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Old 07-28-2013, 09:21 AM   #21
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Although we do have a low end package from DirecTV, I could never bring myself to pay the monthly fee for a DVR. Instead, I went with this, which allows you to record or watch live OTA programs free on your computer. Works really well using Windows Media and my 1T backup drive. Has the schedule for your local channels for the upcoming two weeks and you can set it to record individual programs or an entire series. It has a dual tuner so you can record two programs simultaneously.

I have our 47" TV hooked up as a second monitor to my desktop, or I can watch on my computer. Works really well for us since most of the programs we watch are the OTA variety (the only reason we have DirecTV is to allow DW to watch HGTV and me to watch sports).
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:26 AM   #22
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(On the other hand, we're leeching off the church's connection so it costs us nothing.)
Does that count as a sin against the 8th commandment?
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:31 AM   #23
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Although we do have a low end package from DirecTV, I could never bring myself to pay the monthly fee for a DVR. Instead, I went with this, which allows you to record or watch live OTA programs free on your computer. ......

Looks like an interesting way to get DVR functionality at a lower cost. If I had OTA reception I would jump on and cut the cord.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:40 AM   #24
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Does that count as a sin against the 8th commandment?
Heh. Not really, because if we could get our own connection, it would be on our phone bill, which they pay anyway. The only "utilityish" things we pay for ourselves is our DirecTV and our cell phones. The other stuff -- phone, gas, electric, water, sewer, garbage -- are all paid for by the church anyway. Combine that with being totally debt-free and living in a 4/2 parsonage rent-free and it's easy to see how we can get by on a rather puny income.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:41 AM   #25
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Looks like an interesting way to get DVR functionality at a lower cost. If I had OTA reception I would jump on and cut the cord.
And if we had decent Internet so I could stream a lot of content that wasn't on OTA, I'd be throwing up a big outdoor antenna pointed at San Antonio and building a media center computer with OTA tuner and DVR software today....
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:49 AM   #26
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Anyone who's a gamer can get Netflix, Hulu, and a ton of other streaming services over their console. That's what I do. I watch Netflix for about one-tenth of what I used to pay Comcast. Selection is very good, and there are no commercials (absolutely mandatory for TV watching, imo).
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:03 AM   #27
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And if we had decent Internet so I could stream a lot of content that wasn't on OTA, I'd be throwing up a big outdoor antenna pointed at San Antonio and building a media center computer with OTA tuner and DVR software today....
+1

Our internet connection is slower than yours so I'm in the same boat. We tried Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video - not good.

On a more positive note, we get great OTA reception as we are on a hill ~40 miles from the SA stations (the major network transmitters are on the SE side of Calaveras Lake). During construction I wired RG6 cable throughout the house and installed an attic antenna so we could have OTA TV in the bedrooms and avoid paying for satellite boxes wherever we could. One unexpected benefit is the OTA HD picture quality - very nice.
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:04 AM   #28
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ziggy - check the netflix account settings - you can 'force it' to use a lower bandwidth, which gives a more reliable experience with a marginal internet speed. I did this, and there is far less buffering and pausing, and the picture is still very good, just a step down from the highest (non-HD) level.

The trade-off was worth it for me.

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Old 07-28-2013, 11:11 AM   #29
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There's actually something like that available - C-Band. However, if you're just picking and choosing the channels you want, they're generally a lot more expensive than their component cost in a package. The costs are so high, per channel, that the service offerings are pretty-much all gone, but here's a relative recent article (June 2012) that outlines the general case that prevailed when C-Band was more readily available:

Why Won't Comcast Just Sell Me the 16 Channels I want to Watch? | Free By 50

And that's over and above the basic account service fee (which IIRC was about $40 per month). So in the end, such an arrangement would only work out for people who truly only access four or five channels, max. Once you add a sixth or seventh channel, the package deals work out better.

So, with regard to cable television packages, as the article indicates:
The more I have read about it, the more I have came to your conclusion that ala cart will not bring great savings. Especially to the sports channels that I watch. Many people take shots at the cable/satellite company, but the channels themselves bring about the vicious cycle. Take for example Fox Sports network. They refuse to let a company broadcast their channels because they will not pay the increased price they want. The consumers in turn complain not to the broadcast company, but the the cable provider. Then facing mounting pressures from complaints and cancelation, the provider then agrees to contract and then passes on the cost. Then the consumer complains about the increased cost of service. At least I get $20 off every year, by calling and going the "threaten to cancel routine". It has become an annual July event, along with the separate Internet contract.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:50 PM   #30
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When I opened the Chicago Tribune this morning, the Business section featured a story about Chicago Channel 7 (Disney/ABC Television) announcing a rollout this month, to "WATCH ABC" in Chicago... an app that enables 24/7 live streaming of network owned WLS -Ch. 7 on a tablet, smart-phone or other mobile device.
This will be the first time a major TV station will offer its full 24/7 programming schedule in Chicago. ABC, in Philadelphia and New York began doing this in May.

The article (not available yet online) is extensive and pointed up the fact that Tablet ownership for adults over 18 has gone from 3% in 2010, to 34% in 2013.

If ABC does it now, will CBS, NBC and FOX be far behind?
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:05 PM   #31
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Streaming by local OTA stations would be the last piece of the puzzle for me to cut the cord. We have good internet service but poor OTA reception as there is a mountain right behind us between us and the OTA transmitters. Folks on the other side of the lake (~1 mile away) get good OTA reception.
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:28 PM   #32
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Streaming by local OTA stations would be the last piece of the puzzle for me to cut the cord. We have good internet service but poor OTA reception as there is a mountain right behind us between us and the OTA transmitters. Folks on the other side of the lake (~1 mile away) get good OTA reception.
Funny how things work -- we're in the opposite situation. We could (if we were inclined) put up a good outdoor antenna here and get great reception into San Antonio (so I'm told from those who have done it) -- but as long as our Internet connection is too lousy to enable reliable streaming content, there's no point since we'd need to keep the dish anyway.
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:43 PM   #33
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Thanks Imoldernu for the tip on getting youtube on the Roku.
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:52 PM   #34
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Funny how things work -- we're in the opposite situation. We could (if we were inclined) put up a good outdoor antenna here and get great reception into San Antonio (so I'm told from those who have done it) -- but as long as our Internet connection is too lousy to enable reliable streaming content, there's no point since we'd need to keep the dish anyway.
But wouldn't satellite internet only be much less than satellite internet + tv?

If i have good OTA then I think I could get satellite internet for ~$50-60/month (if i didn't have access to DSL and/or cable internet).
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:04 PM   #35
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ziggy - check the netflix account settings - you can 'force it' to use a lower bandwidth, which gives a more reliable experience with a marginal internet speed. I did this, and there is far less buffering and pausing, and the picture is still very good, just a step down from the highest (non-HD) level.

The trade-off was worth it for me.

-ERD50
Just curious, but what download speed does this lowering represent? I may switch to DSL by AT&T (3.0 MB/S max) and dump Comcast cable (no Uverse near me).
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:40 PM   #36
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But wouldn't satellite internet only be much less than satellite internet + tv?
Satellite internet is quite expensive and it has ridiculously low bandwidth limits, especially for streaming video. It's really a last resort for people who have no other realistic options. If you used satellite internet to stream 2-3 hours of HD content in a day, you'd either (a) hit your monthly cap after a week or less and it would be unwatchable for the rest of the month or (b) you would incur "extra bandwidth" charges of several hundred dollars a month. So in that case, you'd be better off with "baseline" satellite internet with lower usage (little or no streaming video) and use satellite TV for that.

In any event, we have DSL here (sort of), piggybacking by repeaters from the church office next door.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:53 PM   #37
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The unsolved mystery here in Chicagoland is how to watch pro sports on TV without cable or satellite. I'm not that big a sports fan, but not having access to most Cubs, Sox, Bulls, Bears or Hawks games when I do feel like watching would be a bummer. Most games are on cable channels. Few are available OTA.

I do have easy access to OTA since I can see the Chicago skyline from my rooftop. But the quality of OTA programming seems to be slipping. When the switch from analog to digital first took place, a number of stations got on the air with temporary, low power signals with promises to improve later. But the improvements don't seem to be taking place. Perhaps they perceive so little viewership that buying new high power transmitters and continuing to lease very expensive skyscraper located antenna space just isn't worth it. Most of their viewers see them via cable or satellite.

The non-network OTA stations seem to be suffering from content acquisition too. We have several independent stations broadcasting vintage sitcoms OTA, but watching old episodes of Lucy and Desi gets old eventually.

I do get three public stations OTA.

But sports continues to be the problem. Little access to the Chicago teams either OTA or streaming. I would drop Comcast if I could get the local sports majors from another less expensive source. OTA and free streaming would do it for the rest of my TV watching.

Any ideas?
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:58 PM   #38
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The unsolved mystery here in Chicagoland is how to watch pro sports on TV without cable or satellite. I'm not that big a sports fan, but not having access to most Cubs, Sox, Bulls, Bears or Hawks games when I do feel like watching would be a bummer. Most games are on cable channels. Few are available OTA.

I do have easy access to OTA since I can see the Chicago skyline from my rooftop. But the quality of OTA programming seems to be slipping. When the switch from analog to digital first took place, a number of stations got on the air with temporary, low power signals with promises to improve later. But the improvements don't seem to be taking place. Perhaps they perceive so little viewership that buying new high power transmitters and continuing to lease very expensive skyscraper located antenna space just isn't worth it. Most of their viewers see them via cable or satellite.

The non-network OTA stations seem to be suffering from content acquisition too. We have several independent stations broadcasting old sitcoms OTA, but watching old episodes of Lucy and Desi gets old eventually.

I do get three public stations OTA.

But sports continues to be the problem. Little access to the Chicago teams either OTA or streaming.

Any ideas?
Sorry but you are gonna have to pony up, and continue to pay for cable. You can get out of market packages through NBA, MLB and NHL (NFL only on Direct) on internet but not the locals. There are always websites that are constantly up and down that pirate this stuff for free, but many of low quality though and constantly getting blocked.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:01 PM   #39
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Just curious, but what download speed does this lowering represent? I may switch to DSL by AT&T (3.0 MB/S max) and dump Comcast cable (no Uverse near me).
Aja, I have the 3.0 through AT&T and it worked ok on Netflix on my iPad, but it would hang up occasionally. I personally would not cut my cable to use that speed as my sole
viewing platform on a tv though.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:06 PM   #40
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I too am a rabid sports junkie, and must watch my favorite college team at all costs, even though we also have season tickets. But we don't make it to away games, so we'll keep the cable for a while.

For those of you interested in the A La Carte cable, this is a very interesting analysis from a sports reporter I follow:

Is A La Carte Cable Good or Bad for Sports Fans? : Outkick The Coverage

I think the next 5 years will bring big changes in the options available to us all. Competition is a good thing.
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