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Old Sep 10, 2010, 09:30 AM   #1
RCGMac
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Dumping Comcast - Old ATV, Older Mac Mini or What?

So my introductory period on Comcast has expired. My relatively reasonable bill of $55/mo has ballooned to $100. I have realized that I watch such a small portion of the channels available. All of this has lead me into doing some research on alternatives for my media consumption.

I have narrowed my choices down to an old ATV, a Mac Mini or another solution like the Boxee Box or Roku. I have an Xbox 360 that I use for NetFlix Streaming. My HD TV is a 720p/1080i set, so no need to obsess over 1080p content. I have a few questions for the experts who have cut the cord with Cable.

1. My research has shown that at one time Boxee was very sluggish on TV, is this still the case?
2. The $149.00 price for the old TV is very tempting. I have some media on iTunes and some ripped DVD's that would work. Is the old TV a good deal for Boxee use (Hulu Content) and my iTunes/ripped DVD content or am I just pixxing my money away?
3. Would I be better off picking up an older Mac Mini, I could run Plex, Boxee, etc. with higher performance? If so, how old of a Mac Mini is usable as an HTPC?
4. Is there another solution that I am missing?

I would like to make this decision before my next billing cycle starts on the 26th. Thank you to everyone for your help!
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Old Sep 10, 2010, 09:35 AM   #2
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I'd go with an older Mini + pled + TV ariel for the OTA channels.
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Old Sep 10, 2010, 10:09 AM   #3
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If I were in your situation, I would just use an old (intel mind you) Mac Mini with Boxee installed, or something similar.

I actually am considering this myself, since well, there's very few TV channels that I actually watch, but the one thing putting me off is quite simply that Boxee doesn't seem to have much support for UK users. Currently, the only sites it's compatible with seem to be US only, although that could be changing. It's been a while since I tried out Boxee.
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Old Sep 10, 2010, 10:15 AM   #4
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I cut the cord with DirecTV last month, and here's what I did:

1. ATV with ATV Flash (or Patchstick, if you prefer) to run XBMC, which I use to stream content from my NAS.

2. Roku HD-SR to access my Netflix instant queue.

3. OTA antenna for local stations.

This setup gives me pretty much everything I need, especially when used in conjunction with utorrent and an rss feed or two connected to it.
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Old Sep 10, 2010, 10:20 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by RCGMac View Post
3. Would I be better off picking up an older Mac Mini, I could run Plex, Boxee, etc. with higher performance? If so, how old of a Mac Mini is usable as an HTPC?
This is what I'd do so long as you don't need to audio-outs (e.g., one for TV, one for receiver). Put Plex on it and you'd be in great shape.
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Old Sep 10, 2010, 10:43 AM   #6
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Well I just got off the phone with Comcast, I was able to drop my bill to $45.00 thanks to their Digital Economy. Gives me local HD, plus a few of the digital channels I watch, Food Network, Discovery, Comedy Central, etc. We will see how this works for the next few months and see how the internet TV market matures. I may still pick up an old ATV on the cheap for the bedroom.

Thank you for all of your insights, but please continue, I would love to hear more!
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Old Sep 10, 2010, 11:55 AM   #7
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I wish I could eliminate my Satellite subscription but I just think there are way too many tv shows I like.
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Old Sep 10, 2010, 01:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RCGMac View Post
Well I just got off the phone with Comcast, I was able to drop my bill to $45.00 thanks to their Digital Economy. Gives me local HD, plus a few of the digital channels I watch, Food Network, Discovery, Comedy Central, etc. We will see how this works for the next few months and see how the internet TV market matures. I may still pick up an old ATV on the cheap for the bedroom.

Thank you for all of your insights, but please continue, I would love to hear more!
I'm glad you managed to get a good deal. I got tired of calling Comcast every 6 months to try and wheel and deal a good rate on my cable and internet subscription, so a couple of months ago I decided to drop cable TV altogether.

At first I thought I'd have to come up with some other way to get my media. I have a PS3 that I use for Netflix, a laptop I occasionally connect to my TV for Hulu, and use my QAM tuner for television. But in the end, I found that I barely watch television anymore. In fact, aside from some Netflix movies, my TV has hardly been on at all this summer. That might change as the days get shorter and cooler, but I've been spending my evenings reading and listening to music. I find that much more enjoyable.

I know this doesn't really answer your question, but my point is that you might find that you won't really need alternative ways to get your content if you cut cable; you might just end up doing other things instead.
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Old Sep 10, 2010, 01:42 PM   #9
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I'm glad you managed to get a good deal. I got tired of calling Comcast every 6 months to try and wheel and deal a good rate on my cable and internet subscription, so a couple of months ago I decided to drop cable TV altogether.
Yeah, I mainly ended up cutting the cost down because I downgraded my service. Sure I won't be able to get some of the channels I watch now, but alot of the shows I watch are now on Netflix.

Quote:
At first I thought I'd have to come up with some other way to get my media. I have a PS3 that I use for Netflix, a laptop I occasionally connect to my TV for Hulu, and use my QAM tuner for television. But in the end, I found that I barely watch television anymore. In fact, aside from some Netflix movies, my TV has hardly been on at all this summer. That might change as the days get shorter and cooler, but I've been spending my evenings reading and listening to music. I find that much more enjoyable.

I know this doesn't really answer your question, but my point is that you might find that you won't really need alternative ways to get your content if you cut cable; you might just end up doing other things instead.
This is so very true. In all honesty, the TV is only usually on for background noise and to drown out the staircase next to my apartment. I am usually always doing something else when the TV is on. I recently bought a NOOK, so I have been spending a lot of my evenings reading with some music on.

I may pick up an ATV for cheap and use it for storing my movies, watching full screen podcasts (make up for cutting out CNN and MSNBC), and Boxee for Hulu Content. In the grand scheme of things, $150.00 is pretty cheap for such a versatile box.
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Old Sep 10, 2010, 01:56 PM   #10
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Do what I did:

1) Call Comcast with the intentions of canceling your cable.
2) When they ask why tell them "I could afford the promotional rate, but since it expired I can no longer afford TV service."
3) They will likely give you some sort of promotion for another year or 6mo.

If you still actually want to drop the cable service, get a mac mini with plex.
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