Dish vs Cable vs Directv

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kopower
6/12/11 11:40:51PM
I have been a long time member with Comcast, but their pricing is getting a bit ridiculous. For their basic digital package with HD on one tv, standard on the other, no dvr, and internet, I pay about $135/month. I have no premium channels, so no HDnet.

Any of you have satellite? How's the pricing? I'm really looking to switch, but only if it's worth it. I'm looking for HDnet, MTV2(but from the sounds of it Bellator might be leaving sometime in the future), and Versus. It looks like the problem with Dish is that MTV2 would be left out of the package with HDnet and Versus.

Props on any info you can give me.
postman
6/13/11 8:17:19AM
I have Dish and I have all the stations you are looking for as well as DVR. I payy 200 a month before any PPV costs but that is a bundle with Phone and internet as well.
emfleek
6/13/11 8:23:09AM
Comcast sucks. I feel ya.
bojangalz
6/13/11 10:01:44AM
Honestly ko, drop it all together. Prices on even the most basic cable package are insane. We killed the cable bill three years ago now and I don't miss it at all. I find the fights I want online, and when I'm home I just pump them into the TV via hdmi cable. Just about every show you could want to see is on either netflix or hulu at this point. And the ones that aren't can just as easily be found on bit torrent.

There simply isn't enough of a reason to be enslaved to the cable company for what they charge. And frankly, there's something to be said for having a little less TV in our lives in the first place.
grappler0000
6/13/11 11:14:43AM

Posted by bojangalz

Honestly ko, drop it all together. Prices on even the most basic cable package are insane. We killed the cable bill three years ago now and I don't miss it at all. I find the fights I want online, and when I'm home I just pump them into the TV via hdmi cable. Just about every show you could want to see is on either netflix or hulu at this point. And the ones that aren't can just as easily be found on bit torrent.

There simply isn't enough of a reason to be enslaved to the cable company for what they charge. And frankly, there's something to be said for having a little less TV in our lives in the first place.





I am also cable free. I have a Web TV setup throughout my house and still watch all of the fights on my TV as a result. Between free web content, apps like Netflix, and my network-shared media library, I don't ever miss cable at all...especially the large bill. I pay $7.99 a month for Netflix and that's it. I realize that not everyone is willing to cut the cord, but it was a no-brainer for me.
postman
6/13/11 2:02:56PM
How do you guys watch NFL NBA NHL MLB? Are there places on line? I know you can watch sundaynight football on NBC.com
kopower
6/13/11 2:06:06PM
Thanks guys. I wish I could get rid of it all together, but that might be a tough sell with the wife. I kills me to pay the cable bill. I really don't watch that much either. I may just bite the bullet for now.
bojangalz
6/13/11 2:07:31PM
Simple. I don't watch all of those. If I did though; I'd be purchasing a season pass from their websites rather than pay for all the extra channels of TV that I don't use. I can't speak to the other sports, but I know MLB's offerings online are fantastic. And the entire season cost about the same as one month's cable bill.

And while I haven't gone actively looking for such contect; it would be reasonible to assume that if the internet has places where you can find free PPV fight streams, odds are you can find the same for regularly televised games from the major sports organizations.
bojangalz
6/13/11 2:12:46PM

Posted by kopower

Thanks guys. I wish I could get rid of it all together, but that might be a tough sell with the wife. I kills me to pay the cable bill. I really don't watch that much either. I may just bite the bullet for now.



What sort of stuff does your wife watch? Look into the content on Hulu and Netflix... Odds are she'll learn to be satisfied. Hell, my wife was a stay-at-home mom when I dumped the cable. She got over it pretty damn fast. She found that most of the garbage she watched on the major broadcast networks was available on-demand from their website anyway. And again, we've simply spent much, much less time in front of the TV as a result too.

My daughter is barely old enough to remember what it was like to have TV. And unless they drop the cable packages to $30/month, my son will never grow up in a house with cable. It's not nearly the blink leap into the seventh ring of hell that most people think it will be. You'll be fine.
FlashyG
6/13/11 2:51:13PM
I do the same as Bo, haven't had a Cable or TV bill in 4 or 5 years now.

I use Hulu (With a VPN to access it from Canada) or Megavideo for TV, and First Row Sports for all my Sporting events.

Using the Net for TV is great because you get no commercials (one if you're watching on Hulu) and the freedom to watch what you want when you want, without the cost of a PVR.

If anyone outside the US is looking to do the same but without paying for a VPN service, you can buy a megavideo account for cheap or split it with a friend or 2 and just use links from sites like, Surfthechannel.com, Sidereel.com, or Watchseries.eu

You don't need the megavideo membership but without it you'll only be able to watch 72 minutes at a time.
kopower
6/13/11 5:22:51PM
So most of the shows you just end up watching the next day? I guess my wife really only watches Army Wives and a few home decorating shows. I'll run it by her tonight and see what happens. Not holding my breath though.
FlashyG
6/13/11 5:26:13PM
If you're watching on Hulu its normally the next day, but those streaming sites normally have some links up within an hour or 2 of the show airing.

You can also go back and catch-up on shows you've missed.
pmoney
6/13/11 6:35:31PM
Cable free is the way to be! You gotta do the HDMI out. If you're not already equipped, for the prices you are being charged, any hardware investment would probably pay for itself in a month, two tops. Then you are freeing up probably $80-100 a month, leaving you just to pay for internet.

There are sites where you can find literally anything, for free, live streaming. Any NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, NCAA anything, most mma promotions.... Live TV channels, so your lady can watch what she wants when it airs live. All east coast time.

Everything you want is free on the internet. Live, or the next day, or leaked days, weeks, months before release, depending on what you're looking for. UFC.TV is also pretty goddamn awesome and a good way to show your support by paying for their superior product.
warglory
6/13/11 6:39:04PM

Posted by postman

How do you guys watch NFL NBA NHL MLB? Are there places on line? I know you can watch sundaynight football on NBC.com



TenchisTV is what I use to watch sports. The quality isn't the same, but it does the job. However, network tv doesn't need cable to be accessed.
warglory
6/13/11 6:41:41PM
I am with everyone about getting rid of cable. Cable TV prices are absolutely atrocious! Also, has anyone noticed that PBS puts out some awesome documentaries?! I watch PBS all the time now that I don't have cable.
kopower
6/13/11 6:47:01PM
Damn, you guys have made me want to drop it asap. Huh, I guess the internet isn't a fad after all. So you guys just use your computer and hook up an HDMI cable to your tv, or do you use Roku or something like that. The only problem I have with it is that the majority of time we are watching tv, we both are on our computers. I would possibly need to buy another, just for the purpose of watching online tv. I guess all the money I would save on cable would easily cover that though.
pmoney
6/13/11 6:54:07PM

Posted by kopower

Damn, you guys have made me want to drop it asap. Huh, I guess the internet isn't a fad after all. So you guys just use your computer and hook up an HDMI cable to your tv, or do you use Roku or something like that. The only problem I have with it is that the majority of time we are watching tv, we both are on our computers. I would possibly need to buy another, just for the purpose of watching online tv. I guess all the money I would save on cable would easily cover that though.


Well, purchasing a second one is an option. But depending on your video card, you could do a dual monitor display, with the tv as the second display. You can have your shows on the tv, and use the computer screen for whatever computing you want to do. You would have to be sitting close to the tv in that case, though.

Edit: For the record, I most recently had Dish. They were fairly cheap, and I got to see pretty much all the fights. I liked cable's service a lot more (Time Warner out here), but they also got too expensive. There were a couple of issues with Dish, my DVR got erased a couple times, so I Just went internet after a while. It sucks having the last 10 UFC's deleted from your hard drive
Chael_Sonnen
6/13/11 7:49:05PM
Charter > everything else
grappler0000
6/13/11 9:24:40PM

Posted by kopower

Damn, you guys have made me want to drop it asap. Huh, I guess the internet isn't a fad after all. So you guys just use your computer and hook up an HDMI cable to your tv, or do you use Roku or something like that. The only problem I have with it is that the majority of time we are watching tv, we both are on our computers. I would possibly need to buy another, just for the purpose of watching online tv. I guess all the money I would save on cable would easily cover that though.



I have a Boxee Box in the living room on the big screen and have a Roku in each bedroom. Total cost is under $400, which pays for itself in just a couple of months. Plugging in your laptop works, but for a permanent setup, it would be a pain. All 3 of my boxes support 1080, which is more than I can say for Apple TV, which frankly sucks balls.

Roku is really simple and inexpensive, but isn't as robust as the Boxee Box, which is why I have that in the living room. Roku has a ton of channels and content to work with...including a UFC channel. You can order PPV's though it or watch weigh-ins, etc. It has all of the major players like Pandora, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, Netflix, and such. And they're adding new stuff all of the time.

The Boxee Box has only been around since the end of last year, so they are playing catch up on a couple of the apps/channels. They're still working on the app with the UFC and Hulu Plus is coming down the pipe as well, but they offer something like 150 different channels as well, including Netflix. Most of the channels are smaller niche channels, but there are some really good ones. It also has a browser, which is nice for manually going to a website that isn't part of a channel. One huge advantage that it has is that it aggregates free web content. So, let's say you have the Big Bang Theory marked as a favorite show, when it gets put on the web the day after airing, it automatically pops into your watch later queue. Most of the shows that I watch are actually available this way. I don't even bother with Hulu...I tried the free trial, but decided that they've still got some purchasing to do before it's worth my 8 bucks a month. That just depends on what shows you watch really though. Another big advantage is that it will play virtually any media file that you throw at it. My router is uPnP compliant, so I have a 2TB hard attached directly to it that streams via wifi to my living room television. You can attach a hard drive, SD card, or thumb drive directly to it as well. I have over 500 movies, over 400 television episodes, plus music on disk and it's still not half full. You can do tons of customizations as well...I can stream content from anywhere on my network, including sharing a Sopcast stream with my laptop. There are also application repositories on the web for applications that aren't officially supported...like for sports, if you know what I mean. There are ways to watch things legitimately too though. I know MLB, NHL, NBA, and possibly others have channels available, but I don't watch any other sports so I don't know the cost of those are. I think there are even PGA and Speed channels, if you're into that. If you like paying for movies, Vudu is available for new releases. Oh, I almost forgot one of my favorite things. I have a button at the top of my browser on my laptop...anytime I'm surfing and come across a video I'd like to watch on TV, I just click my "watch later" button and it gets put in my queue.

I wouldn't recommend the Boxee Box unless you are very computer savvy though. I know someone who loved my setup and bought one. It was a bit much for him...he eventually got frustrated and took it back. If you have the know how though, it is a great device with a beautiful GUI. It actually goes out and gets all of the thumbnails and movie/tv descriptions from the web automatically from IMDB and a couple of other sources. The computer version has been around a for a couple of years, so you can toy around with it to get an idea of what it's like. The set top box version is still kinda new though, so it's still somewhat of a work in progress. Boxee is basically a build off of XBMC, if you've ever used it. Roku is simple and not very customizable, but works right out of the box and is easy enough that my daughter could set it up.

I still get the major networks though my provider though too. It's not a cable package, it's the basic whatever they call it package...just the broadcast networks and local stations and such. Comcast gives discounts for combo packages, so it only costs me like two bucks more for them to feed me the basic channels, rather than just having internet. So, 2 bucks isn't too bad for all the basic channels in HD. Add on the $7.99 I spend on Netflix and that's a total of $9.99 a month. Not bad, when you consider what most cable packages cost.

Edit:
Something I forgot to mention. There is still one distinct advantage to connecting your laptop or building a dedicated Media Center PC. Some media providers block content from set top boxes. For instance, Hulu uses the freemium business model. You can watch Hulu Basic on your computer, but they block it from the dedicated boxed. The theory is that they'll pull you in with the free content on your computer, so that you'll pay for Hulu Plus on your TV. So, obviously connecting a computer to your television would be the loophole for that. There are some webisodes that get the same treatment as well. It just depends on what kind of contract each company has for distribution.

And just like anything else, there are ways around that as well. There's some software called Play On that will play the video from your computer on your TV...and it's compatible with a number of devices. It won't play all videos, but it's compatible with the some of the big ones like Hulu.
grappler0000
6/13/11 10:20:24PM
Also, there are a ton of devices that do a half decent job of supplementing content with a few of the bigger apps. If you have any gaming devices, I'm sure Netlfix and a few other apps are accessible. My current setup is actually like my 4th iteration. A few years ago, I was using my 360 to stream content. It acts as a Media Center Extender. You can watch local media through your Xbox that you have on a Windows machine on your network. There's some software called TVersity that acts like a media server and when used with Xbox actually works better than the default setup. Most Blu-ray players come equipped with a few apps as well. These solutions aren't usually a solid replacement for cable, but they are a good supplement or can work well as a replacement on a secondary television in your house. BTW, Netflix recently began allowing up to 50 devices under a single account...up from 6. Quite the leap. It's almost as if they're begging people to share accounts or something.
kopower
6/13/11 11:09:54PM
Awesome info grappler. I have to spread the love before giving you another prop. One of the big questions I had about cutting the cable was getting something like Roku and still being able to watch videos on network specific pages, i.e lifetime (for the wife), comedy central, NBC, and so on. From the sounds of it, that is still possible. I am very tempted and my wife actually said if I researched it enough, and watching the videos was rather easy for her to figure out, that it was a go.

I am somewhat computer savvy and I have a friend that is beyond competent in 0's and 1's so I think I'd be fine with the set up. I have 2 tv's, a big screen in the living room and 1 in the bedroom. From the sounds of it, the Roku player for the bedroom and possibly a dedicated media center pc or boxee for the living room would be the way to go.

Baby steps..............
bojangalz
6/14/11 10:10:31AM
You can always get a dedicated PC for the living room and just download the Boxee software from their website. That way you won't feel limited in any way by the experience that boxee may provide. You'll get their ease of use for when you want it, and a windows PC for when you don't.

grappler0000
6/14/11 12:20:07PM

Posted by kopower

Awesome info grappler. I have to spread the love before giving you another prop. One of the big questions I had about cutting the cable was getting something like Roku and still being able to watch videos on network specific pages, i.e lifetime (for the wife), comedy central, NBC, and so on. From the sounds of it, that is still possible. I am very tempted and my wife actually said if I researched it enough, and watching the videos was rather easy for her to figure out, that it was a go.

I am somewhat computer savvy and I have a friend that is beyond competent in 0's and 1's so I think I'd be fine with the set up. I have 2 tv's, a big screen in the living room and 1 in the bedroom. From the sounds of it, the Roku player for the bedroom and possibly a dedicated media center pc or boxee for the living room would be the way to go.

Baby steps..............



With the Roku, you can't just surf to any page you want. Everything you watch is through the available channels. Channels like Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu Plus, and Crackle all have shows to watch. You'd have to do some research to see what's available vs what you want to see. Without the flexibility to surf, there will most likely be shows that you won't be able to access with Roku. They are always working on adding more channels though...and they have a large market share, so it continues to get better.

If you're considering going with a HTPC on your main TV, your best bet is using Boxee or XBMC for your front end. They're your best options and both are free. I've been using Boxee for Windows since the Alpha version and I'm a big fan, but it's just a preference. There's nothing stopping you from downloading both to experiment with on your computer. There are advantages and disadvantages to going the PC route, but with some cheaper models having HDMI capabilites nowadays, there are some good options out there.

And don't forget that there are other options available. There are more and more set top boxes hitting the market. Apple and Google are not really where they need to be IMO, but they always have the resources to do something special down the road...although Apple TV will always revolve around iTunes and have less free content, which is a deal breaker for me. Google is a bit pricey and hasn't really wowed me yet. They do have a unique model though where they are pretty much the only ones that integrate the web content into the TV menu...which means when you're looking through your onscreen options, both TV and web show up in the same results. There's no need to switch inputs to get your web content. The problem though is that may be good for supplementing your cable, but doesn't do much when trying to get rid of it. Western Digital makes some pretty good stuff. I've never owned any of their connected boxes, but I still use one of their early Media Players as a backup in the bedroom. I give WD a B+ for local video compatibility. Just make sure you do the research, so you know exactly what you'll be getting into. It will pay off in the long run.

And do realize that there is a paradigm shift in the television watching experience. If you are a channel flipper, this will be a rough transition. There's no just turning the TV on and vegging out in front of shows or infomercials. Everything you watch is deliberate. You've made the choice by selecting it. You'll find that you don't end up watching crap just cuz it's on though, which isn't a bad thing. If you or your wife like the water cooler talk the morning after your favorite cable show, this will be tough. For the shows that are available, it might be the next day or maybe several days before you watch an episode. Your TV watching will turn into an on-demand one. It's nice not to be handcuffed to your TV at 8 on Thursday or 9 on Monday though. DVR's have sorta eased us off of that one, but even DVR's will have much less purpose in a few years.
grappler0000
6/14/11 3:49:48PM
I know I'm rambling, but I could talk about this subject for hours. Something else to keep in the back of your mind is WiDi. It stands for Wireless Display and it's a somewhat new technology from Intel. Basically, instead of connecting your laptop to your TV, you can just share the screen over WiFi. All you need is a computer that has the right Intel processer and an adapter for your TV. So, technically, you could have a computer in your office running some Media Center software, instead of parked in your living room. And with the addition of an RF remote, you never even have to be in the same room as your PC.
emfleek
6/14/11 3:56:11PM
Out of curiousity...

I have a 63" (I think?) flat screen but it's an older model with no HDMI connection. Is there a converter out there that will allow me to use the TV the same as if it newer model with the HDMI hookup? I'd love to be able to download movies to my laptop and watch 'em on my TV.
grappler0000
6/14/11 4:07:00PM

Posted by emfleek

Out of curiousity...

I have a 63" (I think?) flat screen but it's an older model with no HDMI connection. Is there a converter out there that will allow me to use the TV the same as if it newer model with the HDMI hookup? I'd love to be able to download movies to my laptop and watch 'em on my TV.



What inputs do you have on the TV? If it's DVI, then it's pretty easy. I use a a HDMI-to-DVI converter on one of my TV's. DVI doesn't carry audio though, so you'll also need to hook up the audio separately. I believe just about everything else you want to convert to would require a box to convert...not just a cable.

Is HDMI the only output you have? Many computers also have an s-video or VGA port for a second monitor...and many TV's nowadays have VGA input.
emfleek
6/14/11 4:08:52PM

Posted by grappler0000

What inputs do you have on the TV? If it's DVI, then it's pretty easy. I use a a HDMI-to-DVI converter on one of my TV's. DVI doesn't carry audio though, so you'll also need to hook up the audio separately. I believe just about everything else you want to convert to would require a box to convert...not just a cable.

Is HDMI the only output you have? Many computers also have an s-video or VGA port for a second monitor...and many TV's nowadays have VGA input.



I honestly have no idea off the top of my head. I'll have to check when I get home.
kopower
6/14/11 6:24:45PM
Thanks for all the info guys. You have definitely made this process easier for me. We shall see what happens in the coming months.
Pookie
6/14/11 6:28:10PM
I..... just watch netflix and Hulu because i like anime and Guy Ritchie films. Super cheap :D!
emfleek
6/15/11 3:03:37PM

Posted by emfleek


Posted by grappler0000

What inputs do you have on the TV? If it's DVI, then it's pretty easy. I use a a HDMI-to-DVI converter on one of my TV's. DVI doesn't carry audio though, so you'll also need to hook up the audio separately. I believe just about everything else you want to convert to would require a box to convert...not just a cable.

Is HDMI the only output you have? Many computers also have an s-video or VGA port for a second monitor...and many TV's nowadays have VGA input.



I honestly have no idea off the top of my head. I'll have to check when I get home.



Partial update...my laptop *does* have a VGA port. I'm going to try to remember to check my TV for a VGA input when I get home.
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