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Help me ditch cable

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Well, I have a very basic HTPC setup running right now. Really I only use it to watch HULU and surf forums. I have a USB ATSC/QAM tuner that I want to use to pick up OTA TV Stations. Is there a good site to see what stations I'll be able to pick up? SD or HD isn't a huge deal (although HD will be nice :P), I'm just curious if I'll be able to ditch my current cable company (Comcast) and switch without losing any of the few channels I watch. We usually have Disney/Nick on for my son, but he's not quite to the age of really watching TV; the wife watches ABC, CBS, and a few MTV shows. I watch TNT, USA, FX, History channel, and then some random surfing; any good movie channels though usually catch my attention.
post #2 of 42
Antennaweb
post #3 of 42
Thread Starter 
Wow, according to that site I'll get a whopping 4 channels... Might have to rethink this...
post #4 of 42
All you need OTA is NBC, CBS, ABC, WB, Fox, and PBS. Most of the other stations you get OTA are not worth it. Once you have those 6 channels, most of the other stuff can be had online. In fact, most of the stuff on the network channels can be gotten online, but in less than HD quality - which is why I prefer OTA. Is there any way antennaweb shows you how to get the rest of the channels that you are missing? Maybe by changing antennas, etc.

The next step is to see whether you can get the shows you watch on cable online. I know most of the shows on MTV can be streamed through their website. Same with many other networks through Hulu. Discovery was a problem for me, but they might have changed that since I last looked.
post #5 of 42
Use tvfool.com and post your results in HDTV Technical (your address will not display in the link). Remember when posting in HDTV Technical to put your location in the thread title so others will know at a glance where you are. Pretty sure the right antenna(s) can pull in what you need unless you're way rural.
post #6 of 42
you can also try titantv, but antennaweb gives more information with the antenna you could use.

Half the channels you listed are cable. What you may want to try is limited basic. It'll give you the locals stuff such as Fox, CBS, NBA, ABC, PBS. You may get some a few extras. Comcast gives me Discovery,and SyFy and a few other channels I don't watch.

For your other shows, check Hulu to see if they have them. Some may have delays of one week to a month, instead of the a few hours. If they're not there, check the channels website for online videos. Some don't have full espisodes such as TLC and AMC. And depending on your morals/ethics, there are bit torrents.

That all said, I really wouldn't worry about not getting certain shows. In the short, you may go through a withdraw. In the long run, as in my experiences, you adjust your viewing habits based on the available content to you.
post #7 of 42
Or just jump in and get a Ceton cablecard tuner.
post #8 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

Or just jump in and get a Ceton cablecard tuner.

He would still have to subscribe to cable service.

Not to mention that the Ceton, is not a clean solution either, as it has issues too.
post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teeps View Post

He would still have to subscribe to cable service.

Not to mention that the Ceton, is not a clean solution either, as it has issues too.

He already has cable.

Also, not sure what issues you are talking about. My Ceton has been working flawlessly for the months that I've been using it.
post #10 of 42
The HD HomeRun Prime is also a great solution with one less tuner but it works over your network and is a standalone box that uses a WMC PC to tell it what to do. I have one of those myself but either unit is nice if he decides to stay with cable after all.
post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

He already has cable.

Also, not sure what issues you are talking about. My Ceton has been working flawlessly for the months that I've been using it.


My mistake I thought the thread title was Help Me Ditch Cable.

Additionally the Ceton card does not full fill the OP's stated desire to "Ditch Cable."
post #12 of 42
Thread Starter 
Didn't want to start a fight guys... I have basic cable right now. Digital basic I think it is, through Comcast. I don't even have a main box for the living room, just small DTAs for every room. We're moving and the wife tossed up the idea of ditching cable, just trying to see what would be needed. It looks like I'll get some decent channels according to tvfool, just need a good antenna now :-P
post #13 of 42
Sickbeard + SabNZB will let you ditch cable.
post #14 of 42
Build a HTPC while you have cable. Then go on a test run for 2 weeks without cable using just the HTPC. Worse case scenario you can buy a cablecard tuner and ditch your DVR box ($10-$15 per month savings). Then you might even be able to scale back on your cable usage using the HTPC resulting in even more savings.
post #15 of 42
Thread Starter 
Have a basic HTPC. Gateway SX something, I posted the specs in another thread. I don't have a DVR at the moment. I might ditch them when we move and see how it goes. I know after a few weeks they'll be throwing "deals" at me to resign so I can later
post #16 of 42
I second building the machine now so you can workout how you want to set it up, and see how it will work.

Comcast has a limited basic cable, which is essentially just your OTA channels and a few others like I mentioned earlier. This service runs about a $20 a month, give or take a couple bucks. I have a Comcast and used limited basic. Costs me $22 or $23. When I was on the next step above, basic, it was $55 a month.

I would actually try out the limited basic because it'll give better an idea of what OTA will be like towards available content.

The other nice thing when you get a TV turner such as HDHomerun or Ceton or Hauppauge, you can build your own DVR/PVR. And depending on your setup and equipment, you can watch those recordings in other rooms. I've been able to, but I don't believe Comcast puts a record once limit on local stuff. I use WMC and just share the libraries.
post #17 of 42
If you have never owned a DVR your wife will love the HTPC for this alone.
post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by almostinsane View Post

Sickbeard + SabNZB will let you ditch cable.

I was playing with Sickbeard last night. While there are some UI improvements I could recommend, it just works. I don't know how it flew under my radar for so long until I paid my $25 to Assassin for his guides.
post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdru View Post

I was playing with Sickbeard last night. While there are some UI improvements I could recommend, it just works. I don't know how it flew under my radar for so long until I paid my $25 to Assassin for his guides.

Thanks. Glad you are using it.
post #20 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekeiiy View Post

I second building the machine now so you can workout how you want to set it up, and see how it will work.

Comcast has a limited basic cable, which is essentially just your OTA channels and a few others like I mentioned earlier. This service runs about a $20 a month, give or take a couple bucks. I have a Comcast and used limited basic. Costs me $22 or $23. When I was on the next step above, basic, it was $55 a month.

I would actually try out the limited basic because it'll give better an idea of what OTA will be like towards available content.

The other nice thing when you get a TV turner such as HDHomerun or Ceton or Hauppauge, you can build your own DVR/PVR. And depending on your setup and equipment, you can watch those recordings in other rooms. I've been able to, but I don't believe Comcast puts a record once limit on local stuff. I use WMC and just share the libraries.

The machine is up and running, but not fully functional as a DVR. I need to get a better antenna and/or a better tuner stick (prefer USB as its a small case). I have already streamed shows online through it (woohoo for Hulu ) and the wife hasn't tried it yet but likes the idea. It was her idea to even ditch cable :-). I thought we had basic, but our apartment gives us a discounted rate of $37, so it must be one step up. Well lose that discount though once we move

Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

If you have never owned a DVR your wife will love the HTPC for this alone.

Lol, good to know. Guess I should get that part functioning ASAP!
post #21 of 42
antennas, placement, kind, and surrounding area can make a difference. If you can stick you antenna outside or set it on the roof, may help. You could try in the window too.

I know some tuners are better than others. Although, I assume you're USB stick should be fine overall. Not that anyone one tuner is perfect for everyone, but if you're looking for small, you may want to look into HDHomerun. It's not as small as a USB stick. But rather than having something attached to your HTPC, it's just attached to your router. Basically, it is a network attached TV-tuner. It's very media center friendly.

I have and use one, the HDHR2. It works a lot better if your computer is wired to your router. The HDHR2 is a bit sensitive to radio interference. I didn't find it any worse then when I was using rabbits ears on my HDTV ten years ago. I've read the HDHR3 is not as sensitive comparatively to the HDHR2. I do all my DVR recordings with my office PC, and watch the recordings on my HTPC by sharing the libraries.

The DVR prices from satellite and cable are ridiculousness. I may be off on the pricing, but Comcast, in the past, charge $10 for the right to use it. The box was also an additonal $5 over a regular box. So, just by using the PC, you're going to save $180 year. Tack on the cable TV savings of approximately $600 ($50 TV service monthly bill), you'll probably recoup your money in about twelve to eighteen months, and then you'll actually be saving money. This is assuming you're buying everything new and not using old machines or parts.

As for Hulu, I recommend using their desktop program. It gives a really good experience. It's free too.
post #22 of 42
I keep thinking about ditching cable/satellite & going strictly OTA. I dropped Comcast over a year ago because their prices got out of hand & went with Dish which saved quite a bit. I don't have any premium movie channels but do get 200 channels which includes HD programming and an HD DVR with 4 tuners, 2 sat & 2 OTA.

During the last month I tracked what I watched on OTA vs. satellite. Turns out I watch about 4-5 hours a week of satellite programming. However there always seem to be exceptions & I find another program of interest to add in.

I checked & Hulu has most of the regular satellite programs I watch, either the day after broadcast or after 30 days. They're not in HD but they're free.

It's the once-in-a-while programs that I watch, such as on TCM or the Speed Channel, that are not on Hulu that I might miss. It just seems that every week I find something different & interesting to watch. Being that they're in HD and the Dish DVR is user friendly makes this difficult to give up.
post #23 of 42
although directional as mine is pointed sw i still pull in channels from the ne off the backside, total of 31 in all, some of the older shows are std def but most are all hd, using a channel master Hd 4228 @ 26 ft high.
post #24 of 42
Thread Starter 
Well, I can't pick up anything in my bottom floor apartment using an indoor antenna :P I think when we move (next week) I'm going to try a roof antenna and see what I get. Wife just signed up for Netflix streaming last night (free month), and I might bite on Hulu plus. That'll cover most of our shows actually and only cost $16/month
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

...It's the once-in-a-while programs that I watch, such as on TCM or the Speed Channel, that are not on Hulu that I might miss. It just seems that every week I find something different & interesting to watch. Being that they're in HD and the Dish DVR is user friendly makes this difficult to give up.

You can't miss what you don't know was on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RadRacer513 View Post

Well, I can't pick up anything in my bottom floor apartment using an indoor antenna :P I think when we move (next week) I'm going to try a roof antenna and see what I get. Wife just signed up for Netflix streaming last night (free month), and I might bite on Hulu plus. That'll cover most of our shows actually and only cost $16/month

Well, Hulu Plus, as much as I like it, I would say is a bit more niche. It's really more for access outside of a PC. Although, it does give access to full seasons of some shows, and some programs will have no commercials. I would just try out Hulu on your PC first. I subscribe to both Hulu and Netflix as well. But I access them on Roku, Evo 4g, PC, and game consoles.
post #26 of 42
Thread Starter 
I have Hulu desktop setup right now and was just using it and Netflix last night. Whenever I'm using the TV I'm running it through my HTPC, my wife on the other hand hasn't tried yet. I noticed some of the old shows I was into but haven't had time to watch are on there but listed as hulu plus only, which is why I was looking into it. If I could stream to my iPhone or PS3 that would just make things even nicer
post #27 of 42
I wasn't aware of any Hulu Plus only shows. I wouldn't though because I've on since it was still in public beta and was $10 a month.
post #28 of 42
So where's it get the content from? Seems fishy, especially the movie networks, and that there's no info on how it actually works.
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by almostinsane View Post

Sickbeard + SabNZB will let you ditch cable.

+1

If you Google "Automate Media Center" you come up with this -

http://lifehacker.com/5595586/set-up-a-fully-automated-torrent+seeding-media-center

TED is a bit hit and miss, Sick Beard will do all the same thing. Its more limited with T* but is mostly designed to work with Newsgroups.

That said I think spending a few hours setting this up, along with paying maybe $10-$20 a month for Newsgroup access, you can handle ALL your media needs away from Over The Air HD.

A Channel Master OTA-DVR with Access to Hulu Plus and Vudu is $399, that is not cheap. You can get two or three times more content the DIY method.
post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

So where's it get the content from? Seems fishy, especially the movie networks, and that there's no info on how it actually works.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spotzyz View Post

Playon Users Awesome Working LIVE TV Script ! Script Here

What's fishy? PlayOn is media server software like Plex, TVerisity and Twonky. Media streams are everywhere if you know where to look and it has an IP Address, I wouldn't worry about it. You can get some cable channels over your OTA-HD Antenna....

What in the world is on MTV that has to be watched? I thought MTV was a music channel, its far from that these days. I can see Nick Toons being a problem or Nick Jr, if that's what your child is watching. Truth is, if you search most of that stuff is online already...
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