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View Full Version : Has anybody ditched cable yet?




Evo-L
Nov 12, 2011, 11:51 PM
Where I live we have one TV option, Dish Network. I personally hate it, it's outrageously antiquated. You need to record each show you want to watch on every single DVR in the house, the UI is complete trash, it records probably 75% of the shows I ask it to, it constantly cuts off the last 5 minutes of each show, etc etc etc. It's probably the worst TV provider in the country.

So it got me thinking, what if I stopped paying Dish $75/month for their terrible service and just watched all of the TV I wanted from iTunes through my :apple:TV...

So I thought about it, and I think I would lose my local news, and the occasional random shows you might find flipping through. Also, Im thinking it would raise my monthly costs slightly, which isn't the end of the world. It would be great having anything I wanted to watch right there on demand, not having to find a time when it airs and record it (if my DVR misses the recording). I am the kind of person who only watches what they recorded, rarely do I flip through to find something to fill my time.

So my question is, has anybody done this? How has it been going?

:apple:



miles01110
Nov 12, 2011, 11:58 PM
Hulu + Netflix + OTA = 95% of everything normal people watch for $16/month.

Evo-L
Nov 13, 2011, 12:24 AM
Hulu + Netflix + OTA = 95% of everything normal people watch for $16/month.

OTA = Over the air? What do you mean?

mobilehaathi
Nov 13, 2011, 12:28 AM
I've been cable-free for about 10 years, and I've never been happier.

I do the Netflix streaming only package and free hulu. This is sufficient for me, but I never watched much TV in the first place.

codencis
Nov 13, 2011, 01:47 AM
Mm, since we don't have Netflix in Oz, I jail broke my Apple TV and used Plex.

Never looked back, and ditched DVDs as well.
:)

wxman2003
Nov 13, 2011, 01:52 AM
Finally cut the cable a few weeks ago. Bump up my internet speed to 50 Mbs and now saving $70 a month. Have a Roku 2 for netflix, NHL and Amazon, and ATV2 for shows I miss. I can pick up all the local channels with no problem. As far as live sports, widely available on the internet if you look. Hoping APPLE upgrades airplay on Lion so I can mirror everything I watch on my imac to my ATV2.

s15119
Nov 13, 2011, 03:40 AM
OTA = Over the air? What do you mean?


Just buy an antenna - you'll get all your local channels - I get mine in lovely HD. I gave up on cable when I got my ATV - between Netflix, OTA and an occasional iTubes rental - I get all the TV I need at a fraction of what I used to pay Comcast.

DustinT
Nov 13, 2011, 06:31 PM
I have the $14.99 welcome package from Dish Networks, ATV 2 and a Roku. I use the Dish for the locals and the Roku and ATV for the rest. Works pretty well and I'm saving about $50 a month compared to buying the full spread from Dish.

Evo-L
Nov 13, 2011, 09:03 PM
Hulu + Netflix + OTA = 95% of everything normal people watch for $16/month.

I've been cable-free for about 10 years, and I've never been happier.

I do the Netflix streaming only package and free hulu. This is sufficient for me, but I never watched much TV in the first place.

Mm, since we don't have Netflix in Oz, I jail broke my Apple TV and used Plex.

Never looked back, and ditched DVDs as well.
:)

Finally cut the cable a few weeks ago. Bump up my internet speed to 50 Mbs and now saving $70 a month. Have a Roku 2 for netflix, NHL and Amazon, and ATV2 for shows I miss. I can pick up all the local channels with no problem. As far as live sports, widely available on the internet if you look. Hoping APPLE upgrades airplay on Lion so I can mirror everything I watch on my imac to my ATV2.

Just buy an antenna - you'll get all your local channels - I get mine in lovely HD. I gave up on cable when I got my ATV - between Netflix, OTA and an occasional iTubes rental - I get all the TV I need at a fraction of what I used to pay Comcast.

I have the $14.99 welcome package from Dish Networks, ATV 2 and a Roku. I use the Dish for the locals and the Roku and ATV for the rest. Works pretty well and I'm saving about $50 a month compared to buying the full spread from Dish.


All of these seem like good suggestions, but I think it might be missing one thing... new episodes?

From what I can tell, Netflix doesn't do new episodes, Hulu is pretty limited on channels and you have to wait a week, and Roku is just another Apple TV that can access Hulu and Netflix.

I would like to be able to use the Apple TV instead of my cable box, and ideally don't want to have to use/remember different things for different shows.


Given that scenario, would these suggestions still work?

darster
Nov 13, 2011, 09:37 PM
Unfortunately, this is exactly what the cable and media companies want. Force you to use multiple devices to get what you want when you cut cable, which is a huge money machine for both sides. And don't forget, the cable companies currently control the internet which you would use these devices. That will change in the future, not the near future, but in 10 to 20 years. Google fired one major shot against the bow in Kansas City. Whether or not they got the revenue to go beyond Kansas City and across the rest of the US is yet to be seen.

marcre
Nov 13, 2011, 10:00 PM
Over a year ago I dropped cable to try and save some money. Plus, I was sick of the high price of cable.

For the first few weeks I regretted it, but now I have no intention of going back.

I have rabbit ears for OTA shows which works perfectly for me.

I have the ATV with Netflix. That right there fills in often. Plus I order the MLB.TV package to watch my baseball team. I'll probably order the NHL package next year.

I do miss the DVR at times and some of the channels like History and the like, but I really don't miss cable at all.

takeshi74
Nov 13, 2011, 10:07 PM
So my question is, has anybody done this? How has it been going?

Plenty of people have done so and have been happy with it. That's completely irrelevant though. You need to look at the content that you are interested in and how you would get it without cable.

Evo-L
Nov 13, 2011, 10:35 PM
Plenty of people have done so and have been happy with it. That's completely irrelevant though. You need to look at the content that you are interested in and how you would get it without cable.

Right, hence the question of how people are doing it. If I knew how to get the content I wanted without iTunes I would just do it.

I was hoping I would get suggestions of how others are doing it, so I can see if their scenarios would work for me. So far I have had some great suggestions, so thanks everyone.

khollister
Nov 14, 2011, 06:25 AM
I think this highly depends on your viewing habits and preferences. If you regularly watch a large number of cable-only shows/series (things like USA, A&E,etc), your are kind of limited without paying for the episodes on iTunes, and that will get expensive beyond a few series. The selection is limited on Hulu Plus, and short of either paying through the nose on iTunes, torrenting stuff (legal disclaimer applies) or waiting a year to get the series on DVD/BD, you're screwed.

On the other hand, if your interests are primarily movies, broadcast network series and older shows, you're golden.

Personally, I would ditch the cable in a heartbeat. I watch mostly movies, with NCIS, Fringe, Justified & Eureka as the only series I really care about. I could buy those on iTunes (already purchase Fringe and Eureka) and come out ahead.

However, my wife would kill me. She is constantly watching (and recording) many of the crap reality shows on Bravo, TLC, and the like. She is far more addicted to TV than I am. I often have it on (50% of the time on NCIS reruns on USA due to nothing else being on) because I am too lazy to put a DVD or Blu-ray on. I am currently hardwiring my house with GigE so I can deploy my new HTPC and NAS to have access to all of my library at my fingertips.

Frankly, if you want the best possible A/V quality as well as maximum variety, you need at least 3 devices ...

1) Roku 2 XS for internet streaming (the HTPC clients for many serives are sub-standard quality wise or non-existent)
2) ATV2 for iTunes content (or a Mini). Limited to Netflix & some sports - no Amazon, Hulu Plus, etc.
3) Win7/PC HTPC or a HD network streamer like PopcornHour, Dune or WD TV Live Plus for local blu-ray rips with lossless audio passthrough

Either the Win HTPC or a Mini can handle DVR duties for OTA or ClearQAM

Airforcekid
Nov 14, 2011, 08:36 AM
I use Boxee to get rid of my cable found every show I want and some new ones however live sports is an issue but most were solved by.

http://lifehacker.com/5839607/how-can-i-watch-nearly-any-sports-game-online

----------

Right, hence the question of how people are doing it. If I knew how to get the content I wanted without iTunes I would just do it.

I was hoping I would get suggestions of how others are doing it, so I can see if their scenarios would work for me. So far I have had some great suggestions, so thanks everyone.

On a boxee box you will be able to watch the flash videos the networks post on their sites a day after the show airs or you can fall back to icefilms or torrents if you want an older episode or series.

netdog
Nov 14, 2011, 11:13 AM
I ditched it several years ago. The series I want to see I get on Apple TV. Baseball, F1 and the news I watch live via the Internet. My bill is way less than it ever was using satellite or cable.

swordfish5736
Nov 14, 2011, 11:24 AM
i have been wanting to do this for awhile but still haven't found a hassle free way to get college basketball and football on my tv. The watchespn iPad app seems like a great idea but my internet provider doesn't support it

Neolithium
Nov 14, 2011, 11:24 AM
Once I get posted to my new base in Feb next year I'll be ditching cable completely, they're in a service area with shaw's new insane bandwidth home service so I'll be absolutely jumping all over that. Unfortunately that's not a viable option yet in the current neighbourhood :(

blueroom
Nov 14, 2011, 11:30 AM
Ditched cable two years ago.

Windows 7 media centre (AMD A6-3650) running a pair of HVR2250 dual tuners and an XBOX 360 as an extender.
(EyeTV doesn't support multiple tuners or extenders very well plus $20 yr for guide data)

AppleTV2 for everything that's not on network TV.

Works great, cheap too.

rlu929s
Nov 14, 2011, 12:30 PM
I'm wondering the same thing. Here's what I have and our habits. We currently have Dish Network and pay $49 per month. Seems to be a shame since we're mainly just using it to DVR local shows. I should be able to accomplish this using other means right?

Habits:
Children's Shows for Kids: PBS, DVR'd disney movies etc
Us: Movies and Local Network Shows: Grey's, Vampire Diaries etc

What we already have:
2x ATV2 with Itunes on my Win7 Desktop (entire dvd library is ripped to Itunes)
Wireless N via Airport Extreme through house
10MB Cable Internet Connection

SandboxGeneral
Nov 14, 2011, 01:14 PM
Snip

So my question is, has anybody done this? How has it been going?

:apple:

I dumped my cable provider only after two months. Before I moved into the city, I didn't have broadband Internet and I refused to pay for cable/satellite so I was without TV for 7 years and it didn't bother me at all.

Once I moved into the city and got cable Internet, I thought I'd get their TV as well. I was so sick of the garbage and commercials and the price after two months that I dumped the TV service.

I have the ATV2 + Netflix streaming and it provides me all the entertainment I desire and a great price.

andrewsd
Nov 14, 2011, 01:15 PM
I have ditched cable and watch my soccer/football online or at a bar if need be. Apple tv and Xbox fit my needs for 16 a month and I don't mind being a week behind.

entropi
Nov 14, 2011, 01:23 PM
I haven't had a tv for 12 years... I get enough kicks out of looking at macs! :)

Wide opeN
Nov 14, 2011, 01:32 PM
If I didn't have kids I'd be free of my service as well.

Just might still.

rlu929s
Nov 14, 2011, 02:13 PM
Well I took the advice of the guy above and shaved $20 off my Dish bill by calling Dish and switching to the Welcome Pack for $14.99. That way I get my DVR, Locals and a few channels. I think mixing this with the ATV2 will get us all we need with the exception of an occasional show off itunes.

We still rent our movies off the Redbox for $1.

Dish Welcome Pack: http://www.dishnetwork.com/supportsection/channels/packagewelcomepack.aspx

cdavis11
Nov 14, 2011, 02:18 PM
Yep, 1 year ago this week.

I haven't missed it.

We use both aTV and Roku (for hulu as well as a netflix/MLB backup) and an OTA antenna.

Works great.

I just recently picked up an eyeTV/HDHomerun combo and am playing around with that for recording OTA shows. Works nicely so far.

PNutts
Nov 14, 2011, 04:42 PM
Well I took the advice of the guy above and shaved $20 off my Dish bill by calling Dish and switching to the Welcome Pack for $14.99. That way I get my DVR, Locals and a few channels. I think mixing this with the ATV2 will get us all we need with the exception of an occasional show off itunes.

We still rent our movies off the Redbox for $1.



Same here a few years ago except with Comcast. If I get rid of the US$14 package of basic cable, my Internet cost goes up US$14 because I no longer have a "package". The only thing we watch was PBS cartoons for the kids. Everything else we get on the Internet. Now that they're getting older we mostly stream Netflix and make the occassional Redbox purchase. We got rid of discs with Netflix and have streaming only.

shwc
Nov 14, 2011, 05:07 PM
I cut the cableTV six months ago. More than price, it was all the adds that drove me to cut the cable.

I now use a mac mini running plex and an apple TV to access online content. I am very happy with the setup. At first, I found it a little bewildering trying to decide what to watch (so many choices).

Home DVDs = used handbrake to RIP and plex to catalogue and play.

PBS = I use the plex PBS plugin.

The Daily Show = Plex's Daily show plugin.

Other misc content via plex plugins (TED talks, FORA TV, Hulu, etc)

Netflix = the plex netflix plugin is buggy, so I use the appleTV netflix plugin.

Itunes store (via apple TV) for new must watch TV (e.g., Dr. Who).

I save about $50 a month compared to cableTV.

dgalvan123
Nov 15, 2011, 11:45 AM
I finally have a setup that is sustainable for both me and my wife. We test-drove it for a few months, and then finally cancelled our Dish Network subscription.

Here's what we do:

-----------
Locals in HD:
we have an OTA antenna AND clear QAM cable from our internet cable provider. The OTA (we're in Los Angeles) is a good signal, and we get all the broadcast networks and PBS in both SD and HD. The clear QAM is the unencrypted stuff you get when you plug your co-axial cable into your TV and scan for channels. We are with Time Warner Cable and only pay them for internet, but they are required by law to provide you your local TV via the co-ax even if you don't pay them for it (as long as you are paying them for high-speed internet). They also have Discovery HD and AMC on there, so that's nice. If you are getting your high-speed internet from a cable company and are not paying for TV service, just try plugging your co-ax into your TV and scanning for channels. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised with the free content available.

Anyway, the OTA or clear QAM co-ax goes to an HD Homerun device, which is a dual-tuner device that connects to your router via ethernet cable and sends the TV signals out over your home network. Then I run EyeTV software on my macbook pro, which picks up the signal from the HD Homerun, and records the shows I tell it to (EyeTV + Mac = DVR), and auto-exports them to iTunes after recording. Then I just watch the recorded shows on my Apple TV2's, served from iTunes on my mac. This covers ~80% of what we watch, and has no monthly fee. . . just the upfront cost of the HD Homerun and EyeTV software ($179 for both from elgato), and the cost of the Apple TV's ($85 each refurbished from apple.com). You can expand it to any TV in your house by just buying another Apple TV; and those are wireless so it's very easy.

-----------
For cable content:
We like the Daily Show and my wife likes Project Runway. We could buy these on iTunes and watch them on the ATV, but that could get expensive (especially for the DailyShow, since it has so many episodes). So instead I jailbroke my ATV2, installed XBMC, installed the bluecop repository which includes the "Hulu" and "FreeCable" plugins which scrape TV shows from the websites and display them in 480p on the Apple TV. So we can watch those shows for free, with no commercials, on our big-screen TV.

All this took a while for me to figure out what worked best, and how to jailbreak the ATV, etc. But now that it is set up it works great and there is no real maintenance involved as long as you don't auto-update your apple TV firmware.

-----------
Regarding Dish Network:

You might want to look into their "welcome pack", as was mentioned by another commenter. That's the service I had with them: $15 for the welcome pack and $6/month for the DVR rental. $21/month really isn't that bad. I have no big complaints about Dish, but after I got my own system set up, I figured why keep paying even that $21/month. The only stuff we got on Dish that we don't easily get now are current episodes of Food Network shows like Barefoot Contessa. My wife likes that show, and there is a very old season available on iTunes, but otherwise I have searched high and low and you just can't get that particular content on the web.

ILikeTurtles
Nov 15, 2011, 12:01 PM
All these "setups" are great in their own way. But the major problem is still the fact that you have to hunt for your content. Which really sux. I ditched cable a year ago, and survived a few months before going back. Yes paying for TV sux, but the convenience of having one box that serves up all the channels (to me) is worth paying for.