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Third party option for cable box or DVR?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I just moved to a new place where cable is not included as part of rent.

I am thinking about ordering Comcast in Atlanta for my two HDTVs, but am balking at what TV+Internet+Cable box rental (or a DVR) will cost long term.

One of my TVs can take a cablecard, so that is an option....

My question is:
1. Are there 3rd party HDTV cable boxes that I can buy and use a cablecard with?
2. Are there 3rd party HDTV DVRs *besides TiVo* that would suit my needs?

The more I look, the more I realize how impossible it will likely be to avoid paying $100+ a month just for the privilege of watching TV. I am ready to cut the cord and spend money on an antenna, but have the GF to consider.

Thanks in advance for advice
post #2 of 7
Tivo or HTPC a most popular options. MOXI may be an option also HDHomerun or simular device may be an option. Read Networking, Media Servers & Content Streamers in the forum section
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarzanman View Post

1. Are there 3rd party HDTV cable boxes that I can buy and use a cablecard with?
2. Are there 3rd party HDTV DVRs *besides TiVo* that would suit my needs?

Cable box, no.

DVR, yes, and there is one. TiVo.

TiVo has a monthly fee or high up front cost (lifetime fee), Moxi has discontinued their DVR for what appears to be an expensive whole house system. http://www.moxi.com/us/

HTPC is the only other choice.

Anything that isn't used by a cable company has to be certified by Cable Labs to use cableCARD. Which isn't easy. It's also tough to compete against the established DVRs/boxes that cable companies rent out. You might balk at their fees, but most people either pay them without a second thought or manage to get the fees waived by threatening to defect to satellite.
Quote:
The more I look, the more I realize how impossible it will likely be to avoid paying $100+ a month just for the privilege of watching TV. I am ready to cut the cord and spend money on an antenna, but have the GF to consider.

Yeah, it's always that "other people" factor. wink.gif

What shows do you watch? If you're patient, they may show up on Netflix or other Internet services after the initial run.

Otherwise, hold your nose and take the medicine. There is no magic bullet when it comes to pay TV.
post #4 of 7
HTPC is the way to go. It allows you integrate ability to decrypt encrypted cable TV and Internet TV in one user friendly interface, all controlled by a remote control.

We pay $65/month service fee for FIOS triple play, but had we rented Cable Boxes/DVR from Verizon, the same service plus equipment rental would have been $125/month plus taxes on the full amount. Instead we pay $4/month on top of the $65 service fee to rent a CableCard from Verizon and do all the decryption and distribution our selves through a home network and MEdia Center Extneders.

The math made sence for us long time ago, even factoring in the back then sky high cost of "rare" equipment, it was still worth it. Now a days, there is competition, and prices have come down significantly (Orignal ATI DCT was $380 for single tuner compard with Ceton InfiniTV4 quad tuner for $150 today).

For a $500-$700 investment one can really save a ton over time.

Typical DVR rental is $20/month, and typical Cable Box rental is $10 month.

We have 5 TV's, so to get a DVR and 4 boxes we would have had to pay $20/month for DVR and 4x$10/month for Cable boxes = $60/month, $720/year, $3600/5 years. Compare that with the $500 - $700 cost of an HTPC you can clearly see the savings.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
This is an enticing solution, but I am still unsure as to how I would enable/stream HD content to my 'dumb' HDTVs.

I have two 42" plasma TV's that do not have any network ports or network apps.
post #6 of 7
You need to also buy (or have) Media Extenders and/or XBox's for each TV.
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarzanman View Post

This is an enticing solution, but I am still unsure as to how I would enable/stream HD content to my 'dumb' HDTVs.
I have two 42" plasma TV's that do not have any network ports or network apps.

You need what are called content or media streamers that take the video from the main PC and play it back on the TV over your home network. The tech is robust enough to do HD, but you will need a box for each TV. WiFi works if it is wireless N. Ethernet works just as well if you can run the cables.

It'll allow you to playback most video content on your computer, not just cable TV. So if you rip your DVDs/BDs to the computer, they'll play back on all the TVs hooked up to this. Same with music.
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