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Dish? Cable? U-Verse? OTA? Nothing?


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#21 Darren H

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 11:49 AM

As of this morning, we no longer have DirecTV. For Christmas, I bought two more Rokus and signed up for HuluPlus, and now I just need to order an antenna. I just wish DirecTV had waited until after the Tennessee-Kentucky game to kill our service. ;)

Edited by Darren H, 14 January 2012 - 11:50 AM.


#22 Christian

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:44 PM

Good cord-cutting story: http://jimromenesko....ast/#more-13135

Edited by Christian, 17 April 2012 - 12:44 PM.


#23 Darren H

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:49 PM

Three months later our only regret is that we didn't do it years ago. I even got rid of my HuluPlus subscription. With a $20 antenna, we get NBC, CBS, and PBS, which I only watch for the occasional sporting event. Otherwise, I just don't watch TV anymore. And when there is something I really want to see -- Mad Men, for example -- I just buy it from amazon.com.

#24 Christian

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 02:13 PM

Three months later our only regret is that we didn't do it years ago. I even got rid of my HuluPlus subscription. With a $20 antenna, we get NBC, CBS, and PBS, which I only watch for the occasional sporting event. Otherwise, I just don't watch TV anymore. And when there is something I really want to see -- Mad Men, for example -- I just buy it from amazon.com.

That's great, Darren. I had pushed Sarah on the idea of buying "Mad Men" in individual episodes (I'd heard iTunes was the way to go, but I've never "bought" TV episodes via Amazon or iTunes) but she was cool to the idea. Then AMC posted the season premiere on its website, and I figured I'd watch each episode there. Except that the network stopped posting full episodes after the premiere.

Meanwhile, I unhooked the VCR from our TV the other night so I could hook up the antenna and watch broadcast TV, but the antenna didn't work. I tried a couple of possible fixes, but none worked, leading me to wonder if the antenna is -- gasp! -- broken. I keep telling myself that I did something foolish, that the situation will correct itself. But I'm not sure. And even if the antenna IS broken, I'm not sure I care enough to buy another.

#25 Darren H

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:41 AM

I love the Amazon model. I bought the HD season pass for Mad Men, which cost about $35 and which bought me lifetime access to the HD version of each episode. I have a Roku for each of our TVs, so I can watch the episodes at any time from any of our TVs and from any web device (computer, iPad, etc.). I wish I could trade in my entire DVD collection for access to the same films in the Amazon cloud.

#26 Christian

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:43 AM

So the quality of Amazon cloud movies is superior to your DVDs? We've discussed this elsewhere, can't remember where (maybe earlier in this thread), but I've been wondering how many Blu-ray titles I should buy now that I have a Blu-ray player. We're looking to add a widget to the Blu-ray player that will allow us to stream TV shows off our computer (we don't have a Netflix sub), but I thought Blu-ray DVDs were superior to the resolution of streamed movies, even in HD.

Sorry if this is getting off subject.

#27 Anders

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:57 AM

So the quality of Amazon cloud movies is superior to your DVDs? We've discussed this elsewhere, can't remember where (maybe earlier in this thread), but I've been wondering how many Blu-ray titles I should buy now that I have a Blu-ray player. We're looking to add a widget to the Blu-ray player that will allow us to stream TV shows off our computer (we don't have a Netflix sub), but I thought Blu-ray DVDs were superior to the resolution of streamed movies, even in HD.

Sorry if this is getting off subject.


Blu-ray is much better than the quality of streamed movies. Plus, it would be prohibitive (especially if you have a data cap) to download/stream blu-rays (which are 30-50 GB). But streaming is pretty much the same (or better) than standard definition discs (DVD), though I think you'll find that your blu-ray player will upgrade the visuals on many of your DVDs. I can see investing in a few blu-rays for the films that you really love, but for the most part streaming is great and takes up less space. The only thing you miss out on is special features and extras.

#28 Darren H

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:29 AM

Blu-rays definitely look better than streaming video, although, honestly, I'm seldom conscious of the difference. On a whim the other night I started watching Punch-Drunk Love on Netflix streaming, and when it got to the grocery store scene, where the camera dollies quickly along a shelf of products in high-contrast lighting, I stopped it and pulled out my standard DVD. The lower bit rate becomes more obvious when the camera is moving.

#29 Darren H

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:58 AM

Also, as Anders alluded to, the problem with streaming is not the technology itself; it's bandwidth. If Amazon has an HD transfer in its cloud, it should be exactly the same digital content that you'd find on a Blu-ray disc. That file can look and sound just as good as the disc. But that data has to get to my TV somehow, and there are a lot of junctions between my set and the cloud. The reason I'm not investing much money in Blu-rays is because we're still on the cusp of streaming technology. I have no doubt that ten years from now I'll have a lot more bandwidth -- and a better router -- in my home, and hopefully those HD episodes of Mad Men Season 5 will still be sitting there for me to access.

#30 Anders

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:13 AM

Also, as Anders alluded to, the problem with streaming is not the technology itself; it's bandwidth. If Amazon has an HD transfer in its cloud, it should be exactly the same digital content that you'd find on a Blu-ray disc. That file can look and sound just as good as the disc. But that data has to get to my TV somehow, and there are a lot of junctions between my set and the cloud. The reason I'm not investing much money in Blu-rays is because we're still on the cusp of streaming technology. I have no doubt that ten years from now I'll have a lot more bandwidth -- and a better router -- in my home, and hopefully those HD episodes of Mad Men Season 5 will still be sitting there for me to access.


This is true, to an extent. The HD content that streams right now isn't quite the same as the digital content on a Blu-ray disc (streaming a HD film doesn't take 25-50 GB of data, more like 5-6 GB). I have concerns about the way that ISPs are throttling bandwidth and imposing data caps at the same time that they are pushing people to go streaming.

Streaming has a set of challenges ahead of it that are mostly logistical and economic, not technological.

#31 Thom Wade

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:25 AM

Even HD streaming is not full HD. 90% of HD streaming is 720p. All blu-rays are 1080p which is going to be a crisper picture.

#32 Darren H

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:34 AM

Right. There are all kinds of reasons that Amazon and Netflix are currently throttling their streams. Again, it's the bandwidth issue. There's no reason for them to pass a 50GB 1080p stream when, as Anders mentioned, some ISPs cap bandwidth. Plus, the line into my home and the wireless router two floors away from my big-screen TV wouldn't be able to handle that much data right now anyway (not without long, annoying buffer times). But those issues will be solved in time, and I'm content to wait it out rather than invest in Blu-rays, which are another dying medium.

#33 Christian

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:14 PM

But those issues will be solved in time, and I'm content to wait it out rather than invest in Blu-rays, which are another dying medium.

I think I am, too, considering how life and finances have gone (both pretty great, but finances are not as free as they once were, even as income has risen). But there was a time when "I'm content to wait" would've struck me as anathema if one was a film buff. I collected a lot of big, shiny laserdiscs simply because they were the ONLY way to watch moves letterboxed, and I refused to see movies panned and scanned or horribly cropped, because the experience of watching a movie that way wasn't fair to the film. I'd sometimes see a letterboxed print of a movie I'd seen and not liked earlier on VHS or TV, and I'd done a complete turnabout on the film.

Now letterboxing is commonplace, but that wasn't a foreseeable outcome for me when I was dropping my spare cash on those $50-per-movie-for-a-barebones-edition discs. That we can now be "content to wait" shows how far home-theater viewing has come in the intervening years.

Edited by Christian, 18 April 2012 - 02:57 PM.


#34 Thom Wade

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:56 PM

The solutions to picture quality and streaming are quite a ways off.

The pro-streaming people seem to often miss a big point... cost.

Cost and ownership. Streaming means when you purchase a movie or tv series digitally? You have no control over it. This is why movie companies like streaming and digital copies. You cannot resell it. You pay for it-even if you buy it-the ownership is not yours. The movie company still owns it. And if they suddenly decide that there is a time limit to your access? They can make a change to the agreement and take that movie or tv series away. One of the thinks that damaged the Ultraviolet Cloud service was that your digital copy had a limited life span and they could take it away from you at their whim.

To buy a movie digitally is not much cheaper than buying a blu-ray or DVD-except you have no extras (less product for the same price-what a deal). Wo do you think will pay for the bandwidth issues? Those are not going away, in fact they are getting worse.

And Netflix could never survive on $7.99 unlimited streaming alone. They will move to a tiered system with limits to your streaming when they finally dump discs. Unlimited streaming will go away...and you will never truly own a movie again. As a movie fan? I say no thanks to streaming. Streaming is nice for nostalgia and watching movies I don't care about...but if the future is streaming, the future is bleak and costly.

Edited by Nezpop, 18 April 2012 - 01:56 PM.


#35 Darren H

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:43 PM

So there will be new costs associated with having immediate access to a near-bottomless library of films and tv shows? Shocking! ;)

To bring this conversation back to the original topic: I'm paying about $35 to store "my" copy of season 5 of Mad Men on the Amazon cloud. I'm happy to do that because the cable/dish model is dying, and because the explosion of new streaming technologies and over-the-air HD signals has allowed me to save the nearly $500 I would've sent to DirecTV over the past four months (most of it to cover the rising costs of ESPN's exclusive contracts with the NFL and BCS conferences). I bet I spent nearly $5,000 on DVDs during the 12 years I collected them, and I've only pulled two or three of them off the shelf in the past year.

Having said all that, I get the collector's mentality. I own hundreds of CDs and have no immediate plans to lighten that load. I love books and love to write in my copies of books. But if you think the streaming future is bleak, you must not remember the joy of watching a pan-and-scan VHS copy of 2001 on a 19" tube television. ;)

#36 Thom Wade

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:33 PM

Having said all that, I get the collector's mentality. I own hundreds of CDs and have no immediate plans to lighten that load. I love books and love to write in my copies of books. But if you think the streaming future is bleak, you must not remember the joy of watching a pan-and-scan VHS copy of 2001 on a 19" tube television. Posted Image


What?! Those were the good old days! :) ;)

I think the thing is, I will take the control a disc gives me over the lack of control Netflix gives me any day. Plus, I hate how movies appear and disappear from the streaming option. And that is a problem that will continue. The price of straming will go up because the fact is, just like DirecTV raises fees to cover costs, I cannot see any way the same problem will not hit streaming pricing. It takes a lot of negotiation to get the rights to movies for streaming...and it is shiny and costly. :)

#37 Darren H

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:07 AM

Netgear introduces first gigabit wireless router:

http://www.netgear.c...2/09262010.aspx

It doesn't solve ISP throttling or any number of other technical/legal/financial problems, but each advance like this gets us one step closer to true HD streaming.

#38 Thom Wade

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 11:24 AM

When it comes to throttling...there will be no third party user based solution.

#39 Jason Panella

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 06:32 PM

AV Club: "Hulu to usher in exciting era of not-at-all-free TV streaming by requiring cable subscription."

#40 Christian

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:43 PM

I'll be interested to see how streaming develops and the prices. It could become the answer for those who have always wanted a la carte cable, which cable companies are loath to provide. If I could get the channels of my choice on Roku, cable would be gone.

Just searched "Roku" and found Darrel's note. We bought a Roku right after Black Friday, but we're disappointed with how little free-viewing options it has. We've decided to return it. Perhaps if we were Hulu Plus or Netflix subscribers, we'd enjoy the interface. But we're not, so the only movie channel we get is Crackle. I watched some of Bakshi's American Pop, and that was cool, although it had commercials. The news channels are segments from various shows. I'm not sure what I expected, but not that.

Now that we know what we're not missing, a return label is on the way.