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Making the Switch -- Cutting off the Cable Company

MagicPrimeMagicPrime FiresideWizardRegistered User regular
So, I think my wife and I are going to try to cancel our cable. We will, of course, be keeping our high-speed internet but TV is gone.

I have a good PC from around 2007-2008 that I am going to be refurbishing to be our new media-center PC on our big-screen HDTV upstairs. We already have a subscription to netflix streaming.

Has anyone else ventured down this path? If so -- how was your experience and are you still without cable?

Questions I have:

If we opt to get an attic hi-gain antenna and hook it up to the existing co-ax cable running throughout our house will that essentially give all our TVs access to that antenna?

We have 2 HDTVs with digital receivers in them, so for those we would just hook the cable directly in?

Our other 2 TVs without digital receivers we would have to get top boxes for them?

BNet • magicprime#1430 | PSN/Steam • MagicPrime | Origin • FireSideWizard
Critical Failures - Havenhold CampaignAugust St. Cloud (Human Ranger)
MagicPrime on


  • badpoetbadpoet Registered User regular
    On your questions, yes you should be able to hook the antenna into your existing coax. The cable would plug directly into the digital receivers in the TVs and then for the analog TVs you need the converter boxes.

    I went without cable for years and only have it now to get local channels that simply don't come in well with the antenna. I watch very little network TV. I use my Playstation 3 upstairs as our media center. Between Vudu movies we rent (new release), Netflix streaming, and using to get Hulu, TBS, TNT, and ESPN 3 to the PS3, it was a pretty easy transition. You just have to be willing to wait to see shows (Hulu is a week behind for many shows). I find it forces me to give shows that I would not otherwise bothered to watch and we've found some decent shows that both I and my significant other like.

  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    My wife and I did this back in February. By far, the centerpiece of my media addiction is a Boxee box. It makes the tv watching SO much more convenient, and if you're savvy about downloading your tv/movies, it's the best way to watch and manage them.

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
  • Jebus314Jebus314 Registered User regular
    My wife and I also have made this switch recently. A few things to keep in mind:

    1) keeping up with current shows will be pretty frustrating. Almost no one gives decent information on what content will be available online, or when it will be available. Also often times they will be dicks about it, like showing the first two episodes a week after the air date, and then postponing the rest of the episodes to a month after the air date. Maybe you'll luck out and all of your shows will be relatively easy to get, but be prepared for some frustration.

    On the other hand, if you like to watch a lot of older stuff so that you can watch a whole season in a row, or if you don't really care about consistent scheduling, it works out pretty great for a lot less money.

    2) To get the most content it would be best to switch to a more robust controlling device. Like a keyboard and mouse, or some sort of qwerty remote. You can do all sorts of neat things to get regular remote to work with a HTPC, but the bottom line is there will always be some stuff that will just be easier to get to with a browser, using a regular keyboard/mouse. I do a little of both with things like WMC/hulu desktop/netflix controlled by the regular remote (with some help from event ghost), but I also have a wireless keyboard/mouse ready for when I just want to hit up for some shows.

    3) I haven't actually tried the antenna route, but my research seems to indicate that depending on where you live, you may or may not get all the channels that are broadcast.

    4) There are lots of programs available to organize your media and improve your online tv experience. The main contenders that I've heard of are Windows Media Center (WMC), Boxee, and Xbox Media Center (XBMC, which ironically doesn't support the xbox anymore). I've been using WMC and I'm pretty happy with it. It can integrate hulu desktop, and netflix; it can play dvd's natively, and integrates with TMT 5 for bluray playback; and it has tv playing/recording functionality built in, if you have a tv tuner card.

    "The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it" - Dr Horrible
  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime FiresideWizard Registered User regular
    The computer I am re purposing was pretty robust back in 09 when I built her, and I upgraded it a time or two. I was playing Bad Company 2 on it up until I built her replcaement.

    From what I've read people have made nice Media PCs with a lot less to work with. A tv tuner card might be a good idea.

    BNet • magicprime#1430 | PSN/Steam • MagicPrime | Origin • FireSideWizard
    Critical Failures - Havenhold CampaignAugust St. Cloud (Human Ranger)
  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    Look closely at boxee and the other dedicated media boxes. The power savings and low profile may be worth it to you b

  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    If you don't want a PS3 for power use then look into the Western Digital boxes.

  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime FiresideWizard Registered User regular
    I dont want to use my PS3 for wear/tear on the PS3. My backwards compatible 80gig died a few months ago from overheating.

    BNet • magicprime#1430 | PSN/Steam • MagicPrime | Origin • FireSideWizard
    Critical Failures - Havenhold CampaignAugust St. Cloud (Human Ranger)
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