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Author Topic: Cable TV alternatives  (Read 2885 times)

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Cable TV alternatives
« on: June 02, 2014, 01:51:32 PM »
I am really strongly thinking about dropping the TV service on my current package.

Substitutes?  I'd like to hear about experiences, what you can get/what is unavailable.

Things that we like to watch ... Restaurant Impossible, First 48, my daughter is into Once Upon a Time, and I like to watch baseball.  Local morning news is a must, too.  Other than that, we really don't watch much at all, and not really interested in the dishTV or directTV options.

Experiences? Recommendations?


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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2014, 02:02:54 PM »
I haven't implemented this myself, because we are remodeling a house so have other concerns.  But, when I have brainpower to spare I plan on installing a TV computer server.  There is a shareware version of TIVO that you can download.  I personally like DirectTV, so I would mostly be using it with that.  But, you could as easily use it with the Digital Antennae. 

Then depending on how much money you had, you could get the TV shows you wanted on DVD from either the library or NetFlix. 


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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2014, 02:10:12 PM »
We have no cable, not even basic or local channels, and no antenna or box to try to pick up extras. We pay for internet service and netflix and watch tv shows via our laptop or xbox. Most of the main stations replay new episodes of the more popular shows on their websites the day after they've aired. I'm not sure about local morning shows, though. You should do a google search for the show and see if it's rebroadcast on any websites, otherwise you'll probably have to pay for some type of basic cable to keep them.


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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2014, 02:25:32 PM »
Baseball will depend on what station your local team is broadcast on. I think most teams now are on pay cable networks, not local channels, for the most part. So you might end up paying for some sort of subscription to be able to watch.


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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2014, 02:32:18 PM » is one service that lets you stream network TV to your computer. While it may give you access to network programming and nationally-aired sports (I haven't paid much attention to sports), USTVnow might not have local programming. There may be other services that offer the same thing that include local programming.

If you use reddit, r/cordcutters is a subforum on ending your cable subscription. (If you have no previous experience with, note that it's by no means as civilized as eHell.)


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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2014, 03:51:10 PM »
We have antenna, Netflix streaming, and Amazon Prime. We can also watch current episodes of many shows online. We have more to watch than we could ever catch up with, so we don't feel like we need to pay for anything else.
As for Amazon Prime: DH gets some kind of deal on it, otherwise I don't think we'd consider it to be worth the cost on top of Netflix, which I prefer. I suspect one or the other would be enough for many people.


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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2014, 05:15:04 PM »
I have a Roku (no smart TV) with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, and Acorn.  Total cost to me, a little over $20 per month (I don't count the full cost of Amazon Prime since I use it for other things too), a bit more if I decide to rent a movie on Amazon. 

I have not found an inexpensive way to get sports; I'm contemplating an antenna for local stations. 


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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2014, 06:45:15 PM »
No cable, no antenna. We use hulu and Netflix through our Wii.  We weren't't huge tv watchers to start with.
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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2014, 07:43:06 PM »
I've been a cord cutter for 2 years
I use a roku box on a standard TV
- Netflix $
-Amazon Prime technically $ but I ship enough that that pays for itself
- Hulu Plus $
- Acorn $ (British TV
-Youtube Free
- TED - Free
- TWIT Free (but honestly since Tom Merritt left I watch very little)
- PBS Free (but I donate to local station)
-Smithsonian Free
- Aereo - $ but limited to a few US Cities. This is my alternative to an antenna because I had a lot of trouble with my digital antenna. I pay $12 a month to rent a digital antenna strategically placed in Houston to get good reception. I also get a remote DVR and can record 2 shows at a time. The broadcast networks are suing them, saying it is rebroadcasting. Aereo won all but 1 or 2 cases in the lower courts. The appeal(s) from the broadcasters were argued in front of the Supreme Court this session. We are still waiting on the ruling.

I suggest Tom Meritt and Brian Brushwood's podcast cordkillers for more information. They offer many alternatives and ideas.
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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2014, 09:15:34 PM »
I haven't had cable for years. I have high speed internet and three subscriptions. Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu. With those three, I can catch pretty much anything I want to watch. I don't miss cable at all.
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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2014, 09:40:22 AM »
If it were up to me, I'd ditch DTV and use only Netflix and Hulu.  Most of the shows I watch are free online and the kids hardly ever watch regular TV anymore.  But my ILs aren't ready to cut the cord yet.


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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2014, 10:07:36 AM »
I haven't had cable in over 10 years. Before the local networks went digital I was sometimes able to get fuzzy local broadcasts on my TV, but I can't anymore--my TV is the old kind.

I have Netflix DVDs and also streaming through my Blu-ray player. That is more than enough watching for me. But, I do admit that it's not great for keeping up on current events or shows. For example I just finished watching Game of Thrones season 3 on DVD (rented from Netflix), while it's season 4 that is airing now (or just finished, not sure). I won't be seeing those episodes until this time next year. I mean, I suppose if I really wanted to I could figure out a way to see them sooner, but I'm not that invested in being up-to-the-minute.


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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2014, 10:56:26 AM »
There's a lot of overlap between what's on Netflix and what's on Hulu/Amazon Prime/etc, but Netflix Instant is absolutely worth the $8/month.  We haven't had cable for eight or nine years now, and don't really miss it.  The upsides:

- Did I mention only $8/month?

- The content on Netflix Instant rotates enough that there's always something new to watch when you just want to sit down and watch something

- I really like being able to make a queue of "this stuff looks interesting" and essentially mark it for later

- You can stream Netflix to multiple devices at once, so I can be watching something on my computer, Bittybartfast can watch a different show on the TV, and DH can be watching a third thing on the iPad, all at the same time.  (There's a plan in place to start tiered service depending on how many devices you want to be able to use simultaneously - to cut down on people just sharing their Netflix passwords with friends - but the $8ish plan should be plenty for single-family use.)

The downsides:

- No good way to watch sports, other than listening in through internet radio on occasion.  DH and I don't really follow any teams, so it's not a huge deal for us - we go to a friend's house when our college team is playing a major game and that's about it, really.

- Netflix doesn't have everything.  There are some shows I vaguely want to watch that I haven't been able to.  (On the plus side, they do have a smattering of British/Australian shows, so it's neat to see the "originals" of things that got chopped up to fit in American time slots.)

- Stupid little nitpick, but our Roku takes nearly a full minute to get from "turning on the TV" to actually being able to play a show.  Didn't have this problem when we were streaming Netflix through the Wii, though, so it's probably just an issue with Roku.

In addition to Netflix, I watch a handful of other shows online (The Daily Show and Project Runway, for example) - again, not everything is available on the cable companies' sites, but a lot of them are. 


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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2014, 11:16:43 AM »
Actually, if you are in to BBC shows, there is no overlap in services. There were a few shows I wanted to check out, like Inspector Morse after watching Inspector Lewis. I can't recall which show was on what service, but it Lewis was on one service and not the other.

I am sure it has everything to do with licensing. This is why we have multiple services.

So before you sign up, definitely browse the shows. If one service seems to have most shows for one channel, but is missing shows, you should probably check the others to see if they got the license for it.

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Re: Cable TV alternatives
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2014, 11:38:34 AM »
We cut the cord about two years ago. We have an HD antenna on the roof with controls in the house to rotate it to get the best signal. I also have a streaming only subscription to Netflix, which I love, but DH is usually less than pleased with the selection. To be honest, their movie selection for streaming is not great, but every so often, something good comes on. I watch a lot of TV shows.

Any network TV that I want to see I can either watch, or catch on their websites, sometimes the next day, or in the case of Fox, 8 days after air.

It's in the area of live sports broadcasting that our plan suffers. DH and I are NASCAR fans, and Fox just aired its last race, so we won't be able to see any more for this season except for the few night races aired by ABC.