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Old 07-15-2015, 03:19 PM   #201
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I have a 1997 Sony TV that has been gathering dust since I dropped cable in 2012. I guess there's nothing useful it can do unless I subscribe to cable again. Some year soon (when my weathered patio furniture collapses) I will call 1-800-got junk and get rid of it.
They make converter boxes. I got a few for our old TVs, I think there was some kind of coupon program here in the states (~ $25 off IIRC), 2 per household or something. The converters are cheap.

The Mediasonic unit that I've been using as an OTA PVR also acts as a converter - in addition to HDMI, it has analog outputs for older TVs:

Amazon.com: Mediasonic HW-150PVR HomeWorx ATSC Digital TV Converter Box with Media Player and Recording PVR Function/HDMI Out (Black): Electronics

-ERD50
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:44 PM   #202
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They make converter boxes. I got a few for our old TVs, I think there was some kind of coupon program here in the states (~ $25 off IIRC), 2 per household or something. The converters are cheap.

The Mediasonic unit that I've been using as an OTA PVR also acts as a converter - in addition to HDMI, it has analog outputs for older TVs:

Amazon.com: Mediasonic HW-150PVR HomeWorx ATSC Digital TV Converter Box with Media Player and Recording PVR Function/HDMI Out (Black): Electronics

-ERD50
Thank you for the suggestion. However, there are only two channels available over the air in my area.
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Old 07-15-2015, 05:16 PM   #203
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I have a 1997 Sony TV that has been gathering dust since I dropped cable in 2012. I guess there's nothing useful it can do unless I subscribe to cable again. Some year soon (when my weathered patio furniture collapses) I will call 1-800-got junk and get rid of it.
I believe some of the Roku models have composite video output. We used a 1st gen Roku for Netflix on my mom's old CRT TV. Not sure about free content, though.
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Old 07-15-2015, 06:59 PM   #204
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I believe some of the Roku models have composite video output. We used a 1st gen Roku for Netflix on my mom's old CRT TV. Not sure about free content, though.
Thanks, I will look into that.
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Old 07-15-2015, 09:33 PM   #205
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I am currently watching a station that is about 100 miles away. Most of the HD channels I watch are more than 50 miles away. Last night I tuned in a station that comes from a city 200 miles away. I know, the curvature of the Earth won't allow it, but there it was. Obviously, weather will not allow these 150 plus mile away stations to come in very frequently, but it is amazing.

At dawn and dusk the atmosphere is charged with ions such that rf will reflect and you can get around the line of site issue the curvature causes. East coasters can often have CB radio chats with british enthusiasts.


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Old 07-16-2015, 09:17 AM   #206
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$100/month for all that, especially the "full" Channel lineup (400+ channels and HBO?). ? Out his way (and I have it), Comcast with the second tier of channels, no HBO, top HSI speed is near $200. That includes a couple of DVR boxes (rented), a modem/router (rented) and HD programm fees.

I don't see how you are getting all of that for $100, especially if you have to rent the boxes and modem/router and pay for HD and HBO.

BTW, I am on the low end with $200/month as some of my neighbors are paying 50% more and not getting much more than we have.
I don't rent any boxes, I have a Tivo with one Cablecard (included with service, actually gets me a $2.50/mo. credit for customer owned equipment). I also have 3 Tivo Minis for my other TVs in the house. So I have one DVR with 6 tuners and three 'boxes' that connect to the Tivo that I don't pay rent on. Plus I own my own modem and router. So their double play bundle cost is $100/mo. and that's all I pay.

The key is avoiding their ripoff monthly box rentals. My Tivo setup pays for itself in less than 3 years and is a vastly superior whole-home system.
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Old 07-16-2015, 09:54 AM   #207
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Here is a solution for those of us that cannot pick up digital off air signals. The FCC requires all cable operators to offer a "basic" level of service. The basic level must include any local off air channels plus any access channels. It typically also includes a bunch of shopping and sometimes religious channels.
If you ask your cable operator for the most basic level of service-they should be able to provide this. I called my cable provider and of course they said that their lowest level of service included other channels.
I told the representative that the FCC requires a "basic" level of service which included the off their signals. He then responded that the FCC requires a customer to ask for this in a very specific manner (which is BS and I called him out on this).
Anyway, we decided to keep our off air signals and our Internet, and were able to shave $25 off our bill. We still wanted access to local news and some network programming.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:15 AM   #208
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Here is a solution for those of us that cannot pick up digital off air signals. The FCC requires all cable operators to offer a "basic" level of service. The basic level must include any local off air channels plus any access channels. It typically also includes a bunch of shopping and sometimes religious channels.
If you ask your cable operator for the most basic level of service-they should be able to provide this. I called my cable provider and of course they said that their lowest level of service included other channels.
I told the representative that the FCC requires a "basic" level of service which included the off their signals. He then responded that the FCC requires a customer to ask for this in a very specific manner (which is BS and I called him out on this).
Anyway, we decided to keep our off air signals and our Internet, and were able to shave $25 off our bill. We still wanted access to local news and some network programming.
That's good advice. Thanks. I don't understand why the phone/cable companies try to tell the customers they are better at telling what the customers want. The hard sell just makes me not want to put another dime in their piggybanks .
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:25 AM   #209
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Originally Posted by bizlady View Post
Here is a solution for those of us that cannot pick up digital off air signals. The FCC requires all cable operators to offer a "basic" level of service. The basic level must include any local off air channels plus any access channels. It typically also includes a bunch of shopping and sometimes religious channels.
If you ask your cable operator for the most basic level of service-they should be able to provide this. I called my cable provider and of course they said that their lowest level of service included other channels.
I told the representative that the FCC requires a "basic" level of service which included the off their signals. He then responded that the FCC requires a customer to ask for this in a very specific manner (which is BS and I called him out on this).
Anyway, we decided to keep our off air signals and our Internet, and were able to shave $25 off our bill. We still wanted access to local news and some network programming.
When I tried to do that a couple of years ago Comcast indicated the basic service required a different DTA, which is quite large and won't fit one of the TV locations. I could hear the guy snickering as he told me.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:25 AM   #210
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Anyway, we decided to keep our off air signals and our Internet, and were able to shave $25 off our bill. We still wanted access to local news and some network programming.
I have access to OTA channels via clear QAM (cable) even without paying for any TV service at all (I just have cable internet). Cable service providers are required to deliver OTA channels unencrypted to their customers. The rule's probably just for cable TV customers but I guess my provider just didn't bother filtering the TV signals. I generally don't bother with clear QAM, though, since the feed from cable seems to have been re-compressed so quality's a bit worse than antenna.
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:15 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by bizlady View Post
Here is a solution for those of us that cannot pick up digital off air signals. The FCC requires all cable operators to offer a "basic" level of service. The basic level must include any local off air channels plus any access channels. It typically also includes a bunch of shopping and sometimes religious channels.
If you ask your cable operator for the most basic level of service-they should be able to provide this. I called my cable provider and of course they said that their lowest level of service included other channels.
I told the representative that the FCC requires a "basic" level of service which included the off their signals. He then responded that the FCC requires a customer to ask for this in a very specific manner (which is BS and I called him out on this).
Anyway, we decided to keep our off air signals and our Internet, and were able to shave $25 off our bill. We still wanted access to local news and some network programming.
We also did that. Internet and Basic is around $80 per month. That includes cable modem rental. Should have ditched that modem a long time ago. With the crap service we get, such as mysterious outages, I'm reluctant to get my own modem, as I know they will want to blame it all on me, send paid tech, and so on.
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:46 AM   #212
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I don't rent any boxes, I have a Tivo with one Cablecard (included with service, actually gets me a $2.50/mo. credit for customer owned equipment). I also have 3 Tivo Minis for my other TVs in the house. So I have one DVR with 6 tuners and three 'boxes' that connect to the Tivo that I don't pay rent on. Plus I own my own modem and router. So their double play bundle cost is $100/mo. and that's all I pay.

The key is avoiding their ripoff monthly box rentals. My Tivo setup pays for itself in less than 3 years and is a vastly superior whole-home system.
Your system is more than likely where we will be going soon. I darn near pulled the trigger on a Tivo box with two Mini's last year when Comcast was ripping me off even more. We took the Comcast Triple Play setup in lieu of that at a reduced rate per the wife's pleading. Now she does not like the Triple Play service and even their top line DVR is glitchy.

One thing that stopped me was the Tivo initial cost outlay and the monthly plan fee, which you did not mention. Do you pay Tivo monthly or did you buy the lifetime service?

None of this stuff is inexpensive if you want a cable TV setup. DW is NOT computer literate and doesn't want to deal with Netflix (we have it on a Fire stick anyway) or a Hulu/OTA/other interface. Since she does 90% of the TV watching, I can't readily push something on her that would be cumbersome for her to deal with.

How do you like the Tivo Mini boxes?
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Old 07-16-2015, 12:16 PM   #213
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Here is a solution for those of us that cannot pick up digital off air signals. The FCC requires all cable operators to offer a "basic" level of service.
This is what I did with Comcast. Downgraded to basic for $25/month with taxes. Bought a Roku 3, and added Hulu+ and Netflix for less than $20/month. Saving about $50 a month overall.

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Old 07-16-2015, 01:01 PM   #214
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DW is NOT computer literate and doesn't want to deal with Netflix (we have it on a Fire stick anyway) or a Hulu/OTA/other interface. Since she does 90% of the TV watching, I can't readily push something on her that would be cumbersome for her to deal with.
Surprisingly enough, Windows Media Center on Windows Vista/7 is one of the best interfaces we've used for live TV and DVR. Much more intuitive than the Charter supplied set top box. My parents have been using WMC for more than 5 years now without any issues. We just have some Logitech Harmony universal remotes to control both TV and HTPC. Alas, Microsoft has pretty much killed off WMC.

If not for HBONow, I would probably have succumbed and signed up for a cable subscription with CableCARD + HDHomeRun Prime. The monthly fees or lifetime subscription for TiVo just seemed a bit too steep for me.
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Old 07-16-2015, 01:37 PM   #215
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We also did that. Internet and Basic is around $80 per month. That includes cable modem rental. Should have ditched that modem a long time ago. With the crap service we get, such as mysterious outages, I'm reluctant to get my own modem, as I know they will want to blame it all on me, send paid tech, and so on.
When I switched from ATT to Comcast, the first thing I did was buy my own modem. I didn't want to get socked with a nickled and dimed monthly rental fee. Maybe I'm just a lucky one, but my internet is so much better since I switched. What was an interruption almost daily now is more like only a few times a year.
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:05 AM   #216
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Cable service providers are required to deliver OTA channels unencrypted to their customers. The rule's probably just for cable TV customers but I guess my provider just didn't bother filtering the TV signals.
This rule was changed about 2 years ago by our wonderful Federal legislators. I was taking advantage of the Federally mandated basic cable service and getting the major networks and PBS in HD via the ATSC tuner in my TV (no cable box) for ~$18/month. Then Comcast announced that they would begin encrypting everything so you had no choice but to rent a cable box from them. Of course the wrinkles did not end there. At that time the only cable box they offered with an HD tuner (HDMI output?) happened to be DVRs, so that cost extra. And, the basic service is just digital, not HD, so if you want to watch football games in HD, the mandated basic service is not enough, you have to pay for the HD upgrade. Arggh.
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Old 07-17-2015, 01:47 PM   #217
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so i ordred $600 worth of cable cutting goodies yesterday. the $39 antenna came in this morning. I've installed and set it up to a tv. i get 8 crystal clear channels. the Tablo and Rokus should be here monday. This should save me a little over $100 a month. Then it's off for a new tv search.
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Old 07-17-2015, 02:31 PM   #218
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Looks like Comcast took note of Sling TV's success. I imagine cord cutters will have more options in the future.

Introducing a New Streaming TV Service From Comcast
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Old 07-17-2015, 07:14 PM   #219
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We dropped cable a couple of months ago. Cable tv, that is. We still get internet through Suddenlink cable. We have a Leaf OTA antenna mounted high on the wall above the tv that does a decent job for local channels. We also stream Netflix, Amazon Prime & Hulu. I think we each miss a couple of our favorite channels, but overall it's nice only paying the cable company $35 a month vs. $110. Netflix is $7.99, not sure about Hulu but I think it's about the same. Amazon Prime is something we'd have even without the streaming, so in my book it's a freebie bonus. It's the least used of our streaming sources, though.

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Old 07-18-2015, 05:51 AM   #220
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Here is a solution for those of us that cannot pick up digital off air signals. The FCC requires all cable operators to offer a "basic" level of service. The basic level must include any local off air channels plus any access channels. It typically also includes a bunch of shopping and sometimes religious channels.
Well, the shopping and religious channels, as much as they annoy many people, usually PAY to be included, so in some sense they are subsidizing your service for the channels you *do* want.

And I believe this "lifeline" cable tier for OTA only includes the main stations (i.e. channel X.1) and not necessarily the subchannels (X.2, X.3 and so on). I could be wrong about that, though.
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