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Old Jan 10, 2011, 07:55 PM   #1
Morrius
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Killing cable

The cost of my cable TV is going to go up drastically in six months, and I've been thinking about getting rid of it and replacing with an AppleTV, plus Netflix and Hulu Plus. Has anyone tried doing this? How hard is it to hack an ATV box to put Hulu Plus on it, and what other advantages/disadvantages are there?

If anyone out there does this, what speed internet connection do you have as well? I'm concerned that this can be a bottleneck.
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Old Jan 10, 2011, 10:29 PM   #2
gtmac
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I have the ATV2 and a couple of Rokus. Hulu Plus works great and the price is right. Personally I really hope that the ATV2 gets better as time goes on as for now I don't really use it at all.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 02:10 AM   #3
Morrius
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Roku is another possibility, since it comes with Hulu Plus capability. But I have a lot of stuff on my iPad, and I want to be able to stream it to the TV via AirPlay. So, a lack of AirPlay may be a dealbreaker for me.
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Old Jan 13, 2011, 05:45 PM   #4
badmac78
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Thumbs up no cable for 3 years

We have been cable free for 3 years now

PS3 for Hulu Plus
ATV for iTunes + Netflix
Tivo for anything we want to record that's not on Hulu, Netflix, or iTunes, but we bought an EyeTV and will be dropping Tivo soon.
email me if you have any more questions.
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Old Jan 13, 2011, 10:17 PM   #5
newagemac
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Get an antenna, EyeTV, and you don't need Hulu Plus and get more content and in higher quality than even cable or satellite. Use ATV2 for Netflix, iTunes, and everything else. I have a PS3 but only use it for Blu Ray rentals from Netflix and games. That's what I do. Haven't had cable for almost a year and don't miss it one bit. If you do a search there are a couple of long recent threads discussing this.
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 08:56 AM   #6
spice weasel
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I've been without cable for a while now and it's been great. They key to making the move, I think, is to enter with the understanding that you cannot exactly replicate the cable experience. You can come close by cobbling together a system, but there will likely be gaps. The trick is to understand what those gaps will be and determine if it's a problem for you.

I'll give you my example. I generally watch very little "live" television, and there are only a couple of shows that I regularly follow. I work during the weekdays, and don't watch very much television on weekends, so daytime television is not a concern for me. I use a simple combination of Netflix (both disc and streaming) via my Apple TV and my PS3, my own collection of DVD rips via the Apple TV (which I also use extensively for streaming my music library to my receiver), regular Hulu via a MacBook Pro I have hooked up to my television, and the occasional live broadcast. Since I am still a cable broadband subscriber (Comcast), I simply connected my coax right to the television for unencrypted access to the networks and PBS. Hulu acts as my DVR.

I generally don't watch sports, so missing out on ESPN doesn't bother me. There is only one cable show that I watch ("Breaking Bad"), so I'll have to either wait for the upcoming season to come out on disc or just buy it on iTunes. I'll probably do the latter. I've never had premium cable like HBO or Showtime, and have always watched those shows on disc.

I could simplify my system even more by just using my PS3 and signing up for Hulu Plus. But I like the Apple TV interface and I like streaming my music, and I don't watch enough network television shows to have a need for Hulu Plus.

So, in short, think about your viewing habits and what the bare minimum you would need in order to keep you a happy pop culture consumer. You can always add devices and services if you need them. Start with what I did: I cut out my cable and DVR for two weeks before I formally cancelled my service, just to see what it would be like. After a day I realized it was just fine.
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 06:52 PM   #7
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I've got a similar setup as others (ATV2, iMac, Airport Extreme Wireless, PS3, 47 Inch LED Backlit Samsung - and wife and I have iphones FWIW)

Anyway, we have a bundle service that we're going to try and eliminate (cable, internet, phone) and we're soon to nix the phone and cable then switch to bigger pipe for internet.

Now, here's my question: We tend to watch shows such as Breaking Bad, News Shows (Meet the Press), CNBC Business, Comedy central, and PBS shows - would we be able to pretty much access these shows via ATV2, PS3 or web stream?

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Old Jan 14, 2011, 07:33 PM   #8
spice weasel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junker View Post
I've got a similar setup as others (ATV2, iMac, Airport Extreme Wireless, PS3, 47 Inch LED Backlit Samsung - and wife and I have iphones FWIW)

Anyway, we have a bundle service that we're going to try and eliminate (cable, internet, phone) and we're soon to nix the phone and cable then switch to bigger pipe for internet.

Now, here's my question: We tend to watch shows such as Breaking Bad, News Shows (Meet the Press), CNBC Business, Comedy central, and PBS shows - would we be able to pretty much access these shows via ATV2, PS3 or web stream?

T.I.A.
You can get Breaking Bad on iTunes when the season starts, and then stream it to your ATV2. I don't think it's available for rental, but you'll have to check when the new season starts.

News can be harder. Some stuff is available for streaming, but the pickings are limited and they almost all require going through their web portal. That means hooking up either a dedicated HTPC or a makeshift one like I use with my laptop. I know that MSNBC offers some of their shows via podcast, so you just have to subscribe on your computer via iTMS. CBS does the same for some of its news programming. It will be a day late, though. Network news you can watch live if you get good OTA reception or maintain cable broadband and get unencrypted network television that way.
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 07:56 PM   #9
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Thanks for the reply Spice Weasel, that's pretty much what I suspected without really doing much research into and it's what I was afraid of... but ultimately, I need to not watch programming and focus more on life!

I'll look into the podcasts.

One thing I failed to mention is that I plan to try various antenna's to the samsung...One being rabbit ears, then if that's too little/too weak - will look into mounting on roof the style (I hear great things about the roof version)

Even some Local HD hopefully!
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 08:23 PM   #10
Mac.World
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For those that want the basic channels CBS, ABC, CW, FOX, NBC and PBS streamed: http://www.ustvnow.com/

If you watch Spike TV: http://www.boxlive.tv/channels/spiketv21 (Good for the Ultimate Fighter fans)
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 08:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post
For those that want the basic channels CBS, ABC, CW, FOX, NBC and PBS streamed: http://www.ustvnow.com/

If you watch Spike TV: http://www.boxlive.tv/channels/spiketv21 (Good for the Ultimate Fighter fans)
Well, that's interesting! Thanks! So, do I have to pay for this? I see they want me to subscribe.... and how would I stream this to my TV? Thru my PS3? I don't think I can use Airplay for this.
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 09:09 PM   #12
adbe
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Originally Posted by junker View Post

One thing I failed to mention is that I plan to try various antenna's to the samsung...One being rabbit ears, then if that's too little/too weak - will look into mounting on roof the style (I hear great things about the roof version)
!
If you're going to get a roof antenna spend the money and get a decent one. Also be sure to look at your local transmitter maps for the proper orientation.

I dropped Comcast last year. OTA HD is far better quality than DirecTV or Comcast, and unlike DirecTV, I've yet to lose a signal in a storm.

For reference http://tvfool.com has good details on coverage, and antenna orientation tools.
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 09:20 PM   #13
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If you're going to get a roof antenna spend the money and get a decent one. Also be sure to look at your local transmitter maps for the proper orientation.
In regards to "where to point your antenna", I just wanted to mention for anyone that may not already know about it:
http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/Address.aspx

If you enter in your street address, it will recommend the best style of antenna for you, and show you exactly which way to position it.

Very cool site for anyone doing over-the-air stuff.
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Old Jan 15, 2011, 03:21 AM   #14
Mac.World
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Well, that's interesting! Thanks! So, do I have to pay for this? I see they want me to subscribe.... and how would I stream this to my TV? Thru my PS3? I don't think I can use Airplay for this.
There is no subscription for the basic channels I mentioned. If you want all the channels they offer, then that requires more info than a simple login name and password (which is all that is required for those basic 6 TV stations.)

Considering I don't live in the U.S., I was pleasantly surprised at how well the website works.

And yes, this is a website and not to be used with the ATV. I have a PC hooked up to my TV to watch this sort of thing. PS3 would work fine as well.
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Old Jan 15, 2011, 12:47 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post
There is no subscription for the basic channels I mentioned. If you want all the channels they offer, then that requires more info than a simple login name and password (which is all that is required for those basic 6 TV stations.)

Considering I don't live in the U.S., I was pleasantly surprised at how well the website works.

And yes, this is a website and not to be used with the ATV. I have a PC hooked up to my TV to watch this sort of thing. PS3 would work fine as well.
...Seems like I read somewhere that PS3 wouldn't play Flash thru its internet browser, which is what this particular site runs on.

So, again I ask - how would one stream these shows, from sites like this, to the TV?
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Old Jan 15, 2011, 01:43 PM   #16
aristobrat
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Hook a computer directly to your tv.
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Old Jan 15, 2011, 02:12 PM   #17
Mac.World
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Hook a computer directly to your tv.
Which is what I have done. Although, I didn't realize that the PS3 couldn't play flash. I don't own one.
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Old Jan 15, 2011, 03:16 PM   #18
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Hook a computer directly to your tv.
lol - true. I guess that's about the only solution left. Not very elegant or Wireless, but it'll do.

Now I've got to figure the best method there... since my macbook doesn't have an HDMI out... guess I'll have to run both audio and video out. Ugh.

Does anyone have ideas on best way to do this - macbook to a Samsung 47 inch LED Backlit?

mini-dvi - HDMI?
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Old Jan 15, 2011, 03:41 PM   #19
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lol - true. I guess that's about the only solution left. Not very elegant or Wireless, but it'll do.

Now I've got to figure the best method there... since my macbook doesn't have an HDMI out... guess I'll have to run both audio and video out. Ugh.

Does anyone have ideas on best way to do this - macbook to a Samsung 47 inch LED Backlit?

mini-dvi - HDMI?
Yes, you can get the connector you need off e-bay. I take it you have one of the older Macbook's, so you will also need a male to male speaker (green ends) line to go from the computer to the TV.

If you want to make life easier on yourself, buy a Windows 7 PC or laptop for under $400. It will have everything you need, to include HDMI out.
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Old Jan 15, 2011, 04:39 PM   #20
Morrius
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I've got a PS3, so I could get my Hulu fix through that, and use ATV for Netflix and AirPlay. How fast of an internet connection do you need for things like ATV?

I've never heard of eyeTV. What does it do, and how does it work? Putting an antenna on my roof isn't an option, the building I live in is considered historical and I can't put up antennas or satellite dishes or anything like that.

How much content is on Hulu Plus? I also want the ability to watch football games. What are my options for this?
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Old Jan 15, 2011, 06:26 PM   #21
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I've got a PS3, so I could get my Hulu fix through that, and use ATV for Netflix and AirPlay. How fast of an internet connection do you need for things like ATV?

I've never heard of eyeTV. What does it do, and how does it work? Putting an antenna on my roof isn't an option, the building I live in is considered historical and I can't put up antennas or satellite dishes or anything like that.

How much content is on Hulu Plus? I also want the ability to watch football games. What are my options for this?
There are no (legal) ways to watch football over the internet (if you live in the US). I guess you could buy a DirectTV subscription, never install the dish and just use their internet streaming, but that seems silly.

You need either cable or an antenna of some sort. If you get your internet from the cable company you may be able to get your local channels for free just by connecting the coax to your tv.
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Old Jan 16, 2011, 06:40 AM   #22
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I'm surprised nobody mentioned the xbox 360. You can stream espn college football and basketball games in hd. They also occasionally have NBA basketball, boxing, and soccer games too. Once hulu plus comes to xbox live, I think the apple tv and xbox will be the ultimate media center. The only downside to xbox live is that it's 50 bucks a year but if you're like me and already have 3 xboxs in the house, you can get the family pack for only 100 bucks a year. Still less than the cost of cable.
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Old Jan 16, 2011, 08:07 AM   #23
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I'm surprised nobody mentioned the xbox 360. You can stream espn college football and basketball games in hd. They also occasionally have NBA basketball, boxing, and soccer games too. Once hulu plus comes to xbox live, I think the apple tv and xbox will be the ultimate media center. The only downside to xbox live is that it's 50 bucks a year but if you're like me and already have 3 xboxs in the house, you can get the family pack for only 100 bucks a year. Still less than the cost of cable.
Only problem with XBox is when, not if, but when it is going to break down. I currently own both a newer one and an older gen white version. I got the red ring of death on the old one about a year after ownership and had it fixed by M$ and when I bought the new one a couple months back, it was defective right out of the box. Obviously no QA done on it. Luckily, I was able to replace it. I baby the crap out of my M$ products, cause they are so fragile.

I never recommend any M$ hardware to anyone. And if you are going to cut your cable line, I def don't recommend using an XBox. You are just setting yourself up for disappointment.
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 09:06 AM   #24
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Only problem with XBox is when, not if, but when it is going to break down. I currently own both a newer one and an older gen white version. I got the red ring of death on the old one about a year after ownership and had it fixed by M$ and when I bought the new one a couple months back, it was defective right out of the box. Obviously no QA done on it. Luckily, I was able to replace it. I baby the crap out of my M$ products, cause they are so fragile.

I never recommend any M$ hardware to anyone. And if you are going to cut your cable line, I def don't recommend using an XBox. You are just setting yourself up for disappointment.
That sucks about your new one. You are the first person that I have ever heard of having a problem with the new models. I guess I have been lucky because I own 2 older elites and 1 newer slim and I have never had a problem yet (knocks on wood).
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 09:13 AM   #25
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I've cut my cable down to basic. Its verizon fios triple play for $99 and thats it.

The apple tv thing is hit or miss. I have netflix set up on there, but for example last night, it wasn't working for a good two hours. If you go to the Netflix website, theyre trouble shooting suggestion is to reset the apple tv, and then contact apple. Apple's suggestion is to contact Netflix.

Apple tv is a nice little gadget. But it's still a few yrs away from replacing cable completely.
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