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Level 21

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

I agree about using external devices instead of the "smart" TV functions. Almost every TV in my home has some sort of smart functionality, but they all have a Roku or Shield connected. Better performance, more channel/app availability, easier to use, etc. 

Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Ultra (4800), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 13

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

I am a strictly external devices hooked up on "dumb" television sort of user.  As for buying the more dumber non-smart televisions, it's still possible buying a new one.  

I just bought a basic Sceptre 32 inch plain jane dumbbell TV for my 90+ year old mother (who gets too confused with any device that's too fancy).  It is cheap (under 100 US dollars!), nice specs for it's price, surprising really good  color/sound for a sub$100 basic set, and a remote with a large button numeric pad.  And I am planning to add a Roku Stick+ to one of it's HMDI ports when I am able to physically shop again in a store after this Coronavirus goes away (soon I hope!).  

I know it will be better than a already familiar  brand to most with just a simple addition.  You pay for only the basics and you add the what you want to the television if and when you choose.  

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Level 8

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

I don't think this has been discussed very much so here's my $0.02:

I live in a big city and get my local channels over the air (OTA). OTA signals are NOT compressed, so the picture is breathtaking. Here's how I do it:

I have one of those flat antennas for $35.00. Soon, I'm going to get an antenna put on the roof. My antenna connects to a HDHomerun box from Silicon Dust. This converts the OTA signal to a local area network (LAN) signal. The HDHR box has an Ethernet connector. It has no wifi capabilities. The Ethernet cable goes through an inexpensive hub and then into an old, retired computer. The computer is running Windows 7 because I hate Win10.

There are several choices for software to run in Win7. The HDHR site lists:  Plex, Kodi, Open Elec and Emby. I'm using an old open source program called SageTV and I love it. You can set it up quickly and easily and watch TV in an hour or so but it will take a few weeks to get it tweaked the way you want it. Do not go to sagetv.com, you must go to sagetv.com/forums

SageTV is a media center so once installed, the main menu offers TV, Videos, Music, Photographs (the last three from your hard disk) and Online. The only cost is $25/year for the TV program schedule. Now I just click Program Guide and it shows the next 14 days of TV in my area. I click a show to watch now or I select something in the future. Everything I choose gets recorded. I got dozens of shows scheduled to record and hundreds of hours of shows I've recorded. If I'm watching something that is currently on, I wait about 12 minutes after it starts then watch the recording. That allows me to skip through the commercials. I have a plug-in for SageTV that will skip the commercials. It needs about 10 minutes to work its' magic after the show is over. Unfortunately, The main guys who wrote SageTV have gone away and the program is getting long in the tooth. Most in the forums thing it's only got a year or two left before it just won't work anymore. Most believe Channels will replace it. Find it at getchannels.com

Between Roku, SageTV and Netflix and Amazon, I don't need anything else. Netflix $144/year, Amazon Prime $120/year and $25 for Schedules Direct is my total cost for a year of television. My Blu-Ray player is also connected to a HDMI input so I can pick up movies at thrift shops or off of Flea Bay. Usually for a buck or two. In ROKU, I even set the PIN code for purchases so neither I nor anyone else makes a mistake and buys something.

As I'm almost your age, I grew up on free TV and can't believe the prices they're now charging. When cable came on the scene, it was $8.00/month for basic and $24.00/month to max it out with HBO, Cinemax and Showtime. I cut the cord 8 years ago and I'm happy as a clam. And yeah, if it's not available from any of the previously mentioned sources, I don't watch it.

I'm self-certified curmudgeon so no need for the "OK boomer" replies. Now get off my lawn!

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Level 7

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

First of all, I agree with all the previous points that have been made.  I “cut the cable” two weeks ago and after researching streaming, non-cable boxed, choices I decided that YouTube TV fit me the best.  The reason I left cable was that I got PO’d at the company (Cox) for raising my 24 mo. “guaranteed price” three times.  When questioned about this I was given a very flimsy excuse and told to read the small print in the contract.  In short, they outright lied to me, pure and simple.

Now I just have high speed internet, only, through their competitor and nemesis in my area.  The former landline phone was used very little and was just a line to enable spam nuisance calls.  Anyway, I am enjoying YouTube TV on my five televisions, four of which are smart but not enough so to enable my streaming app. One tv has Roku built in, a Sharp Roku set.  For the others I bought a total of four Roku’s through Amazon and Ebay, and downloaded the YouTube TV app., which work beautifully.  The only channel I miss is A&E, but it has a separate app. through Roku.  To use the tv you have to press a couple of buttons to enable your selection but it gets to be second nature. The picture is very good and one of my sets even gets ultra HD. Buffering has not really been a problem but my internet is 100 mbps. I love saving $60 per month, which as of July will probably amount to a $150-200 per month savings.

BTW, I am on the cusp of being 70 y.o., so I guess I’m the senior member here.  Good luck and let us know what you decide on.

 

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Level 9

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

We cut the cord 3 years ago. We've never had a smart tv and only relied on our roku which we were happy with.

For those satellite channels we loved we chose to subscribe only to the ones we watched which saved us money when only going to broadband provided by cable company.

As some mentioned approach your provider for just broadband and investigate just which channels you need. But for us it was not just about saving some money, it was about watching the content we wanted and not have to wade through all the content we didnt structured in a schedule that was not ours

* Enjoying my On-Demand Life *
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Level 8

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

<<We are 60 yrs old, and more techy than most our age, but we have some questions as we get organized to "cut the cord" with cable.>>

I'm 72 and definitely more techy than most my age. It is more a matter of adjusting to a new paradigm, than learning a new technology, although that can be more difficult the older we get.

<<We'll use our cable company for internet-only, and are trying to understand the other parts of the equation.>>

Just beware their trying to upsell you on another bundle, claiming that you need 500 Mbps or whatever speed of Internet and that cutting the cord will end up costing you more than what you're currently paying. Just say no. Even with workers and students at home, 100 Mbps should be plenty. (I get by just fine with 25 Mbps, streaming Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Sling, etc., at 1080p.)

<<We have an older TV (not a smart TV, it is Dynex model DX-26LD150A11) but we have a Roku stick on HDMI port 3)... and now I'm trying to understand if we need to buy a new smart TV, and if so does the Roku stick become trash...>>

That's a 26" 720p TV. I'd be looking at getting a larger and higher-resolution TV - 40" and 1080p, for instance. You don't need a smart TV, or RokuTV or FireTV - just more things to go wrong and makes troubleshooting more difficult. Would you rather just replace the Roku, or have to ship the whole shebang back? I'm looking at getting my third Roku, on the same TV.

If your streaming stick is working fine for you, you might stick with it. You can easily upgrade it later, to take advantage of A/V features (60 fps, HDR, DTS, Dolby Atmos, etc.) on a new TV, for instance. Or do it now, if you have a hankering.

<<and do I need to buy an additional digital antenna to get local stations or is that built into a smart TV?>>

Not built in (but the TV tuner is). How to get local channels is one of the stickier issues. If in or close to a metro area, an indoor HD antenna for less than $10 might bring in all of your network channels and subchannels. If further out, you might need an amplified or directional antenna in your attic. Out in the sticks? You might need an antenna on your roof. Even so, Hulu and CBS All-Access will get you most "network" programming, on a delayed basis. Check if the free Locast app is available in your area ($5/mo "donation" to get them to stop "nagging" you.

<<For our DVR, we have to return the DVR that the cable company rents to us, but we have an old TIVO (with a lifetime plan, believe it or not, so there is no cost to use it) that we could dust off and try to use.>>

You can try it, with the new antenna. Here's where the new paradigm comes in. With so much on-demand content available for streaming at anytime, you just don't need to DVR shows as much. The only programming I record is live sports. Other than that, I usually don't need to know when something is on, but only where it is (Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Sling, etc.).

<<If you have a "Roku TV" does it come with the Roku service or is that an extra charge?>>

No extra charge (unless you have to ship the whole shebang back).

<<We already pay, by the way, for Netflix, Pandora, Amazon Prime & Prime video, and Hulu. My husband would love to keep access to the Golf channel, other than that we don't care about sport channels. Please help, I feel like the components of this are not clear to me yet.>>

You're halfway there. All those are good. Maybe add:

PBS (free for current programs, $5/mo donation to your local PBS station for Passport to get access to back episodes/seasons).

Kanopy and/or Hoopla (free, if sponsored by your local public library).

Roku Channel (free movies, TV series, concerts, news, etc.; subscribe to HBO, Showtime, and other premium channels.

Free 24/7 news channels: CBS News Live 24/7, ABC News Live, Sky News (UK), DW (Germany), France24, NHK World Japan.

Other free music apps: Spotify, Prime Music, TuneIn.

Other free apps: YouTube, Pluto TV, The Archive, Foreign Films, IndieHub, Film Noir, Classic Video Vault, WeatherNation, This Old House.

For the Golf Channel, I believe the cheapest way to access it is with Sling Blue ($30/mo) + Sports Extra ($10/mo).

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Level 9

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

YouTubeTV INCLUDES the Golf Channel in the standard package you get.  I switched to it last year just before March Madness.  Tons of Sport Channels included too.  NBCSports, CBSSports, FoxSports, Golf Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN, NEWS,  Big10Channel, ACC, Channel, and others I can't remember right now.  $49.95 per month, no contract.  Best deal I've had so far, this is our 3rd streaming service to date and I'm sticking with it!  I know, it sounded like I was doing a commercial for them.  I'm just very happy with it.  By the way, we are in our mid 60's....

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Level 7

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

Same situation here and we bought the RokuExpress+ device for our very old TV.  it works great.  But I get the same message of requiring a code from the TV provider for some channels, like Fox Business. Does that mean I still have to pay for Cable in order to connect to those channels?  I'd like to discontinue cable services, except for the internet.   

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Level 21

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...


@Dee16 wrote:

Same situation here and we bought the RokuExpress+ device for our very old TV.  it works great.  But I get the same message of requiring a code from the TV provider for some channels, like Fox Business. Does that mean I still have to pay for Cable in order to connect to those channels?  I'd like to discontinue cable services, except for the internet.   


Yes, some channels require a TV provider. However, that doesn't mean it has to be your cable company. There are several online providers that meet the requirement, although you need to confirm they are for the particular channel you want. YouTube TV is one, and Sling is another. In fact, they may offer the channel(s) you desire without needing to use the dedicated channel. You might check them out for your desired channel(s). 

Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Ultra (4800), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 17

Re: Getting ready to "cut the cable" - can anyone coach me? I have questions...

Not only that there are alternatives. Its a bit of a learning experience but

not difficult. Most of us have long since cut the Cable. Jump in the waters fine.

Take a leap of faith.

Roku Ultra ---Ethernet rules---

From now on if people dont upvote me and do as I say I will consider holding my breath and selling my Roku's.