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View Full Version : Newbie: Getting rid of cable?




psymac
Aug 25, 2010, 11:40 PM
Sorry, I'm new at all this streaming video and internet TV, but wonder if its time ditch my over $70 a month cable bill and go with some type of Mac and/or Apple TV (or iTV) solution with perhaps Netflix and Hulu.

I have a LG Blue Ray DVD player (with ethernet network input, has Netflix ability built in), JVC flat screen TV, and an older Mac Mini (Core 2 Duo). The questions have are

1) Do I need to upgrade the newest Mac Mini to use it as my internet access for Netflix/Hulu as well as use as a DVR? Or can I use my current Mini with an adapter (from display to HDMI with a separate audio cable) to connect to my HDMI port on my DVD player?

2) Do I need any special software to do this? I'm using DirectTV now with an older DirectTV Tivo DVR, will my potential setup be able to have Tivo like ability?

2) Can I use my iphone 3G as a remote, or would it be better to use a bluetooth keyboard?

3) Not sure how to do OTA TV, do I just need a special antenna for this?

4) As far as I can tell, I don't think I need an Apple TV (or iTV), as I don't really use iTunes that much and don't think iTunes offers much more than Netflix or Hulu, am I wrong about that?

5) Any other solution that I haven't thought of that might be more elegant or easier?

My main goal is to remove cable, and watch shows on the internet (e.g. HBO, Daily Show, Cartoon Network) as well as from Netflix and/or Hulu. Hope to keeping my cost down to about $20 a month or so, as well to record some shows for later viewing.

Thanks!



waw74
Aug 26, 2010, 10:37 AM
1. Chances are, the older mini will be fine. you can use it, then if it doesn't work, upgrade later. I just upgraded, but mainly to play 1080 video files.

1b. if you want the audio on the HDMI cable, there are adapters that combine the audio from either the audio output on the mini or USB, with the video from the DVI port. Not sure why you want it connected to the DVD player. (unless it's one of the home theatre in a box kind)

2.probably, see below.

2nd #2) - for some things you can use the iphone as a remote, although somthing with hard buttons is very nice. check out the software section below.

3. depends on your location, check out antennaweb.org (http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx). the local channels are on the cable unencrypted (probably in HD also) so if you still have a cable modem, you can get those without an antenna.

4. you're better off with the mini, more flexible. there are mods that you can do to get more functionality on the apple tv (but not that great at it), but the mini does those out of the box. basically the mini can do everything the :apple:tv can do and more, but not the other way around.


Software

eyeTV (http://www.elgato.com/) - DVR software
they also have tuners, so you would plug them into a USB port, and then attach the lead from your cable/antenna.


Plex (http://www.plexapp.com/) - media center software, really nice, will scan your music, movies and tv shows, and place them in a library with full names, episode numbers and descriptions. Does have plug-ins for hulu and netfilx (also daily show), but they have some bugs as they are community designed, and not by the content providers, for netflix, i would still use the DVD player and for hulu i would use...

Hulu Desktop (http://www.hulu.com/labs/hulu-desktop) - full hulu functions, but designed with a "10 foot interface" meaning it's designed to be used from the other side of the room, like on your couch.

Remote Buddy (http://www.iospirit.com/products/remotebuddy/) - remote control software, works with the apple remote, wii-mote, or iOS devices.
comes with actions for most programs, you can program your own pretty easily.
I use a wii-mote, it's got multiple buttons so lots of options when you're using it, it sits in the hand nicely, and with the addition of a sensor bar (really just 2 sets of IR LEDs on the top of the tv) you can use it as a mouse, it also has an onscreen keyboard, but you really wouldn't want to use those for heavy use.

teleport (http://www.abyssoft.com/software/teleport/), if you have a mac laptop, you can set it up so the mini's screen is to the side of your laptop screen. So when you're using your laptop, just slide the mouse off the side of the screen, and now you're controlling the mini with your keyboard, and mouse. Makes it work like multiple monitors on the same computer.

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as far as
My main goal is to remove cable, and watch shows on the internet (e.g. HBO, Daily Show, Cartoon Network) as well as from Netflix and/or Hulu.
remember that most of the legal options have some delay involved, and you need to be careful if your internet provider and the copyright owner (time warner, HBO for example) are the same company.

dizzy130
Aug 26, 2010, 03:51 PM
My current set up is much simpler than yours (just Macbook displayed via HDMI on my TV, plus an iPad for couch browsing/email/etc). But I've found between Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and the network TV websites I've been able to see anything I want, if at a slight delay.

The advice I do have though is to talk to your internet provider. I had a cable and internet bundle for $100 that I wanted to cut and I thought I'd go just internet. But my provider wanted $75 for just internet, and that wasn't happening. When I called back, they offered me $50 for internet plus basic channels (networks, ESPN, CSPAN...I get about 15 channels total and I never watch them). It makes no sense. I have literally no other choice for TV or internet, even though I live in a major city - I'd ditch this company in a second if I could.