Want to get rid of cable...is ATV my answer?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by flanamac, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. flanamac macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2009
    Ok, here is what I want to do, so if you think this is possible, please let me know and I am requesting any suggestions on the best way to go about it.

    1) I want to rid myself of the monthly cable bill where we watch two of 50 channels we have.
    2) We are going to keep our internet with that same cable company, so we will have access to the numerous online streaming movies and TV shows on their fancast website (Comcast is the cable provider). We don't mind paying for the internet, but we know with all the technology out there, spending $200 now on technology now will pay for itself in less than a year.
    3) We want a system where we can choose a movie, or TV show on fancast (say a TV show like Dancing with the Stars, or a movie like Casablanca), then watch it on our TV via streaming video over our wireless, secure, LAN (WPA protected).

    I saw something about a program called Boxee that looks promising, but the blog entry discussing it was early 2008, so I am sure that technology has come a long way since then and Boxee may be part of what I need.

    Please let me know any thoughts, or comments.
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    use hulu as well

    if you have a ps3 or 360, you can stream netflix movies for like 9 bucks a month for unlimited movies as well as be able to stream all your media to your tv from your computer via the ps3 or 360
  3. flanamac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2009
    perhaps this is what I need?


    This ATVflash product software appears to be what I would need.

    What I am wondering is that if a movie is streaming from a website, I think that the way I get it on Apple TV is to navigate to the website, play the movie, then click on the "full screen" icon.

    I am not sure what hulu is.
  4. glitch44 macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2006
    Hulu is a website built by the major TV networks to provide free, legal streaming of TV shows and movies. TV show creators are reimbursed for views so it's a good way to support your favorite shows.
  5. daflake macrumors 6502a

    Apr 8, 2008
    Be careful.... If you have a package with Comcast and you break it up, your internet costs will likely go up. I get charged 15 dollars for internet access and without the TV it would cost me 70 dollars according to them. You may want to look at that before you leap. ATV is nice, but the prices are not all that cheap to be honest.
  6. flanamac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2009
    Ok, so after getting one of the software programs to load via USB, I would navigate the web to the hulu site and watch whatever they have at that point? Or does hulu have a menu screen directly that I can select from without navigating the web.

    I ask because I see that some of the patchstick programs allow you to surf the web, but also they have direct links into some streaming (I assume streaming) content that I guess you can use the storage space on the atv to sort of "DVR" your chosen shows.

    I purchased a refurbished unit from Apple last night and will get the patchstick as well very soon to see if I can truly replace cable with this outfit.

    Any other thought are much appreciated.

    Thanks and I will look into that for sure. Frankly, we are already past the "honeymoon phase" of our internet pricing, so we are paying $45 a month and that is the unpackaged rate since we would have to have telephone as well to get a package deal.

    Going the ATV route, we have an opportunity to ditch the cable and save $50 or so a month. That will pay for the ATV and software in 5 months.

    Yeah, you were right. I just checked with comcast and at our one year anniversary of our internet service, our bill will double to $60 a month. I told them I would switch service providers if that happened, and they stated that simply I would need to avail myself of the promotional options available at that time. Makes sense. They don't want to paint themselves into a corner by agreeing to a fixed rate forever. Right now, we are at $30 a month for internet and that is a deal.
  7. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    Hulu is going to do a bait and switch and start charging for shows, so be aware...

    It will be interesting to see how iTunes does after the switch to paid content.
  8. flanamac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2009
    Well, since I can log into Comcast's Fancast.com website to view all their cable content being that we will continue to be internet customers, we don't need hulu, if I understand right. I can just navigate the web via ATV (after using patchstick) to the Fancast.com website, login, then pull up a show, hit "view full screen" and we should be in business, right?
  9. a350 macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2009
    I recently downgraded our comcast cable as we do not watch most the channels, instead of getting rid of the cable tv part completly we asked for the basic basic cable. they may call it the antenna package or something, now our cable with internet from comcast is $50.
    we still get the fast internet and we are now getting over 60 channels and about 10 of those are HD, I use a Windows machine and a usb tv tuner to record tv using Windows Media Center and then use our xbox 360's as extenders. we also use or 360s to stream movies via netflex.
    comcast discounts your internet by 10 or 15 dollars when you have cable tv with them as well, so it only is costing me 5 dollars more a month to have 60 channels and some HD channels, not a bad deal.
  10. flanamac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2009
    Understood. Since we will be paying $30 for the internet, that additional $20 you are paying for cable would more than fill up my Toyota Yaris once. We need all the additional funds we can get since our family is expanding.
  11. a350 macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2009
    In my situation I am not paying an additional $20 for cable tv
    without cable tv internet would cost $42.95 a month
    our bill with the basic analog cable our bill with taxes is $53.81

    our cable is clearly not costing us $20 more a month
  12. flanamac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2009
  13. Thanatoast macrumors 65816


    Dec 3, 2002
    The one thing I would watch out for is replacing your cable bill with your iTunes bill. My wife and I spend as much on iTunes as we did on cable. Of course, it's all commercial-free HD shows. My intention was originally to save money but even spending about the same amount I'm much happier.
  14. flanamac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2009
    Oh...I do not plan to use iTunes in the least.

    My plan is to use Comcast cable's Fancast.com site that, for its internet subscribers which I will be one, provides streaming movie and TV show content. I can access this, supposedly via ATV flash or some other patchstick programming. I have yet to see anyone say I cannot do this.

    This being the case, iTunes won't see much of my cash (maybe a little, but not more than $10 a month).
  15. PaulMoore macrumors regular

    Dec 3, 2007
    I know Apple TV even with various add-ons has trouble playing back shows from Hulu- unless anyone else has more recent information. Do post here to let us know whether Fancast works properly on the Apple TV. If so then I would get one too, but I'd been under the impression that even with something like Boxee running on it, the Apple TV is quite limited in terms of what you can watch for free online- I get the impression it's more useful for streaming a file you have already downloaded whether via iTunes or other means. But I could be wrong.
  16. flanamac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2009
    Yes, you have nailed the point on which my decision to go ATV or not is teetering. I am very interested in anyone's response to the above.
  17. justflie macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2005
    Red Sox Nation
    For more money (but more functionality), you could pick up a mac mini (possibly a refurb it it's powerful enough). You would certainly be able to use it to view the Comcast site, your iTunes media, etc.
  18. flanamac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2009
    That's a thought, but what I do not understand is what the mac mini provides over ATV with the exception of possibly having a larger hard drive. Can you provide a bit more detail as to why the mac mini is recommended over ATV?
  19. shadowbird423 macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2009
    Chapel Hill
    Its a computer that is more open to all kinds of stuff, like Hulu and Fancast without any modding. Plus, you get more storage, 1080p output, video converting and the like. I would go for a Mini.
  20. jonnysods macrumors 603


    Sep 20, 2006
    There & Back Again
    I would get a refurbed Mac Mini or something like that instead then. Get a BT mouse and keyboard, set it all up on the mac, then smack the fullscreen key and watch your TV that way.

    I live in Canada - the US has much better deals and systems. Netflix would be the bomb!
  21. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    For me, one of the biggest advantages is that the mini's processor is leaps and bounds faster than the AppleTV's processor. I know you're looking to mostly stream shows, so this may not apply to you, but I typically end up downloading mine from "other sources". My AppleTV isn't capable of playing back MKV files without stuttering, unless I spend the time to convert each file before I watch it, which is more work than I want to to do.

    I'd also be curious as to how well the AppleTV's processor does with streaming HD from fancast.com
  22. Airforcekid macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    Im not sure ATVs web browser is capable of fancast I would just use Boxee. You get access to all major internet tv providers that are free.:apple: Also i recommend getting a Mini if you can but not a big deal ATV is more than capable.
  23. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    The mini can be a great solution but it does not have hdmi and does not support audio out of the MDP connector, so getting an hdmi output with integrated audio requires an expensive adapter. This makes an expensive solution even more expensive. If only Apple would add an hdmi output with audio to the mini it would be a much better ht solution IMHO.

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