After reading multiple articles the last few weeks and an mgo.licio.us post regarding cutting the cord on cable tv subscriptions, I think I am finally ready to pull the trigger. I would save $1200 per year and can easily stream these programs from the internet. I just would like to hear some success stories (or failures) from people have (or tried to) cut the cord.
OT-Getting rid of cable tv
2 years ago, all we had was a European directv package for my father in law to watch soccer. I used a hdtv antenna for network shows.
I managed fine with netflix until football season came aroud and half of the Michigan games were on espn, or btn. (live in columbus so Osu took the network spots usually.)
If you have sports covered, you'll be fine.
You can stream just about every sporting event known to man on websites like frontrowsports. I watched most of the Michigan games on there the last 2 years at work. the whole regional coverage issue and ABC would show ASU vs. idaho instead of Michigan vs. Umass
I would rather pay for the cable than let a shady company like that to install an app on your PC, which is a requirement to watch their stream.
I understand, but you don't have to download anything. The HD thing they show at first is a stupid scam. Just close the box.
Also recommended that you get Ad-Block Plus to block all stupid ads that show up on that site.
Even though I haven't cut the cord on the cable, I have reduced my cable subscription to sports channels and basic. My brother gives me his cable info so I can watch Game of Thrones on the HBO ap, but other than that I have probably cut my cable bill by 3/4 since 2010, and I am still able to watch all the sports and the few shows that I like with no problem. I am not a huge tv watcher to begin with, so it wasn't very hard to get rid of alot of channels.
Yeah, I recently got cable, but it's only in one room, and it's basic (although basic for some reason includes BTN, even in Maryland)
I only watch HGTV and Travel Channel anyway, when no sports are on.
Between Netflix and HBOGO you can watch almost anything you want and stream the rest. Not being able to watch sports is the problem.
Once you have a couple options for streaming sports bookmarked (they usually post a few every liveblog around here) then it's really not a problem to watch whatever sporting event you want around the world.
It's always First Row Sports. firstrow1.eu firstrowsports.bz etc.
They have every game.
Of course, that's if you don't mind extremely poor quality video.
Last I heard, it has been looking pretty empty.
You will still be able to watch your favorite show ( The Bachelorette), so I say go for it! Oh and before I get negged, I know him, and know this to be true.
ABC Player on the IPad. So I'm good!
cause you are paying $1200 for something you barely use. that's $1200 that can go towards anything else that you want and would actually use.
Sports is really the only issue for me. The day a company decides to make a HULU for sports is the day my cable subscription is gone.
I don't see cable surviving past that day.
That would be a brilliant thing to have (sports Hulu-type thing). I can't see it happening though because networks like ESPN pay out the ass for exclusive rights to broadcast certain sports.
Comcast is also the majority owner of NBC and will continue to buy up smaller networks in an effort to box out internet providers/satellite/etc.. by providing Comcast only content. A more likely scenario is that comcast/<insert cable provider> will offer a Hulu-like package available to their high speed internet subscribers.
I use cable when we can afford it and I drop it when we can't; I refuse to make television a central part of my life.
That said, I usually work to make sure we can afford it during football season. It is very hard to watch football without it. I splurged on the MLB.tv package to watch the Tigers this year, and it works well since I live out of area, but I missed large chunks of the NBA and NHL playoffs without cable and I would miss almost every Michigan game this fall.
Sports is the hard part of the equation.
I've never had cable since escaping the nest. Or a TV of my own. I have had close to zero problems streaming every football game the last two seasons.
The quality isn't amazing, but it's good enough for me (given the amount of grumbling I see in LiveChat, this is clearly not the case for most on the board though :P)
you have to put in an account # from one of the cable providers to stream, no? if the answer is you use someone else's, ok but that won't work for everyone.
If you have to put a word on it.
VIPBOX and FirstRowSports are a couple of the go-to's.
Questionably, is how. :)
There's a thread asking for streams practically every weekend, and it's always the latest incarnation of VIPBox and FirstRow. And the link frequently gets posted at the top of the LiveBlogs.
2 weeks ago. I put up an antenna from radio shack and I'm able to pick up all my locals in hd. I have Netflix, Hulu, & vudu and it's more then enough. Plus I'm running plex media server for all my movies on my desktop which is hooked up to the tv in the living room. I'm able to stream big10 from a link I found online and I'm planning on logging into watch espn with my brothers cable acct. the legalities of those last two are a bit fishy but that's what comcast gets for charging me $200 a month for tv, phone & Internet.
What do you mean, "that's what Comcast gets..."
You're the consumer and chose to pay them. They didn't force you into that. Anyway, I guarantee you that you're not getting high definition with an antenna. You think you are, but it's not HD. The only way to get HD cable is via a cable company. You need an HD box (and satellite with those companies) to obtain the signal.
For someone who purports to be from among cyborgs, you know shockingly little about technology.
I realize there are things called "HDTV antennas," but they are nowhere near the quality of HD that a company can provide.
I bet you've bought a lot of Monster brand cables from Best Buy.
I have not purchased anything from Best Buy in the longest time (Amazon FTW). I also have never purchased Monster cables. Why? Because they're over priced. I always read Consumer Reports or CNET reviews when it comes to electronics and just about every report has concluded that all HDMI cables are virtually the same; there is no need to waste money on brands like Monster just because their sales reps say their cable produces higher quality picture.
This is a descent into self parody. You're like the "Lore is in charge now" individual edition of the Borg that appeared in the season 6/7 cliffhanger and was mercifully put to sleep.
Congratulations on reading consumer reports and CNET; if you think that you can't get local HD channels using an antenna you have been greatly deceived, and understand very little about the FCC HD transition that got this whole thing rolling in the first place.
Before the cable upgrade in January, we used a big metallic antenna on the roof to receive TV signals on the 50 inch TV downstairs. We upgraded in Jan, and there is virtually no difference in HD quality now that we have FiOS...and that was an old antenna that had been up there for decades. All you need is a TV tuner to convert the signals and you're good.
I don't know if I've ever seen anyone completely fail to miss a point by such an incredible degree. Well done.
Not true, my over the air looks almost as good as blu ray, and most wouldn't even be able to see a difference in that.
That describes most old people wearing hearing aids.
(I am authorized to make this joke as I wear em...)
Yes I chose to pay them...my fault but I finally chose to stop after they continually raised my prices.
Where you are incorrect is with the HD. Inget a much better HD picture with an OTA antenna, due to the fact that comcast has to compress the signal to take up as lite bandwidth as possible. With an OTA antenna there is no compression of the signal and I get true Hd.
Perhaps, but if that is true, I have to believe more people would do that. Maybe it's just that most people are willing to sacrifice picture quality for channels, which is crazy to me considering half (or more probably) of the shows on TV these days are shitty reality garbage. I don't understand the obsession this country has with reality shows and it cannot end soon enough.
There's very little "choice" involved with cable companies. They're government-sanctioned monopolies, so there's no competition and they have no incentive to provide customers with a better product or a lower price. They generally offer very little in the way of graduated pricing in order to force people to pay for everything instead of only paying for the things they want.
The only choice you really have is to use them or not use them. If you want to use them, then you have to pay them a ridiculous amount of money. You've chosen not to use them. Excellent choice.
I'm all about capitalism and don't mind someone making a buck, but I fucking hate Comast wth all my essense. As you suggest some competition would be helpful. I have Dish at my cottage and it is about 100 times better than Comcast, but no high speed internet, nor phone.
We stll have an appaling lack of competion for TV and high speed internet at the moment.
This thread is great but still my only choice for high speed internet at the moment is Comcast, so even if I drop TV and do VoIP I still have to deal with those assholes at Comcast.
I may be dropping cable but I'm stuck with their internet service.
What is really funny about this post is that over the air HD signals are superior to the same channel you get via cable/satellite. Because cable and satellite have to handle so many channels via capped bandwidth, they compress the hell out of the normal HD signals to make them all fit. The HD signals on cable/satellite will have much more compression artifacts and even have lower resolutions than the signals you get over the air.
When we moved OOS, I thought no big deal I can always go to Bdubs/stream online and then I found out that really both of those options suck. While I do not mind so much when M plays Western/Central/Eastern, when its M/Ohio I want some damn clarity in my signal.
Thusly I've ended up with DirecTV and am happy (at least until my promo's/credits run out).
I don't have a coard...I have a satellite.
Trying to watch Michigan games at a bar surrounded by Ohio fans is just too annoying.
I have your same issue (live in Rocky River).
I live in Sylvania, Ohio - and somewhere along the line Buckeye Cablesystem obtained rights of exclusivity as a cable provider. This sorely impacts competition as Comcast, TimeWarner, etc. aren't allowed in our area. Thusly, Buckeye feels they can charge whatever the F* they want, increasing fees and rates constantly.
Have friends who've gone the Dish route but have complained about poor customer service, bait & switch rate plans, and overall dissatisfaction further limiting my options.
Buckeye Cablesystem: Yet another reason Buckeyes Suck.
Mi. and charter cable has done the exact same thing. No other cable provider is allowed in the area. So now I'm getting charged over $200 per. Seems as though this should be illegal.
I actually live in a town that has two cable TV providers: Comcast and Wide Open West. If anyone remembers Ameritech and their desire to diversify their business with cable TV, Americast, then that's why we have 2. When Ameritech got gobbled up by SBC, SBC dumped the CATV business to Wide Open West.
So, does competitive cable actually keep prices down? Not really. It's still only 2. I had frequent service problems with WOW, so I dumped them for DirecTV. Best decision I ever made. Oh, and to be the first guy on the block to get HDTV, I put an antenna in my attic so I could see glorious HD on my 50" rear projection TV that converted the digital HDTV signal to analog to project the picture with 3 CRTs. Now that's the price of being an early adopter.
Cable competition is just not going to happen. Installing wire/fiber is very expensive and takes a lot of effort (zoning, digging, etc.) For some communities devasted by Hurricane Sandy, Verizon is not going to put new cable plant in the ground for phone service. Can't cost justify it. So, they are going to get a wireless solution instead.
When I first got rid of cable sports were the BIG issue, but I have since found a great work around. A good over the air antenna can pick up all of your local channels (this little guy is an absolute champ), but it was a pain having to go to BW3s any time there was a game I wanted to watch on ESPN. Since I found out about the watch ESPN app on Xbox 360 (and I assume Xbox one), however, I have been able to watch all of those games in broadcast quality. They allow you to view out of market games for free, but with someones cable password you can set it up to view all ESPN assets live--from sportscenter to the MensBB national championship game.
Now the only thing I can't stream in HD is Big Ten Network, TNT, and TBS (for NBA). Don't miss cable a bit!
Cable from August to March Madness
No cable after the Final Four until August when I get the Michigan football fever and want to watch all the fluff shows on ESPN and BTN.
I did it awhile ago. Took some getting used to (and streaming live sports used to be a lot less enjoyable a few years ago) but now there's no doubt that I'll never go back to that.
It's really easy to watch whatever you want. I'm not very good at computers but I figured it out. I stream so I don't worry about copyright lawyers (probably being paranoid) and only have a 5mbps down connection (looking forward to having an option for high-speed other than the current ass-raping duopoly someday) - and yeah, very happy with the setup.
Oh yeah, believe it or not, I don't miss commercials at all.
Edit: My computer is an Acer Aspire One - tis not a beast.
I canceled my cable subscription this past winter and have just kept internet. Sports (specifically football/college basketball) is definitely the biggest thing you miss. Baseball is fine since I got a subscription to MLB.tv, which boils down to about $20/month for the season, and I don't care enough about NHL or NBA to miss any of that.
I'm not sure if I'll be able to last the whole season this fall without giving in and at least signing up for the package that includes ESPN. There is a bar not far from my apartment that I am planning to go to to watch the games, but I feel like that will start to get old.
TV shows haven't been a problem at all, since we got a Netflix membership. That's one thing I like about having Netflix over cable: I don't watch shows that I really don't care about (like pretty much everything on Discovery or A&E), so I watch what I want to watch. And after having had Netflix for 6 months, I have not come close to running out of things I want to watch.
I cut the cord on cable TV a few months ago. I don't miss paying Comcast cable $600 per year and speaking with their "customer service" one bit.
I'm not a big TV watcher either, but the wife is, as she watches a TON of shows pretty much every night of the week. During the peak season of her shows, the DVR is usually her garbage shows, but right now it's mostly my stuff. I don't watch many shows, but could live without certain ones I do watch. The shows I NEED to have are Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones.
The sports thing would be a problem for me, too. I know I could stream (legally or illegaly, well for me right now it's illegally because I don't have access to Watch ESPN) games, but during football season, I am the guy who watches twelve hours (sometimes more depending on the west coast schedule) of football every Saturday. I love having access to all the games on TV and I just won't get the same experience on my Macbook Pro. I know I can get them on my TV and also connect my computer to the TV, but it just would not be the same, especially for football. I need that high definition, super surround sound. I have an 80" television in the basement and during football season, that thing is extra special.
So, I would love to save that much money, but I just can't do it. My TV watching is very seasonal. Most of it is simply to watch sports and what I care most about is college football.
I haven't had cable in over 10 years. I miss some sports events, but I'm able to watch most of what I like over the internet, Hulu Plus, Roku, etc. If it's a huge game and I can't watch it online or on network TV I go to the local bar.
I mean isn't your internet cheaper when you bundle it with your cable? My Comcast bill is about 105/month with internet, cable (DVR, HD, HBO/Showtime) and a phone line. When I wanted to get rid of my phone line and cable and just have internet, it was going to be like 60 bucks a month. Sometimes I like coming home and mindlessly flipping through channels and finding something to watch so I figured hell with it. If I stay in and watch TV or a movie a couple of nights a month instead of going out, it's already paid for itself.
Most, if not all, companies have that bundle, which makes it a better deal. I have DIRECTV and they don't have Internet, rather they have a partnership with AT&T for their Internet service. I really wanted to get AT&T U-Verse, but for some stupid reason, I can only get their Internet on my street. They keep saying they don't have the necessary cable connections on the telephone poles on my street. I keep thinking, "then put them on!" How fucking hard is it? There are people who want their TV service along with Internet, but they won't answer the wishes of said people. I don't understand it. I am sure I could get a better deal with their TV and Internet rather than going through DIRECTV. I am paying about $140-$150 a month (I don't recall the exact amount) for TV and Internet. It was higher, but I recently dropped HBO (for now, until Boardwalk Empire starts again, then I will drop it again and get it again when Game of Thrones starts) and downgraded my Internet speed.
I call for that every six or twelve months, and they knock it down $60. Then the my bill jumps higher when that rate expires. I'm sick of calling them.
It's 15 minutes out of my time once a year and I save a lot of money. I just call before my rate is up or sometimes they call me. I tell them I'm cancelling and going with a cheaper option like WOW and they up for the same rate. It's been working for my mom for years and I've done it with success for the 6 years I've been paying my own cable bill.
for me it basically comes down to the fact that the small amount I watch is available streaming. Even with the savings, $600 is too much to pay when I can pay zero.
Where in the world do you live? My cable bill is $130 per month with just basic cable and the lowest level internet that they offer. If I added everything you've got it would easily top $200.
I agree with many on the board. The only reason I keep it is to watch sports. The day I can sign up for high quality football over the internet is the day I ditch cable.
I have directv (55 bucks a month for just tv). I don't mind it because I mainly watch ESPN, BTN, HGTV and Food Network.
What I do mind is my cell phone bill (3 iphones for the family on Verizon). Verizon recently changed the plans, which forced me onto unlimited talk and text and then I get 8 gb data shared for us. I think I pay around $200 a month. Painful.
For those of you who just kept internet I'm curious who your provider is and about how much the bill runs per month/year.
Also, for Michigan football games (really the only the live TV I absolutely care about) are there reputable places on the web to stream every game?
I'm in Cleveland and pay $35/month for 15 Mbps down through TWC.
Can't answer your second question. I'm planning to use a local sports bar for watching M games.
I have never had cable in my house. I subsist on streaming sports and... uh... other data methods for non-live content. It's not great, but I am a cheapskate. I also go to bars to watch other games, which isn't so bad but sort of negates the savings!
I tried to cut the cord, but failed. After 6 months January - June, I realized that I spent way more money going out to bars to watch Red Wing playoff games and big Michigan basketball games than I would have spent paying $70/month on cable TV. I just reconnected a couple of weeks ago.
Exactly. Not to mention I have a much harder time paying attention to the actual game at a bar. Have a few of my friends over, bring a cooler into my living room, chips, and a 60 inch TV. It's heaven.
I cut the cord, and have been strategizing on how to get sports. Here you go:
1. You can get some sports on major networks. They don't stream, but you may be able to get streaming network TV from syncbak (there are a couple competitors popping up too) for a minimal fee per month. New metro areas are being added to their list in the near future, hopefully before football season.
Also, if you have an old-school TV antenna and get a digital tuner, or you are willing to invest in a new digital antenna, you might be able to get good quality network TV. I bought a digital HDTV antenna for the house, but it didn't work. So beware.
2. BTN. If you have a friend with BTN via a cable subscription, you can use his or her password to get BTN streaming to your tablet or PC.
3. ESPN. This is a problem. I can't find any way to get ESPN streaming without a cable subscription. Perhaps you can get a password from a friend.
MLB and possibly now NBA offer streaming subscriptions. NFL does not. Keep an eye out.... I have a feeling more content will be available for streaming soon.
The NFL does have a legal streaming option. In the past couple years you could pay 350 for rights to stream NFL games on your PS3. I do not know whether you can get it for the upcoming season for PS3 or PS4, but it would surprise me if they stopped supporting it. Some customers have reported it is extremely buggy though and can't always access the games, so it may not be the most reliable way to get the NFL.
FRS has a ESPN link which is up most of the time. Block those ads and you're fine.
However, I've noticed that their ESPN feed is buffering, or locks up sometimes...but it's a free stream, so you get what you "pay" for.
I tried this ten years ago prior to streaming being readily available. I ended up spending way more on booze from going to the bar to watch sports games (not to mention 10 pounds). I think sports would still be the thing that keeps me from pulling this off.
The reality is that, if you look at all the companies getting into streaming these days, they are same media giants you've grown to hate. Time Warner, Comcast, etc... If you look at who owns the exciting new ventures like syncbak (streaming network TV from your area) and Hulu, you will see that the transmission method is changing from cable to streaming, but that will not affect your TV options from being controlled by a small number of behemoths intent on squeezing every penny from you.
Streaming TV is cool, but don't be fooled into thinking that you will be free from content hegemony.
I really see no reason to subscribe to cable or satelitte tv anymore. I've been using a combination of Netflix, HBOGo and BTN2Go (relatives), iptorrents downloads, illegal and legal streams to watch everything I want/need to for the past 4 years. You don't miss anything but advertisments. BTN2Go is the only paid service I could not do without comfortably but my sister has kids so I'll never have to worry about losing access.
When I'm not around my tv I watch most sports events on my laptop on firstrowsports. The popups are terrible if you don't have adblock but the quality of the streams are pretty damn good.
I cut the cord and haven't looked back. I used my PS3 to stream MLB.tv, Netflix and Amazon Prime tv. My PS3 handled it fine, but I recently got Roku3. It makes it so much faster and easier. I also got Mohu Leaf ($40 on Amazon) which is a great HD antenna so I get the network stations crystal clear and the antena is the size of a sheet of paper. So, a couple one-time expenses, and keeping a couple subscriptions I already had anyway (Netflix, Amazon, MLB) and I can basically watch whatever I want whenever I want.
As for ESPN and BTN, I cheated a bit. Downloaded the apps to my iPad and use my dad's cable password to access those. But I'd say I do that just a handful of times each year. I don't miss ESPN at all.
Like others, sports is probably the only thing keeping me from pulling the trigger and becoming an ex-Comcast cable TV customer. In doing some research a few weeks ago, I found that literally everything that my kids watch on that On Demand menu are streamed from the network websites. Our Netflix subscription would take care of the shows my wife and I watch as well as the shows the kids routinely watch as well.
I do have a database of links to streams for sports, but the quality keeps driving me back to the TV. I also get some savings, however meager, from being a Triple Play customer. The one adjustment we do make is that from April through August, only one TV is tuned into cable. We have a second adapter which carries a $10 or so charge with it that only sees use during football and basketball season in the event there is dsagreement on what should be on.
Even though we've pared down our subscription to channels that are routinely watched, we've found that cable makes certain aspects of life with two kids in elementary school easier. We try not to let them spend tons of time in front of the TV, but when you need them to just sit in one place while you do the dishes or remove stickers from the wall or something, "Doc McStuffins" from the On Demand menu helps.
How is "Doc McStuffins" not the name of a pornographic film?
It's time for your checkup...
VPN + UM IPTV solves the ESPN and BTN problems. The crap you can find on Netflix for $8/month is just as entertaining as another 30 episodes of Criminal Minds or whatever you'd watch on cable instead.
Seriously, cable companies have been operating for years based on the assumption that regardless of how terrible they are people will still pay them because they have no real alternative.
Cut your TV package, get rid of your landline, and if you live in an apartment or an area where the houses are close together, share a WiFi network with a neighbor. Get one or two subscriptions to online entertainment (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, etc) and stream sports from wherever you can find them.
The more that people like you do this, the faster the model of government-sanctioned telecom monopolies will come crashing down, which is the single best thing that can happen in entertainment consumption.
We blame cable companies for everything, and I'm not a huge fan of them, but Charter (my local in MN) at least has improved considerably in recent years. In truth, there is now good competition between cable and satellite for most viewers, and the marketplace we now see is controlled more by the content providers than anyone else.
That's because the current cord situation will remain static until one event occurs: ESPN choosing to stream its content online for a fee without requiring a cable subscription.
If that ever were to happen, the cable/satellite house would collapse. Millions like us would cut the cord, buy high-speed Internet, and stream; other channels would be forced to follow or simply lose customers. Directv would almost certainly go bankrupt.
And I'm not so sure we would be happier.
ESPN Insider (subscribe to the magazine on a deal) streaming works well unless Charter blocks it for me. Roku (with Playon scripts/plugins on your pc) works pretty well for live tv. PC connected to your tv also works pretty well on the direct streams.
Playon has announced 3 new options - one is sending any online streams from your pc to your tv. It needs a top box like Roku, xbox....
Antenna: Mohu amplified HD antenna $79 is best. Mine brings in channels 60 miles away, but then I'm a flat-lander!
I subscribe to Comcast for internet only because I hear it is the best. Is there something cheaper or better out there in the Chelsea, MI area? Comcast just keeps climbing in cost.
solarmovie.so for all your movie and tv streaming needs. Seriously, I hardly use my cable anymore. It's especially handy on the West Coast because I don't have to wait until 10pm local to watch. I can watch within an hour of the show ending on the East Coast.
Sports are indeed the rake. Also, services like mlb.tv have regional blackouts, don't they?
I've been incrementally cutting the cord. Comcast charges $18 bucks a month as an HD technology fee on top of having to subscribe to an upper-tier to even have the HD channels in the first place.
Mohu leaf is a nice antenna. My wife depends on time-shifting now after having a DVR, so there are a lot of low cost options for tv tuner cards that allow the recording of over-the-air broadcasts. An old Apple TV has a nice form factor for use as a streamer (installing XBMC) That is a little more technical though.
Like others have mentioned, between Netflix and Hulu Plus, you can have as much streaming content as you want. My wife actually prefers to tele-binge on shows rather than watch weekly, so she doesn't mind getting into a show a few years after it airs.
If you don't live in flat-land (for an OTA signal), there's a company called Aereo that recently won a court challenge that it could stream OTA content. I think it's available for $10/month in New York. It may have moved into other markets, I know it was planning a move to Chicago.
Comcast forever and im seriously thinking about switching to Direct Tv. Comcast is just becoming a pain in the ass. Plus Direct Tv is offering a good sports package for new customers
Those of you who cut the cord, what made you go with one over the other. I have an iphone and ipad, but is the airplay really that cool?
Yes it is. You can airplay any Apple device. iPhone, iPad, Macbook, etc. Oh you want to watch that YouTube video but you want all your friends to see it too? Airplay... Oh you want to listen to that playlist over your sweet surround sound TV setup? Aiplay... You want to full screen your Macbook or iMac to your 60"? Airplay...Not to mention all the other things an Apple TV can do. Worth the $100.
I have had DirecTV for about 10 years and don't think I could ever cut the cord. I know you can stream just about anything in today's world but I've never liked the poor quality across the interent. Even if it's an HD stream the quality isn't quite on par with digital programming on an HDTV. I know it would save lots of $ but I just can't do it.
Dropping cable was one the best decisions I've made. I took up a couple hobbies that really improved my quality of life. I think everyone should drop it.
We've never gotten cable TV in 23 years of marriage, and so we never missed it. I've investigated it, and it isn't worth it, because there is no a la carte model.
Here are issues I would think about.
- What is antenna reception and channel selection in your area? Living in the Chicago Burbs, we get the major networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS,) along with WGN and another half dozen channels. Because Michigan is on ABC & ESPN so often, we really have it easier (than being a fan of a team at the bottom of the conference.)
- Do you have sports bars nearby? There are 4 sports bars within a mile of here, so I can usually catch a lot of games. For me, I've also caught a bunch of games at Lifetime Fitness . . . there's a couple couches and HD TV right inside the men's locker room.
- What do you watch? Since I mostly watch Michigan Football & Basketball, along with the Bears, Blackhawks, and some Bulls & White Sox, I can usually see the games I want. If you want to watch a lot more teams, especially not connected to where you live, it can get much harder.
- What kind of friends do you have? One of my best friends is a Michigan alum living maybe 2 miles away, with satellite, and with an HD large screen TV and an open invitation to watch most games.
- Is there anything besides sports that you really need to see? I personally don't care for most network TV, and we can get DVD's of movies from the library or Red Box, so other than sports, we have virtually no need for Cable.
If I didn't care about sports, namely football and college basketball, I probably would drop cable. I usually just stream everything else that I'd want to watch anyway. The only problem is that I hate the idea of trying to watch a Michigan football game knowing that the Internet could lag or just shut down at any minute for no apparent reason. Especially if it was in the middle of the OSU game. I would absolutely lose my damn mind. That and the video quality on a computer is just never as good, no matter how you slice it.
It sucks because outside of football, college basketball, Boardwalk and GoT, I really don't care for much else on TV.
The other thing I noticed is that any event that is broadcast on one of the ESPN cable channels (or ABC) is blacked out via streaming. A couple of years ago, this was not the case. Now on football Saturdays, pretty much the only streaming content you can get is games that are exclusively on ESPN3. I'm sure this is because local advertisers were complaining that they were losing customers to streaming, and those streaming customers were not seeing their ads.
Not sure if this has been covered. There are too many posts to read through.
I have not cut the cord. I still have cable. However, I also have lots of experience with streaming. I have a PC hooked up to my TV. I also recently bought a Sony Blu-Ray player (which I absolutely love) that has streaming capabilities built in. The interface, FYI, is very similar to the PS3 interface.
Anyhow, what I figured out was the first time I hooked up my Blu-Ray player to my TV and watched Netflix the picture was MUCH clearer with the Blu-Ray player than on my PC. I researched the difference, and from what I found, web streaming of video content on Netflix is 720p. I think it's similar for Amazon prime and some other services out there. However, Netflix via the Sony Blu-Ray player streams at 1080p. Not sure why the difference, but I imagine the webstie streams over HTTP and the player streams over another procotol which can carry data more efficiently, thus more bandwidth. The Blu-Ray player has lots of cool streaming apps, probably 40 or so. Some of them are sports apps, but I don't think it has ESPN, ABC, or the major sports networks. However, for streaming movies and TV, you'll find the Blu-Ray player is far superior to a PC.
Now one other item. I've noticed that even streaming sources that claim 1080p are often not as good as the 720p I get when watching cable. This is because the number of "dots" (represented by "1080p" for example) is not the final arbitor of the quality of the image. The "bitrate" is what really matters, as this determines the amount of data in each "dot". Streaming video sources do lots of data compression and this degrades image quality. For example, you'll get maybe 1mb/sec bitrate out of Netflix over the web. This may increase slightly for some better quality HD sources. It must be that the Blu-Ray player exceeds this 1mb transfer rate, giving a better image. However, if you watch a Blu-Ray disc, you'll get like 40mbps+ bitrate. This is why sound and picture quality is so much better with Blu-Ray disc. I don't have the stats on the bitrates for cable, but I imagine they're relatively uncompressed on the major networks, given the quality of sound and picture. I can tell you the picture I get from watching ESPN over cable (720p) is much better than the picture I get watching ESPN3 streaming, even though the streaming has 720p resolution as well. I notice an audio quality difference as well. This is due to data compression. If image and audio quality are important to you, then this advice will help.
But my wife just isn't willing to jump through the hoops to stream tv. We're DVR dependent. I do stream a lot of content through losmovies and tvmuse.com, but there's no way my wife is going to give up her broadcast cable(well...satellite as it were).
I didn't have cable for about 5 years or so. I was the stream king. However, it seemed the streams would always crap out at important junctures of the game. I missed one of the first TD's of UTL because of this. I had a great setup, too. Was streaming games from my Mac Pro to an expensive projector and screen. But I'd finally had enough. I was having to go to bars to watch important games and quickly discovered spending 3+ hours at a bar every Saturday was much more expensive than paying the $80-$100 for cable a month. Time Warner, at least in Austin, allows you to cancel at any time w/out a fee. I figured I'd cancel it during the summer/slow sports months and hook it up for football/basketball season.
Streams are getting better every year, but they still crap out. If you don't mind missing 10+ plays a game go with streaming. Otherwise, watch at a bar or stick with cable.
Apple tv, hulu+ and my parents Comcast login online to view the big ten. I got hulu+, ESPN, locals, hbogo, Comcast online. my internet bill plus locals is $60 a month. You can plug a laptop into most modern tvs if they both do hdmi.
The cord is getting cut next month here after too long of talking about it.
I'm setting up a computer w/ tv tuner and HD ears for the main TV. We'll have to get our fix off of netflix and XBMC and several of the 'plugins' or repositories for that, which includes NFL RedZone. You can set up XBMC on an xbox, Apple TV, Roku (I believe) even tablets. I should be able to borrow a password for BTN but if not I'll cough it up. I also use a VPN so no regional blackouts etc. I also have a comcast login from work. If we still need tv after that, we need to find a hobby.
For my bedroom I'm setting up a RaspberryPi with XBMC to get the majority of that stuff.
Also always buy a appl TV, heck even ouya has a per xmbc loaded device on eBay. Xmbc is over my head for doing.
download XBMC and get the Navi-X add-on and add the 1channel and icefilms, sports devil add-on.
Navi-X is great for tv channels like TLC, Discovery, CNN ...etc
1channel and icefilms are great for Movies and Tv Shows
Sports devil is a compiled list of first row sports and vipbox without ads and such
you can download it on your pc and laptop as well
don't you need a tv tuberculosis for the computer?
tv tuner lol*
I use XBMC with movies and premium channel TV shows...downloading torrents. I have an HDMI cable running to my TV from my cpu. Really cant beat it.
Good idea about only having satellite for football season. Do you resubscribe every year? Do you switch between Dish and DirecTV?
I was contemplating keeping my satellite turned on from football through March Madness, then puttting it in vacation mode. My parents are snowbirds and successfully do this every year. Internet streaming would easily fill the non-sports void in the off-season.
I'm also a sucker for radio broadcasts streaming freely over the internet. Young ones might not like it, but this option works well for nostalgic-types who grew up with Ernie Harwell, Bruce Martin, and Bob Ufer feeding us our sports.
He may do MSU radio, but Blaha for the Pistons is very good. I used to listen to him growing up call the 2004-2008 teams.
For the last few years, I liked listening online to the radio broadcasts through free streams. I spent many years listening to various school networks online.
I stopped because many of the rights-holders quit streaming online, and I didn't want to go through the hunt of searching through every affiliate just to find an audio stream that wasn't taken down. (Michigan has made it a bit harder to find online streams, I can barely listen to Matt Shepard for UM basketball anymore). Plus, with one click, I could find the game on FRS.
I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor.
I went without cable for most of my life until I went to undergrad at VT. After that, there were more years sans cable, until I finally got it this year, however it's only set up downstairs, so the setup in my room is basically an antenna.
The best way to watch without cable is with an antenna , plus internet service. However, the antenna here is very spotty and I frequently get terrible signals, even though I live right outside DC. And the second there's any sign of light wind or rain, the signal breaks up. In addition, the internet here, despite being FiOS, frequently buffers, lags, and the feed looks bad on a 1080p monitor (although these issues are limited largely to FRS).
I can certainly understand the situation a lot of the young people are going through now with the inability to afford cable. So, again, best of luck to you, and hopefully your antenna signals and internet troubles aren't as bad as they are here.
Edit: It should be noted that there is a revolution going on right now in terms of sports. This revolution is moving more and more games off network TV.
Several events which used to be on OTA include the NCAA championship for both basketball* and football, as well as Wimbledon (for tennis fans), and Monday night football. With the arrival of Fox Sports 1, Fox plans to take most of their Saturday baseball games off free TV too. I think in the future that many major sporting events will end up on cable, and we'll all have to be subjected to the steep prices just to watch these events.
I don't like the direction that sports are headed in terms of networks, but, unfortunately, this is the way the tide is turning.
* - NCAA Tournament Final moves to TBS in a few years, and NCAA tournament has largely been moved to cable.