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Can I get rid of Cable and SAT?


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#1 of 13 OFFLINE   kumar

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Posted April 06 2011 - 03:45 AM

Here's my dilemma.


I have been a TWC cusomter for over couple of decades now. You can imagine how much I must have paid them thus far. :)

Increasing cost is killing me! I decided to pull the plug and go with SAT with one of their promo deals.

Though it may help in the short-run, again in a year or two I will be fighting this price war.


I know of some folks who pulled everything away and uses either Roku, Apple TV, Boxee etc.

Though I like the idea, I am not sure if I can do the same.


I am seeking some help here to decide if Internet will solve my problem


Here are some of my must haves:


  • I have kids. So, PBS Kids, Sprouts, are a must. Today I DVR them and get great bang for the 7 bucks I pay for DVR.
  • Sports fan, primarily NFL, College BB, College FB, GOLF!!! (I can even watch replays of Golf tournaments).
  • News Channels (MSNBC, CNN)
  • I think pretty much any n/w prime time shows one could get from Hulu. I am not really big on live prime time shows. even today I record and watch.
  • I do watch live shows like Oscars, Grammys, Super Bowl and such.
I do understand most of the sports are in network during the weekends and I could get them through OTA signals, but as I mentioned earlier, I pick up Golf Channel, TNTs, TBS, ESPN for Thursday, Friday coverage of Golf tournaments.


Am I still looking for something to happen or is it already available through Roku, Apple TV, Boxee etc.

I do have Netflix subscription and wouldn't mind adding Hulu plus if that will solve some of my problems. I think Kids channels is a big must have.


thanks in advance

Kumar.


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#2 of 13 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted April 06 2011 - 03:54 AM

I'm researching the same thing. The answer is sorta. Between OTA antenna to get your local stations, Netflix/Hulu Plus on a set top box and with the right internet provider ESPN3, you can get most of it. There's plenty of kids programming available through the Netflix streaming. There are days when we use that instead of PBS/Nick Jr. anyway.


The problem is going to be live sports programming on cable channels other than ESPN (again, assuming you can get ESPN3).


You can download the boxee software to a computer and play around with it before committing to a boxee box purchase. I haven't looked in over a month,so I don't know if they've added Hulu support yet, and I don't know which STBs provide the Hulu Plus support.



#3 of 13 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted April 06 2011 - 04:26 AM

Apple TV, Boxie, Roku won't do this.   Win7MC will.   here's your option:    first, if you still get cable internet service (I will assume a yes) then generally the first seventy channels (or so, some to 98 or whatever) are in the clear, and your windows7 MC will pick them up.   Most default HD (QAM) is also in the clear.   This includes real high def of all your local networks, PBS, and some tier-1 (for example: ours has USA, TNT, Bravo, ESPN, SyFy etc.) which we get in HD.


Next, using MCE, you can use a Proxy connect OR starting this summer, you can pay a MINOR fee (very minor) straight to ITV/BBC and have access to ITV/BBC content inside of your MC.  If Kids programming is a must, you'll find that everything from KuBo to Sprout can be streamed into MC through a program called SecondRunTV (available online) which would give you access to that.  Add in Netflix Streaming and MS's soon-to-be-announce media marketplace, and wala.


For several years, we dropped everything in favor of this, and paid $0 for cable TV or Satellite. 

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#4 of 13 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted April 06 2011 - 04:51 AM

Thanks for the info matt.



#5 of 13 OFFLINE   kumar

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Posted April 06 2011 - 06:10 AM

This is very helpful Matt and Joe. I will play around and check tonight.


I have Vista and roadrunner, so I am guessing MC should work in that as well. I don't have a cable run to the tuner, however have a wired Ethernet. I hope I can still get the "basic" (70+ ) channels or is there anything special I need to do?






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#6 of 13 OFFLINE   kumar

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Posted April 07 2011 - 03:28 AM

OK, this is what I did so far.


I did take a split on the homerun. one goes to cable modem and the other goes to another splitter/amplifier which sends signal to my computer and the other to my TWC HD DVR.


Cable works fine, internet works fine, Vista MC is not fine.

I connected to the ANT in of my Hauppage ATSC/QAM tuner of my hp pavilion. I tried to tune the signal to Digital antenna. TV guide got downloaded (which was not happening earlier), but the channels are totally black - not even static. The 15 channels for which I see TV guide are related to the HD channels. I then ran the same cable to my TVs Ant IN, I receive all the basic package on my TV. so the cable is good but may be I am not setting up the VMC correct.


Second question: If I am successful in the above set up, can't I just buy a ATSC/QAM tuner for my Sony RPTV (this model does not have a ATSC tuner) and connect the cable and still be able to receive the clear QAM channels?


Finally, the most sticky question. is this legal? especially after I un-subscribe my cable and have only RR.


Joe, I did download the Boxee and starting to play around a little on that. Will keep you posted.



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#7 of 13 OFFLINE   kumar

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Posted April 15 2011 - 03:59 AM

I ordered a standalone ATSC/QAM tuner from Amazon. expecting it next week. I  will play around and check if this would fix things on my TV.


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#8 of 13 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted April 15 2011 - 05:25 AM

Which OTA/QAM tuner STB did you get?


I was planning to (pre)order the new Channel Master one (for ~$130 w/ free shipping) directly from Channel Master:


http://www.channelma...1_p/cm-7001.htm


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#9 of 13 OFFLINE   kumar

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Posted April 26 2011 - 04:09 AM

I got this mygiCA from Amazon.

Turns out to be crappy product, or I don;t know to use it. Crappy documentation on that. I am going to return it.


I connected my cable to ANT IN, then using DVI to DVI I connected my TV.

I went into their menu->channel->antenna and chose cable (instead of antenna)

Then I did autoprogram. all I get is only analog channels.

I don't get any DTV x.x channels at all.


I have road runner and currently have all HD package with TWC.


any thoughts?


How is your channel master working out _MAN_?




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#10 of 13 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted April 26 2011 - 04:27 AM

In the HTPC forum, I'm trying to show how to do this (for the most part)  I'll keep at it for a few more weeks on some different ways to "get there"


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#11 of 13 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted April 30 2011 - 06:36 AM

Haven't gotten the Channel Master 7001 (yet?), but looks like they started shipping.  People over in AVS forum are saying it's apparently just a rebranded Centronics ZAT502, which has been done before by some other brands/makers.


Downside seems to be mediocre feature set, eg. lack of complete program description in its program guide, can't delete subchannels, etc.


If you only need to get good reception (especially w/out concerns about serious multipath signal problems) and don't care much about the finer details of operations, this unit should probably do fine though it sounds like it's slightly(?) inferior to the tuners built into many recent HDTVs, eg. particularly those from LG and Samsung (and probably Sony as well although Sony's built-in tuners seem to have reliability problems).


Another alternative seems to be the PrimeDTV PHD-8VX that offers a better feature set (and maybe slightly better tuning capability), but costs more (though still seems to be under $200 according to their listing on Amazon Marketplace):


http://www.epvision....B/phd8vxpre.htm


Since I'm really only shopping for my in-laws, I'm not sure they'd wanna spring for this seemingly better unit -- I'm guessing not.


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#12 of 13 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted April 30 2011 - 07:25 AM



Originally Posted by ManW_TheUncool 

Haven't gotten the Channel Master 7001 (yet?), but looks like they started shipping.  People over in AVS forum are saying it's apparently just a rebranded Centronics ZAT502, which has been done before by some other brands/makers.


Downside seems to be mediocre feature set, eg. lack of complete program description in its program guide, can't delete subchannels, etc.


If you only need to get good reception (especially w/out concerns about serious multipath signal problems) and don't care much about the finer details of operations, this unit should probably do fine though it sounds like it's slightly(?) inferior to the tuners built into many recent HDTVs, eg. particularly those from LG and Samsung (and probably Sony as well although Sony's built-in tuners seem to have reliability problems).


Another alternative seems to be the PrimeDTV PHD-8VX that offers a better feature set (and maybe slightly better tuning capability), but costs more (though still seems to be under $200 according to their listing on Amazon Marketplace):


http://www.epvision....B/phd8vxpre.htm


Since I'm really only shopping for my in-laws, I'm not sure they'd wanna spring for this seemingly better unit -- I'm guessing not.


_Man_


I think the problem with these is that they aren't, by definition, media centers.   They tune QAM and handle inputs.  But no network support, no file type support, they require you to have another BD or DVD player, no internet media method; to me, expenditures on these kind of devices is a real "fools errand".


It's an RF Tuner with an HDMI pass through switch.   That's it.   That falls way short of any defition.. ie, when people talk about cutting the cable, they still want DVR supports; the ability to manage other media, etc.   I don'tknow whatmarket this kind of device has.. in fact, it's hard to justify most QAM tuners on their own unless you're really not going to do much but go straight to a TV with no expectations.



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#13 of 13 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted April 30 2011 - 08:07 AM

Yeah, at this point, for that kind of asking price (for that PrimeTV unit), I probably wouldn't do it either.  Might be better off just getting a new TV instead depending on the exact situation.  Afterall, one can get a 60"-ish Mitsu DLP for ~$700-800 at one of the frequently recurring sales nowadays -- or just go for something smaller (and cheaper) primarily for watching regular TV programming that don't really need the big screen anyway (outside of sports perhaps).


FWIW, Kumar, if you want to try the Channel Master 7001, their site does offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so it sounds like a very low risk option, if you want to give that a try, especially if you have a relatively clear line of sight for the broadcast signals.  I'm guessing it should do well unless you live in the middle of a city w/ highly obstructed path for the broadcast signals.  You can probably workaround or live w/ the relatively spartan operations feature set, eg. use manual channel add instead of autoscan if you want to avoid (auto)including too many unwanted channels.


Too bad we missed the eBay clearance sale (from 2-3 months earlier) that RTC was doing for its rebranded version of this unit -- people on AVS mentioned they were clearing them out for ~$50 each (shipped!).


_Man_



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