Getting rid of cable...

Discussion in 'Technical Reference Threads' started by evenflow, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    okay I wander into this thread every few months and try to figure out how to properly ask a question to see if what I want is possible. I'm about to try again:

    What I want is to be able to do without cable or satellite altogether; I want to be able to put anything I can see on the computer (or tablet, whatever), whether streaming service or local station website or...alternative outlets... on the TV screen, be able to watch different things on the two different TVs if we choose and to not have to go to elaborate means to "flip channels"

    Is such a situation yet possible?
  2. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Connect the computer (or tablet) to a large screen monitor. times 2. If you want everything you get on the computer or tablet on a TV, that's the only way.

    Otherwise there are multiple inexpensive solutions that allow streaming content to TVs. They don't have web browsers (some might) or Office applications. Most legitimate streams you watch on your computer have an equivalent channel you can stream on a Roku or Firestick (or FireTV).

    10mbps or faster internet connection required for HD.
  3. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    so....will a flat panel TV accept input from a tablet like a monitor? or do i need an actual computer monitor? Because getting a basic tablet and hooking it to me TV would be pretty direct (assuming I could work out the wifi aspect - or would it need to be hard wired? - if that would work you could at least have as much convenience as you'd have playing a DVD.
  4. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    Does the tablet have an HDMI output? If so, that'll work.
  5. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    It depends upon the tablet. If you have some flavor of iPad, you'd need a Lightning to HDMI cable, or an Apple TV. If it's Android tablet, then you've got a couple of options. If it has a mini-HDMI port (not all of them do), then you'd need a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable. If it doesn't have the mini-HDMI port (or a full-size HDMI port), all is not lost. You can get a Chromecast, plug that into your TV, and stream, via WiFi from your tablet to the TV. A Roku or an Amazon Fire Stick and stream that way.

    As for the stuff you want to watch, that depends upon the programs and network. For some things, you can get them via a streaming service like Hulu, others you can get via a specialized streaming service for a particular channel (HBO Now, CBS All Access, etc.). You can also buy episodes/seasons from services like Amazon and Apple (though anything bought from Apple can only be played on an Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, or iTunes). If you're a sportsball fan, you can often buy a season pass to watch games (though they may be subjected to blackouts in your area), or you can get a Sling TV subscription which includes ESPN.

    My personal recommendation is to get a Roku. It has more channels available than the Apple TV does, and it has all the major streaming services. It also has a plethora of other channels on just about any subject you can think of. Most of which are free (or are only a couple of bucks per month). I have over 700 channels on my Roku, and I've never had trouble finding a channel focused on something I'm interested in.
  6. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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  7. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    so, let me walk through this for my slow-witted (on tech) self:

    Assuming the tablet has no HDMI port of any sort....

    I have an ordinary Android Tablet and an ordinary flat-panel "dumb" TV
    With these I can get a Chromcast and stream via wifi to my TV any video which is playing on the laptop, be it Netflix, Youtube, a local stations evening newscast from their website, or a torrent of, say, The Tick.

    The reason I ask here is that while I currently pay for Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll (my sons) and have had APrime in the past....I literally cannot afford 23 different streaming services because any give one might have one show I want to see (*cough*StarTrek*cough*) - I watch a lot of such shows on alternative sources now, but that means I'm watching alone and the point is to be able to share programs we both/all like with other members of my family.

    The reason I haven't gone with Roku is that it doesn't solve how to watch shows on a streaming service that you don't subscribe to (does it?).
  8. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    If it's playing in the Chrome web browser, then yes, you should be able to do that. There might be some content which prohibits you from doing that, but not much. There's probably a way to get content you've downloaded to the TV via a Chromecast, but I'm not sure what it would be.

    Not directly, no. What you would need to do, if you were going to use a Roku, is to install Plex software on your PC (or tablet), and then install the Plex channel on the Roku. This would allow you to stream the stuff from your PC to the TV that you've downloaded from wherever.. It can be complicated to set up, but once you get it set up, it works just fine. If your PC has an HDMI port, you can plug it into the TV and do that, as well.
  9. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    well the alternative stuff I watch is just streamed, I don't actually save any of it to my machine so that's not a factor
  10. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    More Americans are getting sick of the cable companies.
  11. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Purely anecdotal: we moved a year ago and Comcast offered 75Mbps service for $50/mo as an introductory offer. FF one year later and the service goes up to $85/mo. We pressured them to do better, the only thing they would do is another introductory offer including cable TV, HBO, and Showtime for $50 a month and 75Mbps service. Sometimes more is less.

    Not wanting to go through the renegotiation follies every year we opted for 25Mbps service at $65/mo. This is with our own modem and router.

    I hope competition comes to the masses soon. AT&T only offers 5Mbps service via the twisted pair phone line (that we don't have).

    The drop from 75 to 25Mbps is only noticeable on some websites that have lots of graphics. These may take half a second longer to download. No impact to streaming. It does take 3 times longer for large downloads to process, but I rarely do these (once in the last month with a new laptop that had to update itself).
  12. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Just found out about this app, which keeps track of shows you want to see that are airing on broadcast TV. This site covers broadcast and streaming, though is of questionable legality. As is this site, which handles movies.
  13. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    AT&T is bleeding cable customers.
  14. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    More people pay for streaming than cable.
  15. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Which is why all the content producers (Disney, CBS, BBC, yadda yadda yadda) want their own streaming services. So that it can work like cable television, and be an overpriced pile of shit where you pay for tons of stuff you don't want just to get the one or two things you do.
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  16. Captain X

    Captain X Responsible cookie control

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    Which is going to wreck streaming as a thing, IMO.
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