Finally cutting the cord...

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Rushli0n, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Rushli0n macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2012
    So my family and I are finally going to ditch satellite/cable tv and go streaming only. To cover my bases, I have the following:

    • AppleTV2 - my settop box Netflix - for older movies/shows
    • Hulu+ - for newer shows
    • iTunes - current shows that aren't streaming
    • ESPN (through AirPlay)
    • HBOgo - hopefully they will allow AirPlay soon
    • Crackle (through AirPlay) - random movies
    • Watch Disney/Disney Jr/Disney XD (through Airplay Mirroring) - for the 2 yr old

    I guess my question is, what issues/compromises did others deal with when going this route?

    And how easy is it to hook up an Other the Air antennae to grab local channels? Has anyone dealt with that?
  2. cdavis11 macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2009
    OTA is pretty easy. You can attic mount a larger VHF/UHF or grab a simple tabletop powered antenna - just depends on where you are and what channels you want to pull in.

    I'd reccomend one more piece - the Silicon Dust HD Homerun and EyeTV. I've been using that setup with clear QAM (and shortly OTA) with terrific results.

    We cut the cord (except for cable internet) 2 years ago and couldn't be happier.
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I seriously doubt HBOgo will allow airplay. Also, don't you need an HBO subscription to use HBOgo?
  4. jtrenthacker macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    I believe you need a cable/satellite subscription to use the HBO, Disney, and ESPN apps. Not being able to watch sports is the biggest reason my family has yet to cut the cord. We rely on DirecTv for ESPN, NFL Network and Big Ten Network.


    Using an OTA is pretty simple. I use an indoor one that works pretty well. This of course depends on how close you are to the broadcast towers. This site has some good info on making the most of your OTA.
  5. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Been there. But I don't watch much TV.

    AppleTV with my GF's Netflix acct. The recent debates popped up live in the WSJ app, very nice.

    When it's in season, I stream TopGear episodes from my DLNA server.
  6. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    It was very easy for my wife and I to ditch cable and this is coming from 2 people who used to be glued to the TV all the time. We found that most of our TV viewing was just flipping through channels and watching random stuff. Instead, when we watch TV it's because we want to watch something specific on netflix or hulu. If we just want something on for background noise or we want to just waste some time, we turn on something like Family Guy on netflix... a show where there are tons of episodes always available.

    I'm surprised how easy it was actually. We just changed how we watch TV. Specifically, we watch a lot less of it now. The biggest thing we gave up were current shows on cable channels but that's a small price to pay. We just stay a season behind on those shows since we think iTunes prices are way too high.

    That depends on how close you are to the antennas, where you live, etc. I was able to get away with throwing an antenna in my attic. It's just laying on my attic floor, pointing in the right direction. That gives my perfect signal strength for all the local channels. Your experience could be very different.
  7. linds15 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    Great White North
    sports was originally the reason i didn't cut the cord, but with apps on my ipad like nab gametime and nfl gamepass i airplay every game +nfl network with no issue, and quality is superb
  8. Rushli0n thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2012
    You do need a subscription to those services. No question about that. :cool:

    I just wish there was a straight forward way of knowing what antennae i need knowing my location. None of the sites are that user friendly.

    As for that Silicon Dust HD Homerun, is that required to do the OTA stuff? I'm confused at what it does differently or more.
  9. Mister Barmy macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2012
    If you have an ISP that provides ESPN 3, you can watch ESPN 3 through WatchESPN without a cable tv subscription. But ESPN has become more stingy about what they simulcast on ESPN 3. It's probably not a solution for fans of the big three pro American sports. It's still pretty good for soccer and tennis, though, and college football as well, I believe.
  10. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Then you're not really cutting the cord.

    have you looked at Just plug in your zip code, find your house on a map and it'll tell you everything you need to know.

    The HD Homerun is basically a digital tuner that is connected to your home network. With the proper software, you can watch/record OTA TV shows using your Mac/PC. If you don't need DVR features, just plug the antenna into your TV and viola!
  11. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    We get our movies through Vudu as we don't have ATV. OTA TV is a mixed bag. Though we rarely have the time or patience to deal with the commercials and there aren't many shows worth watching, the problem is consistent signal quality.

    Over-the-air HDTV for me has fantastic clarity, color and crispness -- it is not down-sampled as is the case with cable. The downshot is, environmental factors like weather and air traffic cause breaks or deterioration of the signal which is very annoying. Expensive omni-directional set top antennas at ground level haven't helped.

    I'm thinking about trying an attic attenna to see if that helps.
  12. jimmirehman macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2012
    You can't cut the cord because you lose HBOgo and ESPN, which im betting are pretty important, so there goes most of your important content. Sorry, Cable Provider still has you by the b*lls
  13. Rushli0n thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2012
    I'm guessing sharing login information with relatives is frowned upon?


    I guess I'm in a very rural area. I am in the Violet section which is a large roof antennae. Not really up to doing anything that crazy.
  14. PaulMoore macrumors regular

    Dec 3, 2007
    We did this about a year ago. Hulu+ is still quite limited. They are missing lots of things (including some shows which Hulu on computers has)- and CBS completely.

    If you still get your internet through the cable company see if they are sending unscrambled local OTA HD channels through the cable that feeds the modem (or the cable that used to run to your cable box if it's still there)- hook it to your TV and see. We have a splitter so we can also use Eye TV on our iMac to record shows which Hulu doesn't get and play them back via Apple TV.

  15. JoeBlow74 macrumors regular

    Aug 2, 2012

    I had Comcast install an extra coax upstairs for my loft before I cancelled them. I then installed an outdoor HD antenna on my eve and pointed it towards Portland. I ran the channel scan on both TV's and picked up 36 channels all in HD. WOOHOO!!

    The biggest issue I had was getting used to not having 5,000 TV channels at the push of a button. Besides, I find that I spend more time talking to and interacting with my family. Times are good.
  16. Rushli0n thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2012
    So you're saying if I split the cable going into my modem (from Comcast) I might be able to get these OTA channels? Will that degrade my internet connection at all?
  17. ericrwalker macrumors 68030


    Oct 8, 2008
    Albany, NY
    I almost cut the cord, I went with basic analog cable though, and it gives me something like 20 channels, including a few good ones.

    Not sure if all cable providers offer this though.
  18. Sniff macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2012
    I did it about a month ago..... sent my last payment to DTV last week... not gonna lie, it felt good...

    I have a roof mounted antenna split between two tv's and an HDHomeRun. I have live TV on either television, and all the computers.

    Hulu+ has most of the network shows that we watch anyway.... the new episodes are on there the next day... for CBS, I use the HDHomeRun and EyeTV on my mac. It records just like a dvr, converts, and drops the show into iTunes.

    We hardly ever used to watch shows when they aired anyway.... 95% of our viewing was on the dvr.... so there's really little difference...

    Pro and college football games are (limited) on the major networks... is on the ATV....

    Overall we probably still get 95% of the shows we used to watch... and for a $112/mo savings....:D
  19. j3yq macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2007
    i as well cut the cord, about 8 months ago and still loving it.

    not to mention over $100 in savings!!:D
  20. Mister Barmy macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2012
    Those of you getting local channels over cable without a cable subscription will probably not be able to for much longer. The FCC recently ruled that cable companies can encrypt basic channels.
  21. BigDukeSix macrumors 6502a


    Sep 22, 2010
    34.6700N 118.1590W
    Yeah, I just saw that too. I wonder how long it will take them to implement?
    As soon as football season is over, cable is going away. I already have my OTA antenna in place and ops checked.
  22. pavelbure macrumors 6502a

    Feb 22, 2007
  23. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    I have the Leaf (unamplified) and I am very happy with it. I am about 40 miles away from Chicago and can pick up the local stations. I had tried other indoor "HD" antennas before and they did not work at all. Signal is still weak enough thought that weather can cause broken signal. Maybe the amplified version would solve that problem?
  24. TomCat, Oct 19, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012

    TomCat macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2000
    An Omni is probably exactly your problem. 8-VSB has an Achilles heel which is that multipath destroys it, and the only way to avoid multipath is by using a highly-directional antenna like a Channel Master 4228HD. That will cure your hiccups. Attic is good, outside on a mast is better.

    Even "down-sampled" (which is a misnomer) and recompressed HD from broadcast still has 4:2:0 color space, so there is no difference between color gamut or fidelity even under those circumstances. And they are rare circumstances; cable has no reason to recompress unless they are going to MPEG-4 like DBS, and DBS does a pretty transparent job of that. Very few cable MSOs do anything to compromise PQ; the vast majority demod from 8-VSB, demux, possibly move the streams around to various headends using IP, then modulate as QAM. None of that affects PQ in the least, nor does the distribution to your set. Bottom line, cable or fiber quality is really no different from OTA quality in the vast majority of distribution scenarios you may encounter city to city.

    The problem with OTA is its live; there are no decent DVRs or HTPC solutions, other than those from DBS. Plus, cord-cutters are disenfranchised from new eps of popular shows, and once they are available have to buy them as one-offs. I'll be watching a brand-new episode of Fringe tonight, played back at my leisure from a state-of-art DVR from DirecTV. Cord-cutters will have to either show up on time (better hurry if on the east coast; it's just starting) and watch it live, or wait 3 years for an overpriced Blu-Ray.

    Oh, right, no Fringe this week; just a live MLB playoff game you can't get anywhere else but FOX (unless you can afford the ridiculous MLB app price).
  25. pavelbure macrumors 6502a

    Feb 22, 2007
    I'm not sure exactly how it works, but when I unplug it (basically taking any amplification out) I only get the tower that is a few miles from me. Granted I'm in a much more hilly terrain (Pittsburgh area) than Chicago. Chicago is mostly flat right ?

    Maybe order from amazon or buy in a store, if it does not make it better just return it.

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