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 Cutting Cable, Anyone done it?
Todd Bowman
Posted: Feb 7 2012, 08:42 AM


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Joined: 17-October 04



My 2-year contract with Verizon FiOS is up at the end of the month and I'm considering dropping the cable TV component of the service.

We currently watch maybe 4-5 hours of TV a week (and on only a few channels) and it kills me that we're paying so much for so little and for so many channels that we NEVER watch (e.g., sports channels, etc.).

I mainly watch movies and a few series. I'm rarely interested in new network shows but might catch up on them if they get good reviews and have been around a few seasons. Wife watches Top Chef religiously and a few of the HGTV shows (House Hunters International) so having access to those in some format post-cable would be a big plus to getting her onboard.

I'm already a subscriber to Netflix streaming through a PS3/XBOX360 so I'm guessing that will take up most of the slack but I'm also interested in hearing if others have experience with other devices and services such as Apple TV/Roku or Hulu+/Amazon Prime. Are any of these recommended or are they mostly redundant if I'm already streaming Netflix?
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Terry Barhorst, Jr.
Posted: Feb 7 2012, 09:11 AM


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I've been cable-less for a couple of years now. I looked into a boxee box/roku or something similar, but being forced into services like Hulu+ was a deal killer. Vanilla Hulu works fine, even if I do have to watch it on my computer monitor.

Amazon Prime might be worthwhile because you get the free 2-day shipping and the video stuff, but otherwise netflix will probably be sufficient.


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Jinx
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Shawn Garrett
Posted: Feb 7 2012, 04:03 PM


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PS3 and a digital antenna = all the streaming Netflix I can use and about 30-odd channels for free (2 horror host shows!) - more than I need!
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Dave Garrett
Posted: Feb 7 2012, 05:44 PM


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I haven't cut the cable cord, in fact I just had to upgrade my service from the very basic "Digital Starter" offered by Comcast to "Digital Preferred", since Comcast decided to move TCM to the Preferred tier at the beginning of this month. I did, however, manage to convince a CSR to give me a substantial break on the upgrade price by calling and asking if they had any better deals available other than what was on the website. And I now have Encore Westerns as well, which is a good thing.

I also recently got a Roku 2 XS and love it. What steered me toward Roku instead of its competitors was the plentiful availability of "private channels" (Google "roku private channels" for an idea of what's out there - there are Boxee private channels available as well). There's a really great private channel from a guy called NowhereMan, really an aggregation of multiple channels that is well worth seeking out. Also access to the Internet Archive's amazing array of public-domain films, and out-of-the-box channels for Netflix, Amazon Video, Vimeo (but no YouTube, which is probably the biggest negative - there used to be a YouTube private channel but Google forced Roku to remove it, although they have supposedly been in talks off and on to bring back an official YouTube channel).

From a hardware standpoint, the Roku 2 XS is great if you have an older, non-HDTV, as it provides an RCA jack as well as an HDMI output. Like most media streaming devices, you do need to have a solid wireless (or wired) connection of at least 2Mb/s for it to work well. I had to install a wireless range extender to get a strong signal in the TV room, but that was long overdue anyway as I was getting tired of my laptop and phone constantly dropping the weak wi-fi signal there (my router is on the other end of the house).

One of my co-workers has one of the Western Digital TV Live units, but his deciding factor was his very large library of movies on his computer that he wanted to stream to his TV. The only other device I've had direct experience with is Google TV - I got my dad a Sony Blu-ray player with built-in Google TV for Christmas. The absence of easily-accessible private channels made it less attractive to me, however, you can access the Android Market and install other apps. And his player came with a physical QWERTY keyboard on the remote as well as the ability to run the Chrome browser natively - a full web browser is something the Roku doesn't have.
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Todd Bowman
Posted: Feb 8 2012, 10:22 AM


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I talked with Verizon this morning and was quoted a new TV-less price that would save me $480 a year (it also changes my plan to contract-less month-to-month which is a big plus too). For that amount I could get both a Roku *and* AppleTV and still be up $300 for the year.

I also did some hunting around in the attic of our house and discovered a dismounted aerial antenna with an installed co-ax cable that runs through the wall down to near where our TV is. Must have been installed by the previous owner. Hopefully I can get this all reconnected to digitally receive 5-6 local channels that broadcast about 20 miles north of me.

The only mildly annoying thing so far has been dealing with Verizon. My current contract expires on March 16th and they're actually going to make me call back on the 17th to initiate the switch. Seems silly it can't be automated to switch over in advance.

Regardless, I think I'm going to go for it.
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Darren Gross
Posted: Feb 8 2012, 11:58 AM


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While I'd love to do this in theory...

lose Turner Classic Movies?

NEVER! smile.gif
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Peter Nepstad
Posted: Feb 8 2012, 05:28 PM


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Never had it, never needed it, you won't miss it. I imagine for some people its a question of how you get your internet & phone, since I use DSL cable was never a part of that bundle.

I sometimes wished I could watch stuff like Mythbusters and Monster Quest and those sorts of fun science-y and history shows, but in the event they're all on Netflix streaming now and it turns out even though I can watch them at last I pick other viewing priorities, anyway!

Just count up how many DVDs you own that you haven't watched yet. If you're like me, it adds up to more than a year of viewing anyway all told.

I also have amazon prime but I've never used to to watch stuff, its all pretty much in Netflix anyway from what I can tell, and hulu has the more recent TV programming.

So yes, for crying out loud, just do it. Seriously, you will not regret it for even a minute, especially when you notice the money that you are saving.

If I didn't talk you into it read Clay Johnson's book The Information Diet. http://www.informationdiet.com/. Interesting guy and what he says makes a lot of sense. Anyway, practically step one in his diet? Cancel your damn cable.

-- Peter

This post has been edited by Peter Nepstad on Feb 8 2012, 05:29 PM


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Victor Boston
Posted: Feb 13 2012, 04:02 PM


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Joined: 30-October 04



We surrendered cable many years ago. For some years we just had a set-top antenna to get local news and current affairs programming. Everything else has been from disc. Then last year we got a tv with free access to all the Irish digital channels - just a handful but enough to keep up with news and round-the-clock AMERICAN DAD, FAMILY GUY and other imports. We've never missed pay-tv as we've enough DVDs of great movies and TV shows to watch on those few days a week the TV actually gets turned on.
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Dale Sherman
Posted: Feb 13 2012, 05:02 PM


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Posts: 448
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Joined: 24-November 04



Had DirecTV for 10-12 years, which included them letting us keep TCM for a lower price, but just couldn't justify the cost anymore with a three-year-old in the house (not to mention that most of the programming was impossible to supervise ... early morning cartoons for 2-year-olds would be interrupted with ads for R-rated movies and ads for shows that would scare kids that age). Got it pulled and have gone with the antenna, which we pick up about seven stations and their various sub-stations, making it about 20-something channels in all for us.

Besides - beyond TCM, I realized that I wasn't watching anything on the system and spending more time watching ME-TV and Antenna-TV than anything else.

Hated losing TCM, but that was it. I have since hooked up the computer to the television and we have watched a few things that way (the first few episodes of ALCATRAZ on Hula.com for free, for example). No complaints. A good video store that rents boxsets for $4 a week helps as well.
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