Need help understanding AppleTV and cutting the Cord...

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by marc55, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. marc55 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    Right now we have Comcast Cable TV and Internet, Digital Preferred 220+ Channels, Performance Internet Download speeds up to 100 Mbps; also includes two extra HD boxes for other TV's. Package cost is $163/month which includes all fees & taxes.

    If I drop the TV, the Cable will run $85/month for 100Mbps, or $75 for 25Mbps, I presume I would need to keep the 100Mbps speed.

    So, what services do I need, and what would be the cost for these services?

    Also, will I need three AppleTV's, and will the services like Netflix, etc., support three TV's

    Insight will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you
  2. HobeSoundDarryl, Jun 15, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    You don't need 100Mbps, so you could step down to 25Mbps. However, for the $10/month difference, maybe your internet usage is worth the extra? And if all 3 :apple:TVs might be in use at the same time (streaming different things), that might further support paying the extra $10.

    Comcast where I am runs promotional pricing specials on broadband-only offers. If it could work for you, perhaps cancel, wait a few days, and then contact their sales department to see if you can sign up as a new customer and save some money for what is usually at least a 12-month promotion. In my own case, I'm NOT paying $85/month for fast Comcast broadband plus Comcast voice... and I've been on for much longer than 12 months. At the end of a promotional period, call up and threaten to drop the service and you may be able to talk them into finding you a new promotional deal (still lower than $85/month). Of course, if you have no viable competitor in your area, this tactic may not work.

    Take note if Comcast enforces a bandwidth cap in your area. Video burns a lot of bandwidth and 3 :apple:TVs playing a lot of streaming video could really eat it up. If you hit the cap, they'll typically upcharge you and that can get expensive.

    What services you need can only be answered by identifying the programming you desire and then looking through the various services to see which- or which combination of services- can deliver what you seek. For example, if you actually watch 10 channels of the 220+ in "Digital Preferred," then you look for the service that delivers those 10 channels.

    Perhaps there's only a show or two on a channel or two in your desired channels list? If so, then maybe you don't need to seek out that channel but look to iTunes or similar and buy season passes to just that particular show(s)? That's how the cord-cutting mentality works... a game of how low can I go on cost by pinning down how to get what I want from 1+ streaming & VOD services. In many cases, this works by being willing to hop app-to-app or even box-to-box to get all that you want for as little cost as possible. Of course, then you have to train the family on hopping app-to-app and box-to-box vs. the old way.

    Also note that most of the highest-rated programming is still on the core networks of ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and CW. If you live close enough to a city, a good old antenna can get you up to all 5 of those at the highest resolution (better than streaming or cable/satt) for no monthly fee. Check your address on and it can give you a sense of how many of those you can get. In addition, such local broadcasters sometimes also have some good classic TV channels such a ME-TV, LAFF, AntennaTV, Comet, Grit and various others. I find myself watching a fair amount of ME-TV & LAFF for free via antenna. There are hardware options that can flow those to your AppleTV (see stuff like the HD homerun boxes or consider a TIVO Romio OTA DVR for the local channels, which can be an especially good option if many of your favorite shows, sports & news are available via the locals over-the-air.

    Your "what are the costs" question is tied to which service(s) you choose. Pricing is pretty readily viewable as you explore the various options.

    Last I heard, the Netflix offer that most people associate as Netflix supports 2 simultaneous streams in a single household. If that's still the case, you probably can't stream 3 different shows from Netflix to those 3 :apple:TVs without paying more for an upgraded "premium" subscription and/or having 2 subscriptions. However, check with Netflix to see if my memory of that particular detail is right or wrong. Edit: here's their plans, and you would need "premium" for 3 separate streams:

    Be sure to use free trials of the streaming services before committing. There ARE shortcomings/tradeoffs to all of them. For example, if you like Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, NONE of them offer it- just stereo or mono sound. If you like full DVR functionality, several offer software DVRs but they tend to be feature limited with issues like having time limits to watch a saved show and/or no ability to skip commercials. Again, use trials, thoroughly test stuff you take for granted with what you have now and then make a good decision based on such compromises.

    In my own case, I continue to watch the streaming options but cling to DISH at the $49.99 price lock offers. One on-screen guide for all programming, no programming delays vs. first run, a real full-featured DVR, Dolby 5.1 audio, Dish Anywhere app to stream to iDevices, all of the live sports channels I desire, integration of the local channels right into the same on-screen guide (and recordable on the same DVR), no Comcast broadband cap issues, and so on. I can't seem to spot a streaming service or combination that gives me all of what I want for less than that.

    I will point out that at least where I am Comcast offers double & triple play combos that seem to be targeting a bill in the $80-$100/month range. For example, Comcast Cable + Broadband + Voice for $90/month as a bundle. If you are generally happy with what you have, you might want to compare the potential change vs. such bundle offers. I suspect what you are facing for Broadband only can get you broadband + cable for the same money (or maybe a little less).

    I hope this is helpful.
  3. nburwell macrumors 601


    May 6, 2008
    Excellent response from @HobeSoundDarryl

    I'll try to be brief in my response. My wife and I have been cordcutters for well over a year now. We have 100mbs internet through Comcast which pay around $90/month for. We really don't need that much, but there have been several times where I'm streaming a sporting event in the living room and she's watching Netflix in the bedroom (all while we're playing around on our iPhone's or watching a YouTube video on our iPad's).

    The services you need depend on what you like. Hulu and Netflix seem to be constant services with cordcutters (maybe even throw in Amazon Video).

    Personally, we have the following: PS Vue (live TV), Hulu w/ Showtime add on, Netflix, HBO Go (free through a deal with Comcast), Amazon Video, Starz and MLB.TV (free through T-Mobile).

    I'm big into sports, so that's why we have PS Vue. Otherwise I would be content without it (although we love the DVR feature for shows we record).

    So again, it really depends on what you think you really need. Your needs could be completely different than ours. Maybe you could just get away with Hulu and Netflix. But you just have to decide what video streaming services are most important to you.
  4. marc55 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    Thanks guys; how do I get local channels; i.e., ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS?

    Is there any great advantage in Apple TV, over Roku, or fire stick, etc.?

    Also, with the streaming services, are the shows current?

    Thank you
  5. SRLMJ23 macrumors 68000


    Jul 11, 2008
    New York

    I have been a cord cutter since DirecTV NOW launched, signed up for it on launch day so I get the "Go Big" plan for $35.00 locked in. Also, I get HBO for free, as DirecTV NOW gave the people who signed up at launch (for being loyal and staying with the service) free HBO for a year. I was paying the $5.00 for HBO so my total was obviously $40.00 but now with the free HBO it is back down to $35.00. I really like DirecTV NOW, absolutely beautiful picture quality and with the "Go Big" plan, I get 100+ channels and out of those 100+ channels I literally get every channel that I consider my must have channels. I also get something like 10,000 On Demand titles. Also, DirecTV NOW has rolled out great TV Provider sign-in support. ESPN, ABC, NBC Sports Network, and many many more support it. Here is a link to the full list: Obviously no DVR sucks, however, they are working on one and say it should be coming soon.

    For $10.00 more I would keep the 100mbps, especially since you are going to be streaming to multiple Apple TV's.

    @nburwell, Comcast is really robbing you! That is how Time Warner used to be before the Charter/Time Warner merger which made the new company Spectrum. I pay Spectrum $85.00/month for 300mbps/20mbps! Spectrum prices for just internet are amazing.

    Anyway, have to head out but if OP or anyone has any questions for me about DirecTV NOW I will be glad to answer them for you. Have a great day everyone!

  6. d21mike macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2007
    Torrance, CA
    This is a good site and this page is good to compare.

    I like Apple TV 4. I have 8 TV's and 8 ATV 4. All content is the same on all TV's and only 1 remote on each tv.

    Yes. Shows are current on streaming services.

    I have DIRECTV Now like the prior post mainly for live tv like news and sports. I got it when it came out and got a free Apple TV with the promotion. It does not have CBS so I have CBS All Access Subscription (no commercial option) during the main TV Months of Sept - Jun. I also have Netflix and Hulu (no commercial option). I tried the Hulu Live TV Service since I have it anyway and it also has CBS but I did not like the UI and it did not have a couple channels my wife wants. But it did have a DVR.

    One of my sons likes Sling and the other is like me with DTV Now. I hear a lot of people like PS Vue.

    The link above also shows which devices are supported along with channels. Things are changing so might not be perfect. I much prefer my new setup. I am saving money but it was not my main concern. I was already using Apple TV's and really just wanted 1 box for everything. There seems to be endless options and you can easily change once you get started and only have internet service. I would also pay the extra $10 for faster internet but 25mbps would be fine for say 2 streams at a time.
  7. nburwell macrumors 601


    May 6, 2008
    Unfortunately I know they are robbing me. They "threw" in basic cable and HBO free for a year when I called back in January to complain about the price hike.

    Not that Verizon is any better, but I can't wait to move so we get fios internet. Where we live now, Comcast is only offered.

    I'd rather give Comcast $90 rather than the $190/month I was paying them when we had cable. But still.
  8. SRLMJ23 macrumors 68000


    Jul 11, 2008
    New York
    Oh trust me, I understand your pain! TWC/Spectrum is the ONLY option in my area right now, and when I had Cable/Phone/Internet I was paying just about what you were! Spectrum did deliver on their promise to bring faster speeds and cheaper prices, you can imagine my shock about that!

  9. off_piste macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2015
    I have Comcast Xfinity that runs about $68 all-in. 50mbps with HBO Go plus basic channels in SD (I told them to keep the box and added that $10 toward doubling the speed of our Internet).

    We have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and previously mentioned HBO. Wife is talking about getting Hulu too. I never much cared for it because they generally only have the four most recent episodes available which means you can't come into a season late.
  10. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
    The differences between hardware depends on what ecosystem you currently use. I.E. if your household already uses Apple devices and you use Apple services. Then naturally you want to get an Apple TV.
    If you are not locked into Apple like I am ( I have tonnes of movies and TV shows from iTunes) then consider the other streaming devices. Go to your local big box electronics store and test them out.

    As to your question about getting local channels without a cable subscription. You will need an don't panic.... antenna technology has come a long way. BUT, and I say this depends on where you live. Use this website to show you exactly how many OTA (over the air) channels are available to you and what type of antenna you need:

    after that, there are a lot of options to getting that content to your Apple TV.

    Tablo TV
    offeres a great whole house tv tuner and DVR solution. Attach an antenna to the tuner. connect it to your network. download the app. sit back and watch free TV. add a hard Drive and record TV. simple.

    There are others like Channels app which is like Tablo TV but uses the TV tuner from Silicondust

    These two I have listed are the TRUE cord cutting route. As they do not rely on purchasing a TV subscription.

    If you are heavy into sports you can actually purchase a subscription to MLB, NBA, NHL and a couple other major sports.
  11. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    This is more or less what we do. We tried completely cutting the cord several years ago, but realized we were spending money to buy seasons of television shows that we could get via a basic or starter cable TV package for less, and that we like having access to the local and national evening news programs. We pay about $80 a month for cable Internet and TV, which includes the broadcast channels plus a few extras such as CNN, AMC, History, Discovery, and a few others. We also get HBO for free, and added Showtime. In addition, we pay for Netflix and Hulu (which we basically use as a stand-in for a DVR), and have Amazon Prime (although we use that more for the free two-day shipping than for the video content).
    In our experience, 25mbps Internet is plenty fast for us, even when streaming to two devices at the same time.
  12. AL2TEACH macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2007
    Denver, CO.
    A couple of years ago, I had Comcast triple play. I was paying more than you. I kept the internet and deleted the other two.
    I have an OTA antenna, Apple TV 4 and a Roku Ultra(4k). I have been saving 130+ every month.
    I have Sling's Orange package and other channels on both. For some reason, Sling has the movies section missing from the Apple TV. For multiple streaming there's Sling Blue.
    Roku has Amazon plus other movie stations.
    Both have there purpose.

Share This Page