

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post #22 of 69 Old 01-01-2014, 09:36 AM
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I switched to Blast Plus with Comcast and that has worked out well enough. For pretty much the cost of the internet you get extended basic TV and 50/10 internet. You can call them up yearly and get your deal renewed.

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post #23 of 69 Old 01-01-2014, 09:48 AM
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Cable TV needed to evolve to a pay per channel service and al la carte in order to survive long term IMO. I love to see the competition high speed internet brings to the traditional cable companies.

That's kind of the point TWC's ceo was making. College grads are not signing up for cable in the kind of numbers they want. But theyre still watching Dexter and Walking Dead and True Blood. So they need to figure out how to capture that.

They're a bit stuck with the bundles of channels they have to offer. Viacom, Discovery, A&E, etc what as many subscribers for their umbrellas of channels as they can. So they force cable companies to carry less popular channels on the same tiers as the highly rated ones people want.

And now Comcast is in a weird position because they now own tons of cable channels like USA, Universal, and NBC Sports.

HBO hasn't started selling HBO Go alone yet for a number of reasons but one of them is that they don't have the infrastructure to support billing and tech service like that. now they bill cable companies, not millions of individuals. Not an insurmountable task if it will bring in more profit but it will be a great cost. Other networks would have that problem too.

And even if they all started selling their own channels indivudally over the internet would you be able to watch them in a singular remote controllable htpc interface? probably not, unless your os of choice is Android.

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I switched to Blast Plus with Comcast and that has worked out well enough. For pretty much the cost of the internet you get extended basic TV and 50/10 internet. You can call them up yearly and get your deal renewed.

What's included with "extended basic"? Most of what I watch is on the broadcast stations, but I do love Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and a few others that generally are not available for streaming (at least unless you can prove you're a subscriber).

I guess I could buy seasons on iTunes (yuck), but then there's my mom, who likes to surf. Alzheimers prevents her from being able to figure out streaming.

Sent from my Nexus 7
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post #25 of 69 Old 01-01-2014, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

ROKU3 and PLEX or MB or XBMC can replace a cable company basically. I like how you can get channels (free) on the ROKU and how easy it is to use. Plus it plays your own media libraries inside the same unit, rather than switching inputs to a cable box.

Hey M, what are you using to access your media on your Roku? I've been using PlayOn, and now MB3.

Sent from my Nexus 7
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Comcast starts with limited basic - just locals and some other junk
digital economy includes a few more - a&e, cnn, usa, comedy central, history (no mtv, nickelodeon, espn, or regional sports)
digital starter has the left out channels and more
digital preferred has a lot of niche stuff like science, military, destination America, and the league sports networks (nfln, nhln, etc)

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post #27 of 69 Old 01-01-2014, 09:57 AM
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What's included with "extended basic"? Most of what I watch is on the broadcast stations, but I do love Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and a few others that generally are not available for streaming (at least unless you can prove you're a subscriber).

I guess I could buy seasons on iTunes (yuck), but then there's my mom, who likes to surf. Alzheimers prevents her from being able to figure out streaming.

Sent from my Nexus 7

Blast Plus actually includes what they call "Digital Economy" listed here http://www.comcast.com/Customers/Clu/ChannelLineup.ashx. I get AMC so WD and BB are available. As it shows I also get Discovery, History and H2, Food, Comedy, Animal Planet, Disney, Cartoon Network, CNN, Fox News, A&E, Tru, and E!.

Their website is so hard to navigate to find packages other than Triple Play I'm not finding Blast Plus right now. It would take a phone call to figure it out and I'd start by calling the retention department to get the best deal.

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Hey M, what are you using to access your media on your Roku? I've been using PlayOn, and now MB3.

Sent from my Nexus 7

PLEX or MB3
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Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

I switched to Blast Plus with Comcast and that has worked out well enough. For pretty much the cost of the internet you get extended basic TV and 50/10 internet. You can call them up yearly and get your deal renewed.

I did the same thing. I signed up for Blast too.
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That's kind of the point TWC's ceo was making. College grads are not signing up for cable in the kind of numbers they want. But theyre still watching Dexter and Walking Dead and True Blood. So they need to figure out how to capture that.

They're a bit stuck with the bundles of channels they have to offer. Viacom, Discovery, A&E, etc what as many subscribers for their umbrellas of channels as they can. So they force cable companies to carry less popular channels on the same tiers as the highly rated ones people want.

And now Comcast is in a weird position because they now own tons of cable channels like USA, Universal, and NBC Sports.

HBO hasn't started selling HBO Go alone yet for a number of reasons but one of them is that they don't have the infrastructure to support billing and tech service like that. now they bill cable companies, not millions of individuals. Not an insurmountable task if it will bring in more profit but it will be a great cost. Other networks would have that problem too.

And even if they all started selling their own channels indivudally over the internet would you be able to watch them in a singular remote controllable htpc interface? probably not, unless your os of choice is Android.

I'd consider HBO streaming pack for $10 or $15 a month. They have great shows. But I can't spend the $100 on cable just to add on HBO for another $50- that puts the bill at $150+

I think the HBO and like companies need to understand that the sales they generate and gain by selling a direct subscription cheaper (even if more limited) is a revenue stream they would not otherwise have. They always think it will steal sales from the HBO subscriptions from cable- but that is not the case. It will gain people that otherwise would not have. Having cable only features or programs is the easy solution to differentiate the products and support a higher cost for cable.

Not getting game of thrones live would cause some people to subscribe. Others would rather save some money and get it a week late on streaming. Let the consumer choose. Perhaps the combo cable subscription includes 1080p streaming but the cheap one only support 720p streaming. Lots of options they can tweak to it protects and makes sense the current business they have- but allows additional subscribers to HBO that otherwise would not. I don't want to pay for cable just to get HBO, the cable alone is too great a cost.

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post #29 of 69 Old 01-01-2014, 11:12 AM
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Blast Plus actually includes what they call "Digital Economy" listed here http://www.comcast.com/Customers/Clu/ChannelLineup.ashx. I get AMC so WD and BB are available. As it shows I also get Discovery, History and H2, Food, Comedy, Animal Planet, Disney, Cartoon Network, CNN, Fox News, A&E, Tru, and E!.

Their website is so hard to navigate to find packages other than Triple Play I'm not finding Blast Plus right now. It would take a phone call to figure it out and I'd start by calling the retention department to get the best deal.


That's an interesting idea. I'm with Charter, to my knowledge they don't offer that many different levels of programming, but perhaps they just don't want people to find it.

I'm not convinced the Internet is going to kill the current cable/satellite model anytime soon. Look how stubborn cable and broadcast execs are. Heck, you can't even get HBO Go unless you subscribe to cable, effectively costing you at least $65/mo. And that does not include your Internet cost.

They couldn't do this unless enough people were willing to go along with it. In general people are lazy. They don't like change, unless it's effortless. Paying is easier than learning. I think Steve Jobs proved that point several years ago.

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post #30 of 69 Old 01-02-2014, 05:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Cable tv is expensive and every time an alternative pops up it's another nail in the coffin for cable.

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