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Away from Pay TV
Old 07-27-2013, 08:52 PM   #1
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Away from Pay TV

As Commercials increase, and are synced to run on all channels at the same time... As Paid-For content turns from entertainment to advertising only... As rates go up, and quality of programming goes down... As "News" becomes more slanted, less well covered, or ignored entirely... As content gives way to "fluff"...
then the idea of on demand programming becomes much more attractive, and accordingly much less expensive.
The networks know it's coming and battle is being joined. TV's with media players built in, Roku, and a dozen other manufacturers are offering web based on demand programming. Google just announced their new media player and program.https://cast.google.com/chromecast/offer
(edit) oops... offer is over... here is CNet Reviewhttp://reviews.cnet.com/digital-medi...-35823617.html

Keeping up to date with all of these means for alternate viewing is becoming a full time project. While there have been a number of threads about Netflix or Roku, it might be a good time to share some of this new technology, to put forth ways of gaining control of content, and limiting or eliminating the expense of Pay TV as we know it. (All Legal Means).

Here are a few suggestions (for starters).
Add UTube to your ROKU... Youtube on Roku It works.
Don't know what full versions (not trailers) of movies are available on Utube?
(hundreds) try this Pegleg
Instead of looking for movies on the Netflix page, try this more directed search...instantwatcher.com - Streaming Movies and TV to watch instantly on Netflix

For those who haven't explored the capabilities of the Roku or any of the other media players, the recent addition of several dozen new channels offers some major streaming news and sports programs, that are continuous and free, and not interrupted by commercials and do not require searching for special content or 5 minute clips.

For movies that are normally offered on the pay channels like Hulu or Amazon or Netflix, a simple Google search for "free streaming (movie title)" will often bring up alternate sites... some with commercials, some not.

Those who continue with DirecTV can use the app "DirecTV Anywhere" to watch on phones or tablets.

There a so many new innovative internet based video alternatives to current pay TV that there will necessarily be a shakeout. Fortunately, the sheer volume of programs and videos that are already "in the can" should be enough to satisfy most appetites for entertainment... especially for those who may be paying $50 to $150 for hundreds of channels that they never watch.

We're keeping our DirecTV for now, but find the changes fascinating. This new technology is (obviously) not interesting to everyone, and changes won't all happen overnight, but like the advances in the internet and smartphones... changes in entertainment are becoming a big factor in our society. If it can also offer more efficient transmittal and lower costs... why not?

Any new stuff to share?
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:59 PM   #2
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Think you for the tips!
We just got a Roku and love it. We stream Netflix and use Vudu once or twice a month. We watch maybe 5 hours of tv a week, so not the best to answer the question.
Thanks for the search tips...Netflix can be frustrating!
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:15 PM   #3
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Another direction to reducing costs...
Library DVD's of current movies and series.
Sure, There Are Cheap Alternatives to Pay TV
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:19 PM   #4
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This little devise from Google called Chromecast costing $35 appears to be catching peoples eye. It lets you stream media from your phone to your tv. Just plug it into your TV port and it's a go.
http://news.investors.com/technology...deo-device.htm

I am not able to snip the cord for two reasons. One is my maximum Internet speed is 3 MB. Not enough to trust it on my TV. But where they really got me by the short hairs is sports. Cutting the cable cord would take away too many of my sporting event options that I watch.
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:24 PM   #5
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I cut my cable recently and have not turned on my TV for at least 6 months. It's too old to have a USB port. Anybody want a 1997 Panasonic 27" colour TV in perfect working order?
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for telling us about Pegleg, imoldernu. It's going to be a great way to find a few more free films to watch (I just found one and am watching it now!)
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:48 PM   #7
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Confirmation of the perceived decline in Cable and the limited increase in Satellite delivery by some basic statistics put out by the FCC between 2010 and 2012. FCC: Increased pay-TV provider competition | Advanced Television The winner in the multichannel video programming distributors MVPD's is a 21% increase for the Telephone MVPD's and an increase in the online video distributors (OVD"s) as follows:
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Viewing of OVDs’ video programming on television sets is becoming increasingly prevalent. For example, one source, SNL Kagan, estimated by the end of 2012 the number of Internet-connected television households (i.e., accessed via an Internet-enabled game console, OVD set-top box, television set, or Blu-ray player) would have grown to 41.6 million, or 35.4 per cent of all television households.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:17 PM   #8
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Another major player in the online market is PLEX.
Plex - A Complete Media Solution

I think this would be a bigger deal, if the developer had prepared a website that was comprehensible to the average guy. I tried it... It works, but I don't know how or why, and IMO, the website offers no help. Even Wkipedia is about as clear as mud, in trying to explain it.
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Plex is a media player system consisting of a player application with a 10-foot user interface and an associated media server. It is available for Mac OS X, Linux, and Microsoft Windows.[1]
Plex's front end media player, Plex Media Center, allows the user to manage and play video, photos, music, and podcasts from a local or remote computer running Plex Media Server. In addition, the integrated service provides the user with a growing list of community-driven plugins for online content including Hulu, Netflix, and CNN video.[2]
Plex Media Center's source code was initially forked from XBMC Media Center on May 21, 2008; this fork is used today as a front end media player for Plex's back end server component.[3][4][2] Plex Media Server, unlike the open source frontend, is proprietary
If someone here understands PLEX, I'd sure like a plaintalk explanation. Especially the "10 foot user interface" . Plex as I understand it is software only.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:26 PM   #9
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Just cut off Comcast this last week and went to Direct TV.....slightly better channel choice on Comcast, but the cost was terrible. I kind of figure that in 2 more years DirectTV will be going bye-bye as well.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:47 PM   #10
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Cut my cable two months ago. I find everything I want to watch through Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, and Netflix on my Roku or iPad, in addition to all the free channels on the Roku and the A&E website. I bought an antenna and can pick up a few local channels for news. I am discovering and re-discovering a bunch of British series this way. It takes a little planning, but the savings are worth it - $83 per month.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:49 PM   #11
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I am thinking of going backwards and using fewer TV services, not more.

I am thinking of taking back the DVR I recently got from Cox Cable, because I never use it. I am also thinking that my new expanded whoop-de-doo HDTV cable service is not worth the cost, when most of what I watch is available with bare bones basic cable. Being able to afford it doesn't mean that getting these services was a good idea. (sigh) No matter how old I get, I still have to learn some things by making my own mistakes.

I have Amazon Prime, but do not use the streaming cable programs and movies that are included. I will keep it, though, for the free two day shipping.

As for ads, they are becoming more objectionable as well as longer. I just use the "mute" button very liberally. Of course, this means that I miss part of the programming too when I forget to "unmute" at the proper time, and the more I miss the less attached to TV I become.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:49 AM   #12
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Acorn has some good British programing available. I think it's $25 or $29 a year which isn't bad for the added library of new stuff to keep you satisfied.

It seems like programing consists of 50% program and 50% commercials now. I like what the movie channels do. They show about 15 minutes of movie in the beginning to get you interested with only a few commercials.

By the time you get to the end of the movie, they give you ten minutes of commercials, and three minutes of movie.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:15 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Confirmation of the perceived decline in Cable and the limited increase in Satellite delivery by some basic statistics put out by the FCC between 2010 and 2012.
It is important not to confuse the effect of new channels of competition with a decline. The mechanics and long-term impacts are completely different.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:07 AM   #14
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I cut my cable recently and have not turned on my TV for at least 6 months. It's too old to have a USB port. Anybody want a 1997 Panasonic 27" colour TV in perfect working order?
Tossed mine in 1994. I got a lot more reading done over the years due to that one simple decision.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:30 AM   #15
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While I'd love to cut my cable cost I'm a huge sports fan and there aren't really any other options if you want to watch live sports on a regular basis.

Now if I could just design my own cable system that includes the 10 channels I watch and eliminates the rest that would be nice.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:42 AM   #16
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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:

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To see how a la carte programming costs might end up working look at the c-band satellite programming. C-band is the old style large satellite TV dishes that you used to see often next to trailer homes in rural areas 20+ years ago. These are the 10 foot wide dishes that were somewhat popular in rural parts before DISH and DirectTV came out. Initially the old large satellite TV users got signals for free out of the air because they weren't scrambled or they used technically illegal descramblers. Later the satellite companies came up with ways for such large dish owners to buy channels legally. Today they have companies selling c-band programming subscription services in bundles or sometimes via a la carte pricing per channel. Think you can get BBC or EPSN Classic for 25˘ or $1 per month and maybe $2 for Sci-Fi? Think again. The service Skyvision charges $5.99 each for those channels with their la carte purchase. Skyvision also sells several package deals which might include a bundle of channels that would work well for you and might be cheaper than one of the large bundles.
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:

Quote:
Instead think of it as paying $75 for the 'good' 20 channels you do like plus getting 230 'junk' channels for free.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:20 AM   #17
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Yes, many people think "a la carte" pricing is their holy grail quest, but in reality the stations would probably have to charge anywhere from 5x to 20x the monthly charge per subscriber than it does when it's included for all subscribers in a base package. They may charge 25-50 cents a month per subscriber on basic cable or satellite, but if people could pick and choose their channels, maybe only 10% would choose to buy that programming and they'd have to charge 10x as much.

It's a concept that sounds good in theory, but there are significant economic reasons why it isn't done.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:47 AM   #18
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"Luckily" my wife and I have no free time to actually watch TV, since our son was born. So, we ditched cable. The couple times a week that we have an hour or so, we will use netflix or amazon streaming to catch something.

There are quite a bit of services out there to choose from, and it can be very daunting.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:56 AM   #19
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.....I am thinking of taking back the DVR I recently got from Cox Cable, because I never use it. ....
Oh, no! I love having a DVR. I have set it up to record anytime a new episode of one of my favorite shows airs and then I watch it later when it is convenient for me.

I don't need to rush home from something at a particular time to see my favorite shows and I can skip/fast forward through all the annoying commercials.

To me, the DVR is truly on of the best things since sliced bread.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:15 AM   #20
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Oh, no! I love having a DVR. I have set it up to record anytime a new episode of one of my favorite shows airs and then I watch it later when it is convenient for me.

I don't need to rush home from something at a particular time to see my favorite shows and I can skip/fast forward through all the annoying commercials.

To me, the DVR is truly on of the best things since sliced bread.
+1. In fact, without a DVR I'd probably find TV programming not worth subscribing to.

I almost never watch live TV with commercials, except for occasional sports. Frankly, the only thing keeping me from ditching my satellite TV bill is the lousy Internet here. We have a fairly slow DSL connection, and in fact we can't even get our own because AT&T has maxed out the number of subscribers they can support, and they aren't currently upgrading capacity. So we have to run two wireless repeaters from the church office into our home, and the bandwidth is pretty lousy (usually 2-3 Mbps at best, but occasionally 4-5) and sometimes stalls out. If we had a good enough connection to reliably stream video, the $80 monthly bill would be *gone*. I'd throw up a good outdoor antenna, set up a spare computer to run media center software to serve as a DVR for over-the-air free network programming, use stuff like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime streaming video.

But alas, our internet sucks too much to do that. (On the other hand, we're leeching off the church's connection so it costs us nothing.)
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