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Your Guide to Cable TV Cord-Cutting

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Last response: in Streaming Video & TVs
December 2, 2013 2:00:07 AM

Is it time to ditch cable or satellite TV? Follow this guide to figure out the best and cheapest ways to watch your favorite TV programs.

Your Guide to Cable TV Cord-Cutting : Read more

More about : guide cable cord cutting

December 2, 2013 3:16:12 AM

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December 2, 2013 3:27:18 AM

I cut the cord and instead of replacing the TV with alternatives like netflix, hulu and HBOgo I became more active. Started going to the gym doing volunteer work etc. Not only did I save money but I am a much better person than I used to be.

Thank you greedy Cable/media companies for helpinh me curb my addiction to the boobtube. I never would have gotten off the horse if it was not for your greed.
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Related resources
December 2, 2013 5:20:26 AM

I'm surprised they did not discuss XBMC all you need is a device that can stream like laptop,raspbery pi,apple tv ver 2 jail broken,any apple ipad,any android device,any desktop or mini pc.
I bought a mini pc lenovo q190 with multimedia remote and installed XBMC problem with dedicated streamers is the mfg drops support after 2 years like boxee box i use to have one but now they are no longer supported XMBC is FREE open source home theater software the ultimate in cord cutting software.
Does everything from streaming netfilx,hulu,hulu plus any streaming website, will sort out your digital movie library and is skinable giving you the look you want.
Sad thing about cable now my provider has encrypted every channel making my computer pvr useless now you HAVE to rent their equipment.
I have not turned on a tv in over 10 years just can't imagine wasting my time watching commercials or paying for 100's of channels i don't watch.

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December 2, 2013 6:09:09 AM

I mostly have cable for football on the weekends and just flipping through the channel guide has a certain, I dunno..."something" that flipping through my Netflix queue lacks. Plus the commercials give me a chance to close my eyes and take a nice long nap.
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a b x TV
December 2, 2013 6:31:35 AM

I went the last 5 years without cable TV(or satellite) service. I used Netflix, and used a digital converter(I have an older TV) to get about 8 local tv stations. I haven't felt the need for cable. I do have a high speed cable internet connection, and about 2 months ago Comcast offered a bundle price cheaper than I was paying for just the high speed internet. I now have good bandwidth (almost 40 Mbps) and about 100 cable channels.
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December 2, 2013 7:01:37 AM

Another way to save money with a laptop/desktop home computer with xbmc and a usb ota/qam/clear tuner with an antenna you can get local channels for cost of a usb tv tuner.
Then you can install free pvr software like nextpvr and your all set.
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December 2, 2013 7:59:42 AM

I can't recommend getting a TV antenna more. I get 26 English language channels, including all the major networks and all the Denver Broncos games. No charge after I bought the antenna. I use a $40 iView 3500STB to record shows, and I don't even have to pay for an internet connection unless I want extra entertainment. I do have an internet connection, and use Playon to stream free Hulu to my Roku equipped TVs. And, I have Amazon Prime just because I can. I can hook the hard drive from the iView to my PC and stream to the Rokus also. I'm still only paying around $50 a month for entertainment (internet and Amazon Prime).
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December 2, 2013 8:02:20 AM

Hulu plus is worthless, they still only have clips.

An antenna, XBMC, Xbox Video/amazon season pass and hulu desktop is all u need.

You won't miss paying all the cable tv taxes also!
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December 2, 2013 8:33:43 AM

I've got cable (Standard Def), phone and internet from Comcast, and my bill is like $150/month. If I cut out the cable (we don't watch that much live tv, and could probably stream all or most of the content we want + local tv via antenna) the internet and phone price would probably clock in at about the same amount. That's how they get ya.

Now if we had a serious competitor to Comcast in my area, that might change.
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December 2, 2013 9:20:08 AM

You're missing your target audience with this piece. We are enthusiasts and IT professionals, yet you fail to mention any newer HTPC solutions, transcoders, ATSC antenna configurations or web interfaces for torrents clients.
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December 2, 2013 9:44:47 AM

You guys always leave out very important and viable solutions when you do these articles.

What about Silicondust Homerun dual?

http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/hdhomerun...

With one of these and an antenna you can have full DVR functionality and use XBMC, Myth, WMC, etc. Yet you never mention this.

You can also get the Homerun Prime if you want to keep your cable but not use the cable co.'s STB's.

You never mention ceton.

Never mention anything about what is going on with Google Fiber as they spread out from Kansas City to other cities. I know this is not cord cutting but its a cheap alternative with superior performance that is eventually going pto be nation wide, so why not discuss it?

In other words if your going to talk HTPC or anything regarding cord cutting you should do it right and give all the options, not just cherry pick.
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December 2, 2013 10:22:59 AM

They are not missing the target audiences with the article. They just aren't showing you the dodgy, grey, or illegal ways. They are showing you the legit ways. Can't have Tom's be liable for someone downloading all of HBO's shows for free, and saying "I saw it on Tom's"
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December 2, 2013 10:46:59 AM

@rhinofart what is so dodgy gey or illegal about xbmc and having a tv tuner to pick up ota tv with free pvr software and streaming netflix,hulu in xbmc?.
HTPC are the way to go for serious cord cutters with xbmc it is free open source software yet they don't talk about this option?.
Also all networks have tv shows on their website for viewing all legal which you can access though xbmc or a web browser.
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December 2, 2013 12:15:58 PM

For those of you who cut the cord. how do you handle sports. I'm a big football fan, is there a way to stream games live?
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December 3, 2013 6:20:43 PM

I agree, what about Sports? I currently have uVerse u200 and 12mbps internet. My son loves to watch NBA and some cartoons and my wife and I barely watch the tube other than some shows and news. What options would we have? I tried a Mohu Leaf antenna, but when the weather is bad the signal is horrible. We watch tv in our rec room, but downstairs the signal isn't that good.
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December 23, 2013 6:06:34 PM

What am I missing here? Why do people write these articles, or brag about "cutting the cord and saving sooo much money' like it's possible unless you only want to watch the half dozen OTA stations in your area on a clear day. All the streaming services, all the network websites with shows mentioned require broadband. If you want to watch anything but CSI on your local CBS affiliate, that cable line or something similar is still going to be coming into your house and it's going to cost a lot of money. There will be a surcharge for Internet only from your cable/telcom provider.
All these articles act like Roku and your Smart TV are gonna just magically grab shows out of the ether!
Even if you use your Android phone to cast Netflix to your TV, you're going to have to pay your mobile phone company more money for all the bandwidth you are using.
You might end up saving $20 or more at the end of the day, but you're still going to be paying a lot of money if you want to watch TV. If you don't want to watch TV that's awesome. But this idea of "Free TV" when you're paying for broadband Internet access is just delusional.
Tell me I'm missing something here?
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January 20, 2014 7:39:15 PM

This article is relatively worthless without mentioning digital antennas, how to check for available channels, and what devices will allow you to record and playback those recorded shows. Also, people should keep an eye out for Aereo, a company getting a lot of press because it's battle with the networks is coming to the supreme court this year. Aereo does the digital antenna and recorder in the cloud, allowing you to live stream your TV shows on your computer.
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December 28, 2014 3:57:55 PM

I have a nice big Toshiba TV that's about a year old and a brand new little blue ray DVD player that has all these Netflix, Hulu, Roku thingy apps on it. I pay $40 a month for very crappy uverse internet with ATT (3 mbs) and $120 a month for even worse Dish satellite for 250 channels, of which we watch 25. I am sick of it. I just want to go back to the old fashioned TV of getting the channels that we watch. I am a complete tech idiot, so all this xbmc and such means nothing to me. I want to get an antenna to watch the local networks and news (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, CW). With the exception of The Walking Dead, there isn't a show that I absolutely can't wait a day or two to watch. I reallly don't want to wait 8 days, like many of the network websites do with showing new episodes. My son has xbox 1 (which runs just about 24/7), we use ipad, kindle, and laptop. So....to all your knowledgeable folks...what do I need besides my tv, blue ray player, and some cables to hook me up and cut my monthly expense. I am going to double my internet speed for $5 a month more and cut my satellite completely. What do I need to be able watch A&E, AMC, USA, TNT, and Syfy with my local networks? Those are the ones we watch the most.
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January 3, 2015 8:36:21 PM

Hello- I am a bit confused at this point. Probably to much research and to many articles. I had a recent change in my life-that I will have to cut most every extra bill out now. I need to get rid of my cox bundle. I want to find out the cheapest set up for watching my live regular channel shows and what I would need to tape them...maybe a DVR/ Tivo? I have read that I can get these basic channels with a good antenna. Does anyone know if I will be able to get Bravo or TLC with an antenna? I did read something about someone getting these cable channels with his clear stream 4 antenna set up. Would I need the Roku boxes for all three of my TV's or will one work for all three? Would it be cheaper in the long run to buy a smart TV with a DVR set up? I did read a tiny bit about the Tivo Roamio set up...seemed pricey for the monthly fee and the Tivo Box. I don't really get the WiFi internet set up with all of these devices? I do have an older computer that is my Fathers it is an AMD Athlon 64...it's really bad. I have a single router now...do I need a newer computer and a dual band router to be able to use the Roku or possibly use the amazon fire stick with the box? I know that all of my questions sound so so dumb- I am learning as I go- Sorry :( ((
I will have to still pay for high speed...does anyone know of a good company for that in the Vegas area they may be cheaper than Cox? Cox wants to much just for the high speed. My 84 yr old Father has been with Cox for 17 years - he has been paying them $278 per month...no sports channels or anything extra. Sadly my Father has moved to live with my Brother in Colorado. I got Cox down to $200 per month but with my change in circumstances I will need to cut the cord somehow. It's times like this that I wish I had a good techie in my life. If anyone can give me the simple easiest way to do this...I would be so very grateful. Thank You for your time and Smarts!!! I hope that everyone has a Great New Year!!!
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February 7, 2015 5:14:01 PM

this article is BS first of with all these streaming service u need a internet connection which u forget to include an decent connection would be at least 60 dollars a month with a tv package thats another 720 a year!! plus u only watches 5 shows, Hulu plus doesn't have the basic cable shows currently like Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters, Lost Girl that are current!! Netflix is at least 1 year behind, even with Amazon Prime u have to pay for current season!! but at least u did mention Live sports and u need to keep cable!! but here is the issue 6 dollars is too much for CBS if all the networks choose to follow suit, how many networks do u watch, see my point so cutting the cord is not practical
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March 13, 2015 6:17:50 PM

We cut cable ( Dish Network @ $108.00 Mo. ) 7 years ago. Had internet already, so added Netflix and Hulu @ $16.31 Mo. , for a savings of over $90.00 Mo. Added the extra $ to My 401K
for 7 years @ approx. 8% for a total savings of close to $10,000. We have better programing than ever, and watch ON DEMAND, so there is no need to ever record shows or stay up late to watch. We have since added Amazon Prime, which is similar to Netflix but better. This more than pays for itself with the free 2 day shipping on discounted items from Amazon.
No need for Cable. Cable is a WASTE OF MONEY !!!
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March 14, 2015 5:28:32 AM

I wish I had cut the cord sooner. However, better late than never. GREAT JOB enjoy the extra $10k in retirement
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April 16, 2015 9:49:40 AM

Many ISP's have bandwidth caps. Around here, the cost of going from 250GB/m is double the monthly, and double again going from 350GB/m. You can very easily hit caps like these in even a small household of 3. Consider that when cutting the cord.
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April 17, 2015 7:28:29 AM

Why is getting an Internet connected device slicker than using a PC? I don't think there's anything a PC can't do that one of these devices can do (ignoring the gaming devices), and a PC can also play DVDs and Blu-Ray discs as well as act as a DVR. The comment would be like saying that a Garmin GPS would be a slicker solution than using a smartphone with Google Maps for navigation.
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April 29, 2015 11:56:32 AM

This article is long on what gadgets you can buy that will theoretically enable you to cut the cord, but pathetically short on what providers actually offer internet only options. My experience with RCN in the Boston area was less than steller, and everywhere it seems like "promotional offers" are a false friend. They all start charging more after the first year with no limits to charges and extra fees down the line. Seems like a bait and switch routine to me.
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June 1, 2015 10:04:56 AM

I was seriously thinking about getting a Tivo Roamio OTA, plus 5 Mini-Tivos but I ran into something that was a deal breaker for me. Tivo Doesn't support Sling TV and that was going to be the centerpiece or my streaming channels, in addition to the OTA channels. Tablo, on the other hand, will pick up the same channels, has the same four tuners, and uses the highly regarded Roku as their recommended TV adapter, in addition to Apple TV, Chromecast, etc. Tablo also doesn't try to eliminate Sling TV. Tivo locks you into their EcoSystem and basically wants to dictate what services you can receive by requiring that all TV's have a Tivo-mini to connect them. Where a number of new streaming services will probably show up in the next 12 months, the Tablo provides the flexibility to grow as the market changes.
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January 27, 2016 12:07:54 PM

Can you tape shows like a dvr does on any of these streaming services? I like to tape network tv shows on nbc and abc. Is there a way to do that?
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a b x TV
January 27, 2016 6:56:53 PM

No; DRM and copyright rules get in the way of that. However, most of these are streaming anyway so you should be able to re-watch anything whenever and as often as you like.

Big issue is some may take the content down after a certain length of time - but I think you're legally required to do that if you tape an OTA show, it's just no-one does.
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January 28, 2016 10:44:55 AM

Loved the earlier version of the guide and thanks so much for the update. saved me a ton of time dealing with family and friends who want to know if/how cord cutting works. One category of media that's missing from the guide is news (CNN,FOX, CNBC, MSNBC, etc.) have had many questions about both live streaming and specific shows on these channels. would be great if you could address this topic in your next version
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March 1, 2016 9:58:54 AM

Thank you for the great information. This is just what I needed to know.
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April 20, 2016 7:54:51 AM

Streaming is a great way to attempt the cord cutting of cable TV, problem is most cable providers are starting caps for data download, and if you stream every day, you will hit the 250GB cap, as my family did in 20 days. So, there really is not way around the greed of companies like Comcast.
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May 3, 2016 5:35:17 AM

While all of these alternatives are fine most of them require an Internet connection. Unfortunately, due to the lack of competition in ISPs I have a choice between AT&T U-Verse and Comcast Xfinity. In order for me to have a half-decent Internet connection I had to also accept Comcast's cable TV service. Until we get real competition in the ISP market all this discussion is meaningless.
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a b x TV
May 3, 2016 6:11:20 AM

IslandConsulting said:
While all of these alternatives are fine most of them require an Internet connection. Unfortunately, due to the lack of competition in ISPs I have a choice between AT&T U-Verse and Comcast Xfinity. In order for me to have a half-decent Internet connection I had to also accept Comcast's cable TV service. Until we get real competition in the ISP market all this discussion is meaningless.


Same here, when I gave up on tv service, went to a lower internet tier.
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May 26, 2016 7:17:41 AM

I was looking for some mention of basic cable stations like CNBC, TNT, TBS, E and FOX PRIME SPORTS. How do I get those stations?
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a b x TV
May 26, 2016 7:26:39 AM

Over the air for local channels
the other one you have to pay.
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May 26, 2016 7:35:31 AM

From whom? Is this part of the digital antenna?
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a b x TV
May 26, 2016 8:05:32 AM

Arthur_16 said:
From whom? Is this part of the digital antenna?


Digital over the air for local channels. What you listed, CNBC, TNT, TBS, E and FOX PRIME SPORTS are not free.
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a b x TV
May 27, 2016 2:56:48 AM

The idea of 'cord cutting' is getting content like (and sometimes the same as) Cable TV without getting actual Cable TV.

Generally, this means stuff like streaming TV shows by episode, rather than watching the channel at the right time. Watch what you want to watch, not just what's on.

I believe there's a couple of websites that show what channels are broadcast over the air in your area - but this won't be as much as Cable TV.
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September 20, 2016 9:45:17 AM

i dont care what i will have, i am not watching xfinity keep raising my rates by nickels and dimes. funny, i sign a two year contract and they can make all the changes they want to my channel selection, taxes they throw on at a whim etc but i cant get out of my contract because they jump the rate after one year and take a way channels. so just on principal im quitting but i do know that the cornerstone is the internet connection and they are the only game in town so i will be staying with them for at least that. but i do have netflix and amazon prime and im going to make them work. and with a powered hd antennae. if it sucks, oh well. guess i get off my arse and enjoy the outdoors more.....awe shucks.
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a b x TV
September 20, 2016 11:58:27 AM

Bobby_35 said:
i dont care what i will have, i am not watching xfinity keep raising my rates by nickels and dimes. funny, i sign a two year contract and they can make all the changes they want to my channel selection, taxes they throw on at a whim etc but i cant get out of my contract because they jump the rate after one year and take a way channels. so just on principal im quitting but i do know that the cornerstone is the internet connection and they are the only game in town so i will be staying with them for at least that. but i do have netflix and amazon prime and im going to make them work. and with a powered hd antennae. if it sucks, oh well. guess i get off my arse and enjoy the outdoors more.....awe shucks.


Same here, few years ago, cancel TV and only keep Internet.
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December 4, 2016 5:28:17 AM

Sling, in early 2016, started to offer the option of ESPN or Local Sports (Fox Sports) in their $19.99/mo package. This turned me into a cord cutter because I can now stream the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers.

I also added a Channel Master DVR+ that allows me to record anything OTA from my atenna. It incudes recording any series and you can select to only record NEW shows in the series. Very nice.
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January 3, 2017 8:28:00 AM

Only thing keeping us from becoming complete cord cutters is availability of Washington Nationals baseball games. MASN (local sports network) is only available via cable...no online/streaming option...and MLB package does not work since Nationals games are blacked out locally.
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February 12, 2017 5:51:46 PM

Man-oh-man is it ever HARD 'cutting the cable' - two days now and my other half is POed at me...I have yet to call the cable company back and threaten them with my stopping the cable TV. (Cox Cable, after 15+ years, jacked my internet, phone and TV from around $140 to $220 in 2015 and when I screamed bloody murder and got purely offensive, they gave me a guaranteed rate of $185 for two years (and I had to reduced TV options!) then 2 months later they upped my charges to $250, and told me the customer service rep had made an error and was not authorized to give me the $185 rate. I didn't just go ballistic, I wrote hard copy complaints, detailing ALL the recent troubles Cox had put me through and sent it to Cox and the FCC, and to the Florida Department of Agriculture (our ombusman here on telecommunications issues in Florida) and sent copies of the letters to Consumer's Report, and posted on CNET and several other sites. Several months later I finally got a letter from Cox, who BTW had reduced the bill back to the $185, only saying they were glad for my input and they were glad to be able to resolve my complaints. the did nothing of the sort...only gave me the deal they originally promised. Well 18 months later (into the two yer promise) I got a bill again for over $200...saw they reduced my telephone service (which I have NEVER really used!) and took away a 'bundle reduction credit' of $50. When I called the other day, after a half an hour of a customer representative promising she could help me reduce my bill, the bottom line - and she finally just out-and-out told me this - was if I wanted to pay less than the $212 per month I would have to either slow down my internet connection (Premier at $68 per month) ot reduce the number of TV channels I receive. That's the history) So I looked at Sling TV for my ROKU - I have Roku TV in the living room and a ROKU 3 hanging on my bedroom LG TV. I saw lots of complaints of people unable to cancel in the first 7 days for the free promo period...and LOUSY channel selection. (Sling does not have Fox News, Velocity, CSPAN American Heroes Channel, TLC, Science, Discovery, Weather Channel, PBS (any!), Animal Planet and only has Hallmark and LMN, Cooking Channel and others if you have the $5 'Lifestyle Extra, and so on. POOR selection!) So I next looked at Sony's PlayStation VUE. Marginally better selection so i signed u for a free week but plan to quit tomorrow. (PS Vue Does not have History, Lifeline, LMN, CSPAN, Hallmark Channel, (any) PBS, Weather Channel, ION, A&E, and so on. Also still a poor selection.) I already have Amazon Prime. I re-activated Hulu+ (from a few years ago when I tried it and did not like it). A year ago, I looked at DirecTV and Dish and fond them only marginally less than Cox Cable...and ther IS the weather issue for satellite. I am very disgusted. Waste two whole days, have my beautiful wive of 40+ years wondering why I can't leave well enough (that is, Cox Cable) alone...and I hate Cox so much I AM going to quit and cut that cable. (I have to leave Cox's $68 internet access in place because the only other option for internet is copper connected to the Verizon FIOS down the street with CenturyLink at about 5-8 Mbps (Cox Cable, according to Ookla, is giving me 55+ download and 6+ upload.) So I just gott figure out how to keep my wife happy with Bluebloodss, sYes to the Dress, Hallmark shows and movies, ION, Lifeline, etc. Nobody - and I'm talking to the providers: Sony (PS Vue), Dish (SlingTV), DirecTV Now, the satellite services and Cox and Comcast - Where is the 'ala carte' selections. I DON'T need or want 250+ channels...just to 10-15 or so my wife and I regularly watch. In this day and age, that is very technologically doable - it's just you are such poor companies with shitty marketing, you figure you can stick it to us on the watching end! My rant's over. Hope everyone at Tom's and you readers are doing well.
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June 4, 2017 6:00:20 AM

boy to kick the cable company you need a internet connection! My internet is through the cable company! I OTA general TV and subscribe to netflix, amazon and acorn.
When are they going to limit my bandwidth or put the brakes on when I stream something on netflix
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July 13, 2017 9:27:57 PM

What about internet service?
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July 27, 2017 6:47:21 AM

I understand "cutting the cord" with one tv, i.e. wireless antenna for local channels, playstation vue, etc. But, I have 4 tv's, all with DirecTv satellite access. My question is, how do I and what do I need to "cut the cord" so I can watch tv on all 4 tv's? Buying a wireless antenna for each tv is no problem since you can get one for about $40. But if I have playstation vue, how do I make this work for all 4 tv's? What equipment is needed for dvr, and can this somehow be hooked up to a wireless router?
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July 27, 2017 7:35:21 PM

Do not make the same mistake. I signed up for 2 month prepaid and I received a free Roku to receive sling TV. I asked the sales person if I could watch more than one TV at the time. And I was told I could watch 3. They have already taken my money, they got their sale, then I received 1 Roku remote. I called them and asked how am I to watch 3 TVs with one remote? They told me you are not, you can stream 3 devices not TVs. I requested an immediate cancellation and an address to send the Remote back to and a refund. The initial person was confused so I asked for a supervisor, he promised me a refund and a cancellation. Then I received an email stating that they do not do refunds. I then call them back and of course it is a different person who is even more confused I again ask for a supervisor. The woman was rude, disrespectful and a liar. So I have now been lied to by 5 employees from this company watch out. I watched 4 minutes of sleeping my tv to find out if I could watch on other TVs. Do not sign up it is a scam. Terrible business policy - NOT ACCEPTABLE and is a SCAM. Totally unnecessary stress added to my day, and rest assured after this experience I will never consider getting services and will relay to friends, family, and reviews online that this type of policy is NOT OK.
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November 20, 2017 10:39:56 AM

I got an XBMCMART box last month, and it's wonderful! I have access to just about every network I did with cable and more! I also bought an HD antenna for the local channels. I'm not missing cable at all, especially the expensive bill each month. I felt so good when I boxed up all of my old cable equipment and sent it back to the cable company. Watching TV feels so much better now without having to pay a cable subscription every month. I'll never look back....
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