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Home TV Service in the 21st Century (Read 830 times)

    We have tall trees that our dish has to look through to see the DirecTV or Dish Network satellite, and the signal has started pixelating or flat going out whenever we get a storm front passing through, it's windy, etc.  So we're looking to switch to either AT&T Uverse or cable, and it looks like cable is the winner.

     

    I have finally, finally persuaded my wife that it's OK for us to give up our landline.  So now I'm considering discarding the phone service, getting only a fast Internet connection, and watching stuff via Netflix/HuluPlus/Web/Whatever.  Which brings me to this:

    1. General -- for those who've gone off the grid, does it work for you?  What's the best part (besides the savings)?  The worst part?  Did you end up getting some device to assist in gathering/presenting content (e.g. Roku, AppleTV)?
    2. Kid-oriented nature stuff -- I know Hulu has the prime-time stuff that my wife watches.  But we have a grade-school-aged son, and he loves shows on nature, science, and whatnot.  Lots of How It's Made, National Geographic stiff, Swamp People/Brothers, animal-control kind of shows, Dog Whisperer, and random nature shows.  And occasionally cartoons, too.  Is that sort of content available online?
    3. Sports stuff -- NFL seems locked up with DirecTV, but they do offer "NFL Game Rewind" where games can be seen online after they've been played/televised.  Forty bucks for the 2012 season.  Anybody use this subscription and can offer a review?

    “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

      We are off the grid - going on about 7 years now.  We dumped directv because my HS-age son was not doing his homework and spent all of his time trying to watch MTV.  So we got rid of it and went to just OTA antenna reception.  We had an old antenna on our roof when we bought the house - I just hooked it up and it works great, we get quite a few local OTA broadcast channels.  But still, there's nothing on - just like before!  

      Worst thing about it:  No more sports (I missed that a lot at first).

      Best thing about it:  No more sports.  I don't spend so many wasted hours in front of a television.

       

      We get plenty of interesting shows on PBS.  Supplement once in a while with Netflix for movies but don't ever use Hulu or any of those services as I guess we're just not into watching TV shows anymore.  

        We are off the grid - going on about 7 years now.  We dumped directv because my HS-age son was not doing his homework and spent all of his time trying to watch MTV.  So we got rid of it and went to just OTA antenna reception.  We had an old antenna on our roof when we bought the house - I just hooked it up and it works great, we get quite a few local OTA broadcast channels.  But still, there's nothing on - just like before!  

        Worst thing about it:  No more sports (I missed that a lot at first).

        Best thing about it:  No more sports.  I don't spend so many wasted hours in front of a television.

         

        We get plenty of interesting shows on PBS.  Supplement once in a while with Netflix for movies but don't ever use Hulu or any of those services as I guess we're just not into watching TV shows anymore.  

         

        I'm in a similar boat. Ditched landline and cable for 8 years already. Don't miss TV anymore when I don't know what is on. Kid watches PBS only. (OTA reception can get flaky at times, but it's free so I don't complain.) I get all my news from the internet. We have enough gadgets to waste time on that we don't need a TV to keep us occupied Smile

          Netflix + Hulu should have the kids covered. We no longer watch any Cable shows, not sure why we have it around (maybe because it's bundled with my Internet and Phone Service?).  OTA signal should be just fine with digital, you either get the signal or don't. so you may even have Football covered with an antenna(except Sunday night/monday/Thursday football, I don't watch any TV in the evening)

            I am very happy with internet TV through Roku. The only downside is not having access to NFL, etc., that are not on the major TV channels. But if it's something I REALLY want to see, I can just go to the local sportsbar, and if I don't REALLY want to see it, then who cares anyways. Smile

              We are Netflix + Hulu Plus on an AppleTV. I feel like the selection on Netflix has really gone down this year.

               

              Jeff, can you watch Amazon Prime content on that Roku? I have a Prime account and looking for a good way to explore that.

               

              --

              Nashville, TN

               

                We are Netflix + Hulu Plus on an AppleTV. I feel like the selection on Netflix has really gone down this year.

                 

                Jeff, can you watch Amazon Prime content on that Roku? I have a Prime account and looking for a good way to explore that.

                 

                Yep, you can watch Amazon Prime -- wider selection than Netflix, especially if you are willing to pay 3 or 4 bucks for a rental.

                  We just canceled our cable TV last month and bought a Roku. No regrets at all. It's a wonderful little gadget, as is Apple TV.

                   

                  The biggest adjustment is that you have to PICK something to watch from Hulu, Amazon, NetFlix, etc. Just flipping on the TV and mindlessly surfing channels is no longer an option. This is a feature, not a bug.

                   

                  I did splurge and spend $50 on subscription to MLB.TV. I'm a SF Giants fan living on the east coast, and it's great to be able to see every game with a home-team call.

                   

                  Saving a few bucks is nice. Just saying no to an endless stream of nightmare white-trash "reality" programming is even nicer.

                    Related question:  how do you record OTA?  Say you've gotten in the habit with a DVR of recording live-interest broadcasts and tuning in after some time period, so you can skip a lot of commercial breaks, say, on a game, or the Oscars, something like that.  A semi-live viewing experience.  I'm not sure I do it often enough to make it the sticking point, but I am usually happy when I can do it.  What's the set-up to do that with OTA broadcasts?  Tivo?


                    day after day sameness

                      Related question:  how do you record OTA?  Say you've gotten in the habit with a DVR of recording live-interest broadcasts and tuning in after some time period, so you can skip a lot of commercial breaks, say, on a game, or the Oscars, something like that.  A semi-live viewing experience.  I'm not sure I do it often enough to make it the sticking point, but I am usually happy when I can do it.  What's the set-up to do that with OTA broadcasts?  Tivo?

                       

                      I can't speak knowledgeably to the broader question about DVR'ing OTA -- however I can offer the Tivo info...a Tivo will DVR over-the-air as long as the OTA antennae is connected to the Tivo inputs.  (Tivo reference here)

                      I've done my best to live the right way; I get up every morning and go to work each day...


                      Former runner

                        Related question:  how do you record OTA?  Say you've gotten in the habit with a DVR of recording live-interest broadcasts and tuning in after some time period, so you can skip a lot of commercial breaks, say, on a game, or the Oscars, something like that.  A semi-live viewing experience.  I'm not sure I do it often enough to make it the sticking point, but I am usually happy when I can do it.  What's the set-up to do that with OTA broadcasts?  Tivo?

                         

                        Tivo would probably be the easiest option for DVR recording of OTA broadcasts. If you're good with computers you can get a digital tuner adapter that can save the programs to your hard drive. Most of them come with basic utilities to work with PCs/Macs for playback. Set top boxes like the Roku and some Blu-ray players can connect to these files on you computer for playback on a TV. For the truly geeky you can build a dedicated DVR computer, install a distro of Linux with MythTV, add a tuner card and you're set.

                        Ross

                          Thanks for the information!  Clive, I'm glad you started this thread, as we've been thinking about making the same switch.

                           

                          Good to know Tivo works for recording OTA.  Looks like I'd need to invest in the Tivo hardware for each TV, and pay a monthly fee for each.  But then the Tivo boxes can be used for internet access to sites like Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, to stream other content.  There would be an added monthly cost to have those services. So going off the grid - at least if we're not willing to DIY the hardware or pirate the content - is hardly without cost.  But it still ends up being cheaper than a satellite or cable subscription?

                           

                          I'm sure it varies by show, but if you stream current cable shows, how much do you have to time-shift your viewing?  That is, how quickly do shows get posted online?  Is a show like Mad Men still available for Sunday night viewing?  Can I watch The Daily Show day of?


                          day after day sameness

                            ...

                            Good to know Tivo works for recording OTA.  Looks like I'd need to invest in the Tivo hardware for each TV, and pay a monthly fee for each.  But then the Tivo boxes can be used for internet access to sites like Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, to stream other content.  There would be an added monthly cost to have those services.

                             

                            So going off the grid - at least if we're not willing to DIY the hardware or pirate the content - is hardly without cost.  But it still ends up being cheaper than a satellite or cable subscription?

                            ...

                             

                            Anne -- as a Tivo fan (and long time user), I can say that you nailed it with your statement in bold.  I have yet to find a solution that delivers the HD content I want [note want vs need], which is not extensive -- just certain specific channels in their total, without using HD cable.  I do use the various content sources on Tivo you note (and they work great), but until the content providers (channels) make their content available outside the cable/satellites, you can be stuck with limited choice.

                            I've done my best to live the right way; I get up every morning and go to work each day...