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    jdforever's Avatar
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    Cut the cable cord

    As I posted in the good morning thread a couple days ago, I cut the cord after 35 years with Spectrum and their predecessors. I returned all the provider equipment and told them I had enough. The powers to be have no problem extending huge discounts to new customers, but refuse to lower the cost to those who have been paying for their outrageous bonuses for years. The representative I dealt with told me that if I come back in 31 days, I would qualify for new customer rates. Well we’ll see about that.

    So in the meantime, I signed up for Sling TV. I subscribed to the Orange and Blue packages, which has the bulk of the cable programming that I watch. For an additional $5 each, we added the Lifestyle package, Comedy package and Cloud DVR package. The grand total is $55 plus taxes, which is a $35 savings compared to Spectrum. However we qualified for a 30 day free trial. Yeah Live TV Streaming Services - Online | Sling TV

    I have a very stable WIFI network, and the quality has been very good so far. It will take a little getting used to streaming television, but I have yet to experience any buffering. I will in another post, list and explain the different pieces of equipment involved. As of now, I give it thumbs up.
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    JD4044M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdforever View Post
    As I posted in the good morning thread a couple days ago, I cut the cord after 35 years with Spectrum and their predecessors. I returned all the provider equipment and told them I had enough. The powers to be have no problem extending huge discounts to new customers, but refuse to lower the cost to those who have been paying for their outrageous bonuses for years. The representative I dealt with told me that if I come back in 31 days, I would qualify for new customer rates. Well we’ll see about that.

    So in the meantime, I signed up for Sling TV. I subscribed to the Orange and Blue packages, which has the bulk of the cable programming that I watch. For an additional $5 each, we added the Lifestyle package, Comedy package and Cloud DVR package. The grand total is $55 plus taxes, which is a $35 savings compared to Spectrum. However we qualified for a 30 day free trial. Yeah Live TV Streaming Services - Online | Sling TV

    I have a very stable WIFI network, and the quality has been very good so far. It will take a little getting used to streaming television, but I have yet to experience any buffering. I will in another post, list and explain the different pieces of equipment involved. As of now, I give it thumbs up.
    I have thought about calling direct TV and telling them I want to end it so I can start again and get the free stuff! It makes me mad what they do for new people and I have been with them for 23 years and Hughes Net is another ripoff for my internet I think between the 2 it is over $200.00 a month and we don't get HBO or Show Time! We can't get no other service not in line with the places in town to high up and a hill is in the way. No cable or phones internet to far from the switch to use it so satellite is the only way!
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    I will be VERY interested to hear what you think of Sling after you have it a while. PLEASE report back.

    I'm considering doing the same thing as our cable bill will be $200/mo as of Jan. 1, 2019 with no premium channels. That is for two HD DVR / cable boxes and Internet. Internet alone is currently $45/mo for 50Mb service but would increase to $60 without TV bundle "discount". We currently get over 200 channels of unwatchable G-A-R-B-A-G-E. I thought Sling would be my answer but it seems all I see on-line are negative reviews. I must admit their plan offerings are very confusing.

    I installed one of those little el-cheapo indoor antennas and we get about 16 channels over the air.

    Something has GOT to give as I refuse to continue paying these kind of prices for unwatchable trash - when I can get the same unwatchable trash for free. :-)

    Looking forward to hearing your report.
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    Corndog Hater ColonyPark's Avatar
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    We cut the cord several years ago, and really haven't looked back. The last television provider we had was either Spectrum (Time Warner at the time) or DirecTV....its been long enough I can't remember which. We were paying about $110 per month plus the $75 per month for internet.

    We now subscribe to Netflix for $10.99, and I just got Hulu for $12 for 12 months on a special, and CBS All Access for $5 per month. We also have Amazon Prime, but get more than just Prime programming out of that. We are definitely still saving money and we don't want for anything to watch. My biggest gripe is local news and weather. Any sort of antenna doesn't provide reliable results at our place, so that isn't an option. But, we get by. Between a couple Apps I have and the news station's website, we can get a weather report, etc.

    As for devices, we have an Amazon Fire Stick, an older Apple TV, and (2) Roku sticks. the Roku sticks get the most use by far.
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    Ditto.

    We've been a DirecTv subscriber since before they were DirecTv, 21 years now. Our bill is $200/month, with no HBO, Showtime, etc. I do subscribe to the HD extra pack, so I can view on Encore Westerns. The thing that really frosts my cookies is their additional receiver charge. When we started, it was $1.50/month for each additional receiver, now it is $7.00/month. We have 12 receivers, so it adds up quickly. When we had two homes, I didn't kick so much as I just installed a second dish and we would utilize receivers from the other home, so we weren't paying all the base fees twice. It probably was against some contract language, but if I had to pay another $100/month, that would have been the straw that broke the camel's back. We're also paying another $120 for internet/phone a month from Spectrum (Charter).

    The customer service with DirecTv, now, really sucks again since it was acquired by ATT. It is another overseas call center where they speak unintelligible English and work from a script. We turn off some of our receivers in the winter, so I have to call twice a year to do so. I dread it.

    We can receive the major networks (which I seldom view any more) off the air. They are translators (re-broadcast on UHF channels). I haven't checked in a few years, but they were not HD last time I did. However, if something like Sling works out, I can live with that if the savings are significant.

    JD4044,

    How is your cell phone reception? If it is good or will improve with an in-building coverage booster, you may want to look at an unlimited data package. At that point, you can enable the wifi hot spot on your cell phone and utilize that for internet. We had Hughes Net here until Spectrum updated their outdoor plant and could provide internet. It was much better than dial-up, but it had its limitations. My biggest disappointment was it wouldn't pass secure (encrypted) data with any speed, if at all. This is because they compress the data to obtain their speed. At the time, I was still going full bore in the business and needed to be able to VPN to my office server. As a VPN is encrypted, it wouldn't work on Hughes Net.
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    Cut the cable (actually DirecTV) many years ago.

    Similar to Colony Park we have Netflix, Hulu (no commercials) and CBS All Access (no commercials). It is just blissful to watch TV without all the stupid commercials.

    As far as live TV I have tried Sling, DirecTV Now, and Hulu Live. Sling is the best value. DirecTV Now has a better user interface but is more expensive. Hulu Live is the most expensive of all but integrated nicely with regular Hulu which we use more than anything. I now have no “live” TV at all and don’t miss anything. Hulu has a heck of a library of regular TV shows a lot of which are available the day after they air. They also have years worth of some older stuff - for example ER - we’ve been watching one episode a day for almost a year now and still have 100 to go.

    One thing to pay attention to is what channels they each have. One huge issue for me is that Hulu Live does not have AMC. There must be a power struggle or something going on but it seems they will never have it. That was the ultimate deal breaker for me with Hulu Live.

    I used to have my internet at 50mbs down for streaming. But I recently changed it to 20mbs down for $20 per month vs. the $50 I was paying. I have yet to have any buffering at all.

    I never did watch any news so that part is not an issue for me. I also have never watched any sports so also a non issue.

    I have used Roku units since the beginning currently with a Premier Plus. Never any lag when you push a button. The part I like the most is the WiFi remote - you don’t have to aim it at the unit like RF remotes.

    Edit to add - there is no possibility of over the air TV here in the mountains. Heck, we don’t even get any radio stations here.
    Last edited by coaltrain; 12-20-2018 at 08:14 AM.
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    When I moved in the spring, I decided to have a go at this too. I already had Netflix, and at my old house I had Verizon FiOS for TV and internet. The Verizon FiOS TV and internet at my old place was about $170/mo. Verizon was not available at my place. So I would have to use Comcast for TV and internet, at the same $170/mo cost, with significantly reduced quality and quantities. The only organization I dislike more than Comcast is Al Qaeda. So it seemed like a good time to change my ways.

    So I went with Comcast internet only at $29.99/mo for the first year. It goes up to $84 after the first year. No other choice for internet service, so I'm giving ComQaeda as little as possible.

    YouTube TV was the only internet based TV provider that had all the channels I wanted and at only $40/mo. If I recall correctly, there was one other that had everything I wanted except Fox News. YouTube TV had everything including Fox News and the best price. Google runs all other aspects of my life already, so might as well add TV services to that since YouTube is an integrated google service.

    So in the aggregate, I'm saving $46/mo which I can spend on tractor parts, drone parts, and Jeep parts.

    With YouTube TV, I can watch TV anywhere I can watch YouTube. So my smart TV in the living room obviously has it. The Roku on the TV in the basement has it. I can watch on my computer in the office. I can watch on my computer at work. I can watch on my phone. I can watch on my tablet. Etc etc etc. It has cloud DVR and on-demand, accessible at any of the above too.

    Another nice thing about YouTube TV is they allow up to 5 instances at once. So multiple people can be using it on multiple devices. I can add other people's google accounts to my YouTube TV plan, and those users can also use YouTube TV at no added cost. So I added my mom's and sister's google accounts to my TV plan. They were also able to terminate their cable TV plans and just use my YouTube TV account as well.

    Disclaimer: I do not watch sports, and do not subscribe to any premium packages for sports, movies, etc. YMMV if you need some expensive NFL programming package.
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    Interesting timing on this thread getting posted....

    I got the email from DTV at 6:23AM today that my service is officially disconnected.

    I have put quite a bit of money and time (LOTS of time) into setting up my system to be able to cut ties with these thieves permanently... I have a high quality OTA antenna that affords me the access to all four major networks in high definition. I have multiple hardware devices from Silicon Dust (HD Home Run) that give me six network-connected to tuners to watch this content anywhere in my home (Smart TV's, phones, tablets, computers). I also have a very large Plex server built out that I have put all of my hard media on (all of my various movies that I own have been converted to digital format) for viewing any time I want from all of the same devices. I also can access this content in a "streaming mode" when I'm out of the house, or I can download copies of it onto my tablet to watch stuff on airplanes or in hotels without needed a network connection.

    The final piece of the puzzle is Plex's DVR function which allows me to use those HD Home Run tuners to record live TV from my antenna and watch it whenever I want.

    I spent about $600 on the various pieces of hardware and software that enable all of this, plus what I spent on the computer that runs it (needs vary widely here, so you can't use my example as a "standard" because it's much bigger than what most folks would use).

    Advantages:

    - No bills ever again from any cable or satellite provider for their programming.
    - No more commercials (my Plex software includes additional software called ComSkip that removes the commercials form recorded programming so that they are no longer present when I get around to watching the shows I've recorded).
    - No real "loss" of content (given what I watch, I can get just about everything from the four major networks)
    - No loss of programming from a provider outage of any kind
    - No loss of access to programming because of power failures (all of my stuff is powered through UPS devices so I can watch the local news when a major storm has knocked everyone else down to a "weather radio")


    Disadvantages:

    - Up front investment. It's not a small layout of money to acquire everything needed. My investment was larger than what many folks would need, but even a "typical" setup would require about $350 or so on hardware and software licenses.
    - Learning curve. I went slow, asked a ton of questions on line from others that have built what I have, and tried my best to ensure that I wasn't buying stuff that had limitations. This was a wise choice as I'm almost certainly dumping Plex and moving to Emby. Emby was much further behind in this game, but have caught up since I started out. And, Plex has down way downhill in terms of their product roadmap and support.
    - Still a need for some subscriptions. OTA doesn't cover all of it. Period. I have Netflix and Hulu's basic service (which I snagged for $.99/month for a year during their Black Friday promo). Still, I've dropped my programming monthly costs from $130/month (HEAVY discount from DTV that I had to fight for every year) to $16/month.
    - Be careful with your Internet plan. Many providers have usage caps on your typical home Internet service. When you go over the limit, the penalty costs are steep. You prevent this by paying an additional monthly fee to either increase the cap or remove it completely. If you have to pay this fee AND you're paying for subscription services, you have to re-evaluate total cost versus the cable criminal companies.

    For me, the OTA is giant benefit that helps me ensure I can control my costs while not really giving up any programming. The fact that I have ONE PLANE to go to manage ALL of my content is priceless.
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    t2timmy's Avatar
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    Following this!! My cable bills up again near $200 wothout any movie channels. Im also tired of the yearly or bi-yearly cancellation threat call. It works everytime to lower my bill... howeve is a PITA and time consuming.

    Just curious - how do you get Phone, and more important Internet, without paying a cable provider?. I bundle.



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    Quote Originally Posted by t2timmy View Post
    Following this!! My cable bills up again near $200 wothout any movie channels. Im also tired of the yearly or bi-yearly cancellation threat call. It works everytime to lower my bill... howeve is a PITA and time consuming.

    Just curious - how do you get Phone, and more important Internet, without paying a cable provider?. I bundle.



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    Phone is super easy once it's done, but still has a "cost"...

    Port your home phone number to a mobile carrier on a pre-paid cell plan. T-Mobile works the best and is the cheapest.

    One the porting is done, you port it AGAIN to Google Voice. Buy an Obihai adapter to connect to the GV service for your -outbound- calls (so your it shows as you when you call someone else). Pay $1/month to Call Centric for inbound calls plus their E911 fee (which is pretty affordable). Route the inbound calls to your GV number (your ported home phone) to the Call Centeric number and set up withe Obihai device to receive these. You now have full home phone service WITH complete anti-spam controls for about $3/month. GV's call handling controls let you do a lot of enhanced things, too, like auto-forward certain numbers to your cell, ring calls from certain numbers on the house phone AND various cell phones at the same time, transcription of voicemails sent to you via email, etc.
    ---

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