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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-13-2015, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Cutting the cord, my effort

I have a #2 PC, which for the past year has been utilized exclusively for BOINC crunching. Following a2jack's lead, I decided I should put that box to work for my benefit, while it continues to crunch away.

I followed this excellent guide, Ultimate Server, Cutting Cords. It's a very detailed, step by step guide to setting up a multi-media (TV, Movies, Music) Server. And I do mean step-by-step. Awesome guide.

In the end, I decided to remove the Torrent features, even though I initially went for them. Giganews quickly started female dogging about the P2P load.

Setting up the server, with more than a dozen program installations, took several days ... with really nothing else to do. Almost every installation requires significant configuration settings, but follow the step-by-steps and even a novice can succeed. For a working person it could take a week.

Unless you're willing to go Torrent (I'm not) you'll have to pay for an NNTP account*, so it's not free. On the other hand, the scope of what's available is pretty impressive (Eureka!). Obscure TV episodes, movies, music. The web's your pleasure.

I have a WD TV Media player, which recognizes and plays most formats on my TV. You probably have some means of playing media files.

Not quite ready to cut the cord, but a giant step closer.



*I'm paying Giganews, plans range from $5 to $30/month, primarily dependent on your download requirements. There are lots of others.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-05-2015, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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This is working well. The only thing I'd be missing from cable is the evening network news. I haven't yet divorced Comcast though. Since I could get a digital TV receiver setup, it could still be in my future. In fact, paying about $60/month for local broadcasts is appearing more ridiculous now. On the other hand, I don't see myself giving up cable internet, until a viable alternative surfaces.

The music portion of the guide I cited above is really of no interest to me and I've obliterated the components I'd installed. I've been on usenet for a couple decades and I don't need an 'automated' mp3 downloader. I'll just continue doing that the old fashioned way, with a usenet reader, I use Forte' Agent. But, for TV programs and movies, this is pretty darn nifty.

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 02:54 AM
 
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I made the mistake of purchasing a Roku3 unit about a year ago at WalMart. Seemed pretty simple to install and adding Netflix seemed reasonable to gain access to many movies, too. However, each time I use the Roku unit, it somehow has disconnected from the internet wireless on me or gives me some grief in doing what it is supposed to do. This often means that Netflix does not work, either. The peole in the tech department found that the Roku unit had the wrong picture to it that showed how to type in programming and such. I actually had to send in photos over the internet in order for them to find out that the keyboard shown on my unit was nothing like what they had in their program. In every storm the unit usually fails, so it is not all that often that I actually try to use it anymore. Netflix seemed to only have a ton of old movies or worthless ones to watch. Most of them were movies that certainly had no value to me in rewatching for the millionth time, anyway. Remember, this is just my own opinion only and someone else may dearly love Roku and what it provides. I get the message that my internet wifi may be down, when every computer in my home still works, except for that stupid Roku unit. Finding the little pin to reset the thing means remembering code keys and sittting and wairing as the thing once again starts up and actually works for a day or so before the whole thing turns off once again.

Me, if this is the future of watching tv to beat out what cable has to offer, then into the garbage the Roku3 unit goes. Most of the stuff it brings in is not free to begin with, so I have not been impressed with the little black box as to it doing anything positive for my television experience. I plan to cancel the Netflix monthhly payments and toss the Roku unit into a storage bin in the future. Such devices should be overly simple to install, operate and maintain, even for the tech-non-savy person. My experience with my Roku unit has not been any of that.

All the additonal tech items your discussing are probably enough of a challenge to install, bring up to snuff and maintain that many would simply not go that route. Me, I can't stand it at all when a local group of clouds obscure the antenna enough to knock out programming here, as it always seems to happen right when I am most interested in a program or some important news story. Grrrrrrr... Unfortunately for us, Dish stopped showing the very soaps that are my wife's favorites (Got to keep Mama happy) so she put us onto Direct TV, instead. I don't see a radical difference between the two and there are likely more programs on our tv's that I simply never watch than the few tried and true ones that I do watch. Yet we have to pay for all, regardless. Me, I wish you could completely pick what you really like and pay only for that, but not have the other charged against you or forced onto you. Probably never going to happen like that though.

Any rate, for me, the exercise in properly hooking up or installing everything and maintaining it would be a turn off, as I am by no means a techy or tech-savy consumer. I can fully appreciate those who are though. Me, that little black Roku box begins to look more and more like that black, plastic "Mother from hell" of an air box unit that I cut out and tossed from my Smart Car's bowels.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 11:29 AM
 
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Coupe1942...Netflix is almost useless. The programing is either old, or made up of TV shows and movies that flopped. Roku is just as bad.

Go on line direct with your computer, and you can choose any program or movie anytime. All will be commercial free. Start out with PBS online and learn how it's done. Then go where you want. ( see my thread on chopping the cable right here on this forum)

The world is changing, tech is not going to go away. I'm old, but I try to keep up. I've found if I just keep working on a problem, even though at first it seems over my head, I will solve it and learn something new.

Give it a try. A2Jack
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 11:51 AM
 
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In June, Apple is expected to announce a new subscription internet-based TV plan, in conjunction with launching its very revised Apple TV product. About 25 of the most popular networking cable channels will be offered for an expected $30-$40 a month.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coupe1942 View Post
Such devices should be overly simple to install, operate and maintain, even for the tech-non-savy person.
I absolutely agree. They should have these devices refined to the point of being an appliance.
Quote:
All the additonal tech items your discussing are probably enough of a challenge to install, bring up to snuff and maintain that many would simply not go that route.
It does take a bit of time and attention to details. Perhaps a little bug swatting ... usually because a detail or two wasn't implemented right the first time.
The guide I started out with is step-by-step simple.
The Ultimate Server
There are other guides to the same end online. But, I like the clarity of the author of that one. If all you want is movies and some TV serials (that's me), you can skip steps 5, 9 & 10. I also skipped the parts that pertained to making you media PC available as an internet server.

I have, and can recommend as a simple, reliable device for playback on any TV, one of the media players on the market. I use one of the WD TV Media players. It plays about any file format you can throw at it. I copy some files I'd like to watch to a USB thumb drive, plug it into the media player and it's good to go.

Quote:
... and there are likely more programs on our tv's that I simply never watch than the few tried and true ones that I do watch. Yet we have to pay for all, regardless.
Yep, I have no interest in 90% of the channels on my Basic Basic Comcast service. But, if they let you pick only the ones you're interested in, they won't make enough money. Pity them.

As I said in the earlier post, the only thing I'd be missing out on now is the network (ABC,CBS, NBC) evening news if I cut the cable. And that could be remedied by picking them up from over-the-air broadcasts with the purchase of a digital antenna & receiver. So near, yet not there yet.

Last edited by NCC1701; 05-07-2015 at 10:11 PM. Reason: Damned typo
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 01:43 PM
 
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Just buy a digital antenna for local. Rent movies.

I've got Xfinity, for 3 years, special offer. Who knows, over a thousand channel. 3 boxes. Ones the DVR. Can record from any of them. Can voice control any of them from my iPad, and iPhone. Any place. Plus the faster internet. Telephone too we don't use it. Very spoiled. It's all internet controlled now.

We have Netflix, it's a joke. Need to dump them.


Google fiber is in our area too. Will try them next. You have to buy their equiptment.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-07-2015, 05:08 AM
 
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I run Local HD, Netflix, Plex, Sling, and an occaisional red box when free.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-07-2015, 05:48 AM
 
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The cable company's version of online TV is all you are going to get by subscribing to a service, any service. "Bundles" is what they thrive on. I doubt Apple will be much better.

The only plans in the works right now, require extra pay for extra channels.

For example: If you regularly watch the series that run on AMC, Stars, HBO, and the Euro channels, you will need an add on for each. Your monthly bill will again be in the order of $70+ a month. TV is not worth that kind of money.

The Dreaded Bundle Comes to Internet TV - The New Yorker
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-05-2015, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Yesterday I called Comcast/xFinity. I inquired as to how much my bill would be reduced if I dropped the TV service altogether and kept my internet with them.

I was on the phone for about 45 minutes, talked with two different CSRs. In the end, they gave me a different offer than what I've had for years. I've had internet and Basic digital TV for around $130/month. The new deal leaves my not-much-used TV package as-is, and ups (we shall see) my internet to 75Mbps ... for around $89/month. My internet had been running (measured) around 30Mbps.

$40 per month less, and all I had to do was threaten to drop the TV.

Relating to this thread ... I'm downloading more movies and TV shows than I have time to watch. I've almost filled 2X 4TB USB HDDs. So, I really don't need Comcast's TV service.

Next step is to get over the air digital for the local news. Then call Comcast back again about the TV and tell them to stuff it, but keep the new internet deal I scored yesterday, LOL. I doubt they'll go along with that.
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