Cutting Cable TV Experiment - Page 5 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #61 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-08, 03:56 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Saskatoon, SK
Posts: 80
I called my cable provider yesterday to cancel, and they offered me my current service free for six months to stick around.

I think I will take this six months to evalutate other methods, and slowly decrease the use of cable. By then I should have access to some OTA stations (I live in Saskatoon, SK, and as far as I know no one is broadcasting digital here yet).

I think in the end I will end up with:
OTA connected to my Hauppauge HVR-2250
Hulu and Netflix (US) via a VPN (Still trying to find the best provider)
PlayOn Media Server to amalgamate online content
TubeCore (To get PlayOn inside Media Center)
MediaBrowser (Media center plugin for other content)

And then just download anything I happen to miss.

I currently am using my supernews account with sabnzbd and sickbeard to download TV shows that my media center happens to miss or fails to record due to CGMS-A. I feel since I'm a legit TV subscriber at the moment, there's less of a moral issue there since everything I download is also available as part of my cable subscription, and since I use media center I rarely see commercials anymore (automatic commercial skipping for the win!)

At any rate, the cable bill works out to $42 a month that could be better spent on other services. And the best part: My wife is totally on board with it!

ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO with AMD PhenomII X6 T1075 and 8GB RAM
Win7 Home Premium->XBOX360 Extenders
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post #62 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-08, 05:30 PM
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Try <spammer removed> for 'vpn' it is actually a DNS redirect and it works for all the sites you need. Others have complained that using it messes up access to Canadian sites, but I was able to do both at the same time by leaving my router as is (ISPs DNS) and just changing the DNS on my wireless card.

WAF was horrible with HULU due to the fact it has commercials in its movies. :-(

Last edited by admin; 2011-03-11 at 07:51 AM. Reason: Spammer name removed.
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post #63 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-09, 10:27 PM
 
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Weird, <spammer name removed> works if I go to, say, hulu.com in my browser, but in Media Center (using tubecore with playon) I get the "Must be US" message.

Wondering if I'd have the same issue with a VPN. Don't want to sign up since I can't find a reputable VPN service with a free trial. Have to try sometime.

ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO with AMD PhenomII X6 T1075 and 8GB RAM
Win7 Home Premium->XBOX360 Extenders
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post #64 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-09, 10:52 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Saskatoon, SK
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Hmmmm, oddly enough, Netflix US works with PlayOn/TubeCore in Media Center. Signed up for a free trial just to test it out.

I think I might try out StrongVPN just to see if a VPN will work (I can get a money back guarantee in the first 7 days, so it's no risk...).

ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO with AMD PhenomII X6 T1075 and 8GB RAM
Win7 Home Premium->XBOX360 Extenders
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post #65 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-09, 10:56 PM
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Is your PC locale set to the US? Windows also does some weird stuff to try and guess your location. WMC might be looking at either of those. Either way, it's best to dump WMC and all other MS media software. There are other media solutions available that are not so US centric and try to do what's best for the customer instead of what's best for MS.

At 20 I had a good mind. At 40 I had money. At 60 I've lost my mind and my money. Oh, to be 20 again. --Scary
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post #66 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-09, 11:22 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Saskatoon, SK
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Tried using StrongVPN with PlayOn and TubeCore and same results. No access to HULU using PlayOn, but works fine in my browser.

Perhaps I'll post on their forums and see if they have a solution.

ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO with AMD PhenomII X6 T1075 and 8GB RAM
Win7 Home Premium->XBOX360 Extenders
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post #67 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-09, 11:36 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Saskatoon, SK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScaryBob View Post
Is your PC locale set to the US? Windows also does some weird stuff to try and guess your location. WMC might be looking at either of those. Either way, it's best to dump WMC and all other MS media software. There are other media solutions available that are not so US centric and try to do what's best for the customer instead of what's best for MS.
I stick with WMC and Extenders because I have three xbox 360's, and it works for all my local media *perfectly*.

I found the solution though. PlayOn is actually checking a service called maxmind, and if I'm trying to access through a proxy/vpn it blocks it. Adding:
127.0.0.1 j.maxmind.com
127.0.0.1 maxmind.com
to the hosts file and restarting PlayOn solves it.

So, in order to use Hulu with PlayOn/TubeCore in media center, or PlayOn on a PS3, Wii, XBOX360, etc, if you are using a proxy service or a vpn you need to add those two lines to your hosts file.

This is pretty awesome.

EDIT: Just re-read your comment, and had to add something. I thought about that too, since when I set up Media Center I said I was in Canada to get the right program guide data...so I specifically changed my locale to US as well with no success. Only adding those two addresses to my hosts file got it to work.

ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO with AMD PhenomII X6 T1075 and 8GB RAM
Win7 Home Premium->XBOX360 Extenders
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post #68 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-10, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Kanata, HDhomeRun Duel, EyeTV 3.0, macMini (2011)
Posts: 359
Hey guys,

Lots of good info being posted, thanks for that. Here's an update on our end.

Our cable is officially cut. We've sold a Rogers HD box as well as one of the PVRs (and some other electronics around the house) and bought a refurbed macMini that is acting as the central hub hanging off the tv.

Here is the current (and most likely final) setup:

* macMini on main tv.
* Hulu Plus ($7/month), covers about 80% of what my wife watches. We have a Plus account as some shows keep all episodes available under this package. House, Lie To Me etc. That takes the pressure off having to keep up weekly with watching. Not all shows do this archiving though.
* Netflix USA ($7/month). We watch tv series on here - Battle Star Galatica etc and some movies/docs.
* VPN. As a few have mentioned we are also using usvideo.org ($5/month). As a backup I have a traditional VPN service with OverPlay.net ($10/month).
* http://bucketo.ca/tv . I've setup a tv homepage to make life easy getting to videos outside hulu and netflix. CBS doesn't have vids on Hulu so we go to the site directly for some stuff. There is also some good stuff on Discovery and History. PBS also has a bunch of stuff to fill the "specialty" niche when you've had enough of the blood and guts on primetime hehe. The VPN section we have to use Overplay as they don't work with usvideo. HGTV has a ton of videos online, pretty much their whole catalog. +1 for the wife factor here...
* Boxee. We have this running on the macMini. It gets minimal use these days, it's actually been easier to just use the website to launch directly to the sites as needed.
* Controlling macMini. We use an app on the iPad called Mobile Mouse. Very handy! It actually shows your mac Menu Bar making it easy to launch and kill apps. We also remote in from a macBook when more fine control is needed. You can also get mini bluetooth keyboards/track balls but we haven't had to get one of those yet.
* Bonus content. We have an OTA antenna setup and jacked into our mac via eyeTV. The antenna is only in the house right now, not on the roof. We use it to record off CTV which luckily they carry a lot of CBS shows (that's aren't in Hulu). We use the native eyeTV app to watch the shows allowing for quick fast forwarding and rewinding. If eyeTV is running on another mac in the house you can get at it via UpNp but as you may know fast forwarding over UpNp is not as tight.
* Sports. I'm a soccer fan and hockey fan of course. Setanta-i is $16.99, same as the tv channel in most markets. PremierLeagueLive.tv is $14.99 and is a collaboration with Setanta and Sportsnet. They show 90% of the EPL games live. The only ones they don't have rights to are the ones that Fox Sports or ESPN pickup. They don't make this obvious but it's usually 1 game a week. ESPN3.com will play it if they have the rights. If FOX has it you are SOL. I have subs to both now for testing, I love my Sunday morning Setanta coverage so it's hard to let it go. As for hockey there is NHL.com's GameCenter Live. The blackout restrictions bother me. I understand the reasoning to protect ad revenue but I don't have tv. I've emailed them to state my case that you can't assume people have traditional TV anymore. they responded and were pretty cool about it. There are other options to watch hockey that are most likely less legal. Yahoo Hockey usually streams one live game a night for free.

Thoughts:
* This really has been easier than expected.
* Hulu has to get separate rights to stream to the "web" and to devices like the PS3 and iPad. Keep that in mind as the web will have everything but the PS3 may or may not depending on what shows you watch. It's a bit of a pain but the macMini has eliminated that issue. Netflix doesn't have this issue.
* A&E is the only site that doesn't play too well with usvideo or a vpn. The featured vid links willwork but going to a shows page to get a full list of episodes doesn't currently work.
* Wife Factor. It's really not too bad, biggest part is showing the potential of Hulu, how it auto queues etc. If they tend to spend a lot of time on specialty channels we've got your HGTV covered. TLC not so much yet but I'm watching them and will report back.
* What's nice about this is we have the control over what we pay for.

* If anyone needs a video to help "convince" let me know, I'll put one up on youTube showing it's use.
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post #69 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-10, 09:32 AM
 
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Thanks for the update and a video would be great to show the wife
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post #70 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-10, 10:07 AM
 
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Absolutely - would love to see a video of your full setup. It sounds like you've done a great job with it and are happy with the results.

Panasonic 65ZT60 | Pioneer Elite PRO-730HD | Marantz SR8200 | Elite DV-59AVi | Mirage OM series | Custom HTPC
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post #71 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-17, 07:08 AM
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Video would definitely help the "wife-acceptance-factor."

In my case, showing access as easy as a DVR to "her shows" - Intervention (A&E), Ruby (Style Network), Oprah (syndicated), various "Real Housewives" (Bravo), Bethenny Getting Married? (Bravo), Heavy (A&E), etc.

Currently, I've been trying to use Boxee (on a PC) to try and replicate a cable DVR box. It functions pretty well for a lot of TV shows, but among my wife's shows, I can only find "Intervention" on it. I'm trying to back that up with TED (Torrent Episode Downloader) and uTorrent, but it's still missing most of "her" shows. It's great that your wife will go thru website links, Hulu, etc. to view her shows, but mine won't.

So I'd like to tie everything thru Boxee (or MythTV or Sage or whatever will work) to get the equivalent of the wife's beloved cable DVR.

Getting her to switch the TV between the antenna (for local TV) and a PVR should be "do-able" since she's already switching it for the DVD player for some movies and the Wii to stream Netflix. But anything more than that and she'll dig in her heels to keep the cable (and that big bill) for the "convenience"...

Last edited by Dennis_D; 2011-03-17 at 08:20 AM.
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post #72 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-17, 07:37 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Kanata, HDhomeRun Duel, EyeTV 3.0, macMini (2011)
Posts: 359
Yup, I'm gonna do it up guys. I'll either get iphone propped up or get the old dvi recorder out of the closet and set it up on a tripod and record the setup.
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post #73 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-17, 09:50 AM
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 45
if you have not herd, go to YouTube and search for "coat hanger antenna", easiest to build, also under 300ohms post will guide you to a little more skillful design then the one on YouTube for a DIY OTA style antenna.
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post #74 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-17, 12:25 PM
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Don't waste your time on a coat hanger antenna. We've tested and retested those youtube designs over the years and they are junk. You can read all about the proof of that in this thread:

OTA Clone, Coat Hanger, and Junk Antennas

If you are going to take the time to build an OTA antenna, here is how to build the best one for your own situation:

Best Do-It-Yourself OTA Antennas - see these links

A reminder to all that this site is the one and only home to the Gray Hoverman antenna, and we are understandably very proud of it.



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post #75 of 108 (permalink) Old 2011-03-18, 10:59 PM
 
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If it helps with the wife acceptance factor, I have a similar set up as above (except I'm only paying for VPN and Netflix) and my wife is very happy with the setup.

I also store my own media (heavily influenced from a Zip membership) and use Plex on a Mac Mini. Hooked up with a harmony remote it's pretty simplistic. From $190/month on rogers to around $50 a month of roll my own services. We've run the system for almost a year and a half now.

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