"Cutting the Cord" AKA getting rid of Cable/Satellite

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Cedwyn, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. Cedwyn Banned

    I am posting my research here incase anyone else is interested.


    My parents asked me to help reduce their satellite bill which is ~$100 Canadian. They only watch a few channels and some hit shows. So I looked into taking them off cable/satellite and moving them to Internet streaming. Unfortunately, I don't know if they would enjoy it as much and here is why.

    There are a ton of streaming options as well as ways to get current shows / movies and popular channels (ie. food, discovery, history, tlc, etc.), however it works a lot different than your typical channel surfing ways since there is no defined schedule. Apples to oranges.

    For a tech savvy user, streaming can save you at least half your tv bill or more over the long term. For a tech illiterate person, I think the increased cost of cable/satellite is better as it is more convenient for them and they don't have to learn new things. Ie. If you have problems finding VODs via your current provider (like my parents), then you probably aren't going to enjoy streaming since you need to find the things you want to watch.

    A cable/satellite is always on - you can turn on something and watch it regardless if you are interested in it or not, but streaming has a psychological effect where you spend time choosing what you want to watch, even if you are going to be doing something else (ie. reading, playing a game). So imo the trade-off is convenience and time for money savings.

    However because of cable/satellite "channel bundling" you are often forced to pay more for only a few channels while the rest you aren't interested in. While streaming doesn't have this issue and is part of why it lowers your monthly bill.

    Your bill is increased however by Internet usage and some may not have the option of cutting the cord because their ISP doesn't have a good speed or they don't have unlimited data. For example, in Toronto, 15down @ 150gb cap is ~$45 while 15down @ unlimited cap is ~$55, a 20% increase in Internet cost.

    -Internet plan change (if required).
    --If you stream 3 hours a night in 1080 HD, you will use around 2gb of data, thus over 30 days you'd use 90gb. If you also play/download games, the usage will increase (ie. downloading a game on steam might add 20+gb also add in patches). If you stream 3 hours on weekdays and 6 hours on weekends, that is ~27 hours per week or ~18gb per week.

    -One-time purchases
    --Lots of "connect and stream" devices exist. Most are in the $40-100 range.
    --Examples: Amazon Fire ($40 for stick, $100 for Amazon Fire TV), Roku ($50 for the stick, $150 for the Roku 4), Apple Tv ($150), Google Chromecast ($30), Video Game Consoles (ie. Playstation Vue)
    --All these devices are one time fees that you connect to your TV. They have their own software/browser and offer "free programming" from the Internet (ie. twitch, youtube, etc.) as well as sites that may offer free streams like sports.
    --These devices may offer additional services like Amazon Fire if you are a prime subscriber.
    --All these devices also allow you to subscribe to other services through them such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, etc. So they end up acting as a platform to connect you to premium streaming sites.
    --These devices may come with a remote control to use them (ie. the more expensive models) making it easier to browse on the TV. Otherwise you might need to buy a 3rd party universal remote designed for streaming on the TV, or some sort of keyboard that can work with your TV (because using a remote as a keyboard sucks).

    -Subscriptions (monthly/yearly)
    --There are a bunch of premium streaming services with their own monthly cost. These give you access to popular shows and movies, and some even give access to cable/satellite tv vod content.
    --Go to this site to get an idea of what it would cost you for each service and what you get from it: http://www.theverge.com/a/online-tv-stream-price-guide
    --For example, Netflix + Hulu Plus + Sling TV would cost you $37 and you get both popular shows and movies, as well as popular tv channel content (ie. food network, amc, etc.)

    -Antenna (Over The Air)
    --This is a really easy way to get free TV forever. In Canada and the USA, local stations are required to broadcast their content over the airwaves, so with a good antenna, you can watch local tv wherever you go.
    --There exists HD antenna's allowing you to watch local stations in high def.
    --Prices range from $40 for small/portable versions (indoor and outdoor) to $100+ for permanent versions which have additional features or better reception (ie. higher in the air, bigger antenna).

    -Canadian/non-American Fun Time (additional costs when streaming outside the USA)
    --Most of the streaming services found above have a limited selection outside the USA, so you need a way to make it look like you are from the USA. To do this, you must use a proxy or vpn.
    --Many popular shows aren't shown outside the USA for many years. You might find a popular show on Netflix in Canada, but it only has one season while the TV version is on the third season. Using a service in the USA however will show all the seasons and sometimes even after they air on tv.
    --It is very important that you purchase the streaming services as an "American". Don't buy Canadian Netflix - buy the American one. (ie. .ca vs. .com)
    --Free proxies / vpns exist, but they are usually very slow as they are designed for visiting websites anonymously.
    --Paid proxies / vpns cost around $5 and offer great speed for stream. This is definitely a required cost to be able to stream to/from the USA without interruption.
    --Additionally, signing up with an American address helps a lot. Many USA based subscriptions require a USA address to work. Use a site like this to create a fake (and "working") address/name/info: http://www.fakeaddressgenerator.com/World/us_address_generator
    --Proxy/VPN for noobies: you either download a client that connects to the vpn for you, or you configure your router/browser/computer to connect to the server. For example, for firefox you can get the add-on FireProxy and then use free proxies to circumvent youtube location streaming issues. But for streaming from the TV, you'd need to use additional software or configure your modem/router to connect to the vpn/proxy first.

    -Hooking your TV to the Internet
    --Modern TVs have Ethernet and some even have wireless. They also might have USB.
    --You can buy a long Ethernet cable to stretch from your router to the TV ($50+).
    --You can install your modem/router next to your TV and then use wireless for your gaming rig (ie. a usb wireless device or a slot card).
    --You can try using a wireless usb stick on your TV, but I have no idea if that will work or not.
    --You can buy a second router and have it connect to your main router/modem. Then attach this second router to your tv. The bonus of this is better wireless signal in your house.
    --If you use wireless, make sure the wireless uses protocol N or higher as this has a higher data bandwidth and won't bottleneck the connection.
    --Ethernet is probably the most expensive option depending on distance and your ability to drill holes in walls to help move the cable. Also animals (ie. BIRDS) might chew any cables on the ground so you need to put them up high or in the floor/walls. Wireless sticks/cards cost ~$30+. Cheap routers $50 but may not use N protocol.

    One-time costs: $50 for a cheap streaming stick, $130 for a streaming box + remote; $50+ for an antenna (non-streaming and local tv only)

    Reoccurring costs: subscriptions ($8+ each), vpn/proxy ($5+, only needed outside USA); ie. Netflix USA + Hulu Pro USA + SlingTV (USA only) for $35 + $5 vpn if outside USA = $35/$40 per month

    Internet costs: ie. 15down @ unlimited for $55 Canadian per month

    Total: if we use a streaming box + hd portable antenna + netflix/hulu/sling + vpn + 15down/unlimited = $180 one time cost, $95 monthly cost

    The equivalent cost for cable/satellite would be $150+ monthly + $500+ for hardware (ie. box/pvr, dish, installation/activation).

    Cord Cutting Suggestions:

    Bare Minimum: streaming stick + internet

    Good Upgrade: portable antenna (for on the road, at home, at the cottage)

    Hipster: streaming subscriptions such as SlingTV + VPN if outside the USA

    -Can't get all specialty programming (ie. Oprah's network) and their respective sites may not have any vods. Alternatively you can try finding them on youtube or similar. Or try torrenting (which isn't technically "streaming").
    -Lots of work to setup if you live outside the USA.
    -No scheduling (ie. can't see the news at 6pm)
    -New shows might be unavailable via streaming for at least 6 months.
    -Use a remote control to browse/enter text
    -TV needs an Internet connection (meaning you might need to buy a new TV, but they are pretty cheap now a days, like $500 for a 60"+).
    -Need to have some knowledge of the tech you are using. This could be frustrating for tech illiterate people.
    -If Internet fails (ie. local issue), you can't watch anything unless you have a way to record shows (ie. a PVR/VCR).

    -You can watch porn on your TV again.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
    Supe987 likes this.
  2. well, adding this mess to reasons to be proud to be American.
    Piikaa and Glisseal like this.
  3. Evoex Maple Syrup & Dudes

    Up the internet usage if needed, consider techsavvy IMO.

    Buy android box, don't subscribe to anything. The shows are all uploaded 1-2hrs after they air on tv. You quickly learn which links load instantly across all shows.

    I've been using a box since November, zero complaints.

    If they want to reduce their cost they need to be patient and plan on what to watch a bit more.

    Sent from my LG-H812 using Tapatalk
  4. Zaltex Lord

    If you own a PS3, PS4, or Sony tv get PS Vue. They all work as a STB, costs 30 bucks a month, and has every major network, (the basic package has 55 channels and all the big brands, NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, Comedy Central, FX, Nick, Cartoon Network, AMC, and all that shit). I mean you still get commercials for LIVE shows. You can still DVR episodes like normal and all the episodes are cloud saved. Its pure internet tv so you still need decent internet for it to work. I love it, personally. Can't beat the whole deal for 30 dollars. Sadly, really has limited availability in terms of locations.
  5. Salohcin Member

    Hulu is coming out with a live streaming option later this year, Vue looks good (Most of the channels are there) & Sling no recording option (that is enough for me to say no) adding to that crap some networks don't have some shows... That is also sad cause they have the best price, but SlingTV is Dish so they don't want to compete with themselves... We have the cheapest package & DVR fee still makes it $50!!!
  6. Supe987 Crowfall Tester

    Ahh what kind?
  7. Sanjo Mr. No Fucks Given

    Couchpotato and slickbeard for the win.
  8. Evoex Maple Syrup & Dudes

    It's called M8S.
    Supe987 likes this.
  9. Soooo yes you should watch some youtube videos on XBMC or what is now called KODI. It's basically an app you can load on and android box which you can purchase on amazon.

    Then you can watch youtube vids on the best kodi builds which I typically update or change every 2 or 3 months as its easy and ensures you have all the best sources.

    Android box with air mouse remote and keyboard :)

    In short: everything for free just pay for internet
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
  10. Sanjo Mr. No Fucks Given

    Just for the record - I turned my HTPC into a comcast box and saved almost $200 a month in service rentals and bullshit.

    I bought a CETON 4x tuner card and threw it in.

    With comcast I get 1 free tuner card with the service.

    We pay like $75 a month for 200 channel digital + HBO + music channels + 20m down 5m up internet.

    Compared to like $250 a month previously.

    It takes a week or 2 to get things tweaked to your liking - but its SO much better than renting the DVR from comcast... I can record up to 15 HD shows at once and stream to any TV in the house. The DVR storage is a 4tb hybrid drive - and I use my harmony remote just like before.

    Navigation is like netflix, the menus are WAY better, I can see like 20 channels at a time on my guide, it's all color coded. Super easy to use once it's set up right.

    It's not 'cutting the cord' - but it's pretty damn close.

    I made the switch last year and haven't been more happy.

  11. I'm going to have to go with this answer.

    Me and my entire family have got rid of cable. We run Netflix, and a jail broken amazon fire stick. This thing literally unlocks pretty much every movie ever made, and TV Show series for free.
    Firestick cost 40$, and with a youtube video and 1hr of your time, you get EVERYTHING with no monthly fee.. Maneuvering through the Kodi program is a little annoying but it beats paying 100$+ a month.


    Edit: Basically this is having www.primewire.ag on your tv...
  12. Salohcin Member

    Nevermind that we found a lower package called welcome pack, it is $30/$32 US even with the DVR fee :D, they don't let you pick it on your account page, so call... Oh & Vue works on Android now... It sucks sat./cable providers are greedy jerks...

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