Cutting the Cable Cord

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by phas3, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. macrumors 65816

    Oct 5, 2008
    I don't know where to start with this, I want to cut the cable and just be watch what me and my gf want to watch without having to pay 150 per month.

    I have a mac mini right now that I use with plex to watch movies. Here are a list of stations that is a must for us since we watch a lot of tv shows:

    Food Network
    Travel Channel
    Animal Planet
    cartoon network

    that's all I can think of right now, but yeah we don't need all the other stuff.

    What would you guys recommend me do?
  2. macrumors 68040


    Oct 29, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Hulu+ have most of the show on those networks (Check the list here), it will cost you only $7.99/m and whatever is not available there you can get off the networks websites.

    There is not other (legal) way to get those shows from those networks.
  3. macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    If you have cable internet or live in a good area a boxee box plus boxee live will meet your needs with no monthly fee unless you want Hulu or Netflix.
  4. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 5, 2008
    I have cable internet hmmm
  5. macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2012
    If thats your must have list then you have no choice but to keep paying them $150/mo, period. You can't save $150 a month and not make some sacrifices. Otherwise everyone would be done with cable/satellite. Sure alot of those channels you can find streams for with xbmc and navi-x plugin, but the streams are not fool-proof and may not be available at any time. When choosing not to pay for tv you really have no choice but to take what is there and be happy with it, otherwise you need to pay the cable company and then you have someone you can call and complain to when the channel doesn't work as it should.


    Cutting the cord is not just about saving money, its about filling your life with other activites. I paid $150/mo for directv for many many years and got to the point i could no longer afford or justify the cost. Sure many of my must haves were on the list you had posted as well, but it came to a point where i could no longer justify watching tv vs putting food on the table. So i took the plunge and cut the cord. It was the best thing i've done in quite some time. Trust me you won't miss many of those shows. You may miss them for about 2 weeks and then after that you'll forget all about them. Most of the decent programming you can get on hulu and netflix anyhow for $7.99/ea per month.
  6. macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    First of all, do you have time to watch movies as well? Really? ;) Second of all, what I would recommend you to do is turn the TV off for a week or two...

    To be honest, it seems like you guys are actually using up all the 150 bucks a month and won't really be able to find a better solution. Unless you're willing to go the illegal route. I mean, you're watching 17 networks, if all you watch is one show per network then you're paying two bucks per episode. A pretty decent price to be fair.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    You can get most of those networks through Netflix streaming if you're willing to be a season behind. I don't think HBO has any of their shows on Netflix, but you could get them through iTunes if you want. You can get the big broadcast networks over the air in most locations - see for info on what kind of antenna you need at your address. Since you didn't list sports as a must have, you're in a lot better shape than most people who ask this question.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    Buy an Apple TV.
    Jailbreak it.
    Install XBMC.
    Install the Bluecop Repository.
    Install the Hulu and Free Cable add-ons.

    This will get you most of the content you mention, with the exception of HBO, Showtime, and other premium pay channels. For that you could just use iTunes.
  9. macrumors 6502


    Mar 14, 2004
    I cut my cable service and I'm loving it. I'm watching more movies and I'm reading more. And I'm saving a bunch of cash.

    I thought I'd miss sports, but I can watch online hockey streams or listen to it on the radio or even see games at a pub. Honestly though, how much sports does a person need to watch?
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2009
    just get playon, install windows, and vmware or parrallels and stream to xbmc on mac, and ur done!

    playon has all those channels plus adds in netflix under your account and hulu!

    its worth it!

    i dropped dtv, and use playon for everything now!

    including sports and everything else!
  11. macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2002
    Well, I follow soccer, and there is ALWAYS a league somewhere worth watching.:D
  12. macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2008
    That's a pretty impressive list on Hulu+. Wondering how many if any of these shows are in HD?
  13. ea9
    macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2011
    Of course
  14. macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2012
    Use plex if you have a mac and playon if you run windows on your main pc. Plex will do pretty much what playon does but its more user-friendly.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2010
    Last I saw Hulu Plus was in 720 and not 1080. Maybe they've updated.

    Anyway I was going to do this same thing and cut the cord but they reduced me back to the original triple play bundle (99) for 12 months. I'll pursue it again when the 12 months is up.

    I'd have to pay $50 for the cable internet anyway, so even at best case scenario for our needs, I'm looking at around $15 for Basic Cable, $5 for the box rental, and we're a big fan of the DVR service for another $10 per month. So, that's $30 + $50, or $80, and we'd want Hulu Plus to supplement our other shows. With basic cable, too, we'd have the ability to use On Demand, but not all of our favorite shows appear the next day, and we'd have to wait in some cases 8 or 9 days for them to appear.

    So, add your Hulu Plus subscription and we're now up to $90ish. Don't forget the triple play bundle also gives you landline phone service, so that's another $20ish per month I'm saving compared to using a service like Vonage.

    When all is said and done I'm not going to go bananas for this to save $10 per month. I'm not sure I can even buy a latte and a breakfast pastry for $10 anymore.

    It's a great idea in theory, but unless you're willing to hook up your high tech TV to rabbit ears, it just doesn't seem like it'll work in my particular circumstance.

    I suppose you could roll the dice and try MagicJack or something for your phone service if you truly wanted to have a landline, and maybe ditch the cable entirely and buy an antenna and get local channels, and do the rest via the internet.

    I'm actually very surprised that there's no online-provider (like VOIP to regular phone service, something like TVOIP-television over internet) that charges like, $25 a month for the same thing.

    I think part of the things that made me mad about Hulu Plus was that some of our favorite shows like Chopped on Food Network were just clips, and they didn't have the real show.

    An alternative to this, of course, is to use your "savings" and buy the Season Pass for all your favorite shows on iTunes, where they download automatically on the same date/time that they air... And then watch them like you normally would.

    Again, a big problem with this is that it's 720p, not 1080. Perhaps this will change in the future. When that happens, I will strongly consider truly getting rid of cable.
  16. macrumors 68040

    Aug 10, 2008
    I'm thinking about doing it in steps. 1st try this for a week or 2, then go to just basic cable with Hulu and Netflix and go from there.
  17. macrumors 68040


    Oct 29, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Yeah it is 720, with some few on 1080i broadcast.

    In your case make sense to stay on cable, but you are on the high side on the Internet, I pay $20 for 12Mbit down service, plus, Hulu, Netflix and some shows here and there on itunes I end up paying about $45 (including intennet), I haven't had a phone line forever I use my cellphone.
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2010
    Yup Cablevision has this area on lock down. I live in a townhouse so I don't have access to FIOS and DSL isn't an option.

    I'd love to have a better option, they just don't exist in this part of the country.

    If Hulu was able to show CBS I would cancel cable in a second, or at least my DVR. The landline is nice to have but I agree with you. I don't think it's worth the $25 we are charged every month.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2010
    What's Free Cable add on? I can't seem to find any info on it. Google searches just show me how to steal coax cable tv.
  20. macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2009
    I did the same thing in November 2010. We kept cable, but didn't use it - it really helped with the WAF to have the cable there as a backup, but I had her onboard for the potential savings.

    We tried streaming with the safety net of still having our cable turned on for about 2 weeks, then took the plunge - it was a great decision, and a good way to do it for us. Turning in the boxes was fun too!

    The one thing I did notice - after a couple of months of streaming only, you will want an antenna of some kind for local news. I put a Terk HDTVa in and was able to pull in a few local stations, which was all we needed.

    Kids programming was a challenge at first - but Netflix has really stepped up and added quite a lot of good kids stuff over the past 6 months (we have a 3 and a 5 year old).

    Since then, i've added a Silicon Dust HD Homerun tuner and EyeTV. That is set up to record OTA shows and dump them into iTunes for viewing on the Apple TVs. That let us cancel Hulu Plus - another hundred and something a year saved!

    Between the OTA antenna for news, The EyeTV setup, Netflix and the occasional season pass on iTunes we're saving between 4 and $500 a year - and we don't have to watch any commercials! My kids don't get a big case of the "wants" from being advertised to - it's wonderful.

    Another benefit - because you aren't locked into some dumb bundle deal you have much more negotiating power when you call in to lower your internet payment - we still use our local cable co (TWC) for internet as it's the best option.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    Let me share my experience because I was once where you are now.

    First TV:
    We used to pay Dish Network ~$60/month for more channels than we watched. Then we downgraded to the Dish "Welcome Pack", which when combined with DVR service was only $21/month. Pretty good.

    But NOW my only monthly cost related to TV is $1.67 per month (ie: $20 per YEAR).

    I canceled our satellite service 4 months ago and my wife and I are still very glad we did. We're saving $220+ per year compared to the $21/month Dish subscription, or $700 per year compared to the $60+/month we paid earlier. and still watching as much TV as we would like to.

    Here's what we do for TV:

    We pay $45/month for Time Warner internet. They claim "up to 10 mbps" but in my tests I usually get 12-15 mbps. (Note that previously we had been paying $40/month for DSL. Doing more video streaming over the web required a faster connection.)

    We don't pay them for cable TV, Time Warner apparently doesn't scramble their clear QAM basic cable signals, so we get all our locals, the broadcast networks (CBS/NBC/ABC/FOX), PBS, AMC, and discovery channel in HD at no extra charge. Even without this "perk", though, I have a rooftop antenna and I get the same (except for AMC and Discovery) for free that way.

    This signal goes into an HD Homerun tuner, which sends the stream over my local network through my router and into my Mac, where the EyeTV software serves as our DVR. (that's where we pay the $20/year for TV Guide information). EyeTV records the shows, and converts them to iTunes so that they are available on our Apple TVs (2nd generation).

    That handles most of our shows. For the others, I jailbroke my Apple TV (2nd generation) so it plays free Hulu (or Hulu plus, but I'm not a subscriber), so this handles a good portion of the shows we are interested in. I also installed the "Free Cable" plugin for XBMC, which handles things that Hulu doesn't (like CBS shows). This process was free. There's another thread of mine in this forum that tells you how to do it, step by step.

    Now, phone:
    I was previously paying $16/month to AT&T for a land line with as minimal features as possible.

    MagicJack is $20/YEAR ($1.67/month, a little more than one TENTH the cost) and provides a dongle that lest you plug any land-line phone into a USB port on your computer.

    Instead, I use NetTalk. They charge $30 per year (the first year costs $50 to include the cost of the device, every year after that is $30/year). The device plugs directly into your router Ethernet port, so you don't use up a USB port on your computer. Then you plug your phone into that device. It also allows you to Fax over this phone line, which I think MagicJack does not.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    It enables streaming of lots of cable TV shows. some that Hulu includes, some that Hulu doesn't include. I don't actually know HOW it works, just that it does. Perhaps it somehow scrapes the videos from the cable and network TV websites?

    I used it last weekend to watch Person of Interest, a CBS show, since Hulu doesn't carry CBS shows and since my DVR skipped the episode. Worked great.

    Oh, and the Free Cable add-on is in the Bluecop repository, which is what you'd need to install to get Hulu anyway. So just to the same things you'd do to enable Hulu on your ATV. At some point you'll see a list of add-ons in the bluecop repository, and you'll just check off the ones you want to install. In addition to Hulu, install Free Cable as well.
  23. macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    I agree. I've been cable-free for two years now. I never watched that much television anyway, but it took some getting used to at first. Quickly, though, I realized that most of the time the tv was on I wasn't really paying attention anyway. It was just background noise while my attention was elsewhere. Now I just watch a handful of shows on Hulu and Netflix, and spend the rest of my time doing other things.

    There's no sense in cutting the cord and then dumping tons of cash on attempts to replicate your television experience. Instead, you need to focus on the few things you really enjoy watching and then spend your money and time doing other worthwhile things. For me, that means reading, listening to music, spending more time outdoors, etc.
  24. macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2012
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Cutting the cord is amazing. After being downgraded from Direct Tv to Time Warner cable due to stupid trees after we moved i became immediately fed up after having to replace my DVR 3 times in 3 months and channels being blacked out for days on end for no reason.

    What we did after canceling cable
    1. Kept the cable modem from Time Warner for $45/month and purchased an Apple Airport Extreme.
    2. started with one apple tv and a Netflix subscription.
    3. HD attena is hooked up for over the air channels
    4. For sports I get MLBtv and NHL gamecenter through my apple tv and NFL Sunday Ticket through my PS3. For daily recaps it's the Dan Patrick show podcast and B.S Report through iTunes on my iPhone on my drive home from work.
    5. We purchase about 3 shows a week on average through iTunes. I say on average cuz you have to remember most shows are only 13 episodes long. At 2.99 per HD episode it's not too bad, plus if you are only buying shows you can't live without chances are at some point down the line you rewatch them so owning them is pretty sweet. So far Netflix has been great for watching seasons of shows we never had before, like Breaking Bad.
    6. After about 6 months we have upped our Apple products to a 2nd Apple tv for the bedroom and a Mac mini that we use as a HTPC hooked up to our 52" LCD tv in the living room.

    Our family has been very happy with this set up so far. I can't figure out how much we're saving because some weeks we might buy 5 episodes and 2 complete seasons of a show and some weeks we don't buy anything. In the end, I know that I am saving money, just not sure how much due to the variable episode buying, but it is nice to only pay for what I want when I want it. Oh, and no commercials except for on the sports programs is amazing!

    Don't be afraid to try it out if you have a fast Internet connection.
  25. macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2011
    Been Dish free for 6 months now and dont regret it
    I installed an OTA for local HD stations and use ATV2 for Netflix and streaming iTunes files. At this point I think it is great. I am saving around $800 a year and really not missing a whole lot. Also using Handbreak and Make MKV and iTunes, I now am able to enjoy the 268 DVD's and 658 CD's I have collected over the years with a connivence level I could have only dreamed of years ago.

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