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Life without Cable and Still get all the TV & Movies you want.
Old 11-05-2009, 01:02 PM   #1
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Life without Cable and Still get all the TV & Movies you want.

All,

Over the past year I have been noticing an interesting pattern in my household.

It seems my teenage kids are more interested in watching what they want streaming off the internet or downloaded torrent files of entire seasons of their favorite shows or recently released (usually to DVD movies).

My DW and I watch movies, some sports & news along with a couple of regular shows. The movies via torrents, shows, sports & news now stream direct from the networks.

So now I get $80 dollar a month cable bill and wonder why I even need it!?

So I have purchased a Media Player/Server that connects to my TV (my kids use their Xbox or PS3 as their media players). No Cable/Satellite bill, but all the content we want.

Anybody else do this?

Regards...
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:07 PM   #2
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We've never had cable or satellite. We had three kids, and figured that fewer TV choices made for less temptation to sit and vegetate.

(PS. I'm really impressed with the quality of over the air HDTV)
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e86s54 View Post
It seems my teenage kids are more interested in watching what they want streaming off the internet or downloaded torrent files of entire seasons of their favorite shows or recently released (usually to DVD movies).

My DW and I watch movies, some sports & news along with a couple of regular shows. The movies via torrents, shows, sports & news now stream direct from the networks.

So now I get $80 dollar a month cable bill and wonder why I even need it!?

So I have purchased a Media Player/Server that connects to my TV (my kids use their Xbox or PS3 as their media players). No Cable/Satellite bill, but all the content we want.

Anybody else do this?Regards...
Could you explain in more detail how this is done, how much it costs, etc? I don't want to do without ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, etc. Also I would like Bloomberg TV and CNBC.

What is the device you buy to upload it onto your TV? Can it be stored for later playback? Is it difficult to find and organize wht you want to see?

I hope you have time for a tutorial on this, as it sounds interesting and I know nothing about it.

Ha
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:17 PM   #4
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We also have never paid for cable. We use NetFlix and my kids use other people's houses. I can see all the sports I need to see via the internet or live in person.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:26 PM   #5
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My brother and his family never had TV either for various reasons, but I view TV like I view society at large, some good, some bad and kids need to develop the ability to tell the difference.

But that is not really my point. It's not whether cable/sat is good or bad, but that technology has changed and in my opinion now negates the need for this service as it is available elsewhere for free (minus your high speed internet service).

Regards...
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:39 PM   #6
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Just so everyone is clear on the legality here, most content downloaded via 'torrents' is illegal pirating of content as far as the law is concerned. I'm not commenting on the morality, which when it comes to illegally downloaded content I don't really have an opinion either way.

There are, however, legal places to get a lot of TV content on the internet. Hulu, youtube, and many others. The streams direct from the content providers (ie NBC) are 100% legit if you live in the United States. Netflix and friends are also 100% legit.

Just again a word of caution, if you need a special application to start downloading the content and it comes from a torrent file, it is likely pirated and you need to be willing to accept the possible risks. I know a lot of people who do it, and I have nothing against it for the most part, but just remember there could be a legal risk there. Also keep in mind this is an easy way for a non-computer literate person to get their MS Windows system infected with malware.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:50 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by haha View Post
Could you explain in more detail how this is done, how much it costs, etc? I don't want to do without ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, etc. Also I would like Bloomberg TV and CNBC.

What is the device you buy to upload it onto your TV? Can it be stored for later playback? Is it difficult to find and organize wht you want to see?

I hope you have time for a tutorial on this, as it sounds interesting and I know nothing about it.

Ha
Different networks offer different video content, but universally they are offering more and more until the line between internet and cable content will not exist.

I believe what you are asking is how can I do this and make it work as seamlessly as possible with out getting the chirping from DW or the kids

So you need a good PC and high speed service that allows a fairly high download cap. My service provider offers me 150 Gig monthly cap for $80/month.

Now to stream to you PC is easy from the networks, you just go to their site, or a site like Hulu.com, select the show and play.

To watch it from the comfort of your TV, you could either have a TV that accepts a video & audio signal from your PC (most newer TVs offer this), build a Media PC or my favorite, a media player. I have a Dlink media player The website will explain how it works. Please note that an XBOX360 or a PS3 game console will do the same thing.

To get the non-streaming torrent movies, music, etc. You need a torrent download client (like vuze). From there you search what you want "say a movie like Forrest Gump". It will show you the availability, you then select and download. Once completed, you can play it on your PC, TV (via media player).

Regards...
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by schmidtjas View Post
Just so everyone is clear on the legality here, most content downloaded via 'torrents' is illegal pirating of content as far as the law is concerned. I'm not commenting on the morality, which when it comes to illegally downloaded content I don't really have an opinion either way.

There are, however, legal places to get a lot of TV content on the internet. Hulu, youtube, and many others. The streams direct from the content providers (ie NBC) are 100% legit if you live in the United States. Netflix and friends are also 100% legit.

Just again a word of caution, if you need a special application to start downloading the content and it comes from a torrent file, it is likely pirated and you need to be willing to accept the possible risks. I know a lot of people who do it, and I have nothing against it for the most part, but just remember there could be a legal risk there. Also keep in mind this is an easy way for a non-computer literate person to get their MS Windows system infected with malware.
You are correct about the legality of some of the content. I personally don't mind paying for content, however I don't want to drive to Blockbuster (10 miles away) to rent a movie and return it later (or even worst find out that it's not available). We don't have a movie theater nearby so that's out. Pay per view content requires cable/satellite (which we no longer have). So frankly, the availability of these service are not at all convenient for us.

So the movie companies and distributors have a really big problem and we are all awaiting a workable solution.

Also, there are ways now of downloading content that is spyware/malware safe and keeping the internet police off your back...but that's another topic.

Regardless, cable TV as we know it is dying fast. Hell my new Panasonic TV allows me to watch internet TV, youtube, etc, directly without a PC or media server!
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:05 PM   #9
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I always wondered why it is against the law to download a torrent file of a program that was broadcast (over the air or via cable) into my house that I could have taped, or recorded on my DVR in the first place.

I can understand movies. You have to pay for them, either at the theater or buying/renting them. Same for games and other things.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:06 PM   #10
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I don't fully understand what the OP is talking about either, but I am certain that standalone cable/sat TV won't be around forever. I expect one day my PC will connect to my TV directly, and I'll probably surf with a Netbook or other device via a router. I could surf on the TV screen, but I'd probably use the TV more for downloaded or streaming content. Wouldn't surprise me if all this was possible today, I just haven't looked hard enough (and don't care about TV that much to begin with).

And I also question the value of my sat service at $70+/mo. Only difference I can think of is I have all HD, and I haven't seen anything online that is of remotely the same quality. Everything I've seen is certainly watchable, but inferior to even old analog TV program quality. HD is pretty spectacular to watch, by comes at a high price. If I'm missing it, let me know...
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:16 PM   #11
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Id probably dump my cable tv if I didn't like football. Perhaps Ill dump it in between seasons. Maybe when I get bit more older and bit more curmudgeon Ill do it.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:59 PM   #12
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Well, the cable folks are coming down my street now replacing their cable and digging up my yard! They must think they have a future. When we got our LCD HDTV we hook it to a set of rabbit ears and were amazed at the quality compared to DISH or to the limited cable signal we had. I cancelled DISH after a bit of a discussion of whether I still had a commitment and then informed the cable company they were providing some television service along with the internet we were paying for. I mentioned I was having problems with the internet dropping/etc and they sent a nice technician that fixed the problem with new connectors and a filter to remove most of that cable TV stuff.

Soo, we are using ota signal brought in by a cheap set of rabbit ears I bungy corded to the top of the chimney. We get really good HD quality from CBS/NBC/ABC/FOX/CW/ION/MYTV/PBS along with a few others. This leaves us w/o USA/TNT/TBS/SHOWTIME/HBO/ etc. but we are able to find some internet content to keep up with series we like to watch. Yidio is a friend of mine and helps out if we miss something do to a storm/etc interfering with service...
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:27 PM   #13
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I don't fully understand what the OP is talking about either, but I am certain that standalone cable/sat TV won't be around forever. I expect one day my PC will connect to my TV directly, and I'll probably surf with a Netbook or other device via a router. I could surf on the TV screen, but I'd probably use the TV more for downloaded or streaming content. Wouldn't surprise me if all this was possible today, I just haven't looked hard enough (and don't care about TV that much to begin with).

And I also question the value of my sat service at $70+/mo. Only difference I can think of is I have all HD, and I haven't seen anything online that is of remotely the same quality. Everything I've seen is certainly watchable, but inferior to even old analog TV program quality. HD is pretty spectacular to watch, by comes at a high price. If I'm missing it, let me know...
I'm NOT sure how thoroughly you've looked, but even the networks are offering 'HD quality' for some of the full episodes they make available. Usually with shorter commercial breaks. Some look nearly as good on my laptop as the ota HD on the much bigger TV. Since my laptop is older, I have to use s-video or s-vga to connect to TV and this does take a resolution hit - but it is definitely watchable. Definitely nothing I'd pay $70+/ month to see in higher quality. Some newer laptops have HDMI connectors, so I think you'll see even better quality in the future. Some of the content online is provided w/o commercials and I truly appreciate that. Unfortunately, they're are some sites out there that will try to get you to come see content and then provide trojans/viruses instead. NOT exactly a new internet phenomena, so keep your Security screens up and beware of Geeks bearing gifs. ymmv
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:30 PM   #14
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Could you explain in more detail how this is done, how much it costs, etc? I don't want to do without ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, etc. Also I would like Bloomberg TV and CNBC.
Ha
You'll need a way to connect your computer to your tv, or watch the programming on your computer screen as most kids do. Notebook computers have had a RCA or s-video connector for a while now, and the newer ones have hdmi or dvi connectors.

I haven't found a way to get the channels you ask for above, but here are some sites that will stream tv shows. Its free, you get what you pay for

Streamick.com - Watch TV online free TV broadcast directory
Hulu - Watch your favorites. Anytime. For free.
Fancast | Watch Full TV Shows and Movies | Free Online Streaming
and here's a google page for "stream tv free"
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:51 PM   #15
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Windows 7's Media Center has a "Internet TV" choice that is kinda interesting. I didn't spend much time with it (in fact most of the time was spent watching the first episode of "Twin Peaks") but the image quality was quite impressive even on my Laptop. I didn't really find any current shows -- although "they" say you can. I clicked on "Meet the Press" and found the Nov 1st show is shown in segments.

I guess all I can add to this conversation is that "It has potential."

The local TV (OTA) is fantastic on the Media Center -- coming in at full 1080P digital.

(I should point out that I use Sage and not MC normally.)
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Old 11-05-2009, 04:27 PM   #16
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I no longer have cable, but some programs that I really want to watch, (like Ghosthunters ) I've found their internet link to view I get through the internet.

In order to catch up on my home team sports while I'm out of town, I recently got a Slingbox.

What I do miss maybe even more than all the channels is consistent reception since where I live I can't put up an outdoor antenna. The reception isn't horrible, but not perfect.
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Old 11-05-2009, 04:54 PM   #17
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Thanks to all who commented!

Ha
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:45 PM   #18
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I don't think I would give up basic cable yet (gotta be able to watch sport live!), but I think that I could easily do without the premium channels. They always seem to be playing the same movies over and over and now that we have an Apple TV, I'd rather watch the movies/TV series in our rather large digital library or rent new movies on iTunes directly from our TV set.
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:04 PM   #19
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I don't think I would give up basic cable yet (gotta be able to watch sport live!), but I think that I could easily do without the premium channels. They always seem to be playing the same movies over and over and now that we have an Apple TV, I'd rather watch the movies/TV series in our rather large digital library or rent new movies on iTunes directly from our TV set.
Watch Live Sports Online, Sports Video Streaming - ESPN360.com

Link above has espn sports stuff

World Series on FOX
Football/golf/tennis/hockey/etc. on ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX etc ALL over the air (ota)

How much more sports does one 'need'? Search the net you just might find it...
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:22 PM   #20
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We have comcast and subscribed to the HD package, which was pricey. Reading the blah blah on the monthly statement, I found an offering that is not to be found on their web-site. Basically, all of their digital package (non-hd) for $30 per month if you subscribe to their internet offering. I dropped the $80 (or so) HD + digital + whatever, signed up for the “special” digital, and bought a Roku player. Now, we get broadcast HD over the air, all the digital channels (sd only) and tons of Roku movies and tv. We keep the cable because, like HaHa, there are a few cable channels we like (food network, comedy channel, espn). Still, we cut $600 per year off the bill.

No unauthorized programming through our internet connections. I don;t care for current copyright regulations but do believe artists are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
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