News:

All future registrations will need to be approved before activation
due to the increase in spammers registering.

Main Menu

Cord Cutting

Started by Jason, August 28, 2017, 12:25:17 PM

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Jason

As someone who hates all cable companies and Verizon, I've been looking to eliminate as many of their services as possible. Right now I'm with Comcast/Xfinity and use my own cable modem to avoid the monthly fees of renting their crap equipment. For my TV service, I have one digital/HD box in my living room and one analog box in my daughter's room. That leaves my older son's room, my bedroom and my office with no TV service because the thought of paying monthly fees for all the boxes and remotes pisses me off.

My biggest complaint with Comcast is the promotional pricing. Every year I need to call and argue to get another year of the promotional pricing. I've been doing this for 8 years now and even got the FCC involved 4 years ago, and it's getting old quickly. I wish they would just offer a good price for everyone and leave it alone, even though this wouldn't solve the problem of their ever-increasing prices/fees all the time.

Thankfully, I don't use Comcast's phone service either. I switched to Ooma a few years ago and never looked back. I initially purchased my Ooma box for around $65 and only pay the taxes and fees for my phone service, which comes out to less than $5 a month. There's no monthly equipment rental and I'm not forced to use Comcast's modem, which I would be if I used their phone service. Honestly, if Ooma weren't so cheap and problem-free, I'd just eliminate my land-line completely since no one even uses it anymore.

So now I think I'm finally ready to eliminate Comcast's TV service after this year, which I just renegotiated last month and switch to PlayStation Vue. The reason for this is simple, Vue's $79.99 plan has all the channels I currently have and want, it's not a promotional price and there's no equipment fees involved. My plan would be to buy 5 Amazon Fire Sticks for $40 each, which then gives me access to the PlayStation Vue service on all of my TVs with no monthly expense after the initial Fire Stick purchase. I'd be able to get rid of my cable boxes and remotes and have absolutely no equipment from Comcast, or anyone else, in my house. The only service I'd have from them is Internet service with my own modem.

What I'll probably do soon is purchase a Fire Stick and try out the free 5-day PlayStation Vue trial to see how well my plan works, but either way, I'm pretty sure this is the way I'm going next summer.

Brad Company

Yep, try before you buy. If you get good performance w/ Vue, that's a way to roll. You would lose DD 5.1 in that setup.
The firesticks are jail-breakable, which may be of some interest to you as well. I cracked Android TV on my 900E for kicks.
You should also try Pluto TV for some more free streaming TV.

Jason

I never watch cable with 5.1 sound anyway. I only use that for Blu-rays and occasionally gaming.

I've had a few people mention jail-breaking the Fire Sticks, so I may try that on one or two of them.

Jason

I just ordered my first Fire Stick while they're only $34.99. Should be able to test phase one of my master plan soon.

Ted

How's your plan working out?  I may follow.

Jason

Quote from: Ted on October 19, 2017, 11:36:31 AM
How's your plan working out?  I may follow.

I haven't tested out PS Vue yet. I'm waiting until my free HBO runs out in December, but I've got everything in place. I've got the Vue app installed on my Fire Stick, PS4 and phone. I also signed up for a PlayStation credit card, which will give me an additional 10% off my monthly PS Vue bill.

Jason

#6
Just canceled my Comcast TV service and switched to PS Vue. Details to follow...

Jason

#7
My free HBO promotion was set to expire on January 4th, so I decided to give the PS Vue 5-day trial a shot while my wife was off from work. I already had the app downloaded and installed on one of my Amazon Fire Sticks, so the only thing I had to do was sign up for the free trial online.

Once I signed up online, which took about two minutes, the only thing I had to do was log into the Vue app with my PSN account info. The entire process couldn't have been any easier. Once logged in, I was off and running.

The interface took me a little while to get used to after spending years with Xfinity's X1 interface. The biggest change is the lack of channel numbers. The guide displays all the channels in alphabetical order with the option to create "Favorite Channels", which will be displayed first. While the guide is not bad, it is a big step back from Xfinity's guide. You can't get detailed program information from the guide without switching to that channel and switching to different channels requires a lot of button pushes. Fortunately, Alexa allows voice control to switch to different channels. For instance, I can say "Alexa, switch to HBO" and it will automatically change to HBO.

Another negative is the lack of volume control with the Fire Stick remote, so you're forced to use two remotes all the time. It's not a deal-breaker, but it is annoying. I may look into some type of universal remote in the future, but it's not a top priority.

The picture quality is better than I expected and all channels are in HD. This is nice since some of the less popular channels on cable were SD only, like Disney Jr. and DIY. My son noticed right away that Disney Jr. now "fills the whole TV screen". I did notice some framerate issues with sports when using the Fire Stick, but there were no issues when viewing through the PS4. It's most likely due to my PS4 being hard-wired. I'm going to setup Vue on my son's PS4, which is wireless, to see if that makes a difference.

I also noticed that I couldn't get true 5.1 surround sound out of the TV when using the Fire Stick, but I could when using my PS4. It's not a big deal as I never watch cable with surround sound on...I only use it when watching Blu-rays. I just found it strange as the Fire Stick supposedly supports 5.1 Dolby Digital.

The DVR service works a bit differently than cable and only stores your recording for 28 days, so that's a bit disappointing. My wife and I only use the DVR for time-shifting, so it's not too bad, but we did have a lot of stuff recorded for my son. Fortunately, most of the stuff we had recorded for him is available on On-Demand, so it isn't as bad as we originally thought. I still haven't figured out a way to delete what we've watched already, and I don't think you can. I think it just "expires" after the 28 days. There's also no easy way to see your upcoming recordings.

I called cable twice yesterday to see if they could "make me an offer I couldn't refuse" before fully committing to PS Vue and they couldn't do it. I think they thought I was bluffing, but I cancelled my TV service, disconnected my equipment and am returning it today. The best they could do was match what I'm paying for internet/PS Vue, with HBO being free for 3 months only. That doesn't take into account that I have full TV/DVR service in 4 rooms with PS Vue, where cable would only be one.

While it's far from perfect, PS Vue is definitely a legitimate replacement for cable TV. I love that I can now watch TV in my office and not have to pay for an additional cable box. Once I drop my equipment off today, I won't have a single piece of rented equipment in my house anymore. If anything changes, I always have FIOS coming to my neighborhood in the next few weeks.

Brad Company

#8
Your PS4 is coverting the 2.0 audio to stereo multi-channel, it does the same thing with SiriusXM streaming. Using an AVR, or certain soundbars, you could go with Dolby PLII.
The channel packages are competitively priced, that's for sure. My wife is a power DVR user, and I wonder if that would be a deal breaker. DTV is damn good with that. I'd miss 4K.
5 streams at once including mobile and cancelling anytime you like are good points. People with tight money flow may be attracted to this, big time.
Locals only in big cities may be an issue for some, a lot of folks don't realize what a little antenna can do, lol. Requires an input switch, though.
There is now a universal remote adapter for PS4. A Harmony 650 and the adapter would make the Vue a little more HT friendly, perhaps. Or certainly the media remote for PS4 itself.

Jason

Are you sure it's converting the signal? When I play PS Vue through my Fire Stick, my receiver shows it as a stereo signal and converts it to 5.1. That's with the TV's optical output going to the receiver.

When I played PS Vue through my PS4 using both the optical output directly connected to the receiver and through the HDMI connection to the TV, which then has an optical audio output to the receiver, they both showed as "Decode" on the receiver, which means it's a true 5.1 signal. I thought for sure the "HDMI to TV to Optical To Receiver" would not show as "Decode", but it did.

I'm wondering if the New Fire Stick TV with 4K would send a true 5.1 signal and help with the framerate for sports. I didn't realize Amazon discontinued the original Fire TV with a built-in hard-wired connection. The new Fire Stick 4K has an addon ethernet adapter, but the entire thing has not received many favorable reviews.

I'm hoping to not use my PS4 to watch TV so I'll probably see if there are any universal remotes for the Fire Stick.

Brad Company

Well, Vue is 2.0 only, except for some PPVs, unless something has changed quite recently. The PS4 converts everything, but packs it as DD,DTS, or PCM, even if it's multi channel converted stereo.
SiriusXM is handled this way, unlike the PS3, which when configured, outputs any format unaltered. The PS4 can be an odd beast for audio.
Does your AVR give a detailed breakdown of the incoming signal?
Harmony hubs work with FireStick, not sure about the old 650 remote. There are third party remotes, too that operate on BT.

Jason

I remember changing the audio output settings on my PS4 when I added the optical cable last year...I'll check it out tonight.

Unfortunately, my receiver doesn't give a detailed breakdown of the incoming signal. It just shows if it's 5.1 (DD or DTS), stereo or mono.

I may have found a perfect and inexpensive solution to my remote problem: SideClick Remote

Jason

There may be a flaw in my plan. My data usage this month is already at 500GB. I don't currently have a monthly cap with Comcast, but I have a feeling they're not going to be happy with me going over 1TB every month and may throttle my speeds once I reach it.

Jason

#13
After just 3 weeks I went back to cable. The data usage was one was one the big reasons, but not being able to record shows from HBO with the DVR was the icing on the cake. The good news is that I was able to get the same promotional pricing as new customers with my cable plan, and they gave me updated boxes with 4K support (even though they don't have 4K content yet). I splurged and got 2 extra HDTV/DVR boxes for my older kids since the total price was almost the same as my Internet/PS Vue experiment...at least for the next 12 months, then I'll be back to calling Comcast every year to get my current promotion renewed.

A nice surprise was that all of my DVR recordings from the past 10 months were available once I hooked my new box up and my scheduled recording were still set. I thought Comcast might keep that information for 30 days and I guess I was right.

I'm considering purchasing a new cable modem (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N6SKK1G/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER) and then upgrading my internet speed to 400Mbps for an extra $7 a month or 1Gbps speeds for an extra $12 a month.

Brad Company

People may be in for a rude shock soon, when ISPs decide to monetize streaming. They feel they've been giving away the farm to Netflix et al, and the current "regulatory" environment may embolden them to create pricing tiers and structures that are quite expensive.