Author Topic: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...  (Read 12187 times)

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Offline 12TimesOverTopic starter

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I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« on: September 26, 2015, 06:45:07 AM »
+1
I've been bitching about the amount of money I spend on cable, etc forever and I finally start working on cutting the cord. My son and I had a conversation last year, he was 9 at the time, about why when he watches a show on Netflix it is only 22 minutes long but on TV it's 30 minutes long. I was like "AWESOME question!" and we proceeded to talk about that missing 8 minutes being commercials that we pay to watch. We started running averages of, say, 2 hours of TV per day rounds DOWN to 30 minutes of nothing but commercials EVERY DAY! Multiply that by 300 days per year (pretending that 20% of the time a day goes by with no TV, just for example purposes) and we're talking 150 hours per year of COMMERCIALS!

So that conversation got him on board with my master plan to reduce my cable expenses. At the time I was paying $255/mo for a Triple-Play package (Internet, Cable, and VOIP) including $10/mo just for a modem rental! Plus I'm already paying for Netflix and Prime. I also have heard TONS of horror stories about people who have attempted to ease out of the Comcrap organization, with literally months if not years of billing issues, I certainly wanted to approach this with the least amount of hassle.

So, first the hardware. I bough a new cable modem, a Motorola SB6141, for about $70 (7 months worth of rental fees to Comcast). However, before installing this I needed to get my phone moved. For this I chose Ooma. I paid $90 (at Newegg) for an Ooma device which also came with a free TP-LINK TL-WR940N wireless router. I was already in the market for a replacement router so this was a good deal for me (there are often Ooma deals, especially if you can get a referral from an existing member, like me :)). The thing with Ooma is you buy the hardware once then you don't pay for the service, you just pay the monthly state/federal taxes and fees. For me this amounts to about $4.37 month and this is applicable whether I have Ooma, Comcast, or Vonage for my VOIP (landline substitute) phone service. Then that's it, no more phone bill for a savings of $15.00/month which pays for the Ooma device in 6 months.

The trick is to transfer the number from Comcast first. This way you aren't contending with VOIP supporting hardware. However, once the phone number is taken off the triple-play package then the billing goes up and is prorated on a per day basis! My bill went from $255 to $266 when I removed phone service!

Next, replace the cable modem. It's easy and you can do it yourself with the web based configuration interface. Now I was poised to save $25/mo simply by not renting my modem or paying for my phone anymore.

Finally, the most CRUCIAL step. Disconnect all Comcast hardware, put it in a box nice and clean, and bring it to your local Comcast (or other company) office. DON'T CANCEL OVER THE PHONE OR OVER THE INTERNET CHAT!!!!!! This is important, they WILL screw up your billing and you still have to bring your stuff to the office anyway. Show up at the Comcast office with all your hardware and work with the customer rep IN PERSON to remove EVERYTHING but internet from the account including the modem rental that you won't need any longer. Smile a lot, be friendly and you might even get some bonus bandwidth - just saying, it happens here all the time :)

When all is said and done, my next bill will be $85 and that will be for 150Mb cable Internet. This will be a net savings of $170/month. The first two months savings pays for ALL of my up front hardware costs as well as a 1 year code for Hulu Plus which my wife wants so she can watch current shows, and I'm also shopping for an HD Antenna, in this neck of the woods we can pick up about 10 or so channels OTA.

For the TV's we have that aren't Smart TV's I bought Kindle Fire Stick's. There is even an extra cable you can buy to power the stick from local USB on the TV which eliminates a power cable, this is an extra $13 but is worth it if you have power space or run constraints (wall mounted, etc).

The following months savings I'm considering applying toward a basic HTPC build. With this I'll run Kodi (XBMC) and uTorrent with RSS feeds setup to mimic a DVR - although I know it's different, the function and end result will be the same to the other users in the house.

I'll read back over this later to make sure I didn't miss anything but if anyone has any questions, has interest in Ooma or getting an Ooma referral, etc feel free to post here. Also, I would love to hear what others are doing to "cut the cord"!

XII
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Offline gimlet

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2015, 06:49:37 AM »
+1
Can you still get the local news?

Offline The Ghost

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2015, 07:18:41 AM »
+1
This is interesting,  I was paying  $235 for full package.  I move and change provider and now have 80% of what I have and pay $181. That was a big saving but just to notice that I don't watch TV because their nothing that I watch or are not available here.  This is due to the battle of the giant ( Bell, Shaw, Telus, Roger , Videotron)   Since I'm tired of paying $25 for a land line( basic phone not extra) and $85 for TV I had been thing in the same line of you 12 times.   We already have netflix( what the kid watch 80% of the time, even me).  The TV show can be downloaded( what I do anyway to watch the whole season).   

I need to look if in Canada we can cut the cord of all hardware and use our own modem.  Would look it this. 

Offline 12TimesOverTopic starter

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2015, 08:11:57 AM »
+1
Can you still get the local news?
That's what the antenna is for essentially, that and to lessen my primetime show RSS burden. I'm looking at one for about $50 to attach to the primary TV in the living room, that will get all the local affiliates.

X
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Offline TrailMyx

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2015, 09:19:31 AM »
+1
There's a few ways to do OTA local channels.  None are a good candidate for me because my digital reception here in San Diego sucks pretty badly, but I have 2 things so far:

https://www.tivo.com/roamio-ota-tlp

The Roamio OTA from TiVo does add a monthly fee, but then you can share your HDTV antenna with other TiVo connected TVs.  I just love the TiVo interface and you get your local channel schedule included in the price.

https://www.silicondust.com/hdhomerun/

If you just want to stream your local channels to an android/iphone/PC app, then this is a solution that requires no additional monthly fees.

I'm sure there are more.  I'll probably stick with TiVo once I'm in a location where my HDTV antenna works again.
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Offline Gemviper

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2015, 06:53:35 PM »
+1
Canadians are going to lose OTA channel access first it looks like. Right now you do not need a cable subscription, or even an account, to receive OTA channels. You simply connect the cable to your TV and all OTA channels are shown to you in digital quality, the CRTC ruled that cable providers could stop transmitting the signals over the air IF they provided them on their cable system for free.

Things are about to change. Effective at the end of October simply plugging in the cable to your TV will no longer be enough, you will need to register the rental of a free converter with the cable company to access the channels. There is still no cost but they will know who you are and collect data about what/when you watch.

The catch is that this will remain free for a couple of years after which you will be bumped into needing a subscription to at least their minimum package, and it's not going to be free anymore. The CRTC ruling that all OTA programming be available for free has been eroded over time, apparently.

Read more here: http://blog.fagstein.com/2012/08/17/videotron-analog-cable/

I'm hoping I am misunderstanding the whole thing and that only people without a built in cable box on their TV(pre-2007) will be affected but I also know that's not what THEY want so who knows, it all kicks in a month from now.

I already think they are shady(saying it nicely) because Videotron is supposed to show CTV programming(channel 6) but whenever a high demand show kicks on, like Sunday NFL football or a feature movie they swap out CTV for CTV2 and move CTV programming to channel 7 which you can hear but not see(snow). That's not accidental, greedy bastards.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 06:55:07 PM by Gemviper »

Offline Endless Night

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2015, 04:43:20 PM »
+1
nice write up 12x

I've always been curious about free satellite tv as well but never installed anything.. the channels seem to be diminishing .. http://www.ftalist.com/master.php
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Offline 12TimesOverTopic starter

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2015, 05:53:22 AM »
+1
UPDATE - I setup a trial week of Hulu Plus last night, chose the newly available "Commercial Free" package which is normally $11.99/month. Seems to pretty well cover the stuff my wife and daughter are most interested in (current episodes of current shows) thus it will likely lessen my RSS feed hit which will be nice, I HATE storing content locally when I don't have to.

The biggest issue I think we'll run into is that Hulu is a one stream per account service with no option, that I can find anyhow, for simultaneous use. My wife was already pushing to bump up our Netflix subscription to Premium in order to allow all four of us an opportunity to stream Netflix simultaneously. I suggested that if we were all together in the same house with enough free time to watch 4 different Netflix streams in 4 different rooms on 4 different devices that we were doomed as a family and need to reevaluate our priorities. I discovered quickly that I, as is typical, am 100% wrong. Sooooo.....

I found that you can actually purchase discounted Hulu gift cards on eBay. For around $20 I am able to purchase 8 months of commercial free or 12 months of standard. Not too shabby and allows us a second account should we deem it necessary to meet my wife's master plan for total primetime dominance of my household.

We shall continue...
When they come for me I'll be sitting at my desk
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My, my, my how the time does fly
     when you know you're gonna die by the end of the night

Offline tandj99

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2015, 12:42:27 PM »
+1
I have been using Kodi with "The Beast" applied to it.

(http://kodi.tv) & (http://chrisbwizard.pcriot.com/)

This gives just about every movie and tv show available. (it also gives adult channels so be careful around children)

PM if you are interested in trying it or need help installing.

Offline bodfather

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2015, 03:45:17 PM »
+1
You can also use popcorn time or time4popcorn for movies...they're both pretty much the same.

It's rather nice watching movies the same day they're released in theaters.


Offline tandj99

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2015, 04:15:52 PM »
+1
The difference between popcorn and Kodi is you get all the PVP fights and most if not all of any sport you want. 

The Beast addon has the options to watch pretty much any tv show and any series and every season.

Offline TrailMyx

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2015, 04:31:22 PM »
+1
The difference between popcorn and Kodi is you get all the PVP fights and most if not all of any sport you want. 

The Beast addon has the options to watch pretty much any tv show and any series and every season.

None of that sounds particularly legal, no?  I think 12X is trying to walk in "the light" instead of taking a stroll with a peg-leg and a parrot on his shoulder....
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Offline 12TimesOverTopic starter

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2015, 05:06:15 PM »
+1
The difference between popcorn and Kodi is you get all the PVP fights and most if not all of any sport you want.  

The Beast addon has the options to watch pretty much any tv show and any series and every season.

None of that sounds particularly legal, no?  I think 12X is trying to walk in "the light" instead of taking a stroll with a peg-leg and a parrot on his shoulder....
Hehe, exactly. ESPECIALLY here on ScriptUO where we frown upon those types of discussions. Furthermore, it's counterproductive to tell your kids to be honest then pirating that night's family movie! Although, I did indeed mention RSS feed for television shows to act as a DVR which probably is a little past the "ok" point.

X
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 02:10:09 AM by 12TimesOver »
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Offline Crome969

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Re: I'm cutting the cord...at least most of it anyway...
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2015, 10:35:11 PM »
+1

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