Getting rid of cable...

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

  1. Amaris

    Amaris Guest

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    I love Netflix, but I agree on the exclusives thing. Now, that doesn't include shows produced by that provider. For example, the aforementioned House of Cards is awesome, and I hope Netflix continues to come up with great shows like it. That I get. Still, I was hoping for The Simpsons to come to Netflix, but thanks to an exclusive with FXX, Netflix won't be seeing it anytime soon. Of course, the streaming app only works for people who subscribe to FXX, and of course, FXX is only available to a limited audience market. So yay for exclusives. *sigh*

    As for searching, they all suck. Sometimes I find the movies I want, other times I search for hours, and find nothing new. Ten minutes later, I come across it by accident while looking for something else. It's ridiculous. To know what Netflix is showing, you have to find third party sites like Instantwatcher.com, or dig around. That shouldn't be necessary on a premium site that is dedicated to streaming movies and TV shows.

    Of course, there's Hulu, but Hulu is shit. Yeah, yeah, I know it has some good stuff, but the clients for devices suck something fierce. The Roku app (which you can only use if you subscribe to Hulu Plus) is slow, and bloated, and you can't access even 10% of the available content on Hulu Plus. There are also commercials, and Hulu's HD is anything but actual HD.

    If I'm going to pay $8 a month, by damn I'm not paying for commercials that get longer and louder as the episode goes on.
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  2. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    The Jim Henson Network has just (as in, yesterday) been added to the Roku channel store. Its free, and only has six series so far (I'm sure more will be added later). One of which is Fraggle Rock.
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  3. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    NFL coming to Roku, Kindle Fire, and Amazon Fire TV.
    More sportsball news at the link. Go Piggers!
  4. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Security flaw discovered in smart TVs.
    Its pretty unlikely that someone would be a victim of that type of attack, so no real worries, but its something to keep an eye on, because now that hackers know that smart TVs are vulnerable, they're probably going to see what other kinds of attacks will work against them. It may not seem like much, but if you're using the Netflix, HuluPlus, or other subscription service app on the TV there's a chance that they'll be able to get your log in and password details for those sites, and once they do that, getting your credit card info just got a lot easier.
  5. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    SCOTUS ruling on Aereo expected to come as early as Monday.
  6. gul

    gul Revolting Beer Drinker Administrator Formerly Important

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  7. Amaris

    Amaris Guest

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    Well, shit.
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  8. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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  9. Amaris

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    Don't worry, I'm sure that now this crisis has been averted, cable prices will drop, and everyone will get many wonderful, and useful channels.
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  10. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Dude, I don't know what you're on, but you might want to consider dialing back the dose. By like 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999%.
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  11. Amaris

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    But DirecTV says I can have any movie package I want for the low low price of $12.99 (for 3 months, at which point is goes up to $24.99), and Time Warner says I can get everything for just $70 a month (for 6 months, at which point it jumps up to $250 a month)! How is that not super awesome!
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  12. gul

    gul Revolting Beer Drinker Administrator Formerly Important

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    So reading up on this a bit further, seems it might really only affect live broadcast. If Aereo delays broadcast by some period of time, then business as usual. I guess the issue comes down to the fact that cable providers are paying a fee for simulcast, and Aereo was giving itself a better deal. Still sucks, but the flip side is that a less regulatory environment, one that isn't bothered by Aereo practices, would also empower cable companies to more directly rape subscribers.
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  13. Amaris

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    Yeah, what they didn't like was Aereo finding a better way around the current kludgy method. Sadly, the market is so heavily owned by the few at the top, that they can take their competitors and legislate them out of business more effectively than adapting to the new guy's methods.
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  14. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    With their "little antennas", I thought Aereo only dealt in OTA stuff, not cable. :huh:
  15. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Fox using the Aereo ruling to go after Dish and their commercial skipping Hopper service.
    Not surprising, really, since one network exec once said consumers were in the wrong if they didn't watch commercials on broadcast TV. I'm sure they won't be satisfied until we're forced to spend our days like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange.

    [​IMG]
  16. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    That's what Aereo thought. They thought wrong.

    I won't pretend to understand copyright laws, but it seems fair that if the broadcasters negotiate an exclusive redistribution contract with the cable companies based on current copyright law, and the cable companies pay them for this, the cable companies and owners of the media have some recourse when a 3rd party does an end run around these agreements. That Aereo got slapped in the face with copyright violation is their fault.

    I'm a supporter of copyright laws. Owners of intellectual property have the right to be paid for it. But I'm also for creative individual solutions that avoid paying more and having to watch commercials, as all good consumers should. I'm an early adopter. Was signed up for Aereo before they were in the Atlanta market. At $8 it was a viable alternative to paying for basic cable or putting an antenna in the attic since I already have a Roku (Aereo is a private Roku channel). In addition Aereo provided a server based DVR that was very user friendly. My PC based tuner card and DVR are kluge in comparison, but that's what I'll fallback to as soon as I put a $100 antenna in the attic using the cable guy's coax (of course).

    It's business. Same as Netflix paying Comcast for direct distribution of their product. Quit your whining and talk about solutions.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
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  17. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    So is Aereo over the air or do they record cable programs as well? I thought it was only the former.



    Agreed. I think the Court made the right call in this case.

    OTOH, I think the Fox versus Dish thing mentioned before is bogus. Dish is paying Fox for the content. After that, it shouldn't matter what happens to it.
  18. steve2^4

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    Aereo was (they ceased operations at 11:30 yesterday and refunded subscribers their last month's fee) local over the air channels and a few internet channels. Apparently cable companies pay broadcasters for local distribution rights. I don't think it matters whether the interface with the cable company is a single antenna, one antenna per user (Aereo's model), or a direct feed. The court's argument is the technology didn't matter, the function was the same.


    The same argument was made for and against VCRs back in the 70s when they came out. I don't know if it went to the supreme court, but I bet there's a precedence that will work against Fox (why didn't they work to prevent it 30 years ago?).

    And I was embellishing my abilities to thwart the system. If anyone has feedback on Hauppage's tuner card and DVR software I'd appreciate it. This will be my solution once the antenna arrives. And no I would never go to this amount of trouble to bring commercial laden network TV into my family-room (read a book). But there are others in my household that require it. They have their uses.

    I've had a PC installed to drive the monitor and use this to stream content from the LAN (illegally ripped netflix movies for the most part: don't hurt me) but even with state of the art software it's beyond most of the household's ability to watch a movie this way. Media Browser is killer software; it automagically catalogs movies by title and adds media for the library browser. It's pretty slick.

    are alternatives to cable off-topic?
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  19. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    I've heard that Hauppage's software has gotten to be well- neigh unusable in recent years, but I haven't used it to know for sure.
  20. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    You bet your ass they do. :storm:

    At some point I think all the local stations in my market have feuded with Slime-Warner over retransmission fees. Sometimes, if an agreement can't be reached by the contract deadline, the cable company will have to stop showing the local channel on their system.


    The same argument was made for and against VCRs back in the 70s when they came out. I don't know if it went to the supreme court, but I bet there's a precedence that will work against Fox (why didn't they work to prevent it 30 years ago?). [/quote]

    I agree.
  21. gul

    gul Revolting Beer Drinker Administrator Formerly Important

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    Which is strange, because I've always been under the impression that cable companies are required to carry local broadcast TV. Seems like some conflicting rules.
  22. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    The rule works like this: If the local stations don't require retransmission fees from the cable providers, then the cable providers must carry the local stations. If, however, the local stations want retransmission fees, the cable providers are under no obligation to carry the local stations.
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  23. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Cable-buster. $60 plus assorted hardware and a length of 1.5" pvc pipe. 34 channels (some are multiples). All crystal clear. I'm 25 miles from the center of Atlanta where most of the broadcast antennas are located. I'm surprised. I did not know it was this simple/cheap to put a knife in the heart of the cable-guy. I even used their coax. I experimented with one of these next to the TV and only got 2 channels, 1 of which was religious trash. TVtuner card goes in tomorrow. Film at 11.

    Here's a great website to determine which way to point the damn thing (I used a compass inside the attic, my guess wasn't even close).

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  24. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    You didn't know about...television antennas? :wtf: :lol:
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  25. steve2^4

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    Sure, in a pre-ATSC broadcast environment, with snow, ghosts, antenna rotators, and lots of money to put up a mast taller than your neighbor's house. During the intervening 30 years the cable guy has ruled, and rightly so. I never considered putting up an antenna because the service in the NTSC days was so bad and planned neighborhood covenants don't allow them. With the change in 2009 my TVs didn't have digital tuners, I wasn't inclined to get them. I got rid of cable and started using Roku in 2009. It wasn't until 2014 I got a TV with a digital tuner but I'd also been using Aereo and figured it wasn't worth the cost/effort to put up an antenna. Now that Aereo no longer exists the alternatives are limited and it's worth experimenting with 1920s yagi tech.

    $60 to put an antenna in the attic, 1080i resolution perfectly received 25 miles away in the burbs. No, I did not know it was this easy, cheap and effective. Did you?

    This is a thread about getting rid of cable, you got a better suggestion?
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  26. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    I absolutely did. :)
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  27. Amaris

    Amaris Guest

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    Yeah, it really is that easy. Now, granted we're 35 miles away from most broadcasting stations, and we don't have an antenna in the attic, but a $10 set of rabbit ears will still get in a decent number of channels, and they're all crystal clear, HD, and free.
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  28. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    In my case a $30 road-kill rabbit brought in two channels. It was a worthy experiment: those channels came in full HD, however it was a failure in that it didn't get any of the 3 legacy networks or PBS. I wasn't sure it was worth the effort to put up a bigger antenna especially given that it would be in the attic and not on the roof.

    It was worth the effort. About 2 hours messing around in the attic. It would have been worse if the house wasn't wired for cable tv already: simple to connect with the existing wire using male/male couplers. The outside cable interface was convenient to bypass unneeded runs while maintaining the single connection to the cable internet modem.
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  29. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    The beauty of digital OTA is that unlike analog, you either get a beautiful picture...or you get nothing at all. There is no "snow".

    Since we converted all the transmitters in our microwave trucks to digital several years ago, we can now establish a live signal from places where we could never get one when the transmitters were analog.

    When my mom (who lives out in the country, 50+ miles from the nearest television transmitters) converted her television to digital several years ago, she went from getting 2-3 stations from one market to getting all the stations from that market as well as stations from two other markets to the east and south of where she lives. And that was with just a set of rabbit ears.

    I pay for a DirecTV subscription for her now, though, because she likes to watch a lot of the cable sports channels.
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  30. steve2^4

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    Well there are some dropped packets from time to time resulting in digital "noise." The TV is pretty selective about signals though, and won't register channels that aren't strong enough most of the time.

    I spent a couple hours installing, configuring, and testing the Hauppauge card. It came with a remote, remote sensor, RCA audio and video input adapters (it has a stereo input jack and SVideo input in addition to the coax RF input), half height bracket. The card itself is very small and fit neatly in the confines of a mini tower Acer I3 (Intel HD graphics) Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center. The Acer was on sale at newegg for $329 in November 2012. Came with W7 and the upgrade to 8 including media center was only $15. Yeah if it weren't an HTPC I would have left it on 7, but I don't think 7 came with media center.

    I downloaded Hauppauge's driver for win7 and 8.1, disregarding the installation CD and any DVR application Hauppauge provides. I left off the remote sensor: I have a mini logitech wireless keyboard with mousepad. The driver installed with no issues.

    Started Windows Media Center and selected TV. It came up with menus to configure the tuner card and asked my zipcode to provide TV listings. This is free. It also allows you to configure how much space to allow for recordings and which channels if any you choose to delete.

    In use it functions as a DVR should, allowing realtime viewing with pause and playback. The guide allows easy recording for a specific show or series. Picture and sound quality are better than Aereo was, not quite as good as Roku or directly off air (but close!). It quickly downloaded 12 days of schedules. The test for "timer" recordings worked, it woke itself up and recorded. An hour of HD WTV video is about 7GB.

    Pretty damn slick DVR. And it gives purpose to WMC.

    Here are some shots (yeah there are selfies):

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