How are people "Cutting the cord"? (TV service) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 11-04-2013, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I hear the phrase "Cutting the cord", which implies ditching cable/satellite tv service and finding alternate means of receiving this content. How are people doing this though? I have used a HTPC for several years now, although I have never used a tv tuner. I understand that people plug their coaxial cable into their tv tuners, but doesn't that just replace the cable box with your HTPC? I would still have to pay for the subscription. The only thing this would save me is the $7 monthly box rental fee and the $10 DVR monthly fee.

Hulu plus is another alternative but that doesn't have all channels, and doesn't it take some time before the shows appear? It's not live right? For example, the Walking Dead airs on Sunday at 9PM. When would that episode appear on Hulu plus?

I'm curious as to what people are doing to "Cut the cord".

BTW, I live on Long Island, NY and have Cablevision "Triple Play" which provides my tv, internet, and phone. There is supposedly some b.s. clause within my town of Brookhaven not to allow Verizon FIOS. I digress..
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post #2 of 42 Old 11-04-2013, 03:25 PM
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The overwhelming majority of people who "cut the cord" are able to put up an antenna and get free OTA broadcast HDTV. If you are unable to receive OTA in your particular area then you have no choice other than cable/satellite/FIOS to receive live TV. A few people have gone the route of giving up live TV and used Internet streaming services to get delayed broadcasts of current network shows and a combination of Internet streaming and disk rental to get seasons of cable shows when they become available. It could mean a major adjustment of your viewing habits to forgo live TV -- no news/current event programming and NO SPORTS.

So basically, unless you can get a good OTA signal at your location, "cutting the cord" may not be a path forward.

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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post #3 of 42 Old 11-04-2013, 04:25 PM
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Hi John,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

The overwhelming majority of people who "cut the cord" are able to put up an antenna and get free OTA broadcast HDTV. . .
^^^ This is what I did. I put up a $24 roof antenna from Home Depot, and receive over 140 stations, about one third of them in HD. For premium content, we get Blu-Ray discs from NetFlix for $10 a month (currently viewing "Game of Thrones"). I have an HDHomeRun dual networked tuner to record live TV using NextPVR (free Windows software), and watch it all with a Dune Smart-D1.

I haven't streamed any Internet content yet, as my Internet connection is geared toward business.
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post #4 of 42 Old 11-04-2013, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

no news/current event programming .

ah, right. I just watch a couple shows that are DVR'd. The wife though. She loves GMA in the morning and does watch the news. I don't watch sports or the news. But it would sucks not having the news in case I need it (snow storm or something), or maybe the superbowl, world series. Forgot about all that. Bummer. I wonder if the antenna would provide anything here in NY.
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post #5 of 42 Old 11-04-2013, 06:17 PM
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So mlb and I think nfl have a live online streaming option. The mlb specificlly is $24 per season and you can watch any mlb game live.
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post #6 of 42 Old 11-04-2013, 09:22 PM
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The mlb specificlly is $24 per season and you can watch any mlb game live.
Nope and nope.
That $24 is the Off-Season price to watch re-runs of the 2013 games. The in-season price is a lot more expensive and playoffs are a separate charge.

Then there are the local game "blackouts". Due to broadcast TV rights taking precedence, your home team games are usually blacked out live in your viewing area (regardless of playing home or away) and not available for streaming until 90 min after the game has ended. The TV stations pay a king's ransom for the TV rights to the games and get exclusivity. The WD Live has an MLB-TV app and I was all set to sign up for MLB-TV until I looked at the blackout policy and blackout list and found that all my home team games were blacked out.

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post #7 of 42 Old 11-05-2013, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnBlanker View Post

I hear the phrase "Cutting the cord", which implies ditching cable/satellite tv service and finding alternate means of receiving this content. How are people doing this though? I have used a HTPC for several years now, although I have never used a tv tuner. I understand that people plug their coaxial cable into their tv tuners, but doesn't that just replace the cable box with your HTPC? I would still have to pay for the subscription. The only thing this would save me is the $7 monthly box rental fee and the $10 DVR monthly fee.

Hulu plus is another alternative but that doesn't have all channels, and doesn't it take some time before the shows appear? It's not live right? For example, the Walking Dead airs on Sunday at 9PM. When would that episode appear on Hulu plus?

I'm curious as to what people are doing to "Cut the cord".

BTW, I live on Long Island, NY and have Cablevision "Triple Play" which provides my tv, internet, and phone. There is supposedly some b.s. clause within my town of Brookhaven not to allow Verizon FIOS. I digress..

here's how I did it. It's a few years since I did it, but my setup is exactly the same (except I use HuluPlus a lot more since it came to AppleTV)

http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2012/02/a-year-without-cable-tv-/1510
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post #8 of 42 Old 11-05-2013, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_anderson_u View Post

here's how I did it. It's a few years since I did it, but my setup is exactly the same (except I use HuluPlus a lot more since it came to AppleTV)

http://www.hometoys.com/emagazine/2012/02/a-year-without-cable-tv-/1510

Thanks for posting this, it was helpful.
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post #9 of 42 Old 11-06-2013, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roemer21 View Post

Thanks for posting this, it was helpful.

Cool. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me (or post here: I have a subscription to the thread)

Prices have come down a bit too. The new Intel Haswell NUC's i3 are good and SiliconDust has come down. The Mohu Sky antenna (http://www.amazon.com/Mohu-MH-004061-Sky-HDTV-Antenna/dp/B00AVWKUXE) seems to be good and will probably halve the cost of antenna install (i.e. DIY)
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post #10 of 42 Old 11-06-2013, 02:09 PM
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I cut the cord about two months ago and while it is an adjustment for sure I've found it relatively easy except some of the live sports I've had to give up. I have a fast connection, so can stream to all 3 of our Apple TV's without buffering or stuttering (all wired).

For me it wasn't about affordability it just wasn't worth what they charged and the equipment rental fees really pissed me off.

Jgiddyup
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post #11 of 42 Old 11-06-2013, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jgiddyup View Post

For me it wasn't about affordability it just wasn't worth what they charged and the equipment rental fees really pissed me off.

Ditto + crap services
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post #12 of 42 Old 11-06-2013, 03:54 PM
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There will never be 1 answer for this term & that is precisely the point. As customers we all can customize how we view shows & films now. So these are all my personal way's that I do it. In your area I believe you have access to Aereo.com. In my hood, we don't so I have an HD antenna. Best one is the Winegard, need one myself since mine is a bit weak as compared to it. 

 

My television now has internet, even if yours doesn't, you can buy a PS3 which has a Blu-Ray on it as well, a Roku, Xbox or just connect your computer straight into the computer and this will all help you access the apps that will change the way you view cable. So I get local HD, I have Netflix (free from woman's acct), I use HBOgo (many ppl who pay for HBO don't use their go acct. & will gladly let you access it since its free with a paid acct).

 

Those 3 things for me, offer me plenty to view and don't have much more time for much more than this. As for my sports teams, luckily football is on regular networks via antenna. Baseball, all MLB teams put up videos a few mins after it happens on their websites via Gameday. I get Blu-Ray discs at Redbox which are cheap. Redbox also just started their streaming site to go toe-to-toe with Netflix. 

 

Dump your cable and I guarantee you'll be happier without the bill, google any questions you may think of, you'll spend more time watching exactly what you want as opposed to just clicking & yawning. 

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post #13 of 42 Old 11-06-2013, 07:31 PM
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I guess I'm one of the granddaddy's here. After over 15 years, I now view cord cutting as a state of mind. I cut cable in 1998 when we moved to a new town. I had intended to get it hooked up but was so busy with the move for months afterwards that it did not happen. We did have an antenna that we could use in the meantime, although reception was not very good. After about four months it became clear that I did not miss cable as much as I thought. One day, Comcast called and asked why I had not hooked up cable yet. I simply told them I was busy and did not miss it and might get around to it some day. I never liked cable for reasons everyone who has cable already knows, but over time my free time shifted to other activities and I was watching less and less TV. One day, I decided that not having cable was much preferable to having cable. The internet filled a good deal of my free time and I discovered that news sources were much better on the internet. I could get every viewpoint imaginable on any subject. Try that on cable.

Over the years, we have added high-speed internet, Netflix streaming and discs, and a better antenna system and things are going great. When I visit my mom for a weekend and have only cable to watch, I'm in agony. So many commercials and what absolute junk! I'm insulted. I can't believe I put up with that for 30 years. Life is much better now, more balanced. I do miss some sports but I blame ESPN entirely for that.

One might ask, did I suffer or was I disadvantaged? A social outcast maybe? Nope. Life is good and I'm happy. I have plenty of friends, some of whom have switched to my viewpoint, but most not. It's never been an issue with anyone. My wife whimpers occasionally, but money talks loudly with her, and I only need to say $75 a month, and she calms down. I whimper around college bowl season but after two solid years of very few bowl games, I'm missing them less and less. Thanks ESPN.
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post #14 of 42 Old 11-07-2013, 04:32 AM
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The internet filled a good deal of my free time and I discovered that news sources were much better on the internet. I could get every viewpoint imaginable on any subject. Try that on cable.
+1. Can't stand CNN (surface-level), MSNBC (too left), Fox (too right), so rely on BBC UK and sometimes Al Jazeera English live feeds. Also, for reading or listening, NPR and therealnews.com.

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post #15 of 42 Old 11-07-2013, 06:46 AM
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I guess you can't cut what you never had. smile.gif
In my case we have always been fortunate to live in a house that got good OTA reception. When we moved into our current house 25 yr ago, there was an antenna in the attic pointed at Philly. Comcast had just run the cable through the neighborhood and the previous owner never bothered to have it installed since he was leaving. We never bothered either. 10 yr ago Verizon came through and ran FIOS cable -- again we never bothered (and they bug us twice a week to switch to FIOS). There is more than enough content on broadcast HDTV to watch -- I have 26 season passes on my TiVo -- and we don't have time for it all. Yes, there is a wealth of good cable series, and we are not missing any of them -- we just don't watch them as they are run. Between my Netflix disk subscription and the DE Public Library network I can get any cable series. There is just so much content available without having to subscribe to pay-TV, it is staggering.

Unfortunately for most, DE is very hilly with lots of neighborhoods in wooded valleys. OTA reception out of Philly fades fast as you go south from the high ground in the north. Most of DE are forced into some sort of pay-TV solution if they want to get any TV at all.

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post #16 of 42 Old 11-07-2013, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmmmm,Aereo. Gotta look into that.

These are all great replies.

Those HULU plus subscribers.....The hulu website looks great, but for God's sake it is completely useless. How long does it take for shows to appear on it? Like, if a show airs on Sunday @ 9pm, when would HP get it?
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post #17 of 42 Old 11-07-2013, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnBlanker View Post

I hear the phrase "Cutting the cord", which implies ditching cable/satellite tv service and finding alternate means of receiving this content. How are people doing this though? I have used a HTPC for several years now, although I have never used a tv tuner. I understand that people plug their coaxial cable into their tv tuners, but doesn't that just replace the cable box with your HTPC? I would still have to pay for the subscription. The only thing this would save me is the $7 monthly box rental fee and the $10 DVR monthly fee.

Hulu plus is another alternative but that doesn't have all channels, and doesn't it take some time before the shows appear? It's not live right? For example, the Walking Dead airs on Sunday at 9PM. When would that episode appear on Hulu plus?

I'm curious as to what people are doing to "Cut the cord".

BTW, I live on Long Island, NY and have Cablevision "Triple Play" which provides my tv, internet, and phone. There is supposedly some b.s. clause within my town of Brookhaven not to allow Verizon FIOS. I digress..

I'll let others describe how they do it, I'll just add that most are doing it with considerable sacrifices...that is if they enjoy watching SPORTS and other programming that is purposefully produced and reserved (legally, anyway) for cable/sat and do not wish to buy additional equipment and/or incorporate a computer. It's funny to me how billions of hours of "tv-only" programming get watched in this country every month...just not on AVS, apparently. Go figure. rolleyes.gif

The days of $150 cable/sat bill's SHOULD be long gone for almost everyone. I pay more cause I'm a sucker for the NFL Sunday ticket, but else I'm well below $100- and that's for (3) rooms with whole home DVR. Sometimes I wonder how cheap people really expect it to be. ?

Still, it's amazing what you can have for $50-$70 a month if you're savvy enough. The idea that you're going to tell directv, time warner, etc to "stick it" and be dramatically better off is a pipe dream AFAIC. On an apples to apples basis- which a large number seem to handily omit in this dialog- the cable/sat industry is hyper-competitive and offers the consumer a huge value- again, if you're smart enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. You can overspend on anything, tv programming is not immune.

There, that's the end of my cable/sat plug. There's no free lunch as far as I'm concerned. If you REALLY don't watch what they offer or can get the majority from free or low cost alternatives, obviously have at it. I would just strongly urge folks to make an honest appraisal first.

James
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post #18 of 42 Old 11-07-2013, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Nope and nope.
That $24 is the Off-Season price to watch re-runs of the 2013 games. The in-season price is a lot more expensive and playoffs are a separate charge.

Then there are the local game "blackouts". Due to broadcast TV rights taking precedence, your home team games are usually blacked out live in your viewing area (regardless of playing home or away) and not available for streaming until 90 min after the game has ended. The TV stations pay a king's ransom for the TV rights to the games and get exclusivity. The WD Live has an MLB-TV app and I was all set to sign up for MLB-TV until I looked at the blackout policy and blackout list and found that all my home team games were blacked out.

Yeah, change that to 99% of local games, and you're perfect, lol. wink.gifsmile.gif

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Actual phone call (see pic to left):

 

Tech (responding to laughter): "I'm sorry sir, did I miss something?"

Me: "Yeah, a case of Diet Mountain Dew walking across my living room."

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post #19 of 42 Old 11-07-2013, 08:02 AM
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I am a part time cord cutter.

Comcast in my area offers a multiple service discount. They lower the cost of internet when you subscribe to another service (tv, phone, security). So its actually cheaper for me to subscribe to internet AND basic tv than just internet. I have one cablecard tuner and one atsc tuner that I record in Windows Media Center.

I subscribe to either Comcast's Digital Starter or Digital Preferred during the winter months, mainly so I can get Pittsburgh Penguins hockey games. Every October when I call I try until I get a new subscriber discount for one of those levels for six months. While I have it I record LOTS of things - movies from TCM/Universal HD/Encore. I also have keywords set up to record programs about topics I care about - NASA, WWII, dinosaurs, ancient Egypt.

After hockey season ends (anywhere from early April to early June) I cancel the expanded tv service again. Over the next four or five months I watch all the programs I previously DVR'd.

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post #20 of 42 Old 11-07-2013, 01:53 PM
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Mastermaybe, I'm not aware that any of my friend's cable bills are under $100, and we do discuss this and compare costs. This is for Internet, TV, and phone. Your other points are well taken but every year not having cable/sat is becoming less and less of a sacrifice. The fact that other alternatives are growing year by year indicates to me that the cable/sat companies are not serving the public as well as they could. Just consider the state of high-speed internet in the US compared to the rest of the developed world. It's truly sad. We are somewhere near the worst in cost vs speed.
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post #21 of 42 Old 11-08-2013, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I just got my cable bill. $150. Long Island, NY Cablevision. This is for $5 extra for Ultra50 (50mbps download), $12 whole-house DVR, and 3 boxes. It should be $130, gotta inspect the bill. Kinda crazy though.

yeah, same with Cablevision triple play. They ardvertise it as $89 per month. What a joke. If I were to cancel anything, the rates (like my internet) would shoot up.
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post #22 of 42 Old 11-09-2013, 04:40 AM
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I never liked the phrase "cutting the cord". If I "cut the cord" in a pure sense, I would also lose internet as TV and Internet come into my house on the same "cord". While I know the term is applicable to TV service, the Comcast pricing structure would drive the cost of a internet only service through the roof, resulting in little savings for ditching TV.

I call Comcast every year and ask "Why is my cable bill so high" in a frustrated tone and they proceed to offer me several promotion packages. The last time I called, I reduced my TV bill and received all the premium channels. Although I need to watch carefully when the promo ends to avoid a monster bill, I just need to call back and re-negotiate. Sometimes it's worth it to experience one month of a high bill to make my point to the CSR.

I have decent OTA, but the savings of dropping cable TV isn't enough. I rather reduce other spending to keep the convenience of all the cable channels.

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post #23 of 42 Old 11-09-2013, 06:31 AM
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I've never subscribed to any type of cable so I don't know how to cut the cord.

I used to rent stuff,... Now I just buy stuff.

Seems to work.
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post #24 of 42 Old 11-10-2013, 08:41 PM
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50 bucks a month for internet, and with internet service (at least here) all the local channels come through Clear QAM.

Each TV has a HTPC with TV tuner so we get the news and locals. For TV shows get it from online sources. For sports, I use NFL Gamepass, NBA League Pass, etc. I get every game from every team instead of just what is being shown locally, and it is blackout free using services such as Ad Free Time and/or a VPN. For movies I get Blu Rays from Netflix.
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post #25 of 42 Old 11-15-2013, 06:35 PM
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I am not a "cord cutter", but I love watching movies. In my case, it was an experiment that started in July 2002: drop all the premium movie channels, buy a DVD player, and subscribe to Netflix. I haven't looked back, and almost everything that are on the premium movie channels usually eventually become available on disc.


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Bedroom:LG 32LV3400-UA TV (32-in 768p 60Hz LED/LCD), HD DVR (Motorola RNG200N), Xfinity Comcast cable (Digital Starter Package), DVD/VHS player.
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post #26 of 42 Old 11-15-2013, 09:05 PM
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Bah, I'm paying $150 for a 15 Mb/s connection, phone anywhere in continental U.S. anytime, and expanded basic cable (no HBO or "premium" channels). Before I moved, I was paying just over $120 and had HBO as well. Hooking it up at the new place, which was 20 blocks south exactly of my old location, my new bill came and was over $200!!!! eek.gif You see, the old location had Crime Warner AND another cable provider. Since this one didn't, I know longer qualified for the "competitive" rate. I had to drop my nationwide calling to just the two states and HBO to get back to what I had been paying. And in the 3 years since, they've raised rates on me almost 25% with me only being able to add back my phone anywhere anytime as long as I want plan.

Google can not lay fiber fast enough for me.
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post #27 of 42 Old 11-15-2013, 10:40 PM
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I had satellite service and had to pay a bit over $100/mo just to get the 5 or so channels that I watched regularly (the package I originally started out with when HD from satellite just started from them was $30/mo for all the non-premium HD channels and got more and more expensive for more and more unwatched channels over the years). Over the last year I noticed that the shows were getting saved to the hard drive and not watched, then off-loaded to external hard drives that just piled up. So I finally turned off the service, the extra $100+/month is nice for other toys like musical instruments such as guitars, studio recording equipment, etc. When I was working on a military base, the latest blu-ray releases could be checked out of the base library for free, but since I left there, I've been renting them from the local Family Video which is just 5 min away. For $4/mo, I can get 1/2 price rentals, which equals 50 cent blu-ray rentals for 5 days for releases that are older than about 2 weeks. So for around $15/mo I can watch all the movies I can stand (which includes new releases, that are around $1.70). Going to watch a movie in the theater costs around $20 including gas and about 1.5 hours round trip at the closest theater, which doesn't look or sound as good as the home theater anyway (I live way in the boonies). As far as TV series, I watched SO many over the decades that there is not much that excites me any more. Some crazy humor/parody/social commentary like South Park is funny sometimes, I just watched several from this season on their studio's site in HD for free. Good deal.

I don't have any house/car/debt payment, am retired, but just the idea of having to pay for 95% of things I'll never watch via satellite just to get to stuff I wanted finally cinched it (plus satellite HD just doesn't look or sound anywhere near as good as Blu-Ray on a large screen-over 100" with all the compression they use). The money for the satellite programing ($1200/yr) is used for more permanent things now; music creation equipment (home studio), buying more CDs/SACDs/DVD-As/Blu-Rays, home theater improvement (new Oppo BDP-103, new Sunfire subs), home theater-themed toys to spruce up the theater-32" Darth Vader, 18" Predator, 3 foot Enterprise A model that is going to have lights installed. I have some plans to build some life-size replicas of movie robots like R2-D2, Robbie the Robot, etc when I have workshop space. The savings could even pay for a new mid-range 3D digital projector each year, if the performance improvements over the existing projector warranted it. The savings over a couple of years could even pay for upgrades to some used extremely high-grade equipment-like Meridian surround decoders and speakers-essentially upgrading the quality of all my software playback.

Until the last couple months, I hadn't ever rented a movie, I'd just buy it used (most of the time) or new (occasionally) if I wanted to see it. Now, after having tried renting and it being so close, I realize that I'm not really going to ever watch most of them beyond 3 times at most ($1.50 in rentals at the cheapest cost), so unless it's a favorite film or is really cheap, like $5 or so, or impossible to find to rent, it's a waste of space and money to buy them, especially if waiting several years will see them in the bargain bin for $5. Doing things this way, I've watched FAR more movies than before, in better quality than from satellite/cable, and enjoyed them far more (even watching the supplementary features). I really don't miss the tv series at all, and this is from someone that was a serious tv series junkie for decades. The internet has far more interesting content to pass the time.
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post #28 of 42 Old 11-16-2013, 10:12 AM
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I got a Roku 3 and I also use my PC and phones to watch stuff.
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post #29 of 42 Old 11-16-2013, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason C, M View Post

IFor $4/mo, I can get 1/2 price rentals, which equals 50 cent blu-ray rentals for 5 days for releases that are older than about 2 weeks. So for around $15/mo I can watch all the movies I can stand (which includes new releases, that are around $1.70).

Dang, you are lucky. The Family Video here charges $10/mo for half price rentals, new release BD are $4 for at least a month, then they move to $2 for quite a while longer before finally moving to a buck. I stopped renting there because it is cheaper to just wait the extra month or whatever for it to come to Redbox or Netflix.
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post #30 of 42 Old 11-16-2013, 03:55 PM
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I hardly watch anything I am sitting on a laptop it seems for all entertainment. Almost everything I truly want access to I can get without paying for cable....

-- Cable fees go up to about $80 for High Speeds (Brighthouse) cutting into savings.
-- I already pay for MLB.TV to watch on devices
-- We usually get UFC fights

Most movies can be had somehow, so on paper I am the ideal cord-cutter. Except one thing... Well two, the first being a wife and two teenage sons, but more importantly...

Complete addiction to my NCAA football. That is the noose. I can't find a good way to get that content, and I don't want to sit in a bar from 12-12 every Saturday. At one time ESPN3 would get it done but they've taken that away everything is routed through WatchESPN.
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