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Old 02-13-2013, 12:11 PM   #21
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Hmmm ... maybe I am not up on what is free out there for PBS?

I looked at PBS.org/video and there are series like the latest Downton Abbey available. I haven't tried to view it on an HD screen. Does this work in full HD?

I also found the PBS News Hour but haven't verified if I can watch it on the same day timing.
You don't have to watch it on the internet. I watch it live like cable viewers.

Here's what I did before disconnecting Comcast. Go buy you a $10 HD antenna from Walmart or Best Buy. Hook it up to your TV, scan for all channels available. You may be surprised how many channels you pick up. I've read where people who live in large cities can receive 20+ channels. My city has a population of 40k and I get 10 channels. Usually perfect reception although on some bad weather days a couple may break up a little bit. But as I said, half the channels I do receive are in perfect HD quality, including PBS. I even get a weather channel.(Accuweather)

Below is all you need. Of course if you live out in the middle of no where, might not work so good. After I saw what I got, I took my cable box back to Comcast and saved myself $70/mo, less the $8 I pay to Netflix.

RCA Indoor OffAir HDTV Antenna ANT111 - Best Buy
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:22 PM   #22
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Thanks Dawg52. It might not work in our area as we're on the very edge of our city and in the hills. Also I guess I'd have to buy a DVR as we rarely never watch live programming.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:25 PM   #23
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Dish Satellite, mainly. Through a combination of wired and wireless I've got HD distributed to 3 TVs on 3 levels. During football season I've got a setup in my lower level to watch 3 games at once with Dish HD, SD on TV2, and OTA. I sometimes also use ESPN3 but it's not high enough quality nor do I want to solely watch that and do without ESPN on satellite.

I do some streaming through Amazon Prime, and still watch DVDs sometimes. Once in awhile I'll watch something on my computer, such as catching up on Downton Abbey through pbs.com or to get a TV show I missed recording for some reason. I like the quality on my TV better than the computer.

My internet would have to be faster and more reliable to drop satellite, and I don't think I'd be able to catch all the sports games I want without it. I keep a fairly basic package though.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:03 PM   #24
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Yeah. I actually still have the cheapest Netflix subscription that allows 1 DVD at a time. There are still a significant number of movies you can only get with DVD's on Netflix. Otherwise I have a Comcast cable account and a Tivo DVR. I can stream Netflix movies but I can't also stream On-Demand Comcast using the Tivo DVR. I don't particularly care to watch movies on my computer at my desk but I've done it to watch some missed TV shows that I can't get any other way.
I agree about a significant number of movies you can only get on DVD's from Netflix. For me, it's Inspector Morse. Not available on streaming from either Netflix or Amazon. But Amazon Prime (free streaming with subscription) has one more season or so of Inspector Lewis than Netflix does. Do you detect a pattern here?

I dropped cable a couple of years ago, and sold my TV last year. I was never into large screens. So I'm watching on my little ol' laptop, cuz it has a DVD player. I'm considering getting a monitor (only 20 inches) to enhance my viewing experience.

Back to content availability: I confess to being a bit of a content snob. I'm not that wild about Hollywood movies and it takes a while for me to jump on the bandwagon of popular TV shows. I kinda like watching old series, especially British.

Another British series I just discovered and love is "New Tricks"--appropriate for this forum. A forty-something woman detective is put in charge of a cold case unit and has to hire retired detectives (no money for current ones). It's a hoot--these guys are operating like it's still the 70's/80's. But mostly it's about the characters--how they learn to work together and care about each other. And yes, only available on DVD. Netflix hasn't bought the streaming rights.

That's what worries me--if these services abandon DVD's, we're at the mercy of which streaming rights they're willing and able to purchase. I think that will limit our choices in the future. Especially for curmudgeons like me (a 59 year old single female BTW) who like funky old stuff.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:49 PM   #25
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I watch TV using OTA w/roof antenna and record using multiple DVR's w/digital converters. Just rewired the coax cable last year since it hadn't been used for decades and the insulation was cracked all over, now reception is pretty good. Had to stop cable years ago, son is too addicted and his grades would suffer. We're kind of in a sweet spot, suburban libraries get almost any TV series on DVD and the city libraries get multiple new release DVDs within 1-3 weeks. We tried Netflix last year and had trouble trying to find anything we really wanted to see. Also get free codes to use Redbox DVD rentals once in a while.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:12 PM   #26
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I'm getting ready to cut the cable... but DH is addicted to weather channel and discovery, and I like HGTV... But we're close.

We have a tivo box (don't like the DVR provided by the cable company) with a cable card in it to give us authorization to the HD channels. Because our cable company is doing a lot of switched digital video (SDV) - we had to get a tuning adapter. That thing is a piece of crud and needs rebooting several times a month. When it gets "lost" - I lose about 1/2 the channels.

I can stream regular amazon rentals through tivo, as well as youtube, and some other streaming sources... but it doesn't support amazon prime.

For amazon prime I hook up my android tablet to an HDMI connector on the tv and stream through that.

I wish I was someone who could give up tv... but I enjoy it a lot.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:35 PM   #27
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I've known people who spend an incredible amount of money on cable and internet each month. My own personal monthly pain threshold has been $100 since the mid-90's. I've been able to stay under that because we don't watch sports or "premium" channels like HBO.

Even then, I found Time Warner's routine invoice creep incredibly annoying, so the last time they pulled their sem-annual attempt to raise my monthly charges past the $100 mark, I called to cancel the cable portion.

Ended up with 20/1mb internet with basic cable for $49.95 a month. Turns out it's just another 12 month promotion (each monthly bill is $99.95 with a $50 credit) so when they try to jump it up again in a few months I'll cancel the cable again and keep the hi-speed.

We seldom watch anything other than the network channels which we can easily pick up in better quality HD with an antenna (cable compresses the signal and even though it's a great HD picture you can really tell the difference between your local HD affiliates on cable and then uncompressed with an antenna).

Besides a collection of several hundred DVD's we also have Netflix and can stream other online channels. That and the local HD channels are really all we need.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:56 PM   #28
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I am in a rural area with no over-the-air reception but dropped cable a couple of years ago anyway. I have a Roku for Netflix and other streaming but that's it for my TV watching. I really don't miss cable at all - lots of interesting things to do other than watch TV.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:04 PM   #29
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I agree about a significant number of movies you can only get on DVD's from Netflix. For me, it's Inspector Morse. Not available on streaming from either Netflix or Amazon.
....

Another British series I just discovered and love is "New Tricks"--appropriate for this forum. A forty-something woman detective is put in charge of a cold case unit and has to hire retired detectives (no money for current ones). It's a hoot--these guys are operating like it's still the 70's/80's.
...
A bit OT but we are addicted to Inspector Morse too. We'll try New Tricks, thanks.

An old short series with John Thaw is The Sweeney -- it's very 1970's. Another British series is The Last Detective. Also some of the Touch of Frost -- the earliest ones were ancient and not very good video quality.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:07 PM   #30
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You don't have to watch it on the internet. I watch it live like cable viewers.

Here's what I did before disconnecting Comcast. Go buy you a $10 HD antenna from Walmart or Best Buy. Hook it up to your TV, scan for all channels available. You may be surprised how many channels you pick up. I've read where people who live in large cities can receive 20+ channels. My city has a population of 40k and I get 10 channels. Usually perfect reception although on some bad weather days a couple may break up a little bit. But as I said, half the channels I do receive are in perfect HD quality, including PBS. I even get a weather channel.(Accuweather)

Below is all you need. Of course if you live out in the middle of no where, might not work so good. After I saw what I got, I took my cable box back to Comcast and saved myself $70/mo, less the $8 I pay to Netflix.

RCA Indoor OffAir HDTV Antenna ANT111 - Best Buy

Another good OTA antenna is the "Leaf" indoor antenna. It has a lot of reviews on Amazon, mostly positive.

Amazon.com: Mohu Leaf Paper-Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna - Made in USA: Electronics

Also if you get adventurous, you can try the coat hanger build route.

I've tried all three, plus connecting through a connection to a rooftop antenna at my building (condo). For me, the big honking home built coat hanger antenna works the best.

I've got my antenna angled so I get all the major networks without having to readjust.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:44 PM   #31
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Good old rabbit ears that get about 5 local stations. Also have streaming Netflix $8/month account. Seems to be more than enough for us.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:01 PM   #32
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I think the challenge with OTA reception is there are so many variables. Location of antenna? How good is the antenna? How good is the tuner? to name a few. But once you get a proper setup, it's nice to know you are getting free OTA TV.

The latest OTA adventure for me was I had perfectly working reception, but the DVR I was using was buggy. So after getting a different brand DVR, one station (namely CBS) would work occasionally. So I went ahead and got another antenna, but that didn't solve to problem. Eventually, I realized that if I use my original antenna setup but just angle it so, that was a working solution.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:13 PM   #33
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Like you imoldernu, we live in a rural area where OTA reception is a challenge. We currently have a Dish America package that totals $62 a month for 3 TVs (2 TVs sharing a DVR/receiver and another with just a receiver) and whiile I think we are getting a reasonable deal our contract ends this May so I am considering other options.

We have had Netflix in the past via our Nintendo Wii and it worked fine. I recently joined Amazon Prime. I regularly project videos from my Lenovo laptop to our Vizio HDTV via a Displayport>HDMI connection that that works well.

I'm planning on trying an antenna and seeing if we can get signal. My understanding is that with digital signal it is either good or none and not much in between. If we can get our locals OTA then I would probably drop Dish and go with OTA, Tivo and internet sources. If I can't get OTA then I'll probably drop to the cheapest Dish package that I can get to get my locals and a couple channels that we really care about (mostly HGTV and USA) and supplement that with internet sources off a laptop or Roku or Boxee.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:51 PM   #34
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I use a ROKU box for streaming to the TV. It has more than netflix. I love the little ROKU box.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:23 PM   #35
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To answer your question, I only get the Netflix CDs.

My Roku box has never worked. Roku = mega crap IMHO.
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Am curious about how y'all watch netflix. TV? using what streaming device?... or on the computer?...
or do you swap DVD's on US mail?...
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:14 PM   #36
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Another good OTA antenna is the "Leaf" indoor antenna. It has a lot of reviews on Amazon, mostly positive.

Amazon.com: Mohu Leaf Paper-Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna - Made in USA: Electronics

Also if you get adventurous, you can try the coat hanger build route.

I've tried all three, plus connecting through a connection to a rooftop antenna at my building (condo). For me, the big honking home built coat hanger antenna works the best.

I've got my antenna angled so I get all the major networks without having to readjust.
The Mohu works really well for UHF channels, but doesn't receive VHF channels well. You can go to antennaweb.org to find out if you have VHF channels in your area. Here in the Denver market, 3 of the channels that we like broadcast over VHF.

For VHF, you need rabbit ears or similar kind of antennae. The loops don't work.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:46 PM   #37
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I think the challenge with OTA reception is there are so many variables. Location of antenna? How good is the antenna?
It has not been challenging for us. We get all the channels (and more) we got when things were analog. Channel 7 was a bit iffy for some, but they finally made some changes. Same antenna we always used ( a roof-top style, but just in the attic). Two different converter boxes, and I've had multiple TVs with their own tuners connected, and they all worked fine. Picture is many times better than the old analog.

Even with just rabbit ears, we could get many of the channels.

Now, if you are in an area that had marginal reception for old analog TV, things can get a bit hairy. With digital, it either comes in 100%, or nothing.

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My Roku box has never worked. Roku = mega crap IMHO.
That is awfully harsh. We have had two ROKU boxes for a couple years and they have always worked perfectly, and were easy to set up. They aren't crap of any sort.

Perhaps your box was defective out-of-the-box (it happens with anything)? Or perhaps operator error in setting it up? What have you done to check those most likely explanations? To declare the whole product line 'mega crap' based on your experience of one box not working for you doesn't even make sense. If you used it and didn't like it, that would be an opinion.

-ERD50
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:57 PM   #38
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That is awfully harsh. We have had two ROKU boxes for a couple years and they have always worked perfectly, and were easy to set up. They aren't crap of any sort.
+1

Have used a Roku (as my only TV source) for a couple of years with no major issues.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:07 PM   #39
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From a previous post here -

We use Tivo with over the air TV - cut the cable (kept internet). Our TV's coax connection along with various others (HDMI, etc.) allows us to watch OTA TV while (2) channels are recording on Tivo (you can also watch any Tivo recording while they are both recording). Tivo offers other DVRs with (4) tuners for more money, but we bought a reconditioned Tivo DVR for $80.00 direct from Tivo. Least amount of HD capability, but more recording space than ATT Uverse DVR - go figure. Tivo allows DVR recording, pause live TV, programming information (one touch style recording), and online streaming (amazon, hulu, netflix, youtube) and a lot of internet radio (most free) - one box. Runs $14.99/mos. for programming service, and the other additional included stuff.

Our area +/-30 miles SW of Chicago gets over 60 OTA channels (7 PBS). Use a small antenna in the attic with an amplifier, and run it through the home's pre-wired coax cable connections. Get a lot of old TV stuff on the local channels. Use the Tivo DVR to time-shift all the programs I want to watch for when I want to watch them (and skip through the commercials).

Like keeping streaming to separate unit (Tivo) for reliability issues. Tried HULU+ and Netflix, but dropped them as they have mostly outdated streaming material. Can get up to date Netflix only by mail (conflict here if you ask me). There are lots of free online streaming sites (even Hulu), but will need those computer connections missing on many new TVs to successfully stream them.

For those "Inspector Lewis" and "New Tricks" fans - recommend "DCI Banks", and "Death in Paradise" if available on your PBS station.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:40 PM   #40
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I have an HDMI port on the laptop. It actually has wireless capabilities with a little device but I just have an HDMI cord in the TV then hook it to the pc. I still have basic cable but rent Redbox movies (I play them on the DVD in the laptop but view them on the TV) or watch Netflix movies from the laptop to the TV.

My son just fixed it so the laptop/tv is on a split screen so I can surf the net AND watch a movie.
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