Bye Satellite: Another Cord Cutter

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Reaper, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. Reaper

    Reaper Godfather

    Jul 30, 2008
    The time has come to bid you adieu my fellow DBSTalkers. Primarily for financial reasons, I've cancelled pay TV service.

    I first got DIRECTV when I bought my house in 1997. I first got Dish when they added the VOOM channels in 2005. For a few years I had both; DIRECTV for NFLST and Dish for everything else. When Dish dropped VOOM in 2008, I dropped Dish and moved to FiOS TV. I kept DIRECTV for another year or so and then cancelled it too. Lastly, I went back to Dish a couple of years ago. I really like the Hopper and would have kept the service if I could afford it, but simply cannot.

    I received and hooked up a Channel Master DVR+ last night. Like Dish's DVRs, these units are manufactured by Echostar, so I was completely comfortable purchasing one. I already had an OTA antenna and an external hard drive, so I only had to buy the DVR+. Cost was $249. Unlike with TiVo,, Aereo, etc, there are no monthly subscription fees with the DVR+. Woot!

    I'm very much impressed with the hardware. Setup was very easy. The form factor is iPad-like, and the performance is zippy. Changing channels is much faster than changing OTA channels on the Hopper. Channels with marginally strong signals seem to be more stable too. And it may just be wishful thinking, but I'd swear the OTA PQ is better than on the Hopper.

    The software is good. It takes a minimalistic approach, which feels appropriate. I like the guide much more than the Hopper's, primarilly because it has a dark theme, which I find much easier to read. It's also very modern looking. Great job here.

    The DVR+ remote has a very nice design. I'll be using my Harmony remotes though.

    The Back button (Previous Channel on the Harmony) tunes to the previous channel when watching TV, but also steps back through previous menus when in the interface. This is a feature that I haven't had since the halcyon days of Ultimate TV, or at least not so cleanly implemented, and I love it.

    VUDU is integrated within the guide grid. This is a different approach, but I like it. VUDU feels zippier on this box than on my Roku XS. I use VUDU to upgrade my DVDs to HD movies in the cloud. One can do so at home, and it only costs $2.50 per title when upgrading 10 at a time. Suhweet! Many of these moves aren't even available in HD on Blu-ray.

    There are some quirks with the DVR+. Selecting a show in the guide that's currently on brings up a dialog that asks if you want to watch or record the show - so tuning to a channel from the guide takes two clicks. Yuck. Also, timers are just name-based. I think they could have done a better job with this.

    All in all, I love the DVR+. If they add Netflix and Amazon Instant "channels", I think it'd be killer in the marketplace.

    In addition to the DVR+, I have an Apple TV that I use primarily for Airplay from my iPad. I also use it for Netflix streaming.

    As I mentioned previously, I have a second generation Roku. I use it to stream my personal (ripped) media collection with Plex (so awesome!). I also use it for Amazon Instant and Funimation. Lastly, I use the Roku to watch the live stream of Cryptic TV as sort of a replacement for the late lamented Monsters HD ("Damn you [Dish]! Damn you all to hell!"). It's not in HD but the movies are obscure, and it's fun to have on when I'm puttering around the house.

    Between OTA, Netflix and Amazon Prime, I'm able to get almost all the shows that I watched on Dish. I also have Netflix's disc by mail service which will cover the one or two shows that I wouldn't be able to see otherwise. I don't need to watch the shows right away, and not having to skip through commercials or be distracted by station "bugs" or promo banners on the screen makes the wait worthwhile as far as I'm concerned.

    The only thing I'm really giving up is the ability to watch live local Seattle Mariners games. It hurts a little, but it'd hurt a lot more if the M's didn't suck. Otherwise, for sports, I'm an out of market Steelers fan who's rediscovered the fun of going to a Steelers bar to watch non-locally broadcast games with other "Stillers" fans. And after their leave-no-doubt Super Bowl win, I'm finally on the Seahawks bandwagon, so it's all good.

    It's been fun DBSTalkers, but I'm very happy with my current solutions, and even happier to be ditching a $100/month TV bill (up until a few months ago, when I had the movie channels, it was $140/month. Ouch!).

    Who knows, maybe I'll see you down the road apiece.

    Best wishes for happy viewing!
    1 person likes this.
  2. Devo1237

    Devo1237 Legend

    Apr 22, 2008
    Good luck! I'd be interested to hear how you're feeling in a few months. As you mentioned, I think sports really are pay TV's biggest trump card right now, with original content (Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Always Sunny) a more distant second. Sucks to make these decisions for money alone, but hopefully it works out.
  3. Reaper

    Reaper Godfather

    Jul 30, 2008
    Thanks for your well wishes Devo! I'll come back in a few months to give an update on how it's going.

    ("It's not too late. To whip it. Whip it good.")
  4. ronton3

    ronton3 AllStar

    Mar 15, 2006
    I keep thinking about doing something similar. I will never forgive them for dumping Voom none of the current PQ compares.
  5. Reaper

    Reaper Godfather

    Jul 30, 2008
    I enjoyed using my DVR+ over the weekend. I continue to be impressed by the OTA PQ. I was even able to enjoy classic TV shows like The Outer Limits on SD channels because the PQ was very good.

    I had some issues with a little bit of jitter on Vudu streams. Nothing bad or frequent enough to make me switch to my Roku though. From a DVR+ owners thread on AVSForum, I gathered that Echostar is aware of this problem and working on it.
  6. Reaper

    Reaper Godfather

    Jul 30, 2008
    I wanted to come back and provide an update for those who are interested.

    I've been without pay TV for almost 6 months now and the bottom line is that the water is fine.

    I still really like the DVR+, though I find that I watch less live TV now - mostly just local news and NFL games - but it's quite liberating to know that it's free.

    I use Vudu to purchase episodes of shows that I don't want to wait to watch. For me, this is only a few shows, and the cost is still only about 10% of what my satellite bill would be, and I can't overstate how much more pleasurable it is to watch shows uninterupted by commercials, network "bugs," banners, promos or other screen clutter.

    I upgraded my Roku to a Roku 3. I had no idea how much better Netflix was on the 3 than on the second generation Roku that I had before. Netflix's streaming library is deeper than I thought.

    Sports. Ugh. My home team Seattle Mariners were in the playoff hunt until the last game of the season, and I missed watching them on Root Sports. I miss the RedZone channel too. However, I don't miss either of these enough to justify a ~$100/month pay TV bill.

    So yeah, I'm pretty happy with the change.
  7. mexican-bum

    mexican-bum "Jack Of All Trades, Master Of Some"

    Feb 25, 2006
    Sports is the killer for me, I gotta have them, but honestly if I went the no pay tv route I would have did everything exactly as you, literally. Thanks for the update.
    1 person likes this.
  8. kfcrosby

    kfcrosby Godfather

    Dec 17, 2006
    Memphis, TN
    Great Info, Thanks Reaper.
    1 person likes this.
  9. Reaper

    Reaper Godfather

    Jul 30, 2008
    You're welcome Kevin, glad you found it useful.

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