I dumped cable TV, and still have loads to watch

DSGamer wrote:
And for some reason most sports have migrated to cable TV, including the college football championship game. Something that would have seemed unreal a few years ago. So right now in the battle to get a la carte TV I'm part of the problem. We'll see how long this holds.

So true. If I want to watch NBA now, I'd pretty much have to have cable. About the time I found out I can get the locals free over coax, I find out the BCS championship was on ESPN only :\ I did find it online on justin.tv being streamed, fortunately.

But getting the NFL playoffs in HD, for free over the QAM signal has been great. I have zero desire to re-sub to cable. With Netflix streaming, Hulu+, and now free local channels, i'm more than content.

ESPN3.com takes care of a whole lot of sports. NBA, and almost everything NCAA. Maybe some MLB too? I know there are games on ESPN/2 and almost everything on ESPN/2 is broadcast live on ESPN3 as well.

Despite having cable, not living in my alma mater's home market anymore, I watch a lot of games on the web. Even grabbed an extra long HDMI cable to output the picture to my 40" Samsung TV. Running in 720p, it looks almost as good as the HD broadcasts do on ESPN/2, with just an occasional lag stutter.

We are about ready to cut cable (TV, still need it for internet). I got a hand-me-down Mac Mini, plus an unused Win7 license from the same person, and I'm in the process of setting it up as an HTPC. I spent the weekend getting it integrated with the receiver/HDTV, and setting up a HDHomeRun dual tv tuner on the network. With an $8 TV antenna from amazon, we're getting all of the channels crystal clear in our area (that aren't spanish or religious programming). Tested it out over the weekend by recording the NFL playoff games to my desktop PC through WMC, and it worked great. The picture quality really is noticeably clearer than cable HD. Can't wait to get home tonight to continue the setup.

I decided to go with Win7 on the Mac mini because WMC is built-into Win7, rather than spend the extra $80 for EyeTV3 (without even being able to demo it first). Also for ease of integration with the other 2 Win7 desktops in the house.

DSGamer wrote:
I'm back ON cable. There are two reasons: HBO, Showtime, Sports, and math.

FTFY. [/being a dick]

(-:

Stele wrote:
ESPN3.com takes care of a whole lot of sports. NBA, and almost everything NCAA. Maybe some MLB too? I know there are games on ESPN/2 and almost everything on ESPN/2 is broadcast live on ESPN3 as well.

Despite having cable, not living in my alma mater's home market anymore, I watch a lot of games on the web. Even grabbed an extra long HDMI cable to output the picture to my 40" Samsung TV. Running in 720p, it looks almost as good as the HD broadcasts do on ESPN/2, with just an occasional lag stutter.

ESPN3 only works if your cable company is on the list of providers. When I go to the ESPN app on the 360, it always tells me that my cable co. isn't a recognized provider or some such. I can still watch the ESPN news shows and such on it, but not live sports broadcasts.

When I go to my cable company's site, they do show themselves to be ESPN3 capable, but I don't sub to their TV pkg, so maybe that's why I don't get it on the 360.

gore wrote:

7) Piracy:

Anything that isn't available from those other channels, or is only available after a substantial delay, I'm just going to pirate. Note that I could make this all substantially easier by simply pirating everything, but I really want to pay people to give me the things I want.

There's not much that falls into this category. Probably HBO and other premium channels with no way to buy into other than through traditional cable or satellite. Let me buy this stuff directly and I'll happily give you my money, but I'm not subscribing to cable just for it, and it's too easy to acquire for me to simply do without.

Or you could do the right thing and wait for the content to come out on a format you can purchase, like a DVD or Blue-Ray. I agree they are missing out on a ton of potential viewers by not offering a streaming avenue, but that is no reason to not pay for the content.

We're off cable, even with my football fix and my daughter's Disney fix. How? We got tired of having my daughter break DVDs, so I got to build an HTPC with a Blu-Ray player. Total cost? ~350. Hooked it up to our existing TV, and we now stream Netflix, Hulu, and ESPN3 to it, as well as having Disney kids bookmarked. I got a small wireless mouse/keyboard combo thing to control the whole box, as well a a traditional remote that works well for DVDs. Here's the keyboard, here . It cost me 20 or 30 dollars on Woot.

It also helps that when it comes to sports, I am a BYU fan, and the school started streaming just about everything they can, which means almost anything that's not being picked up by ESPN or an away game on Fox Sports.

Also, my daughter will just use our desktop to watch a lot of her kid shows. The Disney, Nick, etc... websites have a bigger backlog than most kids attention spans.

gore wrote:

7) Piracy:

Anything that isn't available from those other channels, or is only available after a substantial delay, I'm just going to pirate. Note that I could make this all substantially easier by simply pirating everything, but I really want to pay people to give me the things I want.

There's not much that falls into this category. Probably HBO and other premium channels with no way to buy into other than through traditional cable or satellite. Let me buy this stuff directly and I'll happily give you my money, but I'm not subscribing to cable just for it, and it's too easy to acquire for me to simply do without.

I would expect that most of this category would be covered by your Netflix disc subscription. Most of the HBO shows I've watched have been via that method.

Can you guys please start a separate thread for the piracy discussion. That crap never ends well and I'd rather not see this one be locked, as I think it's been useful to some folks.

[redacted for Jeff-66]

Jeff-66 wrote:
Can you guys please start a separate thread for the piracy discussion. That crap never ends well and I'd rather not see this one be locked, as I think it's been useful to some folks.

I agree. But it's Gore that ought to redact his support of piracy here.

gore wrote:

It's a little bit bullsh*t to pull that out when I'm pirating a copy of Treme because I don't want to pay $150/month for cable and HBO, but there it is.

Hey, is Treme any good?

Jeff-66 wrote:

So true. If I want to watch NBA now, I'd pretty much have to have cable. About the time I found out I can get the locals free over coax, I find out the BCS championship was on ESPN only : I did find it online on justin.tv being streamed, fortunately.

Yeah. The last couple years I tried out the NBA Broadband League Pass. It's an awful deal. It works fine, but they blackout all of the national games. That cuts back quite a bit on what games you'd want to watch.

hbi2k wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
I'm back ON cable. There are two reasons: HBO, Showtime, Sports, and math.

FTFY. [/being a dick]

(-:

Actually you're not wrong. We figure that with Netflix, Hulu and iTunes all chugging along we paid about as much for cable-free TV as we did for cable TV. The big difference to us was that we watch a lot of TV on the go on iPhones and iPads. So even if it's a wash the a la carte method made sense because we could take those TV shows on flights, watch them in waiting rooms, etc.

Stele wrote:
hbi2k wrote:

As of right now, it's really only the Daily Show / Colbert Report combo that are keeping me subscribing. If I had any other easy way of getting those on my big TV every day, I'd drop Hulu Plus in a heartbeat. 90% of Hulu's other content that I care about is on Netflix without ads anyway.

This or this maybe? I use the first and it works quite well. We had a little issue with our apartment not wanting to pay $15 a month for DVR and I have started watching the web versions lately. Also it's more fun to watch ESPN3 on the big tv.

When I get some time I'll probably build my own DVR one of these days.

Those links look broken to me. Are those HDMI cables? If you're talking about hooking up a PC to the TV, that's an option, but I don't have a PC to dedicate to living room duty and it's a pain lugging my laptop out of the computer room every time I want to watch something. One of these days when I have the money I wouldn't mind slapping together a dedicated HTPC one bit, although even then I doubt it would be as easy UI-wise as the Roku box. It's certainly one way to go, though.

hbi2k wrote:

As of right now, it's really only the Daily Show / Colbert Report combo that are keeping me subscribing. If I had any other easy way of getting those on my big TV every day, I'd drop Hulu Plus in a heartbeat. 90% of Hulu's other content that I care about is on Netflix without ads anyway.

This or this maybe? I use the first and it works quite well. We had a little issue with our apartment not wanting to pay $15 a month for DVR and I have started watching the web versions lately. Also it's more fun to watch ESPN3 on the big tv.

When I get some time I'll probably build my own DVR one of these days.

Huh yeah the GWJ tag seems to break it.

Bluerigger brand, solid reviews at Amazon, 15 and 25 foot versions.

http://www.amazon.com/BlueRigger-Hig...
http://www.amazon.com/BlueRigger-Hig...

That work?

EDIT: redacted to avoid derailure.

Stele wrote:
ESPN3.com takes care of a whole lot of sports. NBA, and almost everything NCAA. Maybe some MLB too? I know there are games on ESPN/2 and almost everything on ESPN/2 is broadcast live on ESPN3 as well.

Despite having cable, not living in my alma mater's home market anymore, I watch a lot of games on the web. Even grabbed an extra long HDMI cable to output the picture to my 40" Samsung TV. Running in 720p, it looks almost as good as the HD broadcasts do on ESPN/2, with just an occasional lag stutter.

MLB is only on ESPN3 during baseball nights (Sunday and Wednesday?) while NBA I believe is only on Fridays with the occasional afternoon game thrown in (like the Bulls on MLK day). ESPN3 is amazing for college sports but not so much for the pro stuff.

I've found that an MLB.tv sub is by far the best option for watching baseball, but I can't speak for the NBA version since I've never used it. As for the NFL, if you know someone with the direct tv NFL package ask to use their "To Go" portion. Its free but most people don't even realize they have it.

hbi2k wrote:

As of right now, it's really only the Daily Show / Colbert Report combo that are keeping me subscribing. If I had any other easy way of getting those on my big TV every day, I'd drop Hulu Plus in a heartbeat. 90% of Hulu's other content that I care about is on Netflix without ads anyway.

The ads are my biggest source of consternation with Hulu Plus. We did the trial, but it's hard to see me paying for a service that still has ads.

My situation is a little different since I already have the PC hooked up to the TV, though. We can just use the browser.

DSGamer wrote:

Yeah. The last couple years I tried out the NBA Broadband League Pass. It's an awful deal. It works fine, but they blackout all of the national games. That cuts back quite a bit on what games you'd want to watch.

It definitely looks like you're boned if you're a big sports fan. But from what I've observed as an outsider, sports fans have been getting screwed over for as long as TV has been around. Regional blackouts, extra "packages," they figure they can squeeze you hard. Luckily I don't care about sports myself

DSGamer wrote:

Actually you're not wrong. We figure that with Netflix, Hulu and iTunes all chugging along we paid about as much for cable-free TV as we did for cable TV. The big difference to us was that we watch a lot of TV on the go on iPhones and iPads. So even if it's a wash the a la carte method made sense because we could take those TV shows on flights, watch them in waiting rooms, etc.

I'm wondering what our net change in payments is going to be. We already do Netflix and wouldn't stop that regardless, so I can't add that as part of the new cost structure. We'd already do Amazon Prime for the shipping benefit. All that leaves is Prime VoD and Hulu Plus (if we go that route).

I can see pumping $80/month into Prime VoD during peak season, but that's only during months where there are a lot of first-run shows. There are large chunks of time throughout the year where most of the shows we care about are in repeats, and if we want to watch back catalogue stuff we can do that with Netflix or Prime unlimited streaming at no additional cost. So I figure it works out in streaming's favor over time.

There's a lot to be said for convenience though. Like you say the ability to watch things anywhere is huge - the Roku is tiny and if we travel it can come with us. I find Amazon a preferable middle-man to Time Warner, so I'd rather them take their cut if I'm going to be shelling out the bucks. And, not to mention, no f'n commercials. Yeah mythtv auto-detected them and skipped them when I was DVR-ing cable, but it's not perfect.

I have not had cable since I moved out of my parents house in 2000. This was mostly because I had no money, but since I bought my house in 2008 I just didn't feel the cost justified the rewards.

One resource I don't see talked about very often that has been a major asset for me and my family has been my public library. They have most all of the tv shows and movies on dvd and blu-ray. I can request the discs via the web interface from home and they e-mail me when the discs are available. Being able to take out 10 items (a complete season is only one item) at a time and it is all free. They get multiple copies of most new releases although it can take a bit of time for popular movies to be available due to demand.

Just a thought that other cable cutters might appreciate the tip. It seems a lot of people overlook this great resource.

NHL GameCenter Live is probably the best value any hockey fan with an internet connection can get. I just wish they'd quit with the damned blackouts for anything shown on cable. On the other hand, I'll be able to watch all my Avs games once I'm out in DC, which is a relief.

[edit: joining in the redact-fest]

gore wrote:
4) Hulu Plus (maybe):

I haven't figured out for sure whether the value proposition on Plus makes sense. Sure it puts some stuff on the Roku that we'd otherwise watch free through the browser, but I'm unconvinced that the convenience is worth the cost.

I've been a Hulu Plus subscriber for a while now, and I'm still feeling pretty conflicted about it. They are very clearly following the "how to boil a frog" model when it comes to advertising: the amount of ad time per 22-minute episode of a TV show has increased noticeably, although to be fair it's still a lot less than what you'd get on cable, which costs a lot more.

What bug me more than that, though, are the constant and seemingly arbitrary changes to what's available on devices through Plus (in my case, a Roku box) versus on a PC web browser. For a while you could only watch Community in the web browser. Now that's on Plus-- and not just the last few episodes, but the entire back catalogue-- but the new episodes of 30 Rock are browser-only. Why? There's no rhyme or reason to it that I can see. I pay Hulu Plus for exactly one thing: the convenience of viewing their content on my big TV. And they can't even get that right.

As of right now, it's really only the Daily Show / Colbert Report combo that are keeping me subscribing. If I had any other easy way of getting those on my big TV every day, I'd drop Hulu Plus in a heartbeat. 90% of Hulu's other content that I care about is on Netflix without ads anyway.

[Redacted for World Peace]

Coldstream wrote:
NHL GameCenter Live is probably the best value any hockey fan with an internet connection can get. I just wish they'd quit with the damned blackouts for anything shown on cable. On the other hand, I'll be able to watch all my Avs games once I'm out in DC, which is a relief.

This continues to look exceptionally tempting, I just have the hardest time justifying the $120 on it.

Little update from Casa de Wandy: Wifey ran the numbers for taxes last night and came to find we saved gross about 750 dollars last year by canceling cable. Less the cost of NetFlix (streaming and one disk), and guessing at the amount of money we've spent on rentals through the Zune marketplace, maybe we netted 550 bux saved?

Also, we watch less TV now and get more work done on our passion projects at night instead.

TheWanderer wrote:

Also, we watch less TV now and get more work done on our passion projects at night instead.

This to me was the biggest win and the biggest reason why I'd dump cable again. There is no option to just surf or turn on a game or see how trashy Teen Mom is or how bad Real Housewives of X is. You watch only the TV you want to watch.

I'm on month 3 of being back on cable and I'm already noticing that my wife and I read and play board games less often. So cable may be going again soon.

TheWanderer wrote:

Also, we watch less TV now and get more work done on our passion projects at night instead.

AnimeJ wrote:
Coldstream wrote:
NHL GameCenter Live is probably the best value any hockey fan with an internet connection can get. I just wish they'd quit with the damned blackouts for anything shown on cable. On the other hand, I'll be able to watch all my Avs games once I'm out in DC, which is a relief.

This continues to look exceptionally tempting, I just have the hardest time justifying the $120 on it.

Trust me, if they were charging twice that price, I'd probably still subscribe after having used it so far this season. While it's a little frustrating not to be able to stream the local games due to blackout (or the occasional game on NHLN or NBCSN (Versus)), virtually every other game is available, both live and archived. Were it not for wanting to watch the local games on my big-screen TV, I wouldn't have cable.

Coldstream wrote:
AnimeJ wrote:
Coldstream wrote:
NHL GameCenter Live is probably the best value any hockey fan with an internet connection can get. I just wish they'd quit with the damned blackouts for anything shown on cable. On the other hand, I'll be able to watch all my Avs games once I'm out in DC, which is a relief.

This continues to look exceptionally tempting, I just have the hardest time justifying the $120 on it.

Trust me, if they were charging twice that price, I'd probably still subscribe after having used it so far this season. While it's a little frustrating not to be able to stream the local games due to blackout (or the occasional game on NHLN or NBCSN (Versus)), virtually every other game is available, both live and archived. Were it not for wanting to watch the local games on my big-screen TV, I wouldn't have cable.

Oh, I'm sure it's worth it, value wise. It's just a harder sell for an E5 with 5 kids than a single O3 getting med pay

AnimeJ wrote:
Coldstream wrote:
AnimeJ wrote:
Coldstream wrote:
NHL GameCenter Live is probably the best value any hockey fan with an internet connection can get. I just wish they'd quit with the damned blackouts for anything shown on cable. On the other hand, I'll be able to watch all my Avs games once I'm out in DC, which is a relief.

This continues to look exceptionally tempting, I just have the hardest time justifying the $120 on it.

Trust me, if they were charging twice that price, I'd probably still subscribe after having used it so far this season. While it's a little frustrating not to be able to stream the local games due to blackout (or the occasional game on NHLN or NBCSN (Versus)), virtually every other game is available, both live and archived. Were it not for wanting to watch the local games on my big-screen TV, I wouldn't have cable.

Oh, I'm sure it's worth it, value wise. It's just a harder sell for an E5 with 5 kids than a single O3 getting med pay :P

How would you feel about a late Christmas gift?

Cable TV rising 6% annually, yet household income remains near stagnant.

“As pay-TV costs rise and consumers’ spending power stays flat, the traditional affiliate-fee business model for pay-TV companies appears to be unsustainable in the long term,” said Keith Nissen, research director for NDP.