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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!
 

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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. :-(
 

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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.
 

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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...).
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #68
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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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.
 

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Video would definitely help the "wife-acceptance-factor." :D

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"... :rolleyes:
 

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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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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. :eek: 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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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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* 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.
Bucketo,

Thanks for sharing your story and updates.
Please let us know in due course how you find the service quality on premierleaguelive.tv.

I find this "premium" service to be consistently one of the poorest performing sports streams available - it often feels like watching an LS Lowry animated movie it mildly sticks and jumps continually, not to mention the times when the game suddenly jumps back up to 10 minutes for no reason - but only in the most crucial games of course. The one thing that seems to work consistently well on the stream is the audio, it does not stick even when the picture does.

I find the service most useful to be able to flick and change between different games that I'm following on a Saturday, but pretty weak for actually sitting down and enjoying a match.

Hard to fathom since it is sold by Rogers Sportsnet and distributed to me over Rogers Cable high speed internet. You would think that even Rogers ought to be able to get that right! It is not technically difficult.

For me, this is the toughest part of my own cutting cable TV experiment. I subsbcribed to Setanta from 2006 - first via an ITVN box (wasn't that bad actually when few subscribers in the early days), and then via Shaw digital cable for the next three years when Setanta Canada launched.
 

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Discussion Starter #77
Obed, funny that you posted this yesterday because I was so frustrated with it during the Everton v Fulham game that I turned it off and cancelled shortly after.

I emailed support about it and they got back to me saying to turn off hardware acceleration by right clicking playing window and unchecking it on the 1st tab. Didn't do anything for me.

I can't currently recommend this site to anyone now. We are almost through the season and this stuff is still happening. The skipping around was just frustrating.

In comparison I streamed the 12 hr Sebring car race yesterday with 90% of the time the picture was crystal clear...

So for now I'll be sticking with setanta-i.com. Watching it now for my Sunday soccer fix and it's rock solid. I'll turn to the not-so-legal sites to watch my Everton boys play when not on Setanta, at least the video works there :)
 

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Thanks for replying Bucketo. Good luck with the rest of the cutting of cable TV.

One has to wonder whether Rogers are deliberately throttling back the web feeds to "encourage" folks to buy digital boxes and subscribe to a whole package of channels they don't want to watch before they pay the "extra" for the football they really want... ?
 

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Thanks for replying Bucketo. Good luck with the rest of the cutting of cable TV.

One has to wonder whether Rogers are deliberately throttling back the web feeds to "encourage" folks to buy digital boxes and subscribe to a whole package of channels they don't want to watch before they pay the "extra" for the football they really want... ?
One does have to wonder that, doesn't one?

It's a bit ridiculous we feel that way about our major ISP's and content providers, but all these plans they come up with to wring even more money out of the media-consuming public makes you think.
 

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* 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.
I'm considering getting Hulu Plus just to have access to ALL of their archived TV episodes. But they still provide recently aired episodes for free, right? This hasn't been a major source of content for me yet. I'm trying to make the access to what my wife wants to watch as easy and as similar to a "cable-box" DVR as possible for my wife. She doesn't want to root thru a website searching for a particular episode, she wants to just go "click" once and have it come on.
* Netflix USA ($7/month). We watch tv series on here - Battle Star Galatica etc and some movies/docs.
We already have this. Kids like it a lot, but the wife isn't very impressed with their online selection.
* 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...
Looks interesting, but I haven't had a chance to try it out just yet. An "anti-cable" website - DisableMyCable.com - has a similar "internet remote." But don't think my dear wife would care for it. Maybe after she buys into the whole "cutting the cable" idea, but not right off the bat. Her biggest stated objection so far has been not wanting to have to click thru a bunch of menus to get at her shows.
* 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.
I'm still experimenting with the Boxee (on PC). It still looks like it could tip the "convenience argument" in favor of cable-cutting by aggregating all content in one spot. I'm still "tweaking" to get everything the wife will want on here.
* 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.
Just downloaded the "Boxee Remote" onto my son's I-Pod Touch. Seems like an okay TV-type remote. Could help the "convenience argument" again due to it's familiar operation and the fact that it could go on my wife's I-Phone (which is always near to her!).
* 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.
I'm considering buying a USB or Express Card TV tuner for the Toshiba Satellite that's currently hooked up to the TV (for the Boxee) in order to record OTA broadcasts. But that doesn't seem to be a major concern right now. I've been able to get quite a few episodes (of shows not on the Boxee) using the Torrent Episode Downloader (TED) and uTorrent - they show up listed in the Boxee (again, helping with the single location "convenience factor"). A lot of them seem to be available within a few hours of the original episode airing, in plenty of time for my wife.

But for local live TV, we can get all of the OTA broadcasts (45 total, including the subchannels) for our "market area" (Orlando-Daytona Beach) with a simple "Stealth Hawk" antenna hidden in the attic. So that's covered already.
* Sports...
I'm something of a sports fan myself. But down here in Central Florida, there's still quite a few games still broadcast in OTA. So I'm still satisfied. But more of it is shifting over to specialty cable channels. However, if there's a game on cable that I just HAVE TO see (rare), then I'll just go around the corner to Beef O'Brady's (a US "Family-Sports-Pub" chain) and have some Buffalo wings & a beer along with the game. Out-of-market NFL games are my biggest "want," but I refuse to pay for Direct TV just to get the overpriced "Sunday Ticket." I have a feeling that the NFL will be streaming games online in the next year or two anyway with a much more reasonable "ala carte" price structure.
* 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.
I'm still struggling with getting my wife to even sit down and seriously look at it. Her "solution" is to simply switch from our current Bright House (Time Warner) Cable-Internet-Phone bundle to a similar but slightly cheaper At&T U-Verse bundle (with a 2-year contract).
* If anyone needs a video to help "convince" let me know, I'll put one up on youTube showing it's use.
This would be immensely helpful. Actually seeing the ease of use would go a long way in convincing my wife to give up that expensive cable bill.
 
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