turning off satellite...what are my best options

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by iaddict, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. iaddict macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    Okay, I am sick of paying large $$ to get hundreds of stations and I only watch about 6 of them. So I am considering canceling my satellite. Only problem is I am in a rural area and antennaweb shows I cannot receive signals from an antenna - at least nothing other than one PBS station. So...what options are out there for me to get regular network programs and then live sporting events like baseball, basketball, etc. Someone told me to get a blu-ray player that streams live tv and stream from my computer to the blu-ray player. Is this a good idea or is there a better option?
  2. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    without antenna coverage, you're pretty much out of luck. If you do have cable (for internet), the local channels (and maybe more) should be on that unencrypted, and you can plug that directly into your tv. If your tv has a HD tuner, you should be able to find the HD versions on there also.

    as far as
    you have to have the content on your computer first, which you could do with one of the tuners from elgato, but once again, you need to have TV signal to do that. But even with that, chances are the blu ray wouldn't be able to do anything with that.

    There is also hulu (and hulu plus) that will give you access to some shows. but that will require a computer hooked to the tv. (or possibly an iOS device and a new :apple:tv, but don't know yet if airplay will work that way.)

    My blu-ray player (LG BD570) will connect to MLB season ticket (or whatever it's called) so once you pay for that you have access to all the games, although nothing currently for football or basketball. Baseball was added in a software update after i bought it. It also does netflix streaming.
    It will also play video files over the home network, but the support of video files is very limited in the types of files it will play.
  3. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    blu-ray with streaming internet

    I'm confused...if I can get the content on my computer, then my computer cannot stream the content to the blu-ray player that has streaming capabilities? Sorry...I really am new and trying to learn what is the least expensive route for me.
  4. elwaylite macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2010
    Im on the edge of this now. I bought a TiVO HD XL for antenna recording (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS and CW), but there is also a LOT of cable crap I watch, like Deadliest Catch, Syfy stuff, etc...

    If AppleTV would get everything at a 99 cent rental, Id drop Directv, but the $2.99 prices are still ridiculous.

    I have the TiVO for antenna
    Directv for cable programming and ESPN

    I also use the TiVo for Amazon VOD tv shows, for channels like AMC and BBCA which I dont have in HD, I can get HD versions of the tv shows downloaded.

    I'm looking at buying the new $99 AppleTV, to use it as a supplement for the Amazon, since Apple has HBO content. Im also hoping Apple uses its muscle to get all TV rentals to 99 cents.
  5. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    Being connected to the outside world is hideously expensive, so expensive that lots of people are disconnecting and I don't think that is a good thing for society.

    I added up the costs for:

    1. DirecTv. I like TV and I like it in HD. Here, only DTV and Dish are options.
    2. Internet. Got to have a land line to get DSL. Had full service and expensive long distance plan. Wife got sucked into all this.
    3. ISP. Got to have DSL
    4. Cell phone. For on the road.

    Well, I downgraded the DTV package and added on my favorite premium channels. Saves quite a bit and am not missing too much.

    Got the basic phone land line package and a limited long distance plan. Good enough, saving a lot.

    Downgraded the DSL speed. Wasn't getting what I was paying for as I discovered when running a speed test. The old lines around here just don't have it anymore.

    Dumped the iPhone and ATT contract. Ridiculous. No reception half the time and couldn't use the bandwidth I was paying for. Got a cheap Verizon phone on a pre-pay.

    Still, even after all this cost-cutting, it is expensive to be fully connected to the world. If a cable company ran digital cable to this area, then there would be more savings on the package deals they offer, but that may never happen.
  6. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Depends on what protocol your Blu-ray player uses to stream. If there's a server that can run on your Mac that supports that, you might be in luck.

    But then again, it depends on the content. If you're watching MLB or Hulu in a web browser on your Mac, there's no way to stream that (that I know of) to a DVD player.

    If you download an episode of something, and it's not protected with DRM (as iTunes Store TV shows are), those you might be able to stream.

    Have you gone to antennaweb.org and typed in your address to see what they say about your location and picking up local TV stations? I had to put a small antenna on my roof, but now I get all of the locals in perfect HD quality. Before, with an antenna inside, I barely got anything. If you can get an antenna to work, that opens you up to using something like EyeTV to record shows on your Mac, which should be streamable to your Blu-ray player. Or just invest in a little Mac mini that's hooked directly to your TV and skip the whole streaming to your Blu-ray player thing. Your ROI for that would be like 10-months of no satellite bills.
  7. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    blu-ray's can't "just stream" there's no "pitcher and catcher" software (for lack of better terms). It just plays media files.

    If the file is on your computer, and you have a blu-ray player that supports it, you can play files back.
    Mine just gives you a file browser that accesses a network share. You can then play back the file IF it's in a format supported by the blu-ray player.

    If you were to purchase something from the itunes store, even though the media is on your computer, you won't be able to play back on a blu-ray, because there is not a player on the blu-ray that handles DRM files, currently that would require a computer or :apple:TV.

    Netflix, ML baseball, VUDU, and the other things that are available to stream are basically the same thing. The content provider has made the files available in a format the player understands. and provided a graphical front end to access and find those files. they just are stored on a server on the internet as opposed to on a computer on your network.
  8. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    Antennaweb says no stations via antenna - here's blu-ray specs

    I can't get any stations via an antenna except PBS which I never watch. Here's the specs for the blu-ray player that says it can stream internet content.


    Full 1080p high-definition video playback
    Integrated 802.11n Dual Band wireless networking
    Optimized with 7.1 digital audio output via HDMI with Dolby True HD and DTS HD
    Access thousands of HD titles, TV episodes and more with VUDU, Netflix, Cinema Now, Blockbuster, Rhapsody and Pandora Internet Radio
    Plays Blu-ray discs, DVD discs, audio CDs and MP3 files
    View personal photos, music or videos using the built-in USB port
    BD-Live compatible for additional supplemental footage, games and special features

    Blu-ray Disc Resolutions: 1080p (HDMI Out) 1080i / 720p / 480i / 480p (HDMI / Component Out) DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW
    Selectable Resolutions: 1080p (HDMI) 1080i / 720p / 480i / 480p (HDMI / Component Out)
    Video: Macrovision 7.1, HDCP, HDMI 1.3c, MPEG-2 / VC-1, H.264/AVC, AVCHD
    Audio: CD, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3, WMA Support / 7.1 Digital Audio via HDM / 24-bit / 192KHz Audio DAC
    Dolby: Dolby Digital / Dolby Digital Plus / Dolby Digital TrueHD
    DTS: DTS Digital Surround / DTS HD Advanced Digital Out
    BD Live: BD Live 2.0, BD Live 1.1

    Ethernet: 1 – 10/100/Mbps
    Wireless (Wi-Fi): 802.11n, 2.4GHz and 5Ghz
    Content Partners: Netflix 2.0, Pandora, Vudu, Cinema Now, Blockbuster, Rhapsody

    Inputs: 2 – Front and Rear; JPG, MP3
    Outputs: HDMI 1.3, Component Video, Composite Video, Stereo audio, Optical audio, Coaxial audio

    Power: 25W (average), 1W Standby
  9. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    Live Sports & TV are your downfall

    From your later post, the BD player you are looking at supports:
    VUDU, Netflix, Cinema Now, Blockbuster, Rhapsody and Pandora Internet Radio

    check the sites for these services to see what you can get - it's mostly movie rentals. Pandora is free, but that's music only - not sure about Rhapsody.

    As far as I know, NetFlix gets TV shows only after the DVD is released - except for Starz Original shows, which seem to be available a day after they first air.

    iTunes had the winter olympics available on no more than a 24 hour delay, but day to day sporting events are rarely available.

    If you have no over-the-air available, how's your broadband connection?

    ESPN3.com has a good bit of live sports available, but I think it is only available if your ISP supports it. I have 35Mbps FIOS Service, and ESPN3 is still pretty awful when I try to watch a game. The video quality jumps all over the place during the game. Strangely, the commercials are always crystal clear. That makes me think ESPN may have a problem between the stadium and their servers, and it may only effect certain teams/events.

    iTunes does get new TV Shows from many networks the day after they originally air, unfortunately, the good stuff from HBO and Showtime is delayed until the DVD release.

    Give Hulu and ESPN3 a try and see if they work for you - if so, you might consider a Mac Mini or a windows based HTPC connected to your TV.

    I've been wanting to ditch cable ever since I got my AppleTV over a year ago, but there are still some things missing - mainly the Premium channels channels for me. AppleTV is excellent at what it does, but you pay for your content and not everything is available immediately after it airs.
  10. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    what's the make and model number?

    it says nothing about playing your content over the network. only "View personal photos, music or videos using the built-in USB port" and all of the network content (like netflix) seems to be from the internet.

    here is the part from my manual (LG's BD570) that would concern you. you need to find something similar in your specs, mainly the codec part.
    It will entirely depend on how you're getting your content, and the format it comes to determine if what will work for you.

    but it seems you may have to dump everything to a usb stick and manually move it over to the player.
  11. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    To the OP:

    My advice is to go ahead and cancel your satellite subscription and then worry about the "consequences." I know this sounds kinda stupid, but hear me out.

    I was in the same boat as you a few months ago, except with cable instead of satellite. I hemmed and hawed for the better part of a year trying to decide if and when to pull the plug. Finally I did it. And guess what? I watch a LOT less tv now. In fact, what I realized is that in the past I was actually watching a lot less tv than I thought. It's just that the stupid thing was on all the time as background noise.

    Now, whenever I do watch something it is via Netflix streaming, the occasional disc, and once in a while Hulu (I connect my laptop to my tv for that). I'm fortunate in that I still get network stations via my QAM tuner, but honestly I rarely watch live television.

    Sports is usually the one big issue (daytime television might be another, but for people with daytime job it's not a big deal), and I can't help you out there because I don't watch a lot of mainstream sports.

    Do yourself a favor and cancel satellite. You'll save money and free up time to do other, more meaningful things. I disagree with Carlgo: watching TV, especially in large doses, is one of the most disconnected things you can do.
  12. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    As previously mentioned, you won't be able to stream content other than that provided by VUDU, Netflix, etc which is essentially from their library of movies/tv shows. It's not possible to stream content from your computer, i.e. whatever is playing in your browser.

    It sounds like the :apple:TV may actually be your best bet (once they have more content providers lined up for $.99 rentals). Doesn't sound like you watch a ton of television--try keeping track of how many hours of TV you watch a week. I spend about $100/mo for satellite TV which would equate to 100 episodes of rentals from iTunes (again, assuming what you watch is available). Watch less than that and there's your savings (minus the $99 investment for :apple:TV).

    Again, as mentioned, live sports is going to be the difficulty. MLB and NHL have packages available to allow viewing online and supposedly the NFL is going to offer something soon (although rumor is you can only get it if DirecTV isn't a viable option in your area, but don't quote me on that ;)), so if you have a laptop, you could connect it to your TV. ESPN3 has offerings as well but as discussed, its quality is questionable at the moment. Obviously, paying for the sports packages is going to reduce your savings.

    If you can live without alot of the sports, you can probably get most of what you want to watch for less than you're spending now---of course, depends on availability.
  13. Rideherhard macrumors 6502

    Aug 2, 2010
    Have you seen what the prices are to watch one season of a TV shows on iTunes?... Two And A Half Man is $65, Simpsons is $55, Family Guy is $55, South Park is $39 ect it's not cheap. I'm in some what the same boat but I can't get my Hockey online without blackouts so I have to stick with Satellite for now.
  14. Loramarthalas macrumors member


    Aug 7, 2010
    Dude, it's so simple. I did it about 2 months ago. Disconnect your cable or satellite. All you need is the best broadband you can afford.

    1) get bittorrent on your computer.
    2) download the shows you want. Www.thepiratebay.org
    3) get a DVD player with a USB input. Just load the files onto a USB stick and stick them into your player.

    Live sport will be an issue. I'm lucky I can still get most of it on free-to-air tv. Apart from that, you can find any show, any movie, any music on bittorrent.
  15. jammybastard macrumors regular


    Apr 26, 2010
    In Trasnic
    Bad idea as bit torrent can easily be traced to you by anyone on the torrent with you.
    Nobody who values their privacy uses BT anymore.

    You need to use a direct download service.

    Get a Hotfile, Rapidshare, or Megaupload acct.
    They avg $50 a year, shorter terms avail.
    Unlimited download, and you can upload as well to share.
    Worth every cent.

    Then go here or here. (Look for the links in the "comments" section.)
    Or at forums like this one to find links.

    BTW - I'd suggest using a free download program like jDownloader for combining multiple links.

    Then just cut, copy and paste the links and start downloading.

    That way only you & your ISP know about your downloads instead of the anyone on a torrent with you.
  16. iaddict thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    Yes, sports is probably the downfall

    Sports has been the only thing that has kept me from turning off the satellite. I keep looking around trying to find viable options for them but so far, nothing.

    I have DSL, not broadband. I guess when I saw the "streaming internet" on the blu-ray player, I was thinking I could stream it from my computer to the player. Model number for the blu-ray is VIZIO VBR231. Guess I will have to learn more about how these things work before I make the call to cancel services. It just kills me since most of the time, the tv isn't even on during the week. I record about 7 shows during the regular season and watch them via my DVR whenever I have time. Nice to just watch the show and fast forward through all the commercials. Since they are all network programs, I thought I could get all of them from the respective networks for free. But....don't want to sit at my computer when I watch them. Oh well....

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