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Old 07-18-2015, 06:21 AM   #221
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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....
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(snip)...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.
In my area, Time Warner calls it 'Starter TV' consisting of ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, WGN, local PBS, and CSPAN in SD without a cable box for $6.30 plus tax. You can bundle it with a cable box and, excluding the shopping channels, receive about 14 channels in HD including the subchannels (x.2) for $20.
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Old 07-18-2015, 09:40 AM   #222
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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?
The initial outlay for a Tivo + 3 Minis (with lifetime service on all) is around $1k, so yeah it's not cheap. But when you consider that if you rent a Comcast DVR + 3 STBs you're likely paying $50 a month or so, you can see that the Tivo setup actually pays for itself in less than 2 years. I would never go monthly on a Tivo btw, go lifetime because the resale value is much higher if/when you want to upgrade in future. I've resold many Tivos on fleabay over the years and always recovered at minimum the cost of the lifetime sub.

I rarely use the Minis since I'm always at the main TV in the house, but my wife uses them at the other TVs and likes them. When I use them I find them to be almost as good as sitting in front of the main Tivo - same interface, all the apps are available (including Comcast OnDemand), can manage and playback recordings etc. with a very slight lag when skipping around in a recording compared to using the main Tivo.

It's really a very nice setup. Others have mentioned Windows Media Center which I've also used before with a Cablecard and Xbox 360s as satellite boxes, and it can be a cheaper option. But WMC is basically a dead-end at this point since it won't be included in Windows 10, it can be more troublesome to keep running because of guide data and Windows update issues, and the Xboxes are not great as whole-home boxes because they make noise and suck down way more power than the 10W Minis. Plus interface and ease of use-wise the wife and I prefer the Tivo vs. WMC.
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Old 07-21-2015, 08:35 AM   #223
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E-R.org strikes again.

Not only did I learn of Roku (and a deal on Amazon Prime) here, but I also followed the discussions of OTA HD antennas and purchased (optimistically) two Amazon Basic amplified ones.

I say optimistically because of the surroundings. I am on a small (think Eastern state) mountain with a lot of dense forest.

But I tried last night, hooked it up, scanned and shazam! 15 channels located with crystal clear reception. Armed also with a Roku 2 and 3, I'm set.

I'm going to stop demanding that the Mod Squad refund my payment for joining the site.


Edit: I also now see what TitanTV is (I got there through AntennaWeb - Home). That is very slick!
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:57 PM   #224
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it cost me $600 to cut the cord with a tablo 4 Tuner, Roku 3 and Roku stick, outdoor antenna and a hard drive. and my picture is much better than the ATT U VERSE picture.
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Old 07-26-2015, 09:08 AM   #225
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My sister and 24 year old niece are in town for a visit and staying at our parent's apartment. They do not have internet, but I noticed an Xfinity (Comcast) WiFi signal there so that motivated me to reset the password on my Comcast on-line account, which I then shared with my niece. She's happily surfing in broad-band now instead of using her mobile phone as a hotspot.

I logged into the same network with my phone, and now I've noticed that it is automatically connecting to Xfinity hotspots when they are available. A young gun at work told me that many of the hotspots are simply secondary SSIDs that are setup by default on Comcast routers if you rent the hardware from them. IOW -- my niece is probably piggy backing off of someone in the building as there are no businesses anywhere close to the apartment.

I don't think this feature is of enough value to make me keep the "cord", but it is a plus to having Comcast internet.
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Old 07-27-2015, 12:10 PM   #226
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Dropped Cable TV Today

"60 Minutes" got a little flaky last night (the CBSN version on the Roku isn't quite the same and not "live").

So I actually did what you're supposed to do (right there in the directions): take some time to position and experiment with antenna placement (mine's indoors). Result: 15 channels magically becomes 30. Oooh yeah!

Related: I discovered the TitanTV app, seems very nice and matches the broadcast listing/lineup closely.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:45 PM   #227
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Originally Posted by steelyman View Post
"60 Minutes" got a little flaky last night (the CBSN version on the Roku isn't quite the same and not "live").

So I actually did what you're supposed to do (right there in the directions): take some time to position and experiment with antenna placement (mine's indoors). Result: 15 channels magically becomes 30. Oooh yeah!

Related: I discovered the TitanTV app, seems very nice and matches the broadcast listing/lineup closely.
My HD antenna instructions also suggest that you re-scan the channels every so often, because "things change."
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:54 PM   #228
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My HD antenna instructions also suggest that you re-scan the channels every so often, because "things change."

That sounds like a good idea, thanks. I did rescan after each placement experiment, but will remember to repeat from time to time.
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Old 08-21-2015, 12:13 AM   #229
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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.
Thank you for that suggestion! I investigated it and the Roku 1 is compatible with my old TV. I purchased it on Amazon and eventually got around to installing it this evening. Netflix and YouTube are free (amongst other channels). The lower definition compared to today's devices is very noticeable. But this adds useful life to my old TV for sure.

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Old 08-25-2015, 08:58 AM   #230
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Here's a deal I found on the antenna that I use to get FREE OTA TV instead of paying the cable companies. I hope it works for you as well as it worked for me.

http://www.amazon.com/Mohu-Leaf-Pape...-20&ascsubtag=[t|comment[p|1726344400[a|B00EWEHEL8[au|1500490424
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Help Cancelling Comcast
Old 10-06-2015, 03:58 PM   #231
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Help Cancelling Comcast

Need help getting away from Comcast? This is funny and sad at the same time.

Startup promises to cancel your hated Comcast subscription for you for just $5
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OTA with Streaming, Gotta Watch Playoff Baseball..
Old 10-07-2015, 01:49 PM   #232
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OTA with Streaming, Gotta Watch Playoff Baseball..

Who you gonna call? Sling TV (well, actually didn't call but signed up online).

Usually I'm all for OTA only, but I gave in and just have to watch playoff baseball (Go Cubbies) on TV.

I wasn't about to surrender and subscribe for cable, so Sling TV to the rescue.

I signed up for a 7 day free trial (had I done so on my Amazon Prime TV streaming box, I could have gotten 14 day free trial ) on my computer. Among the live channels is TBS which shows the Cubs/Pirates wildcard game tonight.

After the 7 day free trial, there's a $19.99/month charge. But there's no contract, cancel at any time.

So, my plan is IF the Cubs win, the keep the sign up for a month (Cubs vs Cards baby!).

If the Cubs lose (wait til next year ), I can cancel the Sling TV, so in effect watch the game for Free tonight.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:13 PM   #233
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Dropped Cable TV Today

I did the same as easysurfer today (Sling) and the thing that tipped the scale was the NL Division Series on TBS.

I think maybe it was Mulligan that brought it up as an option since I'm not really a sports nut.

I do really like TCM so I imagine I'll stay on with Sling for at least a while (I'm 7-day trial and missed a chance for 14 had I signed up on the Roku). Even if I stay, it's still much, much less than I'd been forking over to Comcast every month!
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:10 PM   #234
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I finally dropped Time Warner's premium package in favor of their basic $45 Internet / TV package. The basic package still has CNBC, ESPN, Discovery, CNN and Nat Geo. That's enough for me. I'm saving $40 a month. All of these other channels have commercials so why was I paying to watch 16 minutes of commercials per hour? No thanks.

Another smart move that I did a few years ago was to drop my landline in favor of Ooma. I save about $22 a month.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:42 PM   #235
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I mentioned before that I dropped all cable TV from Cox Cable, saving me $110/month. I still get internet from them. I now get TV OTA, using an antenna that Frank made for me. See below - - it's the wood and wire thing behind the TV on the left hand side. He said the wire didn't cost much; $5 to make 3 of these antennas, I think? He wouldn't let me reimburse him. IIRC the wood was free in that he had it left over from some other project, out in his toolshed.

He built several antenna designs, for fun. This one wasn't the best but it is the one I happen to have hooked up. Tonight I am getting 27 channels on it, including local stations affiliated with ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX, plus a number of other good stations. Just thought I'd post a photo of the antenna since I hadn't done that yet. Remember it has been through a move and so it is probably a little bent up. The point is that OTA doesn't have to mean spending a lot of money, depending on how good your reception is.

I also replaced my $35/month landline with.... nothing? I just use my iPhone now.
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Old 10-10-2015, 08:31 AM   #236
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I did the same as easysurfer today (Sling) and the thing that tipped the scale was the NL Division Series on TBS.

I think maybe it was Mulligan that brought it up as an option since I'm not really a sports nut.

I do really like TCM so I imagine I'll stay on with Sling for at least a while (I'm 7-day trial and missed a chance for 14 had I signed up on the Roku). Even if I stay, it's still much, much less than I'd been forking over to Comcast every month!
I did the same thing by missing out on the 14 day free trial by signing up via computer instead of streaming box. But if the series goes to a game 5, then that'll be past the one week trial anyhow and I'll be getting Sling for a month. Otherwise, though nice and I may do again in the future, I'll be cheap and cancel and go back to pure OTA.
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:17 AM   #237
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I mentioned before that I dropped all cable TV from Cox Cable, saving me $110/month. I still get internet from them. I now get TV OTA, using an antenna that Frank made for me. See below - - it's the wood and wire thing behind the TV on the left hand side. He said the wire didn't cost much; $5 to make 3 of these antennas, I think? He wouldn't let me reimburse him. IIRC the wood was free in that he had it left over from some other project, out in his toolshed.

He built several antenna designs, for fun. This one wasn't the best but it is the one I happen to have hooked up. Tonight I am getting 27 channels on it, including local stations affiliated with ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX, plus a number of other good stations. Just thought I'd post a photo of the antenna since I hadn't done that yet. Remember it has been through a move and so it is probably a little bent up. The point is that OTA doesn't have to mean spending a lot of money, depending on how good your reception is.

I also replaced my $35/month landline with.... nothing? I just use my iPhone now.
Nice antenna. I built a similar coat hanger antenna which had worked great with an old OTA DVR until the DVR had issues so when I replaced the DVR with another brand, the tuner wasn't as strong and I had problems with CBS. Eventually, I found (purchased) an antenna that I'm able to pull in CBS clearly turned at the proper angle. (The antenna is mounted on a pole by my balcony window - see picture). I get about 60 channels but only watch the major ones like CBS, NBC.

I love the home built coat hanger antenna type and still have the ones I built (2 of them). I promised a relative that if he wants to go OTA, he can have one of mine coat hanger antennas.
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:56 AM   #238
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Who you gonna call? Sling TV (well, actually didn't call but signed up online).

Usually I'm all for OTA only, but I gave in and just have to watch playoff baseball (Go Cubbies) on TV.

I wasn't about to surrender and subscribe for cable, so Sling TV to the rescue.

I signed up for a 7 day free trial (had I done so on my Amazon Prime TV streaming box, I could have gotten 14 day free trial ) on my computer. Among the live channels is TBS which shows the Cubs/Pirates wildcard game tonight.

After the 7 day free trial, there's a $19.99/month charge. But there's no contract, cancel at any time.

So, my plan is IF the Cubs win, the keep the sign up for a month (Cubs vs Cards baby!).

If the Cubs lose (wait til next year ), I can cancel the Sling TV, so in effect watch the game for Free tonight.
I just did the same thing for the same reason - 7 day free trial, mainly so I could watch the cubs on tbs. I cut the cord long ago, and get OTA and netflix streaming. Although 'cutting the cord' is a misnomer because I still pay 60 bucks month to charter for 60mbps internet.

Anyway, as far as slingTV, my impressions so far:

(I use a laptop to feed our TV through an HDMI).

Pros:
The picture is excellent.
There's a fair amount of channels to choose from.

Cons:
Viewing problems: Audio and video often go out of sync after 30 minutes, sometimes making show unwatchable. Stuttering video as well. At a feed rate of 60mbps, it's not my connection. There's glitches in the system.

When I tuned in for the cubs/cards game 1 last night, it wasn't working. I had to call their customer service (foreign) and go through an app reinstallation. That worked, but it still had occasional audio/video sync issues.

To me, if it worked flawlessly I would probably add it to my netflix and amazon streaming to compliment OTA TV.
But, in my opinion, it's not quite ready for prime time.

my two cents

(Oh yeah, go cubbies! I'm originally from chicago)
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:59 AM   #239
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I want to like Sling, and I'd even consider it if you could also timephase your viewing and have more DVR-like capability with it.
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Old 10-16-2015, 02:59 PM   #240
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Earlier this year, I made a foray into cable alternatives. Bought Apple TV and Firestick, both of which have decent free content. But, was still on the fence of whether to cut the cord.

Well, also earlier this year, TWC "upgraded" the basic cable to digital. I had an old but perfectly capable 13" color set in the bedroom, for watching CNBC and/or the news in the morning while getting ready for w*rk, but I figured it was time to upgrade anyway, so I bought a small LCD set so I'd have digital capability, plus a much larger screen.

Somewhere along the way, TWC scrambled their basic signal, rendering my new TV worthless without their free "converter", which would only be free for a few months before the rental fee kicked in.

That was the straw that broke the $195/mo. camel's back. Dropped everything but internet. My old DLP set was rapidly dying, so replaced it with a 55" LCD set on sale at Costco. Bought an antenna from Amazon for OTR; quicky test reveals I can get all local channels, though I'll eventually crawl into the attic, and mount the antenna there.

Of course, TWC says that since I'm not on a "bundle", I have to pay "retail" for internet, so around $75, one final screwing, but which is still a savings of $120/mo.

Funny, after calling about the basic being scrambled, I got a lot of apologies read from a script, and also got several offers to "temporarily" lower my bill to around $140, but I told them to GF themselves, politely, of course.

I intend to make this work, even though I lost many of the channels I actually watched...
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