Probably cutting the TV cord soon--advice?


#1

Hey people, don’t know if this or the Everything Else subforum is the place to post this, but here goes.

I’ve got Comcast for both TV (Digital starter) and Internet (Blast Pro 150+ down/12ish up). Not bundled, since it appears that I pay the full price for both products (probably because I’ve had cable TV for 19+ years). Just informed of YA Price increase for both things, and getting pretty disgusted with how fast it keeps going up.

So I’ve already got Amazon Prime and Netflix, and now I just wonder if Hulu Commercial Free (maybe through the new Amazon Fire stick or the Chromecast controlled via my Nexus 7 2013 tablet or similar) will do the trick for 95% of what I’d watch anyway (shows from the six major and minor broadcast networks which includes PBS), plus all the big channels on cable that don’t include sports stuff or the 24 “news” channels, or MTV or Bravo or drivel like that. Mostly I want the cable channels that have shows that get discussed in the appropriate forum here: AMC, SyFy, History (only for Vikings) FX/FXX TNT TBS USA BBC America etc.

Oh, and just to confirm, I can pause Hulu and FF/rewind it and all that, right? I gather you can’t do that with Sling stuff.

Experiences/advice? OTA seems more trouble than it’s worth for the record, since I’d want to use a DVR and my Tivo Premiere’s tuner is pretty useless unless I go to great lengths to install a roof antenna or something.


#2

Come on in, the water’s fine?

We haven’t had cable for 8 years or so, and don’t miss it at all. There’s way more than we have time to watch between Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and the occasional month here and there of HBO or Showtime. Yes, you can pause, seek, etc. Sports are a hole, depending on what you’re into.

I would suggest just starting streaming all your shows for a couple of weeks before you actually cancel, and make sure it works well for you and you don’t notice any big holes in the coverage.


#3

Playstation Vue on fire tv (full size one, quad core, wired) finally let me cut the cord or I should say my wife finally let me cut the cord since it’s pretty much mostly used by her.

SlingTV was a bit ass when I canceled them a year ago. Pretty much nothing would let you skip commercials. In contrast, almost everything on Vue lets you fast forward through commercials (once you flag the show as favorite and becomes a “DVR recording” in the cloud). Watching commercials = deal breaker. As a bonus the vue is like a real cable subscription so you can activate all those apps that require a cable sub using your vue sub. You can’t do that with slingtv.

Supplement with OTA (HDHR) and the usual netflix and prime and it’s a pretty solid setup.


#4

I cut my cable I think around 2009. I use Amazon, Hulu, and Plex. If you can get plex set-up, very easy to do, it gets you access to the jerk networks like CBS, so far. I use Roku/Amazon Fire to get other direct Channels like Lifetime, PBS and History all of which stream their current shows with about a days lag. PBS and Lifetime I believe require accounts.

As for Hulu Commercial Free, I don’t pay extra for that if for no other reason there are still commercials on commercial free for the top shows which is… ridiculous. HBO GO or Now is a great option too if you know someone who has cable or want to subscribe yourself.

Personally, I’ve found Roku to be more reliable on the Plex front than Amazon Fire TV. The Amazon Fire TV has more options for things like optical sound… but the newer Rokus might be addressing some of those limitations.


#5

@Nesrie

So Plex has some kind of paid option (I’ve only used it to stream things on my own LAN)? And you say PBS requires an account of its own–from PBS.org or where? I was hoping that PBS would have made a deal with Hulu by now or something.


#6

I don’t use the paid Plex version. I just have the server setup on my desktop and Roku and Fire TV access it. I only really do this for CBS shows and my owned media. PBS and Lifetime require free accounts on their sites. The nice thing though is Amazon and Roku have Apps which work pretty smoothly. So these are free but they want you signed in.

They both have commercials to but I don’t mind that. They also limit their archive but i only watch current anyway. Netflix and Prime or Hulu can get you past seasons.


#7

Thanks for the reply–I guess I’m wondering where you get your CBS shows from–over the air (since I’m inferring that they’re not on Hulu)?


#8

Plex. You add the channel and watch. I use the streamers to get it to the TV result. So you install Plex on the computer and the CBS channel. Install the Plex channel on the streamers and go.

Sorry for all the edits. I don’t normally reply on my phone like this.


#9

OK, but Plex and its apps just helps you get the content to your devices or TV from your computer, right*? When you say you “add the [CBS] channel” are you doing so from the CBS All Access subscription service or what? Or is there some online free feed I don’t know about?
Sorry if I’m missing something obvious. If I can avoid the hassle of setting up an over the air antenna and get all the broadcast shows I watch online I’d be psyched.

*That’s the only way I’ve used it so maybe I just need to sign into my Plex account and I’ll get the answers there.


#10

Plex the Media Server allows you to add channels, many of which are free. So when I say CBS channel, I mean just that. It’s a free Channel you add to Plex and that Channel allows you to access a limited amount of content. And by limited I mean they don’t normally have their entire season or any back season up, but for instance I did watch Big Bang Theory on Tuesday because there’s a one day lag.

You can actually play around with Plex a bit before you get a streamer. The only thing the streamers are doing is accessing that server. So there is nothing preventing you from install Plex now and just toying with it. There are a lot of channels. Before Lifetime, History and PBS showed up as individual Channels for Roku and Amazon (no Plex needed), I accessed them through Plex. Plex can do a lot more than what I use it for too, but I just access a handful of channels, my local music and my stored recorded TV from a long time ago when I used hauppauge to access QAM when that was a thing.


#11

The last time I tried to turn off cable TV services, the Comcast rep flat out told me it would cost more for Cable Internet alone than Cable Internet + Cable TV. In other words, they don’t allow you to unbundle.

Cable internet is a must for me, so I didn’t fight it. I have not viewed any Cable TV channels in at least 6 years.


#12

I pay 59.99 a month for broadband internet. They pitch 80 for their triple bundle, but after twelve months that less than twenty for each turns into 180.I can pretty much buy a new streaming device every month and pay for internet and still be under their price. As it is, I pay for internet, Prime and Hulu, so about 80 a month, and then I buy seasons of some shows like Black Sails now and then for around 15… still ahead.

As a bonus, when charter comes around and asks me how much I pay for TV, i typically say under 20 month, and they still pitch their start with 80 scheme at which point I ask them how that is less… to which they never have an answer. I hate these cable companies.


#13

That’s probably BS because they’ll deal on the price of just cable internet to keep you. Every time our promotional price expires we call back and get whatever the next promo is (often with a speed bump) and since we bought a modem we’re paying a flat rate for our 150Mbps service with no contract.


#14

with the charter-TWC merger, those deals are likely to go away.

Charter tends to play hardball a lot more. With TWC last year, I actually had to turn in my equipment and show I was willing to walk to get a deal.

If you’re willing to accept 60 download speed, there’s always Earthlink which is reasonably priced.


#15

We haven’t had cable since '09. We have two televisions, both with an AppleTV hooked up. We’re also Amazon Prime members and sometimes use that through the PS3, though honestly, I should just get an Amazon Fire thing and hook it up, too. The only times I can remember wishing I had television was during the Olympics, but these days, most of that is online. We pay for Netflix and HBO Go (or HBO Now – whichever one is $15/month). From time to time we rent or buy something through the iTunes store. There’s so much content available through those various channels that we never get around to watching everything we want to see. Hell, if all we had was HBO, it would take ages to get through the good stuff there.

I’m all for cutting the cord. We still have to deal with TWC through our internet connection. 😒


#16

Charter is pretty terrible with their promotions and how they care nothing about their existing customers… especially if you live in an area where there is only one cable company which is a situation for large portions of the country. When I canceled they didn’t even offer the promo.


#17

Thanks for the further explanation. I fired up the Plex Media Server and the thing you’re talking about is right there on the Home Screen under “Online content” or something, and below that is “channels.” If it were a snake it would have bit me, as my late grandmother used to say. :-)

Now for some reason none of the CBS content wants to play back (I tried 2 Broke Girls and Big Bang Theory)–it just comes back with the super unhelpful “there was a problem” type message. But I have managed to get some PBS and Comedy Central stuff to play, which is cool. When I tried to play South Park stuff (its own channel for some reason) it complained about AES decryption not supported for “premium” and didn’t play it, although the only the only thing I’ve paid for with Plex is the Android app for my Nexus 7 so I can Chromecast stuff from my computer upstairs to my TV downstairs. I’ll have to research those things and see if it’s something in my firewall stopping those channels.

Now regarding whether Comcast will “let me go” I don’t doubt they will try to sweet talk me etc. Bottom line, unless they can give me something where I’m paying less for the stuff I have already, and not cramming extra stuff down my throat whose total price will jump to 200+ dollars in six months, I’m dumping the TV part. I’m already paying full retail for both services, unbundled because as I wrote in the OP, I’ve had cable since I bought my house in '97, and only added cable internet much later. On their website and in their price list I just got with my bill Comcast offers the internet tier I have standalone for essentially 90 bucks, going to 95 next month, so they don’t have a leg to stand on to tell me it will cost me more to drop the TV.


#18

BTW, there’s a Giant Bomb channel on Plex, and if you have a premium account you can hook it up. It’s a pretty great way to watch their content.


#19

Don’t know where you live. I bought a $10 antenna and it picks up OTA. It’s the size of a large mousepad. Doublesided tape on the wall, included cable. Worked to watch the Olympics. Don’t know if it’s because HDTV signals are different and easier to pick up with antennas.

https://www.amazon.com/Antenna-1byone-Super-Digital-Indoor/dp/B00IF70QCW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1476556481&sr=8-2&keywords=antenna

https://www.antennaweb.org

Best box for Amazon/Netflix and Hulu is gonna be a Roku. The search function uses all the sources.

Amazon Fire Box (supports 4k, firetv stick no 4k) is not bad either. The main problem is the search (voice or text) only goes to their own Amazon store. I read they’d added multisource search but I just tested, and no good, still steers you to buy the episodes on Amazon when it’s free on Netflix for example.

AMC is a problem. I stopped watching the Walking Dead when I cut the cord and learned to deal with it. FX shows are a year behind so I pay for Archer/The Americans. Subscribe a couple of months to HBO Go for Game of Thrones/Silicon Valley. FX shows on Amazon typically became available the day after it airs.

I think you have a PS4, you may want to check out Vue, specially if you want sports or an experience that’s closest to real cable.

Just ran into this guide, not very technical but may be a nice overview for your options:


#20

Occasionally I have trouble with CBS. It’s usually short-lived though and fixed by a reset of the server. I had this problem this last week. Unfortunately, cord cutting can come with some hassle. Now PBS, if you get a streamer, I would recommend using their channel. Almost any channel you can get direct from the device is usually going to be better. Unfortunately some channels require cable subscriptions, and I just avoid those. I don’t think I’ve tried AES. All the other networks I either use their direct channel, NBC has one where I get Blacklist, or Hulu Plus (not commercial free). If you’re into less traditional TV, there are other options of course. Amazon Prime is a no brainer for an Amazon buyer like me, works on Roku and Fire TV and all my little mobile devices.