Cutting my Comcast Cord by Christmas - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 33 Old 07-30-2010, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
chicago484's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
My cable bill is skyrocketing and I am getting close to pulling the plug on Comcast. I need some opinions on how I should proceed. I have a 42 inch LCD in my family room, a small LCD in the Bedroom and on the wall in the basement. I need to stream CNBC, Packers games (NFL.com) and probably some hulu for the wife and some cartoons for the kids. What is the best way to set this up in three different rooms. Cinematube,Boxee Box, or Popbox for each TV? A laptop with WiDi? I don't want to turn off the TV in our family room and then lug the laptop upstairs every night I want to watch something in the bedroom. I assume there will also be some point where she wants to watch something in the basement while I am watching the TV in the family room. Any ideas would be much appreciated! Remember, I am not doing this until the end of the year.
chicago484 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 33 Old 07-30-2010, 06:56 PM
Advanced Member
 
Irishdoom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 705
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Can you stream football games off of NFL.com? I've gotten to the point where I've contemplated cutting the cord as well, but one thing that always holds me back is live sports, especially football.
Irishdoom is offline  
post #3 of 33 Old 07-30-2010, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
chicago484's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
You could in 2008. It looks like now they only stream certain games. I did pick up free games last year on several sites, atdhe.net and justin.tv.
chicago484 is offline  
post #4 of 33 Old 08-02-2010, 04:19 PM
AVS Special Member
 
CDLehner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Dark Side of the Moon-Right Side of the Bay, MD
Posts: 8,955
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked: 284
I'm pretty disappointed...as I imagine the OP must be...that this topic isn't getting more play. I too, have been dead-set on trying to reduce my cost and dependency to Comcast. So I was really curious to see some feedback on this question.

While I'm a pretty experienced streamer of my own media, I'm relatively unfamiliar with the options from the Net. Of course I know of Netflix, and Hulu; and Comcast has Xfinity (I know, more Comcast )...but I am not that familiar with some of the lesser-known, but maybe excellent, sites.

I don't know of any STB that'll stream most of these, and in fact I know that services like Hulu go out of their way to block platforms like the PS3. So I assume, at least the start of the answer to the OP's question, is an HTPC is needed?

But I don't even know what options are available for "individual" sites. For example...let's say I want to catch Entourage, but don't mind waiting a day or two...or even watching a week behind the original broadcast on HBO; can I drop HBO, and watch a show like that from HBO.com?

EDIT- Just to answer my own question a bit...it doesn't appear HBO has any direct streaming. I did happen by Xfinity, and they have Entourage (just to stick with that example). You have to be an HBO subscriber to get it! I tell you, Comcast are the biggest f*#$ers in the world! If I'm a subscriber, and pay for it...why in the hell would I want to stream it on a crappy computer!

CD

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. -Plato
CDLehner is offline  
post #5 of 33 Old 08-02-2010, 04:27 PM
Advanced Member
 
mlang46's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Posts: 905
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicago484 View Post

My cable bill is skyrocketing and I am getting close to pulling the plug on Comcast. I need some opinions on how I should proceed. I have a 42 inch LCD in my family room, a small LCD in the Bedroom and on the wall in the basement. I need to stream CNBC, Packers games (NFL.com) and probably some hulu for the wife and some cartoons for the kids. What is the best way to set this up in three different rooms. Cinematube,Boxee Box, or Popbox for each TV? A laptop with WiDi? I don't want to turn off the TV in our family room and then lug the laptop upstairs every night I want to watch something in the bedroom. I assume there will also be some point where she wants to watch something in the basement while I am watching the TV in the family room. Any ideas would be much appreciated! Remember, I am not doing this until the end of the year.

I would get a really good attic or outdoor antenna and get a very good tv card with a remote for the PC and run HDMI from the pc to the cable.
than I would join Netflix at the lowest level you can to get streaming and then buy a roku box for the streaming. I am going to do the same thing myself

I plan on cutting them off this mont
mlang46 is offline  
post #6 of 33 Old 08-02-2010, 06:33 PM
Advanced Member
 
Irishdoom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 705
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 13
CD, I had hoped this thread would get more play as well. I'm in the same situation. (Well, except I'm on Uverse instead of Comcast - same WAY too expensive service!) I figure I'll share what I CAN do now, and what is holding me up from cutting it completely.

The only kind of media boxes I have are my PC and my PS3. I use PlayOn to stream content to the PS3 in the form of Hulu and the "My Media" channel to stream my ripped DVDs. There are several other channels on PlayOn, but I don't use many of them. CBS is good and I use that occasionally, I have a plug-in to run Giant Bomb videos, and before the "premium" period started I did use the PBS channel.

Now this is all good and fine, but it leaves me with a few important missing pieces.
  1. How can I watch live sports?
  2. How can I get kid's programs like Dora, Diego, Team Umizoomi and the like?
  3. What can I do in terms of a DVR? (Though I imagine this becomes less important as you move to an all "on demand" type model.)
  4. Does AMC have any streaming? Mad Men is important!
  5. How in the hell do I get HBO?

I actually know the answer to that last, YOU CAN'T. At least not legally. I would totally pay to watch HBO shows individually if I could - the problem is you have to wait 11 months before they are available through Itunes or whatnot. Ugh.
Irishdoom is offline  
post #7 of 33 Old 08-02-2010, 07:01 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 31
I would suggest anyone interested in cutting the cable go read/search over in the HTPC forum. The topic has been coming up weekly for a couple years now. Further, you don't *need* to have a PC hooked to your TV to get a lot of online content.

The long and short of it is that if you are flexible on the specific shows you watch and/or when you watch them (a couple days to a season after they air) you can be assured that you will always have enough to watch after the cable is turned off. If you are a Superfan that just has to see every game of a specific team (with the possible exception of MLB) you'll most likely be SOL and will need to keep ponying up over a thousand dollars a year (or visit your local sports bar a couple times a week.)

Personally, I run SageTV on a computer in the basement with multiple ATSC tuners to DVR broadcast TV; with Play On running on the PC I also have access to hulu, Netflix On Demand, Amazon On Demand, etc. etc.. In addition, discs from Netflix (TV seasons) get ripped and stored on the PC for later consumption (then deleted, why keep them when Netflix will happily send them to you again?)

DVR, Play On, DVD/BR rips etc. are all distributed throughout the house to SageTV HDTheater extenders at the various TVs.

My wife and I like a lot of primetime shows that are broadcast on the national networks. In addition, I like a lot of documentaries that are available through PBS. In addition to that, I like a lot of Cable shows (Sci Fi, HBO, etc.) but they are almost always available a year after airing through Netflix disc rental. Once you get a proper backlog of shows to watch, you really aren't bothered by the fact that you are watching last year's season. Alternatively, you can find a lot of them available for download on Amazon the same time they air. Paying for an individual season of a couple shows is still cheaper than cable. I'm not so much into sports anymore, I could take or leave them, so I am not conflicted about that. Lastly, I can always find something available on netflix On Demand when I just want to watch something while doing other things.

For us, we never have an issue where we have nothing available to watch. If anything, we tend to fall behind during TV season, and slowly clear out the queue throughout summer. If anything, you find yourself watching more shows you are actually interested in, and watching fewer shows "just because they are on."

Assuming $10 or so a month for Netflix, and if you buy a couple of seasons of shows from Amazon, you're still looking at saving roughly $1,000 a year. That's enough to fly your wife to the Caribbean every other winter, which is better than watching those douchebags on Mythbusters.

YMMV of course.

-Suntan
Suntan is online now  
post #8 of 33 Old 08-02-2010, 07:07 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

[*]Does AMC have any streaming? Mad Men is important!

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...1.46_87&fsc=-1

Don't know how comprehensive Amazon's collection is for HBO shows, but I do know they have some.

-Suntan
Suntan is online now  
post #9 of 33 Old 08-02-2010, 08:33 PM
Advanced Member
 
Irishdoom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 705
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 13
I have heard that since the switch to all digital, over the air HD broadcasts can be really good. I'll have to see if I can get any reception. I'm a little worried on that front since I'm not right in a big city or anything.
Irishdoom is offline  
post #10 of 33 Old 08-03-2010, 06:03 AM
AVS Special Member
 
CDLehner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Dark Side of the Moon-Right Side of the Bay, MD
Posts: 8,955
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked: 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

Once you get a proper backlog of shows to watch, you really aren't bothered by the fact that you are watching last year's season.

This is definitely part of the plan for my wife and I. We've gone back and discovered so many shows we just didn't have a chance to get into when they were "live"...real favorites now, like Lost, The Office, Rescue Me, etc.

I think if you try some new shows already on disc, and skip a season of shows that are "current", you just fall a season behind and start watching that way, on demand.

Someone has to send a message to these HUGE cable companies. Of course, we'll still have our Internet and Telephone with them, but that's probably precisely why we need to save on the TV.

CD

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. -Plato
CDLehner is offline  
post #11 of 33 Old 08-03-2010, 07:48 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

I have heard that since the switch to all digital, over the air HD broadcasts can be really good. I'll have to see if I can get any reception. I'm a little worried on that front since I'm not right in a big city or anything.

The digital broadcasts from your local affiliate will be as good or better than you can get on cable/sat. This is because the local affiliate likely broadcasts them at the full rate they were created at. Whereas cable/sat companies often take the feed and recompress it so that they can multiplex multiple shows into the same amount of bandwidth.

And it hasn't just been since the digital transition. The transition was just the point at which they could no longer broadcast analog signals on their older frequencies. All the major broadcasters have been broadcasting in HD digital for some years now.

If you want to look at more info, your best bet is to search the local area reception forum for your local area (or the closest major city.) Look through comments in your local thread and/or post in asking people for their thoughts on how well you will get a signal based on your location.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forum...ysprune=7&f=45

Personally, I have a good quality TV top antenna stuffed up in the rafters of my garage and I can get all the channels broadcast in my area, the broadcast towers in my area are about 35 miles away, fwiw. Lastly, if you want to put up an external antenna on your roof, don't let the busybody HOA folk in your neighborhood push you around. They can't stop you from doing it, as there is federal law protecting your right to put up an external antenna (won't stop your wife from blocking it though...)

-Suntan
Suntan is online now  
post #12 of 33 Old 08-03-2010, 07:58 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

We've gone back and discovered so many shows we just didn't have a chance to get into when they were "live"...real favorites now, like Lost, The Office, Rescue Me, etc.

Yeah, we've got the last season of Rescue Me ripped on the computer and will probably start watching it tonight or tomorrow night. In addition, Stargate Universe seasons 1 and 2 just became available through Netflix On Demand so I might give that one a try (heard it might be a little drier than the other ones) as I usually watch a Sci Fi/guy show in bed after she falls asleep.

Personally, we find that watching one or two seasons worth (dramas, not necessarily comedies) one or two per night contiguously over the span of two or three weeks is much more enjoyable than watching a bunch of different shows one show a week for a couple months. If the story is interesting, watching them in succession makes for a much better experience. I would say this is highly preferable for a show like Lost.

-Suntan
Suntan is online now  
post #13 of 33 Old 08-03-2010, 07:30 PM
AVS Special Member
 
David James's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Longmont, CO
Posts: 1,915
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 57
I've begun to seriously look into this as well. My wife and I are looking hard at the shows and channels we watch as well as the technology. My biggest concern isn't so much the content, it's the quality.

I'm now used to HD on my 50" plasma and 100" projection system. No problem with DVD's, BD, but streamed content may be an issue.

I briefly previewed streamed Netflix "HD" content on my projector and it wasn't bad but I'm concerned there isn't to much streamable HD content.

I think on Hula only Hula Plus has HD content.

But sports, mostly soccer, a couple of football games and some hockey, that's going to be the challenge.
Edit - The challenge isn't necessarily finding the content it's finding it at or approaching HD quality.
David James is offline  
post #14 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 05:35 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by David James View Post

I'm now used to HD on my 50" plasma and 100" projection system. No problem with DVD's, BD, but streamed content may be an issue.

It really is up to personal preference. For reference, Netflix (either HD or regular) looks fine on my 32 in the bedroom, looks ok (but noticeably deficient) on the 42 in the livingroom (from about 13' away) with regular, but doesn't look too bad with the HD. And looks pretty poor on my 105 wide cinemascope screen down in the theater (regular looks bad, HD looks boarderline acceptable during slow scenes from the second row which is about 17' back, but even the HD looks poor from the front row at 11' back.) In truth, we don't really watch On Demand in the theater.

That said, even the HD stuff has a bad habit of the picture breaking down during periods of high motion on screen.

Personally, I mostly watch Netflix streaming for shows I'm interested in seeing, but not necessarily shows I want to *watch* closely (if that makes sense.) Hulu is really only used by us if the computer was shut off for some reason and a show didn't get DVRed.

That said, Another option would be to boost your Netflix to 3 or 4 discs out at a time and just use the discs more than the streaming (although there are some TV shows that Netflix gets On Demand the same time they are aired on their stations, but they don't get the discs until the end of the season.) Of course the savings wouldn't be as good.

-Suntan
Suntan is online now  
post #15 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 06:50 AM
AVS Special Member
 
David James's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Longmont, CO
Posts: 1,915
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

It really is up to personal preference. For reference, Netflix (either HD or regular) looks fine on my 32 in the bedroom, looks ok (but noticeably deficient) on the 42 in the livingroom (from about 13' away) with regular, but doesn't look too bad with the HD. And looks pretty poor on my 105 wide cinemascope screen down in the theater (regular looks bad, HD looks boarderline acceptable during slow scenes from the second row which is about 17' back, but even the HD looks poor from the front row at 11' back.) In truth, we don't really watch On Demand in the theater.

That said, even the HD stuff has a bad habit of the picture breaking down during periods of high motion on screen.

Personally, I mostly watch Netflix streaming for shows I'm interested in seeing, but not necessarily shows I want to *watch* closely (if that makes sense.) Hulu is really only used by us if the computer was shut off for some reason and a show didn't get DVRed.

That said, Another option would be to boost your Netflix to 3 or 4 discs out at a time and just use the discs more than the streaming (although there are some TV shows that Netflix gets On Demand the same time they are aired on their stations, but they don't get the discs until the end of the season.) Of course the savings wouldn't be as good.

-Suntan

Thanks Suntan. What you describe are in line (unfortunately) with my expectations. After vacation I'm going to spend some time with the various options to see how things look. If I switch, it won't be until February so maybe more stable HD streaming options will become available.
David James is offline  
post #16 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 08:29 AM
Advanced Member
 
etrin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 12
I kept hoping that we would have something like dune with pvr and ota.
but I have heard that will NEVER happen in the US.

So to do it you have to have a computer.
Then a tv tuner card.

ok I can do that.
what tuner?

The computer I am thinking about using
Intel Core 2 Duo E7200
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3R
4 Gigs of memory
2 1TB drives.
Win7 32 bit ultimate


I guess I need to go to the HTPC section and install everything there?

I am used to tvix upconverting which is better than the upconvert on my dvd player.

can it be done on an HTPC?

Just getting into this pc play stuff.
etrin is offline  
post #17 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 09:10 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by etrin View Post

I kept hoping that we would have something like dune with pvr and ota.
but I have heard that will NEVER happen in the US.

So to do it you have to have a computer.
Then a tv tuner card.

ok I can do that.
what tuner?

The computer I am thinking about using
Intel Core 2 Duo E7200
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3R
4 Gigs of memory
2 1TB drives.
Win7 32 bit ultimate


I guess I need to go to the HTPC section and install everything there?

I am used to tvix upconverting which is better than the upconvert on my dvd player.

can it be done on an HTPC?

Just getting into this pc play stuff.

www.sagetv.com

It is a PVR/disc server program (that can also be run as a front end directly off the computer) and they sell STB extenders that connect over the network to access the PVR and disc rips. Further SageTV has a plugin to support Play On so Netflix/hulu/etc. can also be accessed directly inside of SageTV.

If you decide to just use the PC as a server, the requirements are minimal. I used to have a dedicated HTPC in the livingroom that was used directly for playback on the livingroom TV, as well as serving extenders in the other rooms, but I have sense moved to Sage extenders for all playback and the PC just for a server. I now use my basement PC, which is also my general purpose PC for photo and video editing. Running the sage server takes very little in the way of resources so it just runs as a service in the background and doesn't cause much trouble.

The main limitation with the current SageTV HD Theater extenders (the HD200) is that it does not support TrueHD or DTSHDMA bitsreaming and that it does not support DTS decoding (if you just have it plugged directly into your TV, and your TV does not support DTS decoding you don't get the audio from a DTS track.) However, there is currently a fair bit of speculation that an HD300 is coming around the corner and hopefully it will address these issues.

Alternatively, you can accomplish a similar setup by using windows7 Media Center on the computer and then using Xbox360s for extenders. However, the Xbox360 have some significant limitations with regards to file playback compared to SageTV extenders (they require a number of file formats to be transcoded by the server, whereas the SageTV extenders will play the files natively.)

-Suntan
Suntan is online now  
post #18 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 09:20 AM
Advanced Member
 
mbryanr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 539
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
I used to be in the Directv "have to have every package" group. But after tiring of the $140+ monthly bills, we have changed the way we view shows.

1. Netflix (1 out at time) - This provides us with most of the TV shows we would be interested in, as Suntan mentioned it requires a change in viewing habits. My wife and I actually enjoy being able to watch seasons of shows at a time, instead of having to wait for each episode. We finished Grey's Anatomy in less than 2 weeks, and Dexter in about 1 week. I burn the discs to the NAS and watch "on demand". Many shows we didn't have time for weekly, we can now go back and watch. It is enjoyable to watch multiple seasons continuously.

2. Movies burnt to server - We have a collection of DVD/BDs ripped and I add ~2/week to the server from Netflix discs. I found we still buy the same number of DVDs or BDs as before, if anything the number has increased (to go against the movie studio argument that consumers won't buy our product if most are provided free.) We actually watch more movies than when we just had a standalone DVD/BD player and Directv.

3. Netflix streaming - We use this occassionally, our 8 year old uses it daily for his shows. Occassionally we find a movie we like to stream. "HD" Quality is usually good enough for a 32" or 40" TV. Nice to have on the computer to watch

4. Blockbuster On Demand - anything that Netflix doesn't have we can usually find here. Quality is good.

5. Streaming via Playon or internet - many of the Playon plugins are great for streaming to the TV (crackle, cartoon network, etc). The quality is marginal though and rarely used. Another good source where to locate TV on the internet http://www.clicker.com

Other sources:
http://www.jaroo.com (kids shows)
http://www.crackle.com (movies)
http://www.syfy.com/rewind/?__source=Syfy_Global_Nav (if you like sci-fi)

6. Hulu - We used to use this often, but Netflix has supplanted it most times. Suspect once the Hulu Plus service is available to WDTV this usage will increase.

7. OTA HD - We use this much more often than originally expected, particularly for sports events on network TV.

Guide/available OTA signals in your area can be found with this site:

http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/Address.aspx

David James stated the situation correctly -Sports programming is limited in decent quality. Typically, if you can find a "HD" stream, that is sufficient for the 32" TV. Finding the HD stream can be difficult. I have really changed my viewing habits (used to have Directv Sportspack, Nascar, NFL and NHL packages). Now I will just stream to my laptop from various internet sources.

Mostly, if I want to watch a game, it is an excuse to take the family to the local establishments "for dinner".

Also the change in viewing habits has changed my geekdom from Directv to streaming/NAS/computer hardware/video software.
mbryanr is online now  
post #19 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 09:36 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbryanr View Post

we have changed the way we view shows.

Yup. The big thing is a shift in your mentatilty of stuff you watch. I definately watch less stuff than I did way back when i had cable, but the quality is much higher now, at least as far as watching stuff I actually want to watch, instead of what is just on.

Even now, when I am travelling for work, I usually spend a couple minutes mindlessly flipping through dumb cable channels on the hotel TV. A lot of time, I end up shutting it off, firing up the laptop, tethering the cell phone to it and accessing SageTV Placeshifter to watch the stuff I have stored up on my home PC.

-Suntan
Suntan is online now  
post #20 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 10:24 AM
Advanced Member
 
etrin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 12
guys I tried all this last year.
NOW this was without an OTA stuff.
all I did was make a mess.

things I saw then
HTPC Software GUIDE for Windows 7 Media Center
MediaPortal Install Guide

I did these using guides (FROM A DIFFERENT SITE) please understand I am not flaming anyone.

well It never worked the way I thought it would.
ok uninstall everything and start again.
When I tried to uninstall everything I ran into more problems.
I had to find a way to uninstall mysql I got a link from the people who wrote the mediaportal guide and after uninstalling everything.
when you go to task manager under the process tabs there are still 2 mysql instances.
I felt that trying again would just make a bigger mess so I gave up.

IF I get this running will sageTV play nice with the setup?

I have ota locals, netflix and if I could I would like to play hulu episodes and the syfi feeds.
Record ota and from what a buddy said, get a commercial ripper and it will rip and compress (if you want to) and place in a different directory all unattended. He said it made his tv recording a lot nicer. He is only using a tv tuner and some stuff he got online not a media center.


========================
with the rip off prices they are charging us to watch tv now I have to do this
I have had Directv(day 1 and the rca tuner, then to comcast, then to dish and last to uverse. ALL ARE JUST TOOO #$%^ING HIGH
heck even they said they are just a delivery system and you get to pay to watch commercials. They should be delivering all this stuff on Blu disk in a hummer for these prices
etrin is offline  
post #21 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 11:48 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by etrin View Post

IF I get this running will sageTV play nice with the setup?

Not going to say that you will have no issues, but I've been using SageTV for at least 6 or 7 years. On the whole it has been pretty good. Much less hassle than the free stuff. Using the computer for playback is just inherently going to be susceptible to more headaches as it uses Directshow filters (if your directshow filters are hosed on your computer you could be facing some issues that you will need to sort out.) Using the hardware extenders for playback is inherently more stable as the PC is just serving the media stream to them and they really do have the network setup pretty well sorted in Sage imo. No issues like you hear about manually setting network shares, etc. You install SageTV server on your PC, configure your firewall to allow it to be a server and then plug the extender into the network, it will detect any Sage servers on your network and off you go.

If you are interested in Sage, I highly recommend looking through the forums at Sage ( forums.sagetv.com ) Also note, if you want to take a test run, I would suggest getting the beta copies of SageTV 7 that are available for download in their Beta forum. There have been some marked changes compared to the current SageTV 6.

Quote:
Originally Posted by etrin View Post

Record ota and from what a buddy said, get a commercial ripper and it will rip and compress (if you want to) and place in a different directory all unattended. He said it made his tv recording a lot nicer. He is only using a tv tuner and some stuff he got online not a media center.

SageTV offers functionality to automatically compress recorded shows for archiving. Further, there are a number of Plug Ins created by 3rd parties that expand the capabilities quite a few different ways, from automatically scanning for commercials and removing them, to compressing certain shows and then automatically copying them over to a portable device so they are ready to go first thing in the morning, etc. Have a look around the SageTV forums for something called Sage Job Queue (or sometimes just SJQ) in the Plug Ins forum and you will see that the flexibility is quite extensive (however, it is also quite involved.)

-Suntan
Suntan is online now  
post #22 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 12:38 PM
Member
 
d_98se's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Sandy Springs
Posts: 44
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I'll play a little excuse the grammar as i have to rush to work.

I've been OTA since November 2008 when i moved to my new place. Tomorrow Comcast is coming thru to add a dvr to my existing high speed Internet. I work two jobs and average around 1hr weekdays and unlimited hours on the weekend of tv watching.

Majority of my shows are on AETV TLC DISCOVERY etc and none of those are OTA.Yes i know i could go to their websites and watch my shows but then again i don't want to deal with tiny screens and an Intel processor warming my nads on my days off.

With that said I'll latch onto the Comcast $69.99 6 months special that includes DVR service while i ponder my next move which will include my trying out an HTPC and if that doesn't work its onto Comcast as i feel that i can justify my expense.
d_98se is offline  
post #23 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 01:35 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Charles R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 9,757
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 162
I quit satellite/cable service about three years ago and it lasted close to a year. Most important for me is OTA followed by a DVR. Time shifting and recording more than one channel at a time trumps the number of available channels.

I purchased two HD TiVOs ($550) and three years prepaid service ($300) and reduced monthly fee on the second unit. So after two years I had roughly $1000 invested and it would have been roughly $1200 for three years ($400 a year).

I have used several HTPCs and I consider them boats... money pits with issues. I love tech hobbies but TV should just be watched not fought with and the ease of DVRs can't be overlooked.

I switched back to satellite two years ago and I currently pay $38.50 including tax for the channels I care about in HD including locals with a HD DVR (Dish Absolute HD).

I switched back for several reasons. Including live sports (Tour de France, Indy Car, NASCAR) and a few cables series such as The Closer. Plus once my prepaid service was up I would have had to make another commitment and face my TiVo hardware going south.

One unit I sold when I switched back and the other I keep for another year until Dish included locals for free. I upgraded the second unit (after the hard drive acted up) to a Terabyte drive (selling it on eBay too) and pretty much broke even hardware wise. Although of course I was still out the TiVo service fees.

Which would have been close to $25 a month if I didn't seek a discount for a long term commitment or buy new hardware. So $38.50 (although only one receiver) seems like a bargain to me at $462 a year.

I could now buy an OTA DVR with no monthly service fee but it's dumb… no season passes, skipping repeats, etc. Again TV should be easy not difficult or time consuming to manage.

I now stream Netflix and I think it could more than replace the viewing I do via satellite/cable channels. But it offers nothing in the area of live sports or first run shows (OTA) I deem necessary.

So my requirements come back to…
  • OTA channels
  • OTA DVR - record two or more shows at once and skip commercials
  • Live sports
Which leaves me with only one option… staying with satellite/cable. If I went with an OTA DVR I would have to upgrade my Internet connection to replace the satellite/cable series I watch. Add the DVR hardware, its service fees and upgraded Internet together and I'd be spending a lot more every month and still wouldn't have all of the live sports I want to watch. Not to mention the dozens of other channels I get that I occasionally view.
Charles R is offline  
post #24 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 02:34 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

I could now buy an OTA DVR with no monthly service fee but it's dumb… no season passes, skipping repeats, etc. Again TV should be easy not difficult or time consuming to manage.

I don’t know about all the different ones or the ones you've looked at, but Sage allows for setting up the recording of “favorites” and can be further tailored in a number of ways. For example you could record every “Family Guy Episode” aired on all channels, just the new ones and not the reruns you’ve already watched, just the ones that are shown on Sunday nights (the current season ones) but not the ones that are shown on the week nights, Just the ones that are shown on Ch9 (Fox affiliate) but not the ones that are shown on CH45 (the old ones in syndication) etc. etc. Further, you could configure it so that it keeps all the new, unwatched ones from Ch9 in their native size, but transcode the old ones recorded from Ch45 down to an ipod size if you want to load them and take them to watch on the subway the next morning, etc.

I would assume Windows7 Media Center has similar provisions, but I’ve never used it.

Further, you get the weekly EPG updates with no reoccurring fee. As for tuners and such, I run 4 ATSC (OTA digital) tuners in my computer (to allow for 4 separate channels to be recorded concurrently) but I know a couple guys that run even more. You can install Plug Ins and further configure it to scan the recordings and mark the commercials for easier skipping, or you can have it cut the commercials completely.

In any case, I won’t disagree that continuing to use the one that the cable company gives you would probably be the easiest route. But there are significant options out there and based on comments from other people that have switched from cable/sat more recently (and as such have actually used cable provided DVRs) the functionality of the cable provided ones are quite lacking compared to what you can do on your own.

Choices are good, not everyone will want the same things, just don't be led to believe that the features the cable companies offer are the only thing out there.

-Suntan
Suntan is online now  
post #25 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 03:54 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Charles R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 9,757
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

Further, you get the weekly EPG updates with no reoccurring fee. As for tuners and such, I run 4 ATSC (OTA digital) tuners in my computer (to allow for 4 separate channels to be recorded concurrently) but I know a couple guys that run even more. You can install Plug Ins and further configure it to scan the recordings and mark the commercials for easier skipping, or you can have it cut the commercials completely.

I'm sure the HTPC route can satisfy some users and in some cases even more so than other solutions. For strictly OTA recordings (two tuners) you can pick up a HD DVR for $300 without any monthly fees - which is rather featureless very few TiVo or other DVR features. Compare that to the cost, configuration, support and (lack of) convenience of a HTPC and I would still clearly pick the DVR.

For several years I used a HTPC for DVD playback and it was great to stream movies but I dropped it. There was always an update to this or that and for some reason playback would freeze a second or two almost every movie regardless of how many times I would reinstall everything from scratch. I used the fancy filters to improve the image but in the end one movie might look better and the next a whole lot worse.

Ultimately the hidden costs and lack of convenience (hardware, software, support) couldn't be ignored especially when a dedicated player was issue free and a lot less expensive. I see TV viewing much the same. Getting it to work and continuing to keep it working shouldn't be a hobby regardless of how many nifty features it has that I won't ever use. Again I'm sure in a lot of cases it's the best solution. Just not for me. Now you can write it off to I'm not techie enough to know how to use such but I'm old fart with over 30 years of PC experience. I think it's more TV time is leisure time and I simply want to push a few buttons and enjoy. Skipping the number of hours of fun installing and configuring that mighty HTPC.
Charles R is offline  
post #26 of 33 Old 08-04-2010, 10:50 PM
Member
 
d_98se's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Sandy Springs
Posts: 44
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Charles R i agree with you. I have a TV and all it does it display images nothing more nothing less does exactly what is expected when i power it up no hesitation no configuring it just works.

Sometimes one has to sit back and marvel at the simplicity and reliability of "untampered" with home electronics.
d_98se is offline  
post #27 of 33 Old 08-05-2010, 06:33 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

For several years I used a HTPC for DVD playback and it was great to stream movies but I dropped it. There was always an update to this or that and for some reason playback would freeze a second or two almost every movie regardless of how many times I would reinstall everything from scratch. I used the fancy filters to improve the image but in the end one movie might look better and the next a whole lot worse.

Don’t confuse my comments explaining what is available as me trying to tell you what you should use. Obviously, everyone has different needs and it’s no skin off my back what anyone else uses (actually it’s better for me if you guys continue to spend a Benjamin+ every month to the cable companies, because I reap the rewards of having access to all those programs being made after the fact.)

I understand the trepidation in using a PC for playback on your livingroom TV, I’ve done it for many years. I’ve not really had the constant issues (my last HTPC was a single core a64 3200+ based PC circa 2005) however I didn’t constantly dink with it, I just loaded Sage on it, got it to run stable and used it for a couple of years. Still, I agree it can be a hassle. That is why I moved the PC into the roll of just being the backend server and have put the extenders at each TV. The PC does all the recording, online streaming, etc. and the extenders do the front end playback and user interface (using the same Sigma chips as a lot of these hardware streamers and disc players do.)

You get smooth, hardware player playback, plus simple all access control from the remote control, but the added power of advanced configuration, online content and the ability to rip/catalog your discs too.

As for convenience, I do have to go down to the basement to put a disc in the computer to rip it (or if I want to just play a movie off the disc) but otherwise all the regular user functions like recording scheduling, show deleting, etc. etc. can all be done from any of the extenders. And because all the extenders are tied into the same backend server, it is easy to start a show in the livingroom, get half way through, stop it, go upstairs, get ready for bed, then hit “play” upstairs in the bedroom and finish watching the show from where you left off. I have a 3 year old and a 6 month old. I’ve got no time for, how would you say, “TV repair as a hobby” either. Fortunately, once you have it configured properly, it works fine and a person can get on with watching TV.

As for cost, you can get an HD200 extender and a license for SageTV bundled together for $225 I think. Extra extenders can be had for $180. A 2 tuner HDhomerun runs about $150 at places like Newegg and Amazon, but often goes on sale, and you can get internal tuners for less. The server software can be run on any computer you have in the house already (although you’ll want decent HDD space as HD broadcasts can take up to about 7GB per hour.) So if you’ve already got a computer at home, you could setup 2 TVs with 2 channels concurrent recording DVR capability for under $600. If you want to be able to rip your discs or to be able to play a disc (located in the server disc drive) through the extenders, you’ll need AnyDVDHD, which would be an additional $100 or so for a lifetime license. If that’s too much up front, then yeah it probably is a better option to rent a couple of DVRs from the cable co.

As for installation, When I recently switched to running the server on my Win7 64bit PC, it was basically a matter of installing SageTV, plugging my USB HD tuners in one at a time, letting windows auto install the tuner drivers, then start sage and run through their automated setup deal to pick my location and broadcast listings, then configure which drives it should use to store recordings and which drives to monitor for new disc rips.

Anyway, as I’ve said all along, different horses for different courses. I will agree that running DVR through a computer (even just as a server) will not be as simple as waiting for the cable guy to come into your house and plug their DVR in, it does require a bit of research on the users part to understand what all is going on. But the first couple of people in the thread were complaining because nobody was giving information about alternatives to cable, so I gave some based on my history. You don’t need to keep giving reasons why you shouldn’t switch from cable. If you value what they offer, nothing further needed to say. I just think it is good for people to know what is available out there. The thought that you have to have a big, beige, noisy, high maintenance PC tower sitting next to your TV to get a feature rich DVR system in your house without monthly payments is just not true.

-Suntan
Suntan is online now  
post #28 of 33 Old 08-05-2010, 07:57 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Charles R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 9,757
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

Don’t confuse my comments explaining what is available as me trying to tell you what you should use. Obviously, everyone has different needs and it’s no skin off my back what anyone else uses (actually it’s better for me if you guys continue to spend a Benjamin+ every month to the cable companies, because I reap the rewards of having access to all those programs being made after the fact.)

Please don't confuse me expressing my experience as trying to tell people what to use. Unfortunately for you I spend less than half a benjamin.

Quote:


I understand the trepidation in using a PC for playback on your livingroom TV, I’ve done it for many years. I’ve not really had the constant issues (my last HTPC was a single core a64 3200+ based PC circa 2005) however I didn’t constantly dink with it, I just loaded Sage on it, got it to run stable and used it for a couple of years. Still, I agree it can be a hassle. That is why I moved the PC into the roll of just being the backend server and have put the extenders at each TV.

Now we are talking. I agree clients are the way to go. Whether they are built into the display or standalone. Although I feel we still have a ways to go with them before they hit mainstream. To the point they can handle all of our viewing content largely due to the availability of content. I'm using a HDTV Live Plus now that it supports DVD menus and streams Netflix. I love the content being in a cloud (Time Capsule or Netflix's). I plug the client in and it simply works and everything is available.

Quote:


As for cost, you can get an HD200 extender and a license for SageTV bundled together for $225 I think. Extra extenders can be had for $180. A 2 tuner HDhomerun runs about $150 at places like Newegg and Amazon, but often goes on sale, and you can get internal tuners for less. The server software can be run on any computer you have in the house already (although you’ll want decent HDD space as HD broadcasts can take up to about 7GB per hour.) So if you’ve already got a computer at home, you could setup 2 TVs with 2 channels concurrent recording DVR capability for under $600.

I think one has to consider content in the cost. For me the $38.50 I pay Dish every month includes access to all of the content I deemed necessary in my earlier post along with the required HD DVR.
Charles R is offline  
post #29 of 33 Old 08-05-2010, 08:10 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

I think one has to consider content in the cost. For me the $38.50 I pay Dish every month includes access to all of the content I deemed necessary in my earlier post along with the required HD DVR.

Again, that's great if you have your needs met at a price that is acceptable for you. Please remember though, the topic of the thread was based on people being dissatisfied with the cost/features of their cable subscription and wanting to know what their options were.

Stating that you are happy with your cable is fine, but not really on topic for the discussion.

-Suntan
Suntan is online now  
post #30 of 33 Old 08-05-2010, 09:21 AM
Newbie
 
WebConnectedHDTV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

I have heard that since the switch to all digital, over the air HD broadcasts can be really good. I'll have to see if I can get any reception. I'm a little worried on that front since I'm not right in a big city or anything.

DTV Reception Maps

Use this program to check for the DTV signals that are available at your location. For more information on antennas, see the Antenna Guide.
-
fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/
WebConnectedHDTV is offline  
Reply Networking, Media Servers & Content Streaming

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off