Has Anyone Happily Divorced From Live TV (Comcast)? Using Roku? PS3? Other? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-24-2012, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Although I'm always curious about using the latest gadgets, frankly I'm a bit leary of installing a bunch of stuff that simply encourages us to spend a lot more time in front of our TV. But, I'm still curious...

Our family mainly either is watching Live TV (sports, America's Got Talent, etc.), premium channel series (Big C, Weeds, Dexter, etc.), or streaming movies. We have a PS3, XBox, and LG Blu-Ray player. I also have a large movie library primarily in MKV and MP4 format on the PC.

My main objective would be to see if one can successfully divorce themselves from cable TV service. This would seem hard to do when you consider live sports, like the Olympics?

My other objective would be to try to more seamlessly integrate all our primary sources. We mainly use Netflix Streaming, and Amazon VOD (although I like VUDU for it's better search interface but VUDU is not a requirement.) I've also found the LG player can recognize and browse the PS3MediaServer running on the PC but it can't stream my MKV's - nor is the wireless connection fast enough in the bedroom where it is to stream 1080P MKV files. The PS3/Xbox has ethernet connection in the family room.

I think I'm wondering mainly if forking out $100 for a Roku 2 XS is really going to give me any practical advantage over my current setup? We're not Hulu users (we don't want that much TV). Maybe just the $50 version in our bedroom so we can get Amazon VOD?

But then again, if I still have to pay $100+ a month for my cable TV and/or the PS3 will do most everything with the right app, what's the point, aside from tinkering just to tinker?

When I want to play music on our deck I just plug the AUX port on my receiver into my iPhone or the nearby laptop and load up iTunes. I suppose if the Roku had an iPhone app that made it work similar to AirPlay so I could stream and control tunes from my iPhone through the Roku, that might be worth getting one.

I have a hunch there's some benefits/features of the Roku (or some other device) that maybe I'm not aware of. But on the surface it seems like the PS3 really can do a lot of what these media servers can do.

In light of our usage pattern, any synopsis on why or why not I should want a Roku would be much appreciated.
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-26-2012, 11:03 AM
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You seem to be asking more than one question. I'll address the "can we drop cable" question.

Have you considered using an antenna to pull in your local channels in HD? You will get some sports on the locals. Whether or not it's enough for you is only a question you can answer.

I had cable for most of my adult life but found that I just never watched it. It always seemed to be 100 channels of "nothing's on." Most of the time I didn't even see anything worth recording for playback later. Yet I kept paying. In my case, cutting the cord was a no brainer. But not everyone feels the same way about it.

I have OTA for the local channels and Netflix/Vudu/Amazon for streaming, and that's enough for me. My main lessons thus far are that I needed a much faster internet connection (I dropped DSL and went to Cable Internet) and that some streaming hardware/software is more capable than others in terms of PQ.

I stream via a PS3, which is the most capable device I've found thus far. Though I have never tried a Roku so I cannot compare.
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-26-2012, 12:14 PM
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I'd check this thread out if you haven't already. And, you can stream the Olympics by the way. Here's one route.

HD Media Keen Videosaurus
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-26-2012, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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So only Boxee has channels for live Olympics?

It appears the only thing holding me back from cutting the cable is Showtime. It appears premium channels like HBO and Showtime will not sell a streaming channel subscription directly to consumers. You have to have an account with a cable provider. Unfortunately my wife will no be okay with watching her Showtime shows a year later. And I doubt blame her.

I think it is only a matter of time until the premium channels all go consumer direct so you can custom build you own collection of channels instead of being at the whim of whatever groups of channels the cable provider wants to bundle and then overcharge you for.

In general it basically seems premature for your average viewer to be able to easily cut the cable. For the DIY techy that wants to run antenna cables, setup HTPCs, media streamers, etc. and try to get it to all work seamlessly and user friendly to the rest of the family, the time and money isn't insignificant. But I suppose for some the reward to say you no longer pay the cable company is justification.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-26-2012, 01:29 PM
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I divorced from DirecTV for approximately 1 year. I used to pay for Oldflix, Hulu, Vudu, and had Amazon too. My kids got tired of Oldflix because they didn't have anything new, and they pretty much watched everything they had. Furthermore, my kids complaint about not being able to watch Disney and Nickelodeon. Furthermore, my Comcast Cable internet price went up to $72.00 dollars. eek.gif

Oldflix $8.00
Hulu $8.00
Vudu pay per view usually around $20 dollars a month depending on what the kids wanted to watch (got expensive for a while)
Amazon $free
Internet $72.00

Total: $108.00

Now, I went back with DirecTV, I get all the channel the kids and the wife wanted for $47.99 a month. I changed my internet from comcast to ATT U-Verse 12 mbps $29.99, I've cancelled Oldflix and Hulu, and I've got over 400 movies that I can stream from my server.

DirecTV $47.99
ATT internet $29.99

For a total of $77.98

Because of my kids, it was cheaper for my to go back with DirecTV. ATT U-Verse internet is approxiamtely 8 mbps slower than Comcast, but it is more than fast enough for what I used it for, and it is $40 dollars cheaper too wink.gif.

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post #6 of 17 Old 07-26-2012, 02:10 PM
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Man, I couldn't drop my Internet speed! I'd rather have LESS TV & more Internet speed! And for me, it' s either cable or FIOS. I also watch "out of market" sports so although I wish I could drop the umbilical cord, I don't see how.

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post #7 of 17 Old 07-26-2012, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Carl Jones View Post

Man, I couldn't drop my Internet speed! I'd rather have LESS TV & more Internet speed! And for me, it' s either cable or FIOS. I also watch "out of market" sports so although I wish I could drop the umbilical cord, I don't see how.

Well, if I actually needed something faster, I would of kept Comcast, but I do not. I can still stream online content wireless and wired without any issues. I actually didn't notice much of a difference from cable to U-Verse. I've notice that with U-Verse my speeds are constant an always stay around 10 to 13 mbps. With Comcast my speeds would drastically change all the time between 15 mbps and 30 mbps. I contacted Comcast Tech about this issue, and they stated that my line was a shared line so my speed would always change depending how many people are connected to the same line. With U-Verse I've got my own optical line to the box since the box is located a couple houses from mine.

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post #8 of 17 Old 07-26-2012, 10:40 PM
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Was looking into dropping cable also the last couple of months. Seemed to me like you couldn't get away with just one box - which isn't that big a deal. For me the issues were/are:

- Personally I don't mind waiting 6-12 months for my favorite premium channel TV series - sometimes I actually prefer to wait so I can watch the whole season in just a few days. (Game of Thrones was great that way.)
- I would miss a DVR, so getting a TiVo was on my list.
- In the end though kids' channels were the reason I kept cable ... for now.

DirectTV has some excellent deals right now so I'm switching from uVerse this month - will cut the bill in almost exactly half.

I'm also inclined to think it's only a matter of time before some of the more popular "cable" channels (probably the premium channels first) offer paid streaming options. Soon as that happens I'll likely lose cable fairly quickly.
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-26-2012, 11:11 PM
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Alternatively, you could just cut all your subscriptions and download all your TV shows. There are dedicated scene and P2P groups that upload most TV series' (if they are popular enough) after an hour or so after they are aired on TV weekly across DDL, torrents and newsgroups. That would save a stack of cash.
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-02-2012, 03:30 PM
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I've been off of cable since Feb 2011.

Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, ESPN3, network TV streaming, and the TV digital antenna have together managed to scratch about 95% of my content itch. The only gaping hole has been live MLB. I'd consider paying for MLB TV, but fir $25/mo those bastards still don't provide access to live in-market games. So as it is, I can only watch live baseball games on Fox Sports and ESPN3, and unfortunately the vast majority of the games I care about are on CSN. Still, I smile when I think that Comcast isn't getting my money! (For games I just can't miss, I go to the local bar and enjoy a beer.)

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post #11 of 17 Old 08-03-2012, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

Alternatively, you could just cut all your subscriptions and download all your TV shows. There are dedicated scene and P2P groups that upload most TV series' (if they are popular enough) after an hour or so after they are aired on TV weekly across DDL, torrents and newsgroups. That would save a stack of cash.

Shhhhhhh! Don't let anyone know about this! wink.gif
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post #12 of 17 Old 08-06-2012, 06:20 PM
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An outdoor antenna, and a Boxee Box with Navi-x installed and you can get rid of Netflix and Hulu Plus.
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post #13 of 17 Old 08-07-2012, 05:05 AM
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Well I dropped DTV and went ota and sure there are times I was saying MAN whats on AMC or did the syfi channel ever get back to good shows LOL

I am saving over $1200 a year on bills and that makes it all worth while.
how did you get ATT U-Verse 12 mbps $29.99
After they went up last month $41 to $43 for DSL in swbell area I looked at cable and u-verse...cable 12mb/2mb is $58 and uverse 12mb is $53

the only thing I would miss on dsl is fastpath. And with the homeland snoopers at my pop that doesn't seem like a big deal any more.
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post #14 of 17 Old 08-07-2012, 05:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etrin View Post

Well I dropped DTV and went ota and sure there are times I was saying MAN whats on AMC or did the syfi channel ever get back to good shows LOL
I am saving over $1200 a year on bills and that makes it all worth while.
Someone may have mentioned it but cord-cutters should check out their public library system and get a library card. I get all the cable shows as complete seasons on DVD from our library system. I'm sure yours is like ours with a unified regional catalog so I can have titles shipped to my local branch from anywhere in the state system. Yes, you are watching them on a bit of a time-delay -- but you can still watch them and at no cost. I find that between OTA network series, OTA baseball & football, cable series from the library and BD movies from Netflix I have far more stuff to watch than I could possibly have time for. My NAS units are full of HDTV captures and BD/DVD content just waiting to be watched so they can be deleted to make room for . . . more stuff. I still haven't watched the last 3 seasons of "24". And all of this is without any Internet streaming -- just no time for it.

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post #15 of 17 Old 08-07-2012, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etrin View Post

Well I dropped DTV and went ota and sure there are times I was saying MAN whats on AMC or did the syfi channel ever get back to good shows LOL
I am saving over $1200 a year on bills and that makes it all worth while.
how did you get ATT U-Verse 12 mbps $29.99
After they went up last month $41 to $43 for DSL in swbell area I looked at cable and u-verse...cable 12mb/2mb is $58 and uverse 12mb is $53
the only thing I would miss on dsl is fastpath. And with the homeland snoopers at my pop that doesn't seem like a big deal any more.

I called U-Verse directly, and for prices. I told them I was thinking about leaving Comcast, and they offered me that price without a contract, and I was sold! U-Verse has been working excellent now. I had one issue which was related to construction work. So, we had no internet for approximately 1 hour.

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post #16 of 17 Old 08-07-2012, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Consultant View Post

Although I'm always curious about using the latest gadgets, frankly I'm a bit leary of installing a bunch of stuff that simply encourages us to spend a lot more time in front of our TV. But, I'm still curious...
Our family mainly either is watching Live TV (sports, America's Got Talent, etc.), premium channel series (Big C, Weeds, Dexter, etc.), or streaming movies. We have a PS3, XBox, and LG Blu-Ray player. I also have a large movie library primarily in MKV and MP4 format on the PC.
My main objective would be to see if one can successfully divorce themselves from cable TV service. This would seem hard to do when you consider live sports, like the Olympics?
My other objective would be to try to more seamlessly integrate all our primary sources. We mainly use Netflix Streaming, and Amazon VOD (although I like VUDU for it's better search interface but VUDU is not a requirement.) I've also found the LG player can recognize and browse the PS3MediaServer running on the PC but it can't stream my MKV's - nor is the wireless connection fast enough in the bedroom where it is to stream 1080P MKV files. The PS3/Xbox has ethernet connection in the family room.
I think I'm wondering mainly if forking out $100 for a Roku 2 XS is really going to give me any practical advantage over my current setup? We're not Hulu users (we don't want that much TV). Maybe just the $50 version in our bedroom so we can get Amazon VOD?
But then again, if I still have to pay $100+ a month for my cable TV and/or the PS3 will do most everything with the right app, what's the point, aside from tinkering just to tinker?
When I want to play music on our deck I just plug the AUX port on my receiver into my iPhone or the nearby laptop and load up iTunes. I suppose if the Roku had an iPhone app that made it work similar to AirPlay so I could stream and control tunes from my iPhone through the Roku, that might be worth getting one.
I have a hunch there's some benefits/features of the Roku (or some other device) that maybe I'm not aware of. But on the surface it seems like the PS3 really can do a lot of what these media servers can do.
In light of our usage pattern, any synopsis on why or why not I should want a Roku would be much appreciated.

For local channels: Put up an antenna for NBC/CBS/ABC/PBS/FOX/etc... Go to your Local HDTV Thread in that forum, and see what other people are using to pick up OTA HD signals in your area. Great place to start.

It seems/sounds like too me that the PS3 does everyhting you want right now. And the LG device(blu-ray player?), will do what you need as well. Put that in the bedroom, and forget the ROKU.

Take that money and put it into Belkin Powerline Adapters found here: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Belkin+-+Powerline+AV500/3409709.p?id=1218399206931&skuId=3409709&st=Belkin Powerline Adapters&cp=1&lp=7

I use these(older model versions), and they work Great. ALWAYS better to have your equipment hardwired, if possible. These do not work for everyone, so keep your receipt in case you have to return them. And plug them Directly into the wall outlet if you get them. NOT A POWERSTRIP. They will not work if you do that. So plug one in the family room directly connected to your router there. And the other gets plugged in the wall in the bedroom, and connected to the LG for streaming through that player.
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post #17 of 17 Old 11-05-2012, 02:58 PM
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I realize this thread has been silent for 3 months, but would rather piggyback than start a new thread.

For cord-cutters that are using PS3/Roku/etc to stream from an online service (Amazon, Netflix, Hulu Plus), have you noticed issues relating to lossy compression compared to cable? It's been long enough that I don't actually remember how good cable looked. I do sometimes notice lossy compression when compared to shows on Blu-ray, but that's not really a fair comparison! (Sky shots are an easy way to identify artifacts. Whereas on a Blu-ray you'll typically see a smooth gradient of blue, the different shades of blues can appear "discretized" when streaming.) For those of you subscribing to multiple services, which do you think uses the least noticeable compression?

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