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Options other than directv, dish or cable

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  • Options other than directv, dish or cable

    We have recently been cutting back on non-essential items. We dumped XM/Sirius for internet radio and have been impressed with both the amount of different stations and the sound quality.

    The other thing we are contemplating is dumping Directv, we were talking the other night about what we watch. We figured out that it wasn't that much, just a few select channels and some dvr'd stuff. Question is, what other options are out there? We've read a little about Apple TV, what else is out there that can be hooked up that is inexpensive.

  • #2
    Life Without Comcast: An Experiment in Internet TV

    This goes into a bit of detail as to how one person found it with experimentation.
    I am currently typing this up on my 37 RCA HD tv using my HTPC. I bought a cheap hd5450 graphics card which has built in sound. So from one HDMI I get high def image and audio.

    What I can tell you from my experience is most streaming formats don't look good blown up on a large screen tv. Even many sites that claim to be in high def you'll discover not so much. There is some high quality stuff out their and scowering around you can find peer to peer forums where you can request people to air certain things. With the right groups and a little patience and asking now a days you can stream pretty much whatever you want to see.

    The stuff that you can't stream...if you don't mind torrent can all usually be dl'd the next day from any number of siites.

    Video sites worth checking out

    Megavideo
    Hulu
    Veon
    Dailymotion

    If you have the ability to hook your PC upto your television in hd I'd recommend you do so. Take a look at some things and decide if you can live with that quality. If you can then yes something like the apple tv or a media center extender or an internet ready pvr might all be good solutions.
    Last edited by exturkconner; 11-06-2010, 12:12 AM.

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    • #3
      FTA works pretty well, too, if you want to use your dish. It's really touchy with the aim, but you can get any satellite you can hit above the horizon.

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      • #4
        Go outside?

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        • #5
          I'm paying for full digital cable, but I seldom watch anything on it. I don't watch very much TV, but over 90% of it that I do watch is online.

          Most networks have their own sites that stream their shows, plus there are tons of other third party streaming and download sites out there that offer a lot of programming for free. It's very rare that I can't find a place to watch pretty much any show that I want to see.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by exturkconner View Post

            Megavideo
            Hulu
            Veon
            Dailymotion

            If you have the ability to hook your PC upto your television in hd I'd recommend you do so. Take a look at some things and decide if you can live with that quality. If you can then yes something like the apple tv or a media center extender or an internet ready pvr might all be good solutions.

            I'd recommend just checking casttv.com, I've done that and found I rarely watched live tv anymore. CastTV just lists per episode all the mirrors currently available (Hulu, Vimeo, Megavideo, etc). Some sites you have to jump through hoops, others work with ease. But it's an awesome site. Most episodes are up before they even air on the west coast. Sometimes days in advance (L&O:SVU is one that comes to mind).

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            • #7
              Antenna?

              If you live in a major city, you'll pick up all the network broadcasts. In HD.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Kael View Post
                I'd recommend just checking casttv.com, I've done that and found I rarely watched live tv anymore. CastTV just lists per episode all the mirrors currently available (Hulu, Vimeo, Megavideo, etc). Some sites you have to jump through hoops, others work with ease. But it's an awesome site. Most episodes are up before they even air on the west coast. Sometimes days in advance (L&O:SVU is one that comes to mind).
                +1. Casttv is awesome. It really makes even having cable a waste of money.

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                • #9
                  With Netflix you can get tons of shows on DVD or streamed online. I think they charge like $9 a month.

                  There's also Hulu, which has a surprising amount of shows online for free with minimal advertising.

                  There's also adthe.net which has tons of stuff with mixed (usually not great, but watchable) quality. Good option for sports especially. Not certain if it's legal or not but no one's taken it down yet.

                  ~Brent

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                  • #10
                    Where i live they just got rid of cablevision because of the cost. I paid them extra every month so i could get HBO to watch boxing. I was pretty bummed out when they got Fios but after screwing around last night I found out I could still order PPV.
                    Fios is cheaper and the picture is really good.
                    The other stuff guys were posting is like a foreign language to me.
                    It is amazing with the prices of everthing that people can support a family.

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                    • #11
                      Fios is cheaper? Fios is crazy expensive...if anyone is more expensive now a days I'm seriously shocked...

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                      • #12
                        I don't know, that's what they told me why they changed. Maybe it was the package they had. Got me ex. It's just included in my rent. I just paid an extra 10 bucks a month for the HBO.

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                        • #13
                          Appreciate all of the info so far. So the main question arises. We have a LCD tv hooked up to directv, we have an Apple iMac and 2 laptops. All of these are running thru our Apple Airport Extreme wifi. How do we watch these sites on our TV (Hulu, youtube, Casttv, etc.) Do we need a dedicated pc tower, etc hooked up thru our cable internet to the TV? Again any help would be greatly appreciated.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Eis View Post
                            Appreciate all of the info so far. So the main question arises. We have a LCD tv hooked up to directv, we have an Apple iMac and 2 laptops. All of these are running thru our Apple Airport Extreme wifi. How do we watch these sites on our TV (Hulu, youtube, Casttv, etc.) Do we need a dedicated pc tower, etc hooked up thru our cable internet to the TV? Again any help would be greatly appreciated.
                            That all depends on what exactly you want. There's ready made units from ACER (or ASUS? I forgot) that run about $100-$200. Otherwise, you can build a pretty nice HTPC for about $200-$300.

                            The main issue you might run into is what kinda quality you can run. A really strong system will run anything, a borderline system will run a lot, but will require lots of tweaking to do that and a decent ($60ish) graphics card.

                            Plus, if you have a spare laptop that you no longer use, they can sometimes make a good small HTPC (easy test, just try to watch a bunch of stuff and see if it stutters/lags).

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                            • #15
                              There are other options too.

                              If you don't already have a blu-ray player you can get a used ps3 guaranteed to work from someone like Gamestop that'll probably run you 150 dollars. Then you have a gaming machine, a high definition machine that doesn't require much tweaking and a basic internet machine in one rig. The other nce thing being that it aleady has sound onboard it's hdmi so one cable gets you high def video and sound.

                              It can't play every streaming format so some sites wouldn't work bu it play's most of them. I know because I myself have a ps3 that was a life saver when my computer went down. Hooking a usb keyboard to it and using it for email kept me in the loop.

                              Far as what kind of connection you need. As long as you can connect at 5mbps or more you should be able to stream video reasonably well. Some of the more high quality sites you might want to start the video, pause it to let it give you a bigger buffer zone and then start it up again it helps give you smoother video without stoppages. If you don't like waiting you might want to look into something like ethernet over power or a hardwiring solution but that shouldn't be necessary. You may want to check out how many channels that router is. If it's a four channel you may want to upgrade to a 6 it sounds like you're already probably taxing it pretty hard with the computing you are doing.

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