Cut the TV cable

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by zenMachine, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    I'm contemplating cutting my cable TV service with AT&T, keeping only the broadband. We hardly watch TV in our house, the only channels that get exercised regularly are PBS and Golf Channel. My wife used to watch Food Network a lot, but now she gets her shows on Hulu instead. And we have Netflix streaming for movies.

    Live sports are one area where the internet still cannot compete with TV, though this situation may change in the future. I definitely want to be able to watch important games live, preferrably on a big HD screen.

    Has anyone here cut their cable? What's your thought and opinion? Any suggestions? Thanks!
     
  2. donee

    donee New Member

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    Hi Zen,

    Being a radio engineer, I am a died-in-the-wool OTA (over the air) TV person, also with high speed internet. I do use the Internet for stuff I hear about on Cable. Beats paying that monthly TV tax, to watch one show every few months on Cable I really want to watch. And with MHz networks here on channel 20-3 in Chicagoland, there is good news coverage.

    I am not a sports spectator type, too much. Do watch the Universal Sports Skiing, as that is a vicarious thing for me, not being a skiier, but having had allot of years in the snow. But, traditional spectator sports are boring to watch, for me. I more enjoy actually participating in sprorts than watching them. And there is only so much time in a day.

    Here we have 3 PBS stations (thank GOD!) OTA. Actually, there are 7 PBS broadcasts simultaneiously OTA, on the three stations. The regular networks have gone off the deep end with their program timing, and subjects. Although "Criminal Intent" now cancelled, was good. The Amazing Race is my only true habbit on network TV at this time. Although, if they go long, I am off to PBS or MHz. Fringe and House on Fox I watch sometimes.

    My Dad had cable, then dish, and now he is plenty satisfied with OTA. He is a big Golf fan, and that is hardly an issue in that NBC and CBS will sometimes both be showing golf simultaneously on a weekend afternoon.

    The only issue for many is the DVR services. There are some people who have done their own OTA DVRs. Luckily, many networks will replay on the internet this weeks shows. That helps if you miss something you have been following.

    Oh, and if your doing buisness trips, you can spend the evening getting caught up on Myth Busters at most motels.

    Many of the good cable shows will rerun on OTA. For example, Monk, Burn Notice, Star Gate(s) and Dr. Who (the new series) are all available OTA here in Chicagoland. At least around here. You just need to wait a year or two since their original run time.
     
  3. twittel

    twittel Senior Member

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    I'm a cut-the-cable wannabe. I'm at $100 per month with DirecTV and just can't stand the drain on my wallet, the commercials, the reruns, the crap. Right now my rationale is to keep it just for sports. I wouldn't mind putting an antennae in my attic, cut the cable and do the HULU thing with Netflix. I think it would be a lot cheaper.

    I'd like to try an antennae in my attic, but I live in a rural area about 75 miles from Raleigh which is where our local networks come from. An antennae in the attic would be right on the fringe of reception, and I hate to spend the money if it won't work. Our housing association restricts outdoor antennaes.

    Sooo, I'm still mulling it over.
     
  4. donee

    donee New Member

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    Hi twitel,

    I am 30 miles from most of the transmitters in the Chicagoland area. I use a 4 bay antenna, next to the TV, on a stand I made from a discard lamp standard. It works well. The 4 bay, is usually an outdoor antenna, but fits indoors nicely, and as most of the HDTV stations (at least around here) are on high band VHF, and UHF, it works. I have a cheap preamp (menards - magnavox - $9) and a TV band filter. You will need a face of your residence to face, or be 90 degrees to the direction of the transmitters. Get an antenna with good front to back ratio, as indoors, there is lots of multipath on UHF. With good f/b ratio, you can attenuate the reflections.

    The only issue is the trains shake the power polls on their right of way, and cause a glitch every now and then. Eventually, they will get that fixed though. I have located the defective poll for them....
     
  5. caffeinekid

    caffeinekid Duct Tape Extraordinaire

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    We haven't had cable for 10 years. You miss a couple of minor things (cooking shows, etc.) for maybe a year at the most and then you wonder why you ever paid for it in the first place. If you take the amount you pay for cable every month and divide it by the actual number of hours of GOOD content that you actively engage yourself in, you will be surprised at the unit cost. Also, now that signal providers have matured, the costs for their products are getting out of hand. Any chance you have of negating this cost should be taken IMO. Save your money for when your provider starts throttling bandwidth.
     
  6. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I cut the cable way back when they cut two useful channels, delayed promises to expand beyond the half dozen remaining channels, and imposed an ex post facto rate increase to $6/month.
    Are their restrictions legal? Many are not. If you need an outdoor antenna to get over the air broadcasts, you can have a reasonable one, and the FCC will tell the HOA where to shove their prohibitions.

    "The rule prohibits most restrictions that: (1) unreasonably delay or prevent installation, maintenance or use; (2) unreasonably increase the cost of installation, maintenance or use; or (3) preclude reception of an acceptable quality signal."
     
  7. twittel

    twittel Senior Member

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    I'm encouraged by your success. What do you mean "a face of your residence to face or be 90 degrees.." I assume you mean the antenna must be located 90 degrees from the broadcast signal. Also, what is the brand of your antennae? Regards.
     
  8. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    Might I suggest finding a friend or friendly bar with a big HD screen? Important games are more fun to watch with company anyway.

    p.s. I don't have a working TV, so my opinions are suspect.
     
  9. 2011priusMIke

    2011priusMIke Usually tinkering w/something.

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    I'm a TV station engineer and I do have cable. It's basic and part of the HOA fees I have to pay. It's like $23 a month or something.

    I can't believe folks pay like $100 - $150 a month for any kind of TV, cable, satellite whatever, DVR or not.

    I'm using a home pc with 3 tuners and Microsofts media center to DVR all the local shows I want in HD. I have the cable in on one tuner and 1 dual tuner and one single tuner for over the air TV. The processor is a dual core, 2.2 Ghz intel and it runs like a champ, recording 3 Hd shows, 1 standard def and playing back 1 hd show, all at once. No fees.

    I can't say enough about how well Microsoft has designed this software.

    Anyways, we find ourselves watching mostly local programming. Sometimes we pull in a cable show but I could live without it if $ got tight. Besides anything I'd miss is probably on the internet anyways.

    Put up an antenna and take a look. You'll be surprised at how much there is out there now. Then you can decide.
     
  10. Paul58

    Paul58 Mileage Miser

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    We have an RV and it is amazing how many OTA HD channels the antenna will pull in. I'm still trying to convince my wife to "cut the cord" on cable and let me put up and antenna instead, but she's adamant about not giving up her DVR! I guess I need to look into an alternate like that suggested by 2011 PriusMIke!
     
  11. oxnardprof

    oxnardprof Member

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    I have not had cable since at least 1997. I live far from most OTA, so I don't do that. I can receive a number of channels, such as ABC but no PBS. Since I am 60 miles from the antennas, I don't think anything but a rooftop outdoor antenna would work, and so far I don't want to do that.

    Our TV watching is via Hulu and Netflix. I can watch on my PC, or connect to my Samsung 52 inch TV using either a computer or a Wii.

    DVR does not work (thus, the Microsoft option is not very helpful) since I can't get much reception downstairs where the computer/TV are located.

    I don't care about Sports, so my example may not be helpful. With respect to PBS, a lot of their shows are available streaming for a few weeks (sometimes more) after broadcast. You can check and see if the shows you are interested in are available streaming.

    I certainly do not regret not having cable. I can waste plenty of time via Hulu, internet and Netflix without paying the cable bill.

    I forgot to add that there is a web site, I www.antennaweb.org , that can help you decide what type of antenna will work for you, as well as give you an idea of the programming / channels available at your specific location.
     
  12. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Note: USA only.
     
  13. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    been there, did that last June. we normally cut off TV and such each summer because we dont watch it as much. well this year we just turned on the internet. With Hulu/netflix we are not seeing the need to turn anything else back on. with a digital tuner we have built into the TV we still get the basic local channels with local/national news which is pretty much 90% of the "live" TV i watch so i am happy.

    as far as DVRs go, i have one and record every Seahawk game (i work Sundays) and it works fine for me.
     
  14. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    Charter Cable pretty much sucks here, dump time!!! I do however really enjoy Directv. 4 HD DVRs and I surf Science Channel, Discover, Nat Geo, BBC America, Speed, and anything that does not have Reality TV Crap.
     
  15. Trebuchet

    Trebuchet Senior Member

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    How does one survive without the SyFy channel? . . . :smash:
     
  16. donee

    donee New Member

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    Hi Twitel,

    I think its a Winegard, but any 4 bowtie like antenna is going to work.

    What I was trying to say is that you cannot be trying to pick up a signal through a building. You need only one wall between your antenna and the direction to the transmitters. I am also on the second floor of a wood frame building. So, that helps. Although there is a hill imediately in the direction to downtown Chicago that is higher.

    Try out antennaweb.org . But do not fully trust them. Originally, they said it was a good path to downtown Chicago. Then they said I would get no stations (while I am actually usably receiveing in excess of 30 channels, on 10 or so stations). If they tell you, that no stations will be received, move your location closer to the center of a metropolitan area, slightly until you get a list of stations. Then plan your antenna accordingly. In the summer, or when its above freezing, there is nightime propagation enhancement. This usually will give reception to outdoor antennas out to 45 miles from a skyscraper located broadcast antenna. But, the signal may fade out during the day, or during periods of extreme cold - this happens to Channel 56 here, which is about 50 miles out in NW Indiana...
     
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  17. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    Looks like time to do some antenna research.

    For sports, perhaps something like myp2p could do.

    Does anyone have a Roku box? What's your experience with it?
     
  18. donee

    donee New Member

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    Weigel Broadcasting runs the Old Star Treks, and Star Gates, here. Although we do not get Battlestar Galactica (the new series) the old one has been replayed a few times. Dr Who is not even on the SyFy channel, but it is on one of the Local PBS stations here. And there is Fringe, too.

    The good cable stuff gets rebroadcast on a bunch of the independant OTA stations here. These shows are too expensive, not to have a second life if there is money to be made.
     
  19. Rae Vynn

    Rae Vynn Watch out, I have a degree in BS!

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    We cut ours ten years ago... never miss it! :thumb:

    I think we have more s*x now...
     
  20. a_gray_prius

    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    Shouldn't that be a smiley of one guy body slamming another? I mean they show a LOT of "wrestling" on SyFy these days....