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Home Theater PC Vs Dish Network

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello All,
I have been a dish network customer for long. I'm seeing all these discussions on the HTPC and I'm not sure if that would fits my need.
1). Can I cancel my Dish network and use this HTPC to watch ESPN, TNT, TBS, Food Channel, HTPC and local channels etc?
2). How can I run the connections to my 4 TV's?

Sorry, I've zero understanding in this area. Any help or advice would be appreciated.
Thanks.
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackforceus View Post

Hello All,
I have been a dish network customer for long. I'm seeing all these discussions on the HTPC and I'm not sure if that would fits my need.
1). Can I cancel my Dish network and use this HTPC to watch ESPN, TNT, TBS, Food Channel, HTPC and local channels etc?
You would still have to subscribe to digital cable to access these channels, but yes, you can do it using a cablecard tuner in a HTPC. Your provider will be able to get you set up with a cablecard.
Quote:
2). How can I run the connections to my 4 TV's?
That all depends on what kind of control you want to have from each TV. If you want to be able to watch live TV individually at each TV then you have several options. The simplest method is to use a Media Extender that works with Windows Media Center, such as the X-Box 360 or the Ceton Echo. They basically create a remote session of Media Center separate from the primary PC and allow you to tune channels independently as well as control the recording schedule in Media Center on the main PC. You would need to set up a home network to connect the main PC and media extenders.

If you're new to HTPCs and want to learn more, I highly recommend spending $25 to join Assassin's HTPC blog for access to numerous tutorials on setting up various aspects of a Home Theater PC. Check any of his posts in these forums for a link posted in his signature.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response. Are you saying I still need to have Dish Network? I'm a little confused.

I have all my AV cable connections going to basement. What all I need to purchase to make this work?
post #4 of 11
You will need some service provider to see those network television channels... Whether it be dish, or local cable is up to you.

What was suggested was the simplest route to get that "live" television programming as a cablecard tuner can tune any (digital) channel your cable provider puts out (I specified digital as I was trying to help someone this weekend whose provider only provided analog for the 70 most popular SD channels and didn't simulcast also note that a cablecard tuner for a HTPC only tunes digital cable and not over the air from an antenna)

If you choose to remain on dish (or other satellite service) you would need a different type of tuner card capable of taking the output of your satellite box and bring it into the computer... for HD this would probably be a Hauppauge Colossus or similar... for SD there are more options.

However some refer to an HTPC as something else and rely on streaming. Most of the programming on those channels are available for you to stream from either the channel/network itself or other services... it may take a couple of days (or several months) for the content to be available but eventually you could see nearly all your programming without any dish or cable service.., the biggest exception to this is live sports but even then there are some online services that do stream live sports (sometimes access to these also requires rights to access the channel from satellite or cable)
Edited by signcarver - 6/17/13 at 1:19pm
post #5 of 11
What exactly is your goal, to have no pay tv service whatsoever, or are you willing to put up an antenna or subscribe to cable? Do you want DVR capability for your local stations or plan to get all content on-line? Some things like ESPN are going to be difficult to get without any pay tv service at all. Personally, I dropped Dish and got cable. My cost savings is due to the fact I can use my HTPC as a DVR and pay only $2 for a cable card versus ~ $45 for a DVR and several clients.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
- Thanks all for the help. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I understood that with the HTPC, I cannot stream live programming including sports etc without cable or dish. Basically everyone is using HTPC to view past programming and to record contents. Is that correct?
- My main intention is to findout if there is a way to accomplish live streaming without paying cable or dish.
post #7 of 11
Sort of. You can view live TV via OTA, and that is free. An HTPC is simply a computer. So whatever you can stream on your computer today, you can also stream on an HTPC. If you subscribe to cable and get a cable tuner for your HTPC or get an antenna and an OTA tuner, you can also view/record live and play back recorded TV. If you can find the content you are looking for on the PC you are posting from, then you can also find and stream it from an HTPC.

Everyone has different uses and requirements for their HTPC's, but I think it's safe to say the major uses include cable DVR, streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, etc.), and file streaming (rips, mkv's, torrents, home videos, music). The primary reason I have an HTPC is not to avoid paying for TV entirely, but only to save about 50% off my cable (or satellite) bill by not having to pay DVR fees. If I were satisfied with OTA network TV and streaming content like Hulu and Youtube, I could do away with my cable TV subscription entirely.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackforceus View Post

- Thanks all for the help. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I understood that with the HTPC, I cannot stream live programming including sports etc without cable or dish. Basically everyone is using HTPC to view past programming and to record contents. Is that correct?
- My main intention is to findout if there is a way to accomplish live streaming without paying cable or dish.

I see lots of sports on NBC, ABC, CBS, so yes, you can get live sports without the need to pay for cable. However, if you have specific channels in mind, like ESPN, then you need cable.

We can view ANY channel that we are entitled to in our line up with a $3.99/month CableCard rental, on ANY TV in the house, and independant from other TV's. i.e. all 6 TV's can view different channels at the same time, all live, recorded, or a combination of thereof.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

I see lots of sports on NBC, ABC, CBS, so yes, you can get live sports without the need to pay for cable. However, if you have specific channels in mind, like ESPN, then you need cable.

We can view ANY channel that we are entitled to in our line up with a $3.99/month CableCard rental, on ANY TV in the house, and independant from other TV's. i.e. all 6 TV's can view different channels at the same time, all live, recorded, or a combination of thereof.

$4/month CC rental but you have to pay for service right or is it flat $4? I am a OTA free HTPC user but if its only $4+cable card turner then I might upgrade.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob2300NX View Post

$4/month CC rental but you have to pay for service right...
Correct
post #11 of 11
Other providers have the CableCARDs cheaper than that. Some have them at a small credit. You still have to pay for content but not for the STB/DVR rental. The savings here can be significant. For example with Charter if you have four TV's it will save you $38/month in STB/DVR rental fees. Of course you have to pay for and maintain your own stuff (Windows Media Center PC, CableCARD tuners, routers, etc) but it really isn't all that daunting a task. If you go OTA, you can save even more but you have to be close enough to the broadcast tower to get a quality signal and you do not have access to things like ESPN, FoxSports or the new TWCSports. Less and less sports content is available without a subscription to Cable or Satellite.
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