Cord Cutters?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by iRooney, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. iRooney macrumors 6502


    Jul 14, 2011
    Charleston, SC
    Have any of you successfully cut the cord to your cable/satellite provider? If so, what setup(s) are you running? I'll start with mine below...

    ...Living Room...
    - Apple TV3 - used for iTunes Match, Hulu Plus, and general media purchase/rental from iTunes. Also used for Home Sharing.
    - Roku HD - purchased primarily for Amazon Prime Instant Video, Pandora, and its robust arsenal of kid-friendly programming.
    - Wife's old laptop stripped of everything but iTunes and TeamViewer (for remote access). This iTunes holds all my movies and the few TV shows I download because I have missed their airings on OTA. System is set to go to sleep at 1am and wake back up at 6am. Reduces power consumption and wear on the machine and keep itself automated. Windows is set to do nothing when the lid closes, so it's just tucked away in my entertainment center.
    - Cheap $15 OTA HD antenna I picked up at Walmart - grabs all the major network channels in HD.
    - Samsung Bluray player (for the few times I use physical media)

    - Apple TV 2 - same as above.
    - same model of cheap antenna.
    - Memorex Bluray player (see above)

    All in all, functions great. Might get a second Roku for the bedroom at some point, but most media consumption is in the living room so I'm in no rush. I wish there were a way to run iTunes Home Sharing without actually having an entire computer running to do so, but I'll take what I can get. Savings-wise, I went from spending $70-90 per month on my satellite bill down to $8 a month for Hulu. Yearly savings of $744-$984. Not too shabby.
  2. iHailCarlo macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2012
    Looks like you got it fairly knocked at this point. If may ask, why do you prefer Hulu over Netflix? I like Netflix a bit more, I couldn't really find what I wanted on Hulu. i haven't cut the cord yet, but we are soon. Its tough because we live in a remote area, and cannot pick up over the air stations, so we rely heavily on the internet, good thing its high speed and no cap at all, and thats a a plus to living in a rural area because they tend not to use so much bandwidth.
  3. iRooney thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 14, 2011
    Charleston, SC
    My primary reason for using Hulu is for current seasons of TV shows. A lot of what I watch comes on at the same time as other stuff, so relying solely on OTA for current seasons doesn't quite work. I generally watch CBS shows as they air, since there's no CBS content on Hulu, and get the rest of the stuff day after air. Netflix (as far as I know) is only backdated seasons.

    Amazon Prime Instant Video has pretty much everything Netflix has and more, and I don't pay anything for it since I am already a Prime member (for the free 2-day shipping primarily).
  4. mslide, Jan 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013

    mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    Yes. We cut the cord about 6 months ago and will never go back. We have an OTA antenna in our attic that works great for the major networks. Each of our TVs has an Apple TV connected to it for Netflix and Hulu Plus. We don't use a DVR, nor did we when we had cable. We also have a home theater with an HTPC that's used to watch our movies.

    That's good enough for about 95% of our viewing. By far most of our viewing is Apple TV + Netflix.

    The rest are new episodes of the few shows we watch that aren't available on Hulu (e.g. CBS shows). For those, we use my MBP + AirPlay + AppleTV to watch them from the station's web site. On very rare occasions, we'll buy an episode from iTunes. We try not to do that very often because it's expensive.

    Considering the increased cost of internet, now that we're not bundling, and the cost of netflix/hulu, we probably save about $50 / month. We already had the most basic digital package without premium channels nor did we pay for a DVR.
  5. iRooney thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 14, 2011
    Charleston, SC
    That's one benefit of the roku box. $50 for it at Target and since it had amazon instant video, episodes are only $1.99 vs iTunes being $2.99. 50 paid episodes pays for the device and it gets so much other stuff too. My MacBook is an older white one so actual AirPlay doesn't work but I do have air parrot. Performance isn't all that great though. Seems choppy at times. Forgot to mention we use the iPad with AirPlay for abc family shows the wife is obsessed with.


    I call Comcast every six months and threaten to cancel so they reup the promotional rate. I end up paying one $60 Internet bill every 6 months other than that it stays at about $29.
  6. dachamp00 macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2013
    Cutting the cord has been very rewarding. No more cable bills, and since work pays for my internet, I have no monthly bills. I split my cable line. So I have one going into my modem and the other into an eyeTV card in my Mac mini. Comcast will send OTA signals through your cable line so I am not stealing cable. In Chicago, I get 74 OTA channels. The Mac mini acts as a DVR and serves up all of my stored content, iTunes content and OTA TV to any of my Apple TVs via AirPlay and Home Sharing. I set up a separate 5Ghz wireless network for these devices to ensure the best quality. I use the Apple remote app to control my Apple TVs and the Rowmote app to control the Mac mini. This app allows me to choose which Apple TV to AirPlay to. On the Apple TV, I consistently use YouTube, Netflix and Hulu Plus to watch any programs I miss and use iTunes to get the shows that I could not otherwise get. Overall, I love the setup and my entire family has no problem operating it.
  7. jmcrutch, Jan 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013

    jmcrutch macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2010
    I used to be big proponent of DirecTV but eventually decided the service wasn't worth $100/month.

    I use an OTA antenna for local broadcasts (without a DVR) and an Apple TV to access iTunes content, Netflix, and Hulu+.

    Sometimes I'll connect my MacBook Pro to the TV with an HDMI cable to watch video streaming to the computer that is not otherwise available (ESPN3, regular Hulu programming not on Hulu+).

    I also use my iPad or iPhone to Airplay some content to the AppleTV, especially BloombergTV since I no longer have access to CNBC.

    Because I still pay for cable at my Ex's house, I can also stream CNN, Headline News, Fox News, Fox Business, and a few others to the AppleTV from the iPad or iPhone, as these require verifying a paid cable subscription (I believe the CNN app will stream without requiring sub verification sometimes, when it is airing a special live event).

    All of the above stream in HD as long as you've got a good internet connection.

    I also watch things on YouTube and Vimeo.

    Sometimes I do miss channel/guide surfing to see what's "currently playing" though. For some strange reason, there are times when I'm more willing to watch a movie, just because it happened to be airing on a TV channel than I am to watch the exact same movie on DVD that I own. Must have something to do with the discovery of it, whereas with the DVD I have to make a choice to watch it.

    Bottom line - I spend $8/month on Hulu+, $8/month on Netflix, and I spend about $10-$20/month on iTunes content (I buy iTunes gift cards at discounts whenever possible to make these purchases actually cheaper) and I find that I have more content than I can possibly ever watch.
  8. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    College student checking in-

    I have basic cable through Comcast, only because it comes with my internet. So if there's anything on local channels (which a lot of good shows are, like Modern Family, New Girl, etc), I can just catch them as they air.

    Alternatively, if I miss any live shows, I just pull up Hulu the next day on my iMac and mirror it to my AppleTV. Nice and free!

    I had a streaming subscription to Netflix for years, but I've moved to 3 DVDs out a time for the time being. It's great for newer movies and older TV shows. I love sitcoms from the 90's/00's (Who's the Boss, Fresh Prince, Family Matters, According to Jim, My Wife and Kids, etc), so to be able to just get the season DVDs in the mail is pretty awesome!

    Also, since I order a lot of things from Amazon and get a college discount, I have a Prime membership. They have a decent collection and okay rental fees, so this too is a common option.

    I've also been building my media library by ripping all my personal DVDs to my iMac. So with having an AppleTV and iTunes homesharing, it's like having a personal little Netflix setup in my own apartment. Very snazzy! I even setup Air Video so I can stream from my iMac to my iPhone or iPad, no matter where I am (as long as I have an internet connection, that is)

    Nonetheless, I don't have nearly enough time to watch all the content I have available, so I couldn't possibly fathom spending $100+ on digital cable, DVR, etc. Kudos to everyone who fights the system!
  9. NRak macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2012
    will be joining the ranks of a cable cutter here next weekends.

    Friend raves about his jailbroken apple tv, so gonna try that out. Also plan on getting an antenna to see what kind of quality that picks up.

    Already watch so many shows and sports online, so I have no idea why I'm paying such a massive amount of money on cable right now.
  10. cdavis11, Jan 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013

    cdavis11 macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2009
    Here's my setup:

    Attic mounted OTA feeding 2 hdhomerun tuners.

    EyeTv using those tuners to record OTA and feed to iTunes. IFlicks and scripting running to automatically tag shows as they come in and email me that the are ready to view.

    InstaTvPro running on iPads to watch live TV through the HDhomerun tuners when I choose to watch the evening news, or local programming of some kind that I don't record.

    ITunes feeds 3 stock Apple TV devices on televisions in 3 rooms. Also used for Netflix and AirPlay of Hulu from a MacBook Pro laptop.

    OTA antenna also routes to main TV in family room for HD sports on broadcast TV.

    Etvcomskipper running on EyeTv recordings to mark skip points for commercials, allowing Apple TV viewer to skip through most commercial breaks on OTA recordings.

    Applescripts also set up through iCal triggers to delete recorded shows from EyeTv queue, delete any TV show with a playcount of 1 or more from iTunes. I don't save TV shows.

    Hazel running to watch iTunes TV shows folder and trigger iflicks tagging/email notification script.

    I'm extremely happy with my setup. We've been cable free for over 2 years and would NEVER go back.
  11. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

    Aug 10, 2008
    Comcast only has channels 2-12 if you have the cable going straight into the TV (do to the QAM). They made it so you have to have a DTA (small cable box) to get anything more, and thy did this so they no longer have to disconnect the lines outside. If they haven't changed this yet, they will. They did all the out side suburbs already like this and I had to get 2 of those stupid small boxes for the bedrooms.
    Also splitting the cable line can slow down your internet. You can't use the basic Radio Shack splitters either, because most of them will either slow it down or stop it. You also have signal issues, you jack up that upstream signel or mess up the downstream levels, more issues. Now more stuff, you put bad fittings on, bad splitter, and crap cable and cause noise to back feed into the cable plant, they will shut you off to have a tech to come out and figure out why your house is cause noise in the cable plant.
  12. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    lol, I always love when people exaggerate their OTA channels. You are likely getting all the major networks- NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, PBS, plus a handful of local public access, possibly some music channels, shopping, and weather sub-channels, and duplicates of channels from nearby cities. It's great that you have a strong signal for OTA, but 74 useful channels is completely exaggerating, when it's more like 10-15 at best.
  13. BigDukeSix, Jan 7, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013

    BigDukeSix macrumors 6502a


    Sep 22, 2010
    34.6700N 118.1590W
    Just cut the cord in mid-Dec. I have my OTA antenna, and receive the 4 network channels, and two others: CW and MeTV.

    I have a Roku, and subscribe to Hulu+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. I don't really count the Amazon Prime in my cost as I make sure I get my money's worth out of that on shipping. I had all those except Hulu+ before I cut the cable anyway.

    I also have my Mini connected, so I use that for ITunes and other internet available content that might not be on any of the other services.

    My bill with Bresnan was $125.00/mo. I still have them for my internet, but only pay them $50.00/mo. I am loving the savings.

    We do also still have a DVD player in order to watch movies that are not available via streaming.
  14. wknapp0924 macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2012
    Honolulu, HI
    Wow, now this sounds like an amazing setup. It sounds confusing and I don't know if I want to put the time into it to figure out.
  15. dukeblue219 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2012
    Standard definition iTunes tv shows (which still look just fine to me on a computer, iPad, or even TV) are just $1.99, same as Amazon. Similarly, you can also pay $2.99 on Amazon for the HD version. I think the difference is that iTunes defaults to showing you the HD version while Amazon defaults to the cheap one.
  16. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    EyeTV setup?

    Just went looking for the Elgato Eyetv w HDHomeRun package on Amazon. Couldn't find it, only the cable card/sat version. I have OTA antenna. Can someone tell me what to use/where to find something that will provide tuners and recording of the OTA tv on my wifi networked MBP?
  17. dachamp00 macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2013
    Thanks for the advice. I was aware of most of the potential issues but haven't experienced any problems, at least that I'm aware of. I do have an antenna but haven't found a need to install it yet. Hopefully I don't have any issues and have to run more wire to the antenna.

    I guess that depends on what your definition of useful is and your personal tastes.
  18. ILikeTurtles macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2010
    I tried cutting the cord about a year ago. That lasted less than 5 months. IDC what anyone says, the convenience of cable (for the time being) is worth the $100 a month. All this "do it yourself" crap is for the birds....or the tech-heads.
  19. BigDukeSix macrumors 6502a


    Sep 22, 2010
    34.6700N 118.1590W
    Well it all depends on how much a person is willing to pay vs what you usually watch via cable. If you consume a lot of ESPN, you won't like not having cable, that is for sure. But, I figured I could do without and just be pretty happy with my local OTA channels, and what ever is available using Roku or something similar. And, saving $75/mo means a lot to me.
  20. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    There are 3 items at that link. One is for cable/sat input source only and the other 2 are OTA antennas to plug into your iPhone/iPad/Mac. I can't use the USB antennas as my signal is too weak for that. I could have swore they used to sell a until that took an OTA coax from an antenna for input, no?
  21. BigDukeSix macrumors 6502a


    Sep 22, 2010
    34.6700N 118.1590W
    From what I have read on other therads, this is the device you want. Although they do not illustrate it very well, the OTA antenna cable connects to the USB device:

    To watch and record basic cable channels on your Mac or PC, simply connect EyeTV Hybrid to the coaxial cable coming straight from the wall; EyeTV Hybrid receives unscrambled digital and analog cable TV.
  22. hismikeness macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2009
    How do you account for live sports not on the network channels? That, unfortunately, is the main thing keeping me from cutting cable.
  23. BigDukeSix macrumors 6502a


    Sep 22, 2010
    34.6700N 118.1590W
    Sad to say, you are basically screwed in that regard.
  24. ctdonath macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2009
    Cut the cord? when we moved 7 years ago we never connected it (Internet service excluded). After a few mind-wasting years with standard cable, and then a "hey, we're in this apartment for just a year so I'll go all-out knowing we'll be leaving it soon" binge on full-service digital cable, I decided TV in general is a complete waste and didn't bother having it installed. Our DVD collection was big enough, and our commutes long enough, that there wasn't much demand for TV per se. Got Netflix, but tended to sit on discs - always waiting for a good time to watch, which never came. Then came the HDTV (a bonus for meeting sales goals), and :apple:TV was cheap and Netflix streaming just $9/mo. Then kids showed up, and I really didn't want them exposed to ads nor to "whatever's on" content.

    What we want, when we want, cheap. Why bother with brain-dead "here we are now, entertain us" programmed TV?

    Only occasional recurring issues is an occasional complaint of no daily news ("honey, just click Podcasts -> Favorites -> NBC Nightly News ... oh, you're really not that interested in daily news after all"), and no live Olympic coverage (if I don't get it this next time around, I'm dead ... but seems AT&T now offers live real TV thru cellular, and I've got an unlimited data plan).


    Plug in $99 :apple:TV. Log in iTunes password. Subscribe to $8/mo Netflix and/or $9/mo Hulu. Done.

    Lack of ads is more than worth the "hassle".

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