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Thread: Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster

  1. #1
    may the Bruce be with you CoffeeShark's Avatar
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    Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster


    Paying $89 per month for satellite is beginning to annoy me. (Some pay more, some less. Either way, it's a thousand bucks a year). Even more so because I don't watch all that much - basically a few shows like Heroes, Burn Notice, and maybe a South Park if it's on. Mostly network or major-channel stuff that I know I can get online or over-the-air.

    But I'm not the only one in the house. I have a Princess who likes her Nickelodeon and Disney, and a wife that can't
    go a week without frikkin Grey's Anatomy. So I began a little trial: Can I get by without Satellite?

    This requires a few investments:

    1. A decent broadband internet service with no caps. I think a 3mb down will suffice, but streaming a lot of TV will
    get noticed by your ISP, so make sure you don't have limits. Since most of us already have a broadband internet connection,
    this isn't really an ADDED expense, just a required one.

    2. An HD antenna for each HD TV that you have (I'm not going into Media Extenders and such right now). A decent
    Philips HD Antenna is $38 at Walmart, and mine pulls in 30 HD stations from about 20 miles away.

    3. A way to watch internet on a decently-sized screen. I have a home theater PC with a blu-ray player, so I can
    watch internet TV on a big screen. You might want to use a 17-inch laptop or a 20-inch flatscreen on your PC. Or
    hook your laptop up to your HD set. It all depends, that's what the trial time is for.

    HD Antenna for local network stations

    Grab yourself an HD antenna to make sure you can pull in all your local channels - for sports like NFL football and local basketball, it can't be beat, plus all your network shows. Even if you don't get it all in HD over-the-air, you'll get a great digital picture. Here's what I use.

    Major Channels Online

    USA Network



    The USA Network provides full shows like Burn Notice, Monk, Psych, and a few other crappy shows. The sound and video quality is good. Your only choice is two sizes, small and full-screen. USA's full-screen is a medium quality (as compared to other services).

    ABC.com



    ABC gives you full episodes with their "player", which has it's own plug-in, the Move Media Player. This one is safe.
    ABC has good quality with the Move player, and shows like Scrubs, Lost, Greys (for the wife), and The View
    (for Vega). ABC also has closed captioning. HD shows are available for Lost, Desperate, Grey's, a few others.

    NBC.com



    NBC also gives you full episodes, some in high-def. Shows like Chuck, Heroes, Life, and The Office. Quality is
    very good. Full-screen is average. Closed Captioning also available. No plug-ins or installs.

    CBS.com



    CBS also gives you full episodes, but unfortunately most of their programming sucks. You can get How I met Your Mother,
    for instance. Their default viewer is small, but the full-screen is actually better than most. HD content is very
    limited, though, but Denny may appreciate their "Star Trek Remastered" HD video.

    Fox



    Fox has full length episodes of 24, Bones, Family Guy, Fringe, House, and more. Their player is great quality, although
    waiting a full minute for your show to start is longer than most services at 15-30 seconds. Full-screen is decent,
    and sound is good. Closed Captioning available.

    F/X Network



    F/X has full episodes of Always Sunny, Damages, Sons of Anarchy, Nip Tuck, Rescue Me, the Shield and more. The player
    looks to be the same as Fox's player (Fox owns F/X). Full-screen quality is average, sound is good. CC available.

    MSN TV



    MSN also has shows, obviously NBC shows plus MTV (Joe needs his Hills fix) and other channels in the NBC family.
    The player is good quality, full-screen is average. sound is good. You can also get listings of all sorts of old shows
    that get streamed from Hulu.

    Major non-network viewing channels

    Hulu



    Hulu is probably the first site everyone mentions, and for good reason. There are tons of shows, old shows, new
    shows, full episodes, excerpts, news, sports shows, and more.
    Want to watch a full episode of ALF? or White Shadow? Hulu is the place. HD is very limited currently.
    Hulu is the only player that you can adjust to any size.


    Joost



    Joost no longer requires a client install and is browser based. They offer a lot of shows like Smallville, the Daily Show, and even pay-cable station offerings from Showtime like Californication (edited, of course).
    Unlike most, they also offer new and old music videos, which is cool.
    Quality is good, full-screen is average. Sound is good. It's a great place to look for shows and videos,
    and carry lots of older shows like What's Happening, Gilligans Island, Who's the Boss, etc.

    Between Joost and Hulu, you can watch pretty much the last 40 years of TV.

    Kids:

    For kids, major shows on Nickelodeon and Disney are available online. On Disney.com | TV | Home, you can see full length episodes of Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, The Suite Life, and more. Disney player is okay, full-screen is average.

    On Nickelodeon, they can watch spongebob, Fairly Odd Parents, Jimmy Neutron and pretty much every other Nick show. No full-screen, but large player is big enough.


    Other Sites


    --I checked over 25 sites online that claim Free TV watching. Some want you install client software, which invariably
    comes with toolbars and crap, and I refuse to use them. The most notorious of these is Zango, which many sites use
    to push advertising and crap while you watch. Don't use sites that use zango as the client, and never "install"
    anything to "make downloads easier and faster" or any such shit. Just stick to the big guys I've talked about.

    There are plenty of sites to visit that offer all sorts of TV shows and entertainment, I'm not covering those, just
    the ones that offer TV shows immediately after their broadcast date. As long as these sites don't make you install
    software, you should be okay.


    Summary:

    The networks that offer original shows are almost always the best in quality and sound. Hulu and Joost may offer more
    variety and much more in older content, but if it's a recent network show, watch it on a network internet site.




    Can you go off cable and satellite? I'd say: Mostly. If you can't get ESPN360's internet service, you're stuck going
    to the local sportsbar for live events not broadcast over-the-air on networks.

    comments welcome, esp if you use sites not listed here.

    -----------------------------------------------------------
    UPDATES:

    Quote Originally Posted by DennyCrane View Post
    Reuters is a great news video site with all the major news of the day in video format.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post
    There are websites you can go to watch TV that you normally can't watch online. Sidereel.com is one of them. They made it even more difficult there to find the shows, but you just have to click "search results" or something like that. They often have some shows before they are even shown on TV. It provides links to sites that stream them or not. It is currently how I'm watch Mad Men.
    Sidereel is worth checking out - lots of links and a centralized place to find shows if you don't know which network or station they originally aired on.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster-tv1.jpg  
    Last edited by wootini; 02-09-2009 at 05:34 PM.

  2. #2
    C-57D VincentVega's Avatar
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    I saw that!

  3. #3
    So say we all DennyCrane's Avatar
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    It's getting more and more feasible. Right now it's not a viable answer if you're hooked on HD. The on-demand on the different sites is 480p at best...and while that's pretty amazing compared to streaming video from just a few years ago, it's not HD yet... But, it will come and I think it will be soon. If your HTPC has an HD tuner with the ability to DVR, you're that much closer. I love knowing that 24, BSG and a few others will always be recorded for me whether I'm around or not. "Record entire series" is a godsend.
    Football is a dealbreaker. NFL Channel has what... 6 games? 8?

    But... like I said, it's real close now. I skipped all of Boston Legal this season and decided to wait for the DVD set. I'm patient.
    >: 4 8 15 16 23 42

  4. #4
    living the clean life Tulkas's Avatar
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    Yea, most sites are getting better. Fox is the best. They put all worthy shows online, very quickly, and the quality is great. CBS needs major rework on how they organize everything. ABC is good, and NBC's HD needs help. Sci-Fi and South Park studios are great. THE BIGGEST problem for all these websites (excluding fox really), is that they don't have backlogs of their shows. ABC for instance, at least for me, only has several episodes from the season, or just one season. ESPN 360 never really has anything interesting...and it doesn't seem to work on comcast networks.

    There are websites you can go to watch TV that you normally can't watch online. Sidereel.com is one of them. They made it even more difficult there to find the shows, but you just have to click "search results" or something like that. They often have some shows before they are even shown on TV. It provides links to sites that stream them or not. It is currently how I'm watch Mad Men.

  5. #5
    m00tini! wootini's Avatar
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    Awesome post. Ok, I've not had cable for years and have been able to keep up with all the latest shows. The only drag is when I have to torrent something that isn't on any of the video sites legally. It's not a drag because it is hard to do, rather because I'd rather watch a few commercials ala Hulu and watch it legitimately.

    Not having sat/cable also makes it a bit harder to watch HD in your living room. You can do it, but it is hardly without some bit of headache.

    We are considering satellite in our new house because I don't want a media center PC, its too much for the wife to figure out and can easily be blown up by my kid.

  6. #6
    Get Off My Lawn Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    ummmm this thread is awesome. why haven't i done this?

  7. #7
    So say we all DennyCrane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dukefrukem View Post
    ummmm this thread is awesome. why haven't i done this?
    Our research indicates you've lost a step.
    >: 4 8 15 16 23 42

  8. #8
    BadDog K_Dog's Avatar
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    I could drop Sat. If only I could talk the wife into it
    we have a htpc with HD over the air, dvd and blu-ray next week
    I seldom watch tv I would miss the discovery, military and science channels

  9. #9
    may the Bruce be with you CoffeeShark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dukefrukem View Post
    ummmm this thread is awesome. why haven't i done this?
    We all use these services, I just thought I'd put it in one place because I know there are resources out there I don't know about.

  10. #10
    living the clean life Tulkas's Avatar
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    it sucks though not having cable and being able to just plop down on the couch, turn on the tv, and channel surf or whatever. I can get lost doing that. Although now, I probably have more time to do things. I still love watching tv when I go to my parents house, just not as much as I used to. They have the full package of crap.

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