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How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

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  • How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

    My fiance and I are exploring the viability of dropping cable tv completely and getting all of our content via a combination of streaming service such as hulu and netflix, content resellers such as iTunes, and HD OTA broadcasts for network stations.

    I'm curious, has anyone else tried this?

    We have a mac mini hooked up to our TV which we will be using as our media server. I've been looking at XMBC as the front-end. This seems to do well for content local on the home network that has been downloaded, but not very well for incorporating other streams such as hulu and netflix. I've yet to look at Plex or Boxee front-ends. My feeling is that none of these is going to give us a one stop shop for all our content.

    As an alternative I've been wondering if it's not easier just to set up automated torrent downloads of new shows rather than stream them? I'd prefer to stay legal, so I plan on paying for access to these shows via the netflix and/or hulu subscriptions, but if I can just get HD quality local copies of these shows this would really make the usability more appliance-like and less computer-like, since everything would be accessed via a common UI such as XBMC or Plex. Has anyone set up automated torrents like this?
    Twisted Firestarter
    a.k.a |TG| Harkonian
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  • #2
    Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

    I don't have an answer for you, but we're considering doing the same thing. We're running Windows 7 on an Acer Revo. XBMC for local content and streaming via FireFox. I would love to get rid of the mouse and keyboard sitting on the end table...

    Right now, however, my wife just isn't willing to give up her DVR and the enormous source that is Dish Network.

    If you can find a legit source of HD TV torrents, that would certainly go a long way towards ditching the Dish. I don't think they exist, though...
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    • #3
      Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

      I dumped cable a few months back. Currently I use my bluray player for netflix and a sff pc running GB-PVR for other content. If I wan't to watch something on hulu I just use a web browser. Once they get support for my blyray player, I'll be giving hulu plus a try. I fear the ads may be too intrusive though.

      I recently learned my HOA can't stop me from hoisting an antenna. So my next project is to get an antenna on my roof and use GB-PVR to record OTA HD.
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      • #4
        Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

        Originally posted by Twisted_Firestarter View Post
        My fiance and I are exploring the viability of dropping cable tv completely and getting all of our content via a combination of streaming service such as hulu and netflix, content resellers such as iTunes, and HD OTA broadcasts for network stations.

        I'm curious, has anyone else tried this?
        My wifes side of the family has....and I have in the past week fixed 4 pc's that were infected with Trojans and Malware via hulu.....good luck
        "Everyone makes fun of us rednecks with our big trucks and all our guns........until the zombie apocalypse"

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        • #5
          Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

          My suggestion would be to wait for the Boxee Box coming out soon. I've been impressed with what I've seen so far. I use Netflix through my PS3, but you can get Netflix on a serious variety of devices these days. I use a Western Digital HD TV Live for my expansive movie archive. I've backed up all my blu-rays/dvd's to hard drives hooked up to it. It can also network as well. Between that and the PS3's capabilities, I've ended finding no need for an HTPC, although that was my original plan. When the Boxee Box comes out, I'm probably going to sell my WD device and switch to the Boxee. For what it's worth, I ditched cable about 3 years ago, and haven't missed it one bit. I've saved thousands of dollars over that period of time.

          http://www.boxee.tv/box

          @Venman: Are you SURE that stuff came through Hulu? Hulu's pretty legit, and I've never ever had a single piece of spyware/trojan come from it (or at all). I use it constantly, too. Are you sure they aren't doing something else, like using Limewire or Kazaa? I've noticed that most noobs I've seen with infected pc's have been guilty of using crappy p2p software, or downloading music/videos from untrustworthy sources.
          "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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          • #6
            Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

            Originally posted by War.mongeR1 View Post

            @Venman: Are you SURE that stuff came through Hulu? Hulu's pretty legit, and I've never ever had a single piece of spyware/trojan come from it (or at all). I use it constantly, too. Are you sure they aren't doing something else, like using Limewire or Kazaa? I've noticed that most noobs I've seen with infected pc's have been guilty of using crappy p2p software, or downloading music/videos from untrustworthy sources.
            well according to them thats the only place they have been viewing, they are may inlaws and older so I really don't see them on the P2P network, neither PC had any P2P programs on it as well....so that leaves only hulu, which is what they use.
            "Everyone makes fun of us rednecks with our big trucks and all our guns........until the zombie apocalypse"

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            • #7
              Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

              Originally posted by venman View Post
              well according to them thats the only place they have been viewing, they are may inlaws and older so I really don't see them on the P2P network, neither PC had any P2P programs on it as well....so that leaves only hulu, which is what they use.
              Inlaws and older, eh? I think I just figured out your problem. The older generation seems notorious for opening up attachments in forwarded e-mails. "Ooh. Your Uncle John just sent me a video of a dancing cat! Wanna see?" I'm like "Noooooooooooooo! Don't open it!" My Dad used to be horrible about doing that. He used to get viruses all the time with XP, while my mom never did on her computer. She never opens random e-mail attachments, because she actually listens to the advice of her sons. That was the culprit in his case. Thankfully he made the switch to Win 7, and stopped opening those attachments after I got on him after fixing his computer for the umpteenth time. Hasn't happened since.
              "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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              • #8
                Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

                Originally posted by War.mongeR1 View Post
                Inlaws and older, eh? I think I just figured out your problem. The older generation seems notorious for opening up attachments in forwarded e-mails. "Ooh. Your Uncle John just sent me a video of a dancing cat! Wanna see?" I'm like "Noooooooooooooo! Don't open it!" My Dad used to be horrible about doing that. He used to get viruses all the time with XP, while my mom never did on her computer. She never opens random e-mail attachments, because she actually listens to the advice of her sons. That was the culprit in his case. Thankfully he made the switch to Win 7, and stopped opening those attachments after I got on him after fixing his computer for the umpteenth time. Hasn't happened since.
                finally someone feels my pain
                "Everyone makes fun of us rednecks with our big trucks and all our guns........until the zombie apocalypse"

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                • #9
                  Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

                  I read this article and thought I would post it to see if it might help in your quest to rid yourself of cable, hope it helps.

                  http://shopping.yahoo.com/articles/y...o-they-differ/
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

                    Thanks! Good stuff.

                    I haven't read it yet, but a friend mentioned that the September issue of Wired magazine discusses this topic.


                    Originally posted by Drizzid View Post
                    I read this article and thought I would post it to see if it might help in your quest to rid yourself of cable, hope it helps.

                    http://shopping.yahoo.com/articles/y...o-they-differ/
                    Twisted Firestarter
                    a.k.a |TG| Harkonian
                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

                      Originally posted by War.mongeR1 View Post
                      Inlaws and older, eh? I think I just figured out your problem. The older generation seems notorious for opening up attachments in forwarded e-mails. "Ooh. Your Uncle John just sent me a video of a dancing cat! Wanna see?" I'm like "Noooooooooooooo! Don't open it!" My Dad used to be horrible about doing that. He used to get viruses all the time with XP, while my mom never did on her computer. She never opens random e-mail attachments, because she actually listens to the advice of her sons. That was the culprit in his case. Thankfully he made the switch to Win 7, and stopped opening those attachments after I got on him after fixing his computer for the umpteenth time. Hasn't happened since.
                      I have a seething hatred for getting my business email on a relative's "FUNNY EMAIL!" forwarding list. I've since learned that the secret is to not tell them about my real e-mail and only do correspondence through my ancient Hotmail account. I will admit, though, that it can be amusing to see your relatives catching on to memes years behind the rest of the Internet. "Oh, that's quaint. Hither, why indeed do they take his bukkit?"

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                      • #12
                        Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

                        drop the cable and dont bother with the media centre XD tv's crap these days anyways. shouldnt you be playing arma2 or BC2?

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                        • #13
                          Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

                          How to get rid of cable tv?

                          Dont pay the bill...that was easy...


                          No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
                          George S. Patton

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                          • #14
                            Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

                            I already have a Mac Mini, so no need for the Boxee Box, I can just install the Boxee software on the mini.

                            So far I've tried Plex and XBMC for the media front-end. I don't love either one of them. Neither one integrates with Hulu and while Plex has a netflix plugin, it isn't very good.

                            So, as it stands right now there still seems to be too many apps required to easily replace my TiVo. I need plex/xbmc/boxee for all my local content, a web browser for hulu/netflix content, iTunes for rented movies and shows, and my TiVo hooked to an HD antenna for OTA network shows. Not really the all-in-one my-girlfriend-wont-give-me-a-dirty-look-every-time-she-uses-it solution that I was hoping for. In addition to all this, a number of these mac mini interfaces are not Apple Remote friendly, so a keyboard and/or trackpad is required to navigate.

                            On the positive side, I've been surprised at how well HD full 1080p non-compressed movies stream over my WiFi network. Buttery smooth.


                            Originally posted by War.mongeR1 View Post
                            My suggestion would be to wait for the Boxee Box coming out soon. I've been impressed with what I've seen so far. I use Netflix through my PS3, but you can get Netflix on a serious variety of devices these days. I use a Western Digital HD TV Live for my expansive movie archive. I've backed up all my blu-rays/dvd's to hard drives hooked up to it. It can also network as well. Between that and the PS3's capabilities, I've ended finding no need for an HTPC, although that was my original plan. When the Boxee Box comes out, I'm probably going to sell my WD device and switch to the Boxee. For what it's worth, I ditched cable about 3 years ago, and haven't missed it one bit. I've saved thousands of dollars over that period of time.

                            http://www.boxee.tv/box

                            @Venman: Are you SURE that stuff came through Hulu? Hulu's pretty legit, and I've never ever had a single piece of spyware/trojan come from it (or at all). I use it constantly, too. Are you sure they aren't doing something else, like using Limewire or Kazaa? I've noticed that most noobs I've seen with infected pc's have been guilty of using crappy p2p software, or downloading music/videos from untrustworthy sources.
                            Twisted Firestarter
                            a.k.a |TG| Harkonian
                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: How to get rid of cable tv? [Setting up a media center]

                              Originally posted by Twisted_Firestarter View Post
                              I already have a Mac Mini, so no need for the Boxee Box, I can just install the Boxee software on the mini.
                              Where the boxee or wdtv is nice is the couch-potatoeness of it. Full 1080p, DTS, and a remote control. You might end up preferring it over your mac mini. It's actually a very simple setup. The Boxee remote is pretty slick, though. Full qwerty keyboard on the backside of it!
                              "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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