AppleTV vs. Cable

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by FaasNat, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. FaasNat macrumors regular

    FaasNat

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    #1
    Okay, so I've been teetering on picking up on the AppleTV. I guess I am going to get one, I'm just hoping for a hardware refresh (since it's been so long since the last one -- but that's a different thead).

    I recall reading someone's thread about ditching cable TV for the AppleTV and thought it was a neat idea so I looked into it myself. However, I found many of the shows I watch and my wife watches are not on the iTunes.

    Also, iTunes doesn't provide quick previews of the TV shows. The ones I tried to watch only had 30 seconds and was only of the opening credits/song/video montage/etc. Not something that can replace channel surfing at the time.

    Anyways, here is a listing of shows that we watch that aren't on iTunes.

    The Mole, Amazing Race, Smallville, So You Think You Can Dance, America's Best Dance Crew, a whole bunch of We-type stuff (don't know the names, but was told they weren't there), some sports stuff (not ones from the old archive), Ninja Warrior, and a bunch of kid's shows for my daughter.

    If it wasn't for NBC coming back to iTunes, there'd be more on that list. Just wondering what shows y'all watch that are missing from iTunes?
     
  2. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    #2
    I don't think I could live with just an AppleTV.

    Right now I have a HD TiVo hooked to an antenna on my roof that records all of my ABC, CBS, NBC, FOW and CW shows (in perfect digital quality). It costs me $12.95/month for the TiVo service, $0/month for the actual TV signal. If I had to pay $10+/month for an iTunes subscription for every show I watch on those channels, it wouldn't be cost efficient at all to have ditched DirecTV for me!

    I use the AppleTV + iTunes (or torrents) for shows I can't get locally.

    All in all, I'm satisfied. It'd be thrilled if I could get ALL of the shows I used to watch, but even now, I can't find a source for "Property Ladder" and "Flip That House". :(
     
  3. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #3
    I've been toying with the idea of dropping cable for a while now. With two little kids, the budget could use the $50/mo boost that dropping cable would provide.

    I'm lucky enough to live in an area where ATSC reception is decent and I already have an OTA-DVR ... so theorectically, I could record/watch all of the network programming that I want for free.

    For the cable shows that we watch, we could get them off of iTunes (BSG, Bravo shows, etc), but we'd lose many live sports and ESPN.

    I figure that a Mac mini would work better for my situation since I could go to Hulu to watch some shows that way. Or maybe aTV should allow for Hulu access.

    ft
     
  4. FaasNat thread starter macrumors regular

    FaasNat

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    #4
    I forgot about that show Flip That House. Heh. Those were fun to watch. Man, there were some homes that just didn't turn out right..... Heh. It was interesting to see some of the shortcuts people would take to save money.

    --

    I was also thinking about a Mini. Just wondering, how would the Mini handle DD5.1 from it's optical out with movies converted in Handbrake? Could also install Windows in a VM and stream Netflix movies as well...
     
  5. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #5
    I have basic-extended, it's free to me. The ATV supplies me with all the shows I want to watch and will agree to purchase. There are shows I miss but not enough to buy such as "Flip this House" and other ones like that. Having basic cable and ATV I've noticed I do not watch TV much. I always TIVO'd everything. I simply couldn't just sit around and watch TV unless I was ill. I would say that overall I spend less than what I would spend if I had digital cable + a DVR.

    That said, it is possible, but you have to know what you may miss. As for a hardware refresh ... what exactly do you want it to do? ATV isn't going to be more than it is simply because if they put a DVR in it (which is my wish) that blows the iTunes store out of the water. Why? Because you'd simply record the shows you want and not pay the price in the iTunes store.

    The hard drives are the hard drives. 40gb for those who know they'll stream most content (or they have little content and have no plans for expansion) or 160 gb for those who would prefer to store (like me).
     
  6. FaasNat thread starter macrumors regular

    FaasNat

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    #6
    Wow, free TV? I wish I could get some of that. Is that OTA?

    As for the hardware refresh -- basically the ability to increase the storage without having to hack it up. Don't want to be streaming my iTunes stuff since the network at my house isn't the greatest (not hardwired and the wireless signal isn't that strong).



    ...there was another show I was thinking of for the list, but can't remember what it was now.... Heh. Oh well....
     
  7. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    Feb 10, 2004
    #7
    I just got an AppleTV (love it) and I'm ditching cable. I'll be going to the OTA TiVo route as well, but all I have is a Series2 at the moment, so that's only going to be good until February. I'm hoping the TiVo HD goes under $100 by then. I'll up my Netflix plan by 1 and buy a few cable shows from iTMS. I should have around $350-400 per year, at my best guess. Pay for the AppleTV in 6 months, and the TiVoHD (plus an antenna) in the next 6, hopefully. After that it's just money in the bank. :p
     
  8. FaasNat thread starter macrumors regular

    FaasNat

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    #8
    It's cool you're able to drop cable. Does iTunes have most of the shows you watch? Or is the OTA TV needed to supplement with ones that are not? If so, what shows would those be?
     
  9. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    #9
    There's a few cable shows that iTunes doesn't carry that I'll miss... Good Eats and Feating on Asphault/Waves mostly. My wife has a couple, too.

    About half of the shows we watch are on broadcast TV, the other half cable. Of the OTA shows there's probably a couple that aren't on iTunes, not sure off hand. Of the cable shows there maybe a 60-40 or 70-30 split of shows available/not available on iTunes.

    The big trick, imo, is to get yourself a year behind of TV and start getting shows on DVD. Netflix is cheaper than any of the alternatives, the quality is better (than any of the other SD alternatives), and there's no commercials. The writers strike threw me off last year by not having a season of several shows...

    To answer your question more succinctly, though OTA isn't strictly required for me - the vast majority of shows I watch are on iTunes - but it's much more cost effective to get a DVR. I may actually go with EyeTV/tuner card for my iMac. A little more pain in the butt, about the same price in the long run, but integrates all my media into the ATV and also gives me a better/simpler way to archive recordings. If Elgato had an ATSC tuner with an integrated h264 encoder capable of doing realtime encoding of the broadcast HD streams (20mbit/s MPEG2) to ATV compatible 720p24 h264 I would jump on it.

    There's also the idea of hacking the ATV to use it as a MythTV front end. Can watch recorded content and live TV from what I've read... again more of a PITA than a TiVo, but all still options.
     
  10. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #10
    Not trying to interupt this thread, but there's a related poll/thread for getting a Mac home theater forum here on Macrumors. If you're intersted, take a look...

    [/campaign]
     
  11. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #11
    You could use this as an opportunity to cut out some wasted time in front of the tv. Sure, all those shows are probably entertaining but would you really *miss* them all that much? One way to tell which shows you *really* like is to purchase them from iTunes. If you're willing to pay for them then they're worth it. If you're not willing to pay, then maybe they weren't that important to begin with. Put some music on your ATV and read a book. Or paint a room in your house. Start a garden. Take a walk around your neighborhood.
     
  12. FaasNat thread starter macrumors regular

    FaasNat

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    #12
    Read a book? What's that? I painted when we first moved in. From now on I'll pay someone to paint. There are shows that'd we'd purchase on iTunes, just that they're not available on iTunes. Though in general for most shows, after watching it once I'm fine (just want to follow the story). Now if there was a rent TV show option..... (though that still doesn't address the availability thing)
     
  13. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #13
    In case you haven't been following, there's been discussions among HDTV enthusiasts regarding a fee-free, dual HD tuner DVR. The Echostar/Sling TR-50 had been shown back at CES 2008 (and rumored before then). Some folks have gotten e-mails from E* that may indicate a Thanksgiving 2008 release at $300. That's much better than the TivoHD at about $650, although I'm sure the Tivo software would blow away the TR-50's interface (rumored to be TVGOS).

    Incidentally, if you're looking for something right now, you could look into a Sony DHG-HDD250/500 DVR. I have one and it's been one of the best CE purchases I've ever made. It's only single tuner, but it works great and the wife loves it. No extra money to Comcast from me.

    ft
     
  14. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    #14
    The Tivo HD is $180, plus $13 per month (refurb, I think it's about $250-300 new). There's more expensive TiVo Series 3 units and a new TiVo HDXL, but you can get an HD model for under $200. I'm just pissed at TiVo right now (story for another thread), so I am really considering goign the EyeTV route...
     
  15. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #15
    OK, I hadn't realized that the TivoHD dropped in price. Last I checked, it ran for $300 new and $250 refurb'd.

    The $650 price was in my mind ($250 + $400 for lifetime). I guess I could lower it to $580 for a fee-free Tivo.

    Just giving you another device to consider in the TR-50 and the used Sony's.

    The EyeTV route is another option, but in my mind, a CE device will trump a PC/Mac based DVR any day of the week. The computer based DVR's strength and weakness is its flexibility. It's got lots of power, but can be cumbersome to use ... and ultimately for many men, their wives/significant others can't use it. And yes, I'm generalizing ... hell, my brother probably couldn't use an EyeTV.

    For me, if I'm going to drop cable for OTA, I'm only going to deal with a fee-free DVR solution. So if I went Tivo, I'd have to get the lifetime deal.

    ft
     
  16. nozebleed macrumors 6502

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  17. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #17
    Great point! All of us probably spend too much time in front of the TV. Including myself. And if none of thanatoast's alternatives interest you guys... you could always build a desk! :D



    Could you give some more information on this? The website was being weird for me. How about a 1 paragraph synopsis?
     
  18. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    #18
    How to steal satellite TV?
     
  19. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #19
    Haha, I had no idea! I honestly couldn't get into the site... maybe a filter from work or something. Nevermind, I know more than I want to already. ;)


    Although, I am slightly confused why the idea of cable theft seems to bother me so much, where as Handbraking DVDs from Netflix has never given me a second thought. :confused:
     
  20. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #20
    That thing is awesome! Just did a bit of research... I would definitely get one of those. I would totally be up for Apple adding sling-like features to their new AppleTV as well. How cool would it be to access your AppleTV content from an airport on you iPhone!?!? *shudders*
     
  21. Roy Hobbs macrumors 68000

    Roy Hobbs

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    #21
    I too thought about ditching cable and going the Over the Air and iTunes route, but there were 2 major downfalls.

    No Baseball (99% of the MLB games I watch are on Fox Sports)
    No Food Network
     
  22. FaasNat thread starter macrumors regular

    FaasNat

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    #22
    I'm surprised there's no Food Network on iTunes yet...
     
  23. Galley macrumors 65816

    Galley

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    #23
    An MLB.TV Premium subscription is $120/year. :)
     

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