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zdobson
Jun 29, 2010, 08:22 AM
I'm looking to drop cable TV, but I can't quite figure out how to get all my current content. I'm thinking I'll get a Mac Mini and hook it up to the TV and use Netflix and Hulu for most shows and movies, but I'll be missing a couple things...

1) Live sports. Specifically, I want to keep access to NFL games. Will eyeTV be the solution? This will work when the games are on local channels, but what about ESPN? Is there a way to watch it without cable? College basketball would be nice, too.

2) My wife won't let me drop cable until I make sure she can watch Oprah. Again, I think eyeTV with an antenna will pick up the signal over the air and allow me to record it. Is this right? I have to be able to record it for her.

If there are any other services I should know about or hardware/software I should use, I'm interested to hear about it. Thanks.



ftaok
Jun 29, 2010, 08:48 AM
1) Live sports. Specifically, I want to keep access to NFL games. Will eyeTV be the solution? This will work when the games are on local channels, but what about ESPN? Is there a way to watch it without cable? College basketball would be nice, too.NFL games on ESPN and NFL network will be a problem. You'll be able to get the games on Fox, CBS and NBC with an antenna or a Basic (Limited) cable subscription.

2) My wife won't let me drop cable until I make sure she can watch Oprah. Again, I think eyeTV with an antenna will pick up the signal over the air and allow me to record it. Is this right? I have to be able to record it for her.EyeTV would work fine for this.

If you're sticking with cable internet, it may cost the same to include Limited Basic cable. Most cable companies do not encrypt the local HD channels. Plus, you may get access to some other cable channels, for instance, in my neighborhood, TBS comes in unencrpyted (there are some late season and postseason MLB games on TBS).

I'd look into what's available on limited basic in your area before spending for an antenna.

ReggaeFire
Jun 29, 2010, 09:05 AM
1) Live sports. Specifically, I want to keep access to NFL games. Will eyeTV be the solution? This will work when the games are on local channels, but what about ESPN? Is there a way to watch it without cable? College basketball would be nice, too.


Live sports is the biggest problem with these scenarios. EyeTV and an antenna will get you all your local broadcasts quite well (in fact if you get good reception, OTA HD looks better than it does on cable)

There is no legal way to get ESPN without a cable/satellite subscription. There are people who stream it online illegally, it ends up being watchable, but only barely.

You can stream ESPN3 online free and it offers lots of college sports and various minor sports leagues and foreigns games.

If you want out of market NFL games semi-legally, you can find someone with DirecTV's Sunday Ticket and pay for them to upgrade to Superfan, then you can stream any game to your computer. If you have decent bandwidth it's actually a pretty good stream. The Superfan upgrade costs around $150.

ftaok
Jun 29, 2010, 09:30 AM
If you want out of market NFL games semi-legally, you can find someone with DirecTV's Sunday Ticket and pay for them to upgrade to Superfan, then you can stream any game to your computer. If you have decent bandwidth it's actually a pretty good stream. The Superfan upgrade costs around $150.
And even that is questionable in terms of legality.

The bottom line is that if you're an NFL fan and you need all the games, you need cable (well, really, you need DirecTV).

If you're just a MLB fan, a subscription to MLB.tv and an antenna will get you most of the games. But watch out if you live where your favorite team plays ... you might get hit with many many blackouts.

reebzor
Jun 29, 2010, 10:09 AM
blackouts.

thats when people need to google "proxy" and figure out what it means...

I'm leaning towards this same situation. The only sport I really care about is hockey (NHL) and that remains the only (justifiable) reason I still pay for cable TV. Sure sometimes its nice to just throw the TV on without "picking" something to watch. As much as I'd like to, I don't think I could get rid of my Cable TV and I envy those who are doing it. Good Luck!

zdobson
Jun 29, 2010, 10:22 AM
The bottom line is that if you're an NFL fan and you need all the games, you need cable (well, really, you need DirecTV).

I really only care about watching the Colts. I can get them on the local broadcast most weeks. I suppose I'd just have to go to someone else's house or the sports bar to catch Monday night games.

spice weasel
Jun 29, 2010, 11:31 AM
There is no legal way to get ESPN without a cable/satellite subscription. There are people who stream it online illegally, it ends up being watchable, but only barely.

Can you stream ESPN if you are just a cable internet subscriber, or do you need a television package as well? I ask only out of curiosity. I've made the decision to cut cable television out of my life and will be calling to cancel today. For the most part, the only shows I watch are on the networks, which I get fine via antenna. For most everything else there is Netflix. I'll just buy "Breaking Bad" on iTunes or wait for it to come to DVD. I don't watch ESPN regularly, but I'm curious about streaming it.

ftaok
Jun 29, 2010, 12:26 PM
I really only care about watching the Colts. I can get them on the local broadcast most weeks. I suppose I'd just have to go to someone else's house or the sports bar to catch Monday night games.

Well, you sound like the perfect candidate to cut the cable. Also, if Indy is anything like Philly, you won't miss the Colts even when they're on MNF or the NFL Network. In Philly, the local channels pick up the game when the Eagles are on cable.

jzuena
Jun 29, 2010, 01:16 PM
Well, you sound like the perfect candidate to cut the cable. Also, if Indy is anything like Philly, you won't miss the Colts even when they're on MNF or the NFL Network. In Philly, the local channels pick up the game when the Eagles are on cable.

I'm pretty sure that's the case throughout the NFL. Patriots games are on local TV whenever they are on ESPN or NFL Network as well.

Sky Blue
Jun 29, 2010, 01:21 PM
Can you stream ESPN if you are just a cable internet subscriber, or do you need a television package as well?

Yes, you can stream ESPN3 if you have just an Internet package. I do.

ESPN3 + Over the air has worked great for me, and it's free! (after the internet connection and the antenna).

zdobson
Jun 29, 2010, 01:24 PM
how is this for an antenna? (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882881003&cm_re=dtv_antenna-_-82-881-003-_-Product)

Tilpots
Jun 29, 2010, 01:26 PM
Just make sure that your internet provider is supported by ESPN3, not all are. Mine isn't, but on the reccomendation of an ESPN rep, I just use my parents login/password and the Remote Access works like a charm. BTW, cable sucks. Drop it.:)

Tilpots
Jun 29, 2010, 01:28 PM
how is this for an antenna? (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882881003&cm_re=dtv_antenna-_-82-881-003-_-Product)

Start here. (http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx)

Flash SWT
Jun 30, 2010, 11:36 PM
thats when people need to google "proxy" and figure out what it means...

MLB.tv blackouts are one of the main things keeping me tied to cable at the moment. They don't make any sense to me, I'd happily pay for the MLB.tv subscription (with commercials) to get the local games and not have to deal with Comcast.

I've been all over the web in regards to the proxy issue and the latest stuff I've been reading is that it is hit or miss. There seems to be no clear evidence that it will work reliably.

.

bigpatky
Jul 1, 2010, 09:11 AM
The only sport I really care about is hockey (NHL) and that remains the only (justifiable) reason I still pay for cable TV.

the NHL has NHL Gamecenter Live which is basically the same as mlb.tv. i actually think they're run by the same people, too. i haven't tried it yet, but i might this season.

spice weasel
Jul 1, 2010, 11:23 AM
I don't want to highjack this thread, but thought that I would add my very recent experience dropping cable to help inform others.

After hemming and hawing for the better part of a year, I finally decided to call Comcast and drop the television portion of my subscription. A while back I bought an antenna to see what kind of reception I got, and it works great for all channels except one channel I don't watch anyway. I have Netflix and watch a lot of streaming content. And of course there is Hulu and other free online content. Most important, I really only watch a handful of shows anyway, and all but one (Breaking Bad) are on the networks.

So I called Comcast to cancel. I drilled down the phone tree and selected the option to cancel service and got disconnected three times in a row as I waited for a customer service rep. So I decided to select "add service" and quickly got someone on the line. It may have just been coincidence, but given that it's Comcast I'm not so sure.

I canceled cable television even after a very hard sell to get me to keep it. My internet package went up slightly, but it is still cheaper than internet and television. I'm now saving $70 a month, and doubt I will be missing any of the content to which I no longer have access.

The rep told me that it would cost $30 for a tech to come out and disconnect the line. I asked her to waive the fee and she said she couldn't. So I told her it was a B.S. charge and I wasn't going to pay it. Then she said that the fee included picking up my DVR box. I replied that I would be more than happy to drop the box off at the local service center, which is only about two miles from my house. She finally gave in and waived the fee.

If and when cable companies go a la carte, I might come back. I understand the pros and cons of such a system, but I don't like how it disproportionately screws those viewers who are only interested in a few cable channels. We end up subsidizing tons of crap content for everyone else, lining the pockets of cable companies who are increasingly not on providing the pipes, but the content as well. It's double-dipping as far as I'm concerned.

Cut the cord my friends! It feels great.

MonkeyET
Jul 1, 2010, 12:07 PM
I have to agree with the notion that it is nice to break the line. I had cable, dropped it and went to DirecTV. In an effort to save money, I dropped them. It is amazing how much more time I have. My goal was to pocket the savings and add a Mac Mini to my home theater system. I am still having trouble saving the money, but it is still a hopeful for the future. Considering the recent Mac Mini update, the concept is much more enticing.

I agree that ESPN3 is great for getting the sports. I do not watch sports, but have been very interested in the World Cup over the last few weeks. I am interested to see how the content from ESPN3 looks on my TV.

If you get the locals from an antenna, even better. I have no reception in my area (but they list it as a high signal area), but if I could get reception I would be watching the World Cup!

Tilpots
Jul 1, 2010, 12:34 PM
I am interested to see how the content from ESPN3 looks on my TV.


For LIVE streaming over the internet, it's awesome. Is it as good as watching it in cable or broadcast HD? No. But it's pretty damn good. I"m a freak about picture quality and I don't mind watching it one bit. Did I mention that it's free? :)

irishv
Jul 1, 2010, 04:43 PM
I'm looking to drop cable TV, but I can't quite figure out how to get all my current content. I'm thinking I'll get a Mac Mini and hook it up to the TV and use Netflix and Hulu for most shows and movies, but I'll be missing a couple things...

1) Live sports. Specifically, I want to keep access to NFL games. Will eyeTV be the solution? This will work when the games are on local channels, but what about ESPN? Is there a way to watch it without cable? College basketball would be nice, too.

2) My wife won't let me drop cable until I make sure she can watch Oprah. Again, I think eyeTV with an antenna will pick up the signal over the air and allow me to record it. Is this right? I have to be able to record it for her.

If there are any other services I should know about or hardware/software I should use, I'm interested to hear about it. Thanks.

I'm in a very similar boat and am almost ready to pull the trigger on a new mini. My wife and I wach very little television save a few specific items, including college football, college basketball, NFL, Cubs, The Office, 30 Rock, Modern Family, and random crap on Discovery/HGTV/History/National Geographic/Bravo.

I have an extensive movie and tv show collection in my iTunes library fully tagged. We currently watch this via an AppleTV and iPhone for non-HD tv shows. I recently bought an HDHomeRun and great fantastic reception for all the local channels in Chicago (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, WGN, PBS, and a few others). At first streaming was awful, but then I realized my laptop was not connecting to the 5GHz band automatically. After setting up a separate SSID for 5GHz, it connected right away and streaming works great now. Not sure if that is an issue with Time Capsule or not.

I have been testing Plex on my laptop and it seems replacements exist for nearly everything we watch. OTA ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX will cover everything but the cable channels. There are Plex plugins for ESPN3, Hulu, HGTV and NG which seems to give us enough of those shows. The quality of OTA HD is much better than what I am currently getting from Comcast or from iTunes downloads. The streaming quality isn't fantastic, but not terrible depending on what we're watching.

The three big questions left for me are :

1) How to watch tv shows from my iTunes library in Plex. Movies integrated easily into the Plex library, but my tv shows are not named in the prefered format (S01E01). There is a big update coming for Plex and I hope it include reading file metadata instead of just scraping data from the file name.

2) How to streamline OTA streams from the HDHomeRun. There is an HDHomeRun plugin that works very well to open individual channel streams and lets you pause, but it does not incorporate a program guide or recording. The other option is buying EyeTV and launching it from the Applications Menu in Plex. This should close Plex, open EyeTV in fullscreen mode and then reopen Plex after you close EyeTV. They don't offer a demo, so I'm not entirely sure how smooth that transition is.

3) How to get HD movie rentals. iTunes HD rentals are apparently not offered for the mini, and iTunes DRM'd video will not play through Plex anyways. I have heard about an Amazon plugin and there is the option of subscribing to Netflix, but the quality of streaming HD content really doesn't sound great to me. I can obviously download HD movies (at a higher quality) from other sources, but would be happy to rent legally if possible.

Tilpots
Jul 1, 2010, 10:38 PM
I'm in a very similar boat and am almost ready to pull the trigger on a new mini. My wife and I wach very little television save a few specific items, including college football, college basketball, NFL, Cubs, The Office, 30 Rock, Modern Family, and random crap on Discovery/HGTV/History/National Geographic/Bravo.

I have an extensive movie and tv show collection in my iTunes library fully tagged. We currently watch this via an AppleTV and iPhone for non-HD tv shows. I recently bought an HDHomeRun and great fantastic reception for all the local channels in Chicago (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, WGN, PBS, and a few others). At first streaming was awful, but then I realized my laptop was not connecting to the 5GHz band automatically. After setting up a separate SSID for 5GHz, it connected right away and streaming works great now. Not sure if that is an issue with Time Capsule or not.

I have been testing Plex on my laptop and it seems replacements exist for nearly everything we watch. OTA ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX will cover everything but the cable channels. There are Plex plugins for ESPN3, Hulu, HGTV and NG which seems to give us enough of those shows. The quality of OTA HD is much better than what I am currently getting from Comcast or from iTunes downloads. The streaming quality isn't fantastic, but not terrible depending on what we're watching.

The three big questions left for me are :

1) How to watch tv shows from my iTunes library in Plex. Movies integrated easily into the Plex library, but my tv shows are not named in the prefered format (S01E01). There is a big update coming for Plex and I hope it include reading file metadata instead of just scraping data from the file name.

2) How to streamline OTA streams from the HDHomeRun. There is an HDHomeRun plugin that works very well to open individual channel streams and lets you pause, but it does not incorporate a program guide or recording. The other option is buying EyeTV and launching it from the Applications Menu in Plex. This should close Plex, open EyeTV in fullscreen mode and then reopen Plex after you close EyeTV. They don't offer a demo, so I'm not entirely sure how smooth that transition is.

3) How to get HD movie rentals. iTunes HD rentals are apparently not offered for the mini, and iTunes DRM'd video will not play through Plex anyways. I have heard about an Amazon plugin and there is the option of subscribing to Netflix, but the quality of streaming HD content really doesn't sound great to me. I can obviously download HD movies (at a higher quality) from other sources, but would be happy to rent legally if possible.

1.From what I've read, Plex .9 will be capable of scraping metadata from an individual file. It's still an unknown though until it's released.

2. The transition between Plex closing and EyeTV opening is about 30 sec - 1 minute. YMMV depending on the amount of RAM you have.

3.I've never tried to rent an HD movie on my Mini so I honestly don't know.

zdobson
Aug 24, 2010, 07:50 PM
UPDATE: I ended up getting This Samsung Blu-ray player (http://bit.ly/b4Ea5Z) that will stream both Netflix and Hulu Plus. My first choice probably would've been to get a Wii and Playon.tv, but I don't have a Windows machine.

zdobson
Aug 24, 2010, 07:50 PM
Also, might be a strange question, but can you output Hulu Plus from an iPhone to your TV?

knux11
Aug 25, 2010, 01:01 AM
Cable channels will NEVER be a la carte.


It seems y'all haven't heard of atdhe dot net. I still have cable because of my wife and kids, but everything i'd wanna watch is on that site. U can even watch it over a 3g connection if you have flash on your phone. I was watching the NBA finals on my Nexus One back when I had one.