• Hey Guest! We need your help! 2019 EJS Potato Salad Hill Cleanup

cutting the cord and dumping satellite / cable TV -- who here has done it, and how?

TurboMinivan

Still plays with cars
Location
Lehi, UT
I've had DirecTV for, like, ever. The cost keeps creeping up and up, and I'm finally at my breaking point. Now that my ex has moved out, there is nobody to complain and make me keep paying for the service... so it's time to say goodbye.

My plan is to build a digital antenna and use that for all the local channels I can receive. I may supplement this with some sort of streaming device (Roku?) but I need to research them more thoroughly before making that decision. I will definitely want to include some sort of DVR so I can time shift the few programs I do want to watch, but I believe I can purchase a DVR for less than one month's satellite bill so I'm not too worried about that.

So, then: who else here has already done this? I'd be curious to hear about your experience, and perhaps what hardware your current setup includes--which DVR, streaming device(s), etc. I searched around RME quite a bit, but only found a couple very short threads from years ago... so I felt it might be time to introduce a new thread for the topic.

Anyone? Anyone?
 

Kevin B.

OLAF
Supporting Member
Location
Stinkwater
Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. Mostly on my PC or tablet, but the family watches in the front room on an Amazon Fire thingy or outside on a PS3. Since I stopped watching football I don't miss having cable or the local stations at all.
 

Hickey

Rusty Girdle
Supporting Member
Netflix and Amazon prime completely fill my TV needs. You can even get Game of Thrones and other big name series through Amazon Prime.
 

Stephen

Under Construction
Supporting Member
Location
Salt Lake City
I "cut the cord" in 2006 and have never looked back.
I have Comcast for internet only and am working on getting Google Fiber, but thats a whole other story (if you think Comcast has bad customer service... yeah). I have an older AppleTV and use Netflix, Hulu and a few other other streaming apps on that. And I use Amazon Prime video on my computer and AirPlay it to the TV. Then there are other ways to get content that aren't available through streaming services. But thats up to you. ;)

I'm thinking of changing a few things up here, as this setup is pretty old now. Looking at RoKu and the Amazon FireStick. I might build a Plex server as well, but this is all just in the early thinking about it stage.

Occasionally I pull a DVD out still, or if I'm feeling bold; a VHS tape! :eek:
 

BlueWolfFab

Running Behind
Supporting Vendor
Location
Eagle Mountain
I cut the cord in 2014, haven't even owned a TV since. I'm not home enough to justify it. I went 6 straight months without so much as even turning my TV on so I traded it for an AAM 11.5" rear axle for my square-body build lol. Had Netflix on my phone since then but recently just cut it too.
 

jeeper

Currently without Jeep
Location
So Jo, Ut
Never had Cable. Don’t own a tv. My brother has a Netflix account so we watch shows on that with a laptop or iPad. We spend waaaaaay less time in front of digital media than most people.. but I still feel worthless by watching the amount that we do.
 

nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
I use chromecast on my TVs and like others a mix of other content providers. Currently we pay for Netflix and MLS Live for soccer. The soccer games that are blacked out (ESPN or FS1) I am usually able to fine youtube streams for in soccer forums. (I just watched the USA vs Panama soccer game tonight on a good youtube stream...) I have an OG chromecast that is 720 and the second gen 1080 model that I am able to plug a network cable into. I want to get the 3rd gen that supports 4k video and likely will in the next couple months. I get really good video without buffering with the network cable plugged into the device, over wifi the picture auto degrades a bit to match the network which isn't a huge deal but when I care about a better picture I go into the basement and use the newer device.

I set up a Plex server a couple weeks ago after using my router as a DLNA server for 6 months or so. Plex was super easy to set up and it recognized all my video files right away which was nice. There are a couple gotchas though that have to do with naming conventions but there are great support resources on their site to help with that as well as good youtube tutorials as well. For those that don't know what Plex is, think of it kind of like an opensource iTunes. You load your media into it and you can stream it from a computer to a TV through a connected device (roku, chromecast, apple tv.)

If you are thinking about getting a set top box I'd ask what type of phone you use now. Apple--> suggest apple tv, android-->chromecast or roku. There is another device I was looking at which is the Shield. Its a bigger device with internal storage that can act as your media server. I figured I'd try the free version (plex) first before paying for the shield but if you didn't have a device you could install plex on that might be a good alternative.
 

gijohn40

too poor to wheel... :(
Location
Layton, Utah
I picked up a Tivo Roomie off ebay for $50 and installed a 1tb hard drive. its a dvr for over the air programming. I spend $15 a month for the programming guide so that I can go out 2 weeks and record things. I can also get netflick and other services off of it.
 

UNSTUCK

But stuck more often.
Location
Magna
My big, nice tv hanging in my "theater room" broke a few years ago. It has just been hanging there covering the hole in the wall behind it ever since. We did have sat tv for a while while my sick mother was living with us. It was a happy day when we could cancel that! We have a small tv in our bedroom that makes good use of netflix and youtube through chromecast and our phones. We might watch a show friday and saturday nights.
 

TurboMinivan

Still plays with cars
Location
Lehi, UT
... but the family watches in the front room on an Amazon Fire thingy or outside on a PS3.
<forehead slap>

I completely forgot! A week or so ago, I wanted to purchase an Amazon Echo Dot as a gift for a relative back in Ohio. At the time, Amazon was running a promo where you can buy a Dot (normally $49) + a Fire Stick for $59. I figured a $10 Fire Stick sounded like a deal, so I ordered the bundle and told my family to hold on to the Stick for me until they need to send me a package for whatever reason. Maybe I'll have them ship it out sooner.

And since we're discussing connected devices and cable-free television, I do already have an Echo Dot of my own (although I am not yet a Prime subscriber). Also, I have my PS3 which I use as my BluRay player and for YouTube/NetFlix/etc viewing (my flat screen TV is just barely too old to have those capabilities built in).

So maybe my decisions will be easier than I thought when I began this thread.
 

nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
Have you looked at Playstation Vue? Its a streaming based tv subscription similar to FuboTV or Sling but through Playstation. Its not a ton per month and the bit rate is supposed to be the highest of the streaming options (which essentially means its sending more pictures per second so the motion should be better.) I did a trial for it in the spring but I didn't have a device that I could use to authenticate the account with so that I could then stream from the phone app. If I remember right you can do it over a Roku or Playstation, maybe also the Fire devices.

I am really into soccer so I have to be creative when trying to find games that are nationally televised or on the special sports channels. Its kind of a pain but it hasn't been horrible and I've been able to get the games I REALLY want to watch.

My new smart tv has smart apps that are actually functional. I do use youtube, netflix, and the plex tv app through the tv a lot which is nice.
 

Caleb

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Supporting Vendor
Location
Riverton
It's been years since I've had Comcast or satellite for TV. I have tried subscribing to most of the streaming services. Here's my take on the three big ones (PS Vue, DTV Now, and Sling).

Sling - Ok service, I had a lot of buffering problems. They do offer a DVR service. My biggest gripe with them is if you want Fox Sports and ESPN, you have to get both of their packages. If you only care about one or the other, you can probably get by with just the package that has the one you want.

DTV Now - This one is the most like a satellite or cable TV service. The guide is the same basic thing you've used for all the years you've had satellite. The channel offerings were good, but they are also probably the most expensive. Biggest issue is you can only stream on two devices at once. Probably not a big deal if you're by yourself, but if you have kids or anyone else in the house then it can be problematic. I also had an issue when I used them that I'd try to watch on a single device and it'd say I'm already using all my streams. Annoying. This was the first three months they offered the service, so it was certainly growing pains. Long term I think they have the most potential since they have all the experience of being in the industry for as long as they have.

PS Vue - Straight up, this one is my favorite. They have a good channel lineup, most of the main local channels are available (just waiting on ABC, the others are there). They have a DVR service. They also have tons of stuff on-demand so most of the time you don't even need to use the dvr feature. Their service has been rock solid. I've never had an issue as long as my internet wasn't sucking. This is the service I've stuck with for now. The only issue which may be an issue for some and not for others (it's not for me) is when you are not on your home network, the channels you can stream (on your phone say) are limited. I don't ever care about watching live tv on my phone while I'm not home so it's never been an issue for me.

The good thing about all of these is there's no contract and no activation fee (and most usually have some kind of trial period too). So you can try them all and find which one works best for you.

I've also been using Plex for years and if it wasn't for my wife, I could totally get rid of any kind of TV service. I have a couple TV tuners hooked up to my Plex so I get all local channels and I can DVR the programs (can dvr/stream up to six at once). If you have a computer you leave on all the time, Plex is worth having. You can also stream remotely from it, so when I go on family vacations (extended family) I'll bring one of my AppleTVs with us and we can watch all our movies and TV shows from where ever we are.

The device you decide to use will become your new "cable box". I've chosen AppleTVs. I can stream Netflix, Hulu, Plex, PS Vue, youtube, etc all right on it. The only streaming service that you can't stream directly on it right now is Amazon Prime videos but that's "in the works" (has been for a long time, so I'm not holding out hope, nor would I really use it so no big deal for me). You can, as Stephen mentioned above, Airplay/cast to it. I've also tried Rokus and Fire TVs and couldn't ever get used to them. Their UIs always felt clunky. I gave away all my Rokus and I think I have 4 fire sticks still that I'd give to anyone that wants them (if I can find them :) ). I also have 4-5 Apple TVs (gen 2 and 3) that I'd make a great deal on if someone wanted them. I do have two extra AppleTV 4s that I would sell for $75 each. I also use a Shield TV at my cabin. I had planned to use an Apple TV up there but it requires internet to be able to do anything, so that won't work. So I use a Shield TV with Kodi on it for movies up there.
 

TRD270

Web Wheeler
Location
SaSa Sandy
No more cable here either, I poach off my sisters Netflix, have amazon prime and fill the gap with sling. I don't miss much and save over $100 a month

Have amazon fire on one tv and an older apple tv on the other
 

gary78bronco

Active Member
Location
elk ridge
It's been years since I've had Comcast or satellite for TV. I have tried subscribing to most of the streaming services. Here's my take on the three big ones (PS Vue, DTV Now, and Sling).

Sling - Ok service, I had a lot of buffering problems. They do offer a DVR service. My biggest gripe with them is if you want Fox Sports and ESPN, you have to get both of their packages. If you only care about one or the other, you can probably get by with just the package that has the one you want.

DTV Now - This one is the most like a satellite or cable TV service. The guide is the same basic thing you've used for all the years you've had satellite. The channel offerings were good, but they are also probably the most expensive. Biggest issue is you can only stream on two devices at once. Probably not a big deal if you're by yourself, but if you have kids or anyone else in the house then it can be problematic. I also had an issue when I used them that I'd try to watch on a single device and it'd say I'm already using all my streams. Annoying. This was the first three months they offered the service, so it was certainly growing pains. Long term I think they have the most potential since they have all the experience of being in the industry for as long as they have.

PS Vue - Straight up, this one is my favorite. They have a good channel lineup, most of the main local channels are available (just waiting on ABC, the others are there). They have a DVR service. They also have tons of stuff on-demand so most of the time you don't even need to use the dvr feature. Their service has been rock solid. I've never had an issue as long as my internet wasn't sucking. This is the service I've stuck with for now. The only issue which may be an issue for some and not for others (it's not for me) is when you are not on your home network, the channels you can stream (on your phone say) are limited. I don't ever care about watching live tv on my phone while I'm not home so it's never been an issue for me.

The good thing about all of these is there's no contract and no activation fee (and most usually have some kind of trial period too). So you can try them all and find which one works best for you.

I've also been using Plex for years and if it wasn't for my wife, I could totally get rid of any kind of TV service. I have a couple TV tuners hooked up to my Plex so I get all local channels and I can DVR the programs (can dvr/stream up to six at once). If you have a computer you leave on all the time, Plex is worth having. You can also stream remotely from it, so when I go on family vacations (extended family) I'll bring one of my AppleTVs with us and we can watch all our movies and TV shows from where ever we are.

The device you decide to use will become your new "cable box". I've chosen AppleTVs. I can stream Netflix, Hulu, Plex, PS Vue, youtube, etc all right on it. The only streaming service that you can't stream directly on it right now is Amazon Prime videos but that's "in the works" (has been for a long time, so I'm not holding out hope, nor would I really use it so no big deal for me). You can, as Stephen mentioned above, Airplay/cast to it. I've also tried Rokus and Fire TVs and couldn't ever get used to them. Their UIs always felt clunky. I gave away all my Rokus and I think I have 4 fire sticks still that I'd give to anyone that wants them (if I can find them :) ). I also have 4-5 Apple TVs (gen 2 and 3) that I'd make a great deal on if someone wanted them. I do have two extra AppleTV 4s that I would sell for $75 each. I also use a Shield TV at my cabin. I had planned to use an Apple TV up there but it requires internet to be able to do anything, so that won't work. So I use a Shield TV with Kodi on it for movies up there.

If you still have the fire sticks I would like to try one out.
 

TurboMinivan

Still plays with cars
Location
Lehi, UT
Hey, it's my old thread! I can update you all with my progress.

As planned, I dropped DTV like a bad habit. I then built an antenna (cost me an entire $4) and plugged it in. That gave me about 50 different local channels, all free. Yes, there are some that I will never watch (like the Home Shopping Network) but there is a bit of variety. Considering there is no cost whatsoever, I can deal with that.

Continuing to research DVRs, I found that most of name brand ones require a monthly subscription to use their channel/programming guide service. The whole point of cutting the cord was to eliminate my monthly bill, so screw that. This lead me to a bargain basement solution: the $40 Mediasonic HomeWorx digital tuner box. It is designed primarily to convert digital antenna signals to an analog output for an old television. However, it does also have digital output, and it can also be a simple pass-through for your antenna's signal on its way to your TV. Added bonus: it can function as a very rudimentary DVR. It has no internal storage, so if you want the DVR capability you need to also buy an external HDD and plug it in... but $50 got me a 1 TB Western Digital, which is way more capacity than I need. It is crude, it is spartan, and its interface leaves much to be desired, but now I can time shift my watching with no monthly bill. Good enough for me.

BTW: if this little DVR sounds interesting, I suggest checking at your local Wal-Mart. They were selling a clone of this model, branded RCA. That one doesn't do anything more than mine, but the RCA remote has its buttons arranged in a more logical layout than mine does. FYI

Finally, the FireStick. Once I received it and plugged it in, I quickly learned it's built-in default capabilities offered me nothing that my PS3 could not also natively do... so I immediately unplugged it and put it back in its box.

But then in December, my brother-in-law introduced me to Pluto TV on his Roku. This is a totally free streaming service with dozens and dozens of channels. Some of them are unexpected, such as the Fail! channel which is 24 hrs/day of face plants and nut shots (kinda like YouTube, but without all that tedious searching). Yes, these channels have commercials (they have to make money somehow) but so does regular television so I don't care. As soon as I saw there was a channel with nothing but MST3K, I was in.

They have a (free) PlutoTV app for the PS3, so I quickly installed it... only to learn that app is total crap and it constantly crashes. On his Roku, it always worked perfectly. Hmm. I went online to research it, and I found out they also have a FireStick app. I pulled that out of its box, plugged it back in, and installed the app. Now Pluto works perfectly for me. I only have one FireStick, but I can easily move it from room to room if I want to watch on a different TV for some reason.

So that's where I am today, happy to not pay a nickel to anyone.
 

TRD270

Web Wheeler
Location
SaSa Sandy
Added to my line up a bit, we switched our phones to AT&T still the devil but saved me about $25 a month over verizon. Bonus with our plan we have the watch ATT app. Gives us about 30 free cable stations, most of which are the same we had with Sling so I ditched that as well bringing the savings up to $50 a month with the phone switch. Hulu had a deal over the holidays for $1 a month for a year so I also signed up for that. Haven't used it a ton, doesn't seem to be a lot on Hulu that I like but the wife uses it quite a bit.
 

Spork

Tin Foil Hat Equipped
Hey, it's my old thread! I can update you all with my progress.

As planned, I dropped DTV like a bad habit. I then built an antenna (cost me an entire $4) and plugged it in. That gave me about 50 different local channels, all free. Yes, there are some that I will never watch (like the Home Shopping Network) but there is a bit of variety. Considering there is no cost whatsoever, I can deal with that.
Wait a second, $4? please elaborate, I keep looking at antennas but talking to my neighbors I might not even be able to hit Farnsworth peak because of where I am in relation to Lake Mountain, for $4 I'd attempt vs $100 and who knows.
 

Caleb

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Supporting Vendor
Location
Riverton
Wait a second, $4? please elaborate, I keep looking at antennas but talking to my neighbors I might not even be able to hit Farnsworth peak because of where I am in relation to Lake Mountain, for $4 I'd attempt vs $100 and who knows.
You're still in the same Saratoga area, right? If so, my understanding from some guys here at work that are over there say they can't get anything. Probably worth trying for a few bucks though. :D

I have a couple different OTA antennas that I have HDHomeRun DVRs on that also tie in to my Plex. So now I can watch (and record) all local channels commercial free :p . I get something like 72 channels (lots of Spanish and shopping channels though).
 

Spork

Tin Foil Hat Equipped
You're still in the same Saratoga area, right? If so, my understanding from some guys here at work that are over there say they can't get anything. Probably worth trying for a few bucks though. :D

I have a couple different OTA antennas that I have HDHomeRun DVRs on that also tie in to my Plex. So now I can watch (and record) all local channels commercial free :p . I get something like 72 channels (lots of Spanish and shopping channels though).
Yea, I'm still in the same area, I've heard there is a great hispanic channel you can get from the tower above me but the mountain by Camp Williams blocks Farnsworth.
 
Top