Great article comparing all the streaming options for cord cutters and folks thinking about it

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by SledgeHammer, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    You will see the same thing on every app on the ATVs.

    Rich
     
  2. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Yada Yada Yada DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I agree with your views on smart appliances. But 'party trick'? One thing that never happens any more here is a light left on because someone forgets to turn it off. Granted, it didn't happen very often, but it used to happen.

    I don't have my 'watch TV' scene set up as just a trick. We keep two lights on while watching TV at night. They are in each corner of our family room on the same wall as our wall mounted TV. (2 40 watt equivalent LED's)

    The room is 22' x 24', and those lights are not on wall switches, nor can they be unless I bring in an electrician. We never ever walk to each to turn them on or off. The exit to the room is in the wall that is to the left of the TV and behind us when watching TV - basically in the left rear corner of the room (to the kitchen). Next to that exit are three smart switches that control - 2 high hats that illuminate the fireplace area, a light in the ceiling fan and the fan itself.

    When I turn off the TV if after sunset, the 2 high hats come on (so we can see our way out of the room), and then the 2 LED's that are on shut off, the fan if on shuts off, the fan light if on shuts off and then one set of kitchen counter lights illuminates at 40% so we have some light in the kitchen when we walk into it. The 2 high hats in the family room will automatically turn off in 3 minutes, but most of the time we turn them off manually as we exit the room. One thing for sure is they are never left on.

    I haven't mentioned that none of these lights are set to 100% in my scenes. We can ask Alexa to set them at 100%, but that's rare.

    To get from the kitchen to our bedroom we walk through our foyer and then upstairs, through a hallway up there and then into the bedroom. I have a scene we call 'nightwalk' that illuminates that pathway, also to 40% brightness. Unless our hands are full, we'll turn those lights off as we go - but even with kids staying with us they are never left on because they are programmed to turn off in 2 minutes with that scene.

    Yes, we could do all of this by walking to each switch (did that for years, of course), but we use our voice 95% of the time now. Again, not because it's cool or cute, but because we're used to it and it's very convenient for us.

    I could talk to you about all of the lights and associated switches in our kitchen, but that would seem like over kill to you lol. We have two sets of counter lights (two separated counter areas), two sets of high hats over those counter areas, track lighting over a breakfast bar and a light in a small hallway leading to a pantry. They can all be controlled by voice when cooking (including brightness levels) and your hands are greasy. All of those lights are set to come on at 60% if you use a switch or with voice - voice or double tapping the switch can bring them to 100%.

    I see it as saving on my electric bill every month, and not a party trick at all. Most of all we find it to be very convenient.

    I'm a 'gadget guy', and do find it 'cool' as well. My wife on the other hand is the total opposite of me when it comes to gadgets. She doesn't want to know how any of it works when I program a new scene somewhere - not interested at all. She does use the scenes with her voice, however, all the time. So, she does like the convenience, just not the 'how'. If I removed our smart home stuff she would not be a happy camper at all now that she's used to it.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
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  3. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    The voices on TV do not wake up my wife or keep her awake. My voice does wake her up. Voice control is a non-starter in my house. Even when she is awake she keeps asking "what did you say" when I am using voice control. If I talk she expects me to be talking to her. :)
     
  4. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Yada Yada Yada DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Funny stuff. From my point of view, my wife rarely hears me say anything...
     
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  5. SledgeHammer

    SledgeHammer Icon

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    The smart fridge has some features that are beyond "party tricks". A co-worker has one and he said it has the capability to "auto-generate" grocery lists, but he doesn't really use that feature because its a "lot of work" to use. If they came down in price I might get one if I was in the market, but not for what they cost now.

    All the smart lights and smart switches are pretty expensive? Have you re-couped the money you invested in the parts and labor to switch everything out in terms of savings on your electric bill? I live in So Cal and lights are turned off in my house, so the major electric expense is from the A/C.

    In regards to turning stuff on/off with the TV, if you can't do HDMI control, the nicer AVRs have a 12v trigger that can do a lot of stuff. Like you can control a power strip with it or stuff like that.

    I am seeing in the newer houses in my area, they have some of the smart light stuff built in from the builder. I wouldn't tear it out in that case :D, but I'm not sure how far I'd go in customizing scenes, etc. I wouldn't go retro fitting it into my current house for sure. I did swap out the standard outlets and switches for Decora's, but that was for looks. Man, what a pain. Swapping the wires isn't a big deal, but leveling them out and getting the proper reveal, you have to mess with them quite a bit. If you just slop them in and whatever with random reveals and unleveled, what's the point, they don't look that nice in that case lol. Supposedly now they have the screwless wall plates that auto level and auto reveal them. They didn't have that when I did the upgrade, so it was basically paint sticks and a utility knife to cut off tiny little shims.

    You must have a lot more lights in your house then I do. Going up the stairs is a 3 way switch at the bottom and one at the top. The 3 way decora switches are illuminated. I don't think I've ever had an issue with a light being too bright and I wanted it lower. Typically during the day I watch TV with the lights off and get enough light in through the French doors. At night I don't have any lights on when watching TV.
     
  6. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Yada Yada Yada DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Don't really know if I've recouped the cost. I've added our smart switches and plugs over about a 15 year period, though. so the cost has been really spread out. (Started with X-10 stuff.) I'm primarily using Insteon products, with a few TP-Link smart plugs here and there where you can't see them (they cost less). I buy the stuff on Prime Day or Black Friday. Smarthome.com has 2 for one sales about two times a year also.

    So, my cost has been spread out over a long time. My wife likes the look of the Insteon smart dimmers (mostly all she cares about), so it's easy to get her to agree to adding one to the house. I've probably saved more because we've switched over to LED everywhere than because we've automated a lot of our lighting.

    I use an ISY hub to control everything - and Alexa can talk to the ISY. I could also use HDMI control at the home theater, but the ISY/Harmony/Alexa links work fine for us.

    Bottom line is, yes, I suppose we're paying extra for the convenience, but don't we do that with a lot of stuff lol?

    EDIT: I self install the stuff, so no labor cost at all.
     
  7. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    There is a difference between hearing and listening. :D
     
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  8. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    We decided to go to all LEDs a couple years ago. Still find the odd incandescent bulb from time to time but we are almost fully LED now. The savings are very noticeable, the monthly bill dropped a lot. We have lights in the house that we never turn off. No more stumbling around in the dark. Echo devices all thru the home control the lights, rarely have to use wall switches. Don't care what the initial cost was, the result is worth every penny. The touch screen thermostat that used to have fingerprints on it constantly is no longer dirty, most commands are made by voice on the Echos. I believe in making life as simple as possible. Can't say enough good things about the Echos, devices I mocked a few years ago because I didn't understand what they can do.

    Rich
     
  9. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

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    I’m almost all LED now too, the major exception is in the ceiling fans since even though they use old style bulbs, I seldom turn on their lights. My bedroom, kitchen and front room have can lights that are all LED, controlled with Lutron Caseta WiFi dimmers. The other 2 bedrooms are lit with ceiling fans but are seldom used.

    I control the lighting with either Google or Siri as all my stuff is compatible with both. I have Echo devices that I got for free with other things and don’t really use them much at all.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
  10. SledgeHammer

    SledgeHammer Icon

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    Do you mind if we ask how much your bill dropped by? And is that SPECIFICALLY from the switch to LED or because you made other additional changes?

    Why would you leave lights on 24x7? Unless you are growing something... hahaha :D.
     
  11. Mark Holtz

    Mark Holtz New Texan

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    When I moved into my home in Texas, I replaced practically all the bulbs with LED equivalents. Now, I'm closing in on the contract to replace all the windows in my home, followed by the heating & air system.
     
  12. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Yada Yada Yada DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I check my usage each month compared to the same usage the same month from previous years. Because rates change, just checking the 'bill' will not give you a clear picture.

    I can say my usage today (each month) is never more than it was before I switched to LED's along with my smart devices. On average it's down between 5% and 15%. It's hard to know exactly how to factor in the weather because of our A/C usage, but even this year so far our usage is down - and it seems like it's a much warmer year than last year.

    Also - I didn't move to LED's all in one day - we did it room by room over about a 6 month period.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
  13. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Can't comment on Siri. Other than using it on my ATVs (I guess that's Siri). Google's answer to the Echos is a lot "smarter" than the Echos but it seems like the Echos do a lot more. I do have on Google Home. Don't use it much. Another YMMV thing, Lloyd.

    Rich
     
  14. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    We just replaced most of our windows. I got a lot of wild estimates from $20,000 to $4,000. Took the lowest bid. The high bid was from a guy that wanted to install Anderson windows. Might be the best window on the planet but I don't see a $16,000 difference in quality. My next door neighbor just got an estimate for $34,000 for the same job. Both homes are very similar. Wild estimates. Be careful.

    Rich
     
  15. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    We are on a plan that estimates our usage over a year. Used to be just about right but when we made the major changes, new HVAC unit and LEDs...well, the estimate for the first year we could document fully came in way too high and we didn't have to pay for the last 3 months. Thinking about solar power now. Trying to work up the courage to put solar panel on our new roof. Don't like roof penetrations.

    Did someone actually ask you if you bought all those LEDs at once? That would take a lot of planning, never mind the money.

    Rich
     
  16. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Yada Yada Yada DBSTalk Gold Club

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    No, I mentioned that in relation to how hard it is to know how much we are saving. I know we are, it's just difficult to quantify it. And yes, when we decided to do that, we spread it out over time to budget the expense. I suppose doing it room by room made it easier to find the right bulbs as well.

    I would love to do solar, but we're not sure we'll be here long enough for the payback. If this was 30 years ago, and if they had today's technology then, we would have done it already.
     
  17. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I suppose I could go back in our records (wife's an accountant) and tell you how much our bill differed from the estimate, but that would take a lot of work. And I'm lazy.

    I've upgraded our electrical system over the years. Added a generator a few years ago and solar power has always interested me. We just put an 8'x8' hot tub in our back yard and we're gonna put in the pool which will be heated next month. Wife asked me last night how all that's gonna affect our power bill. Might have to get solar panels. Not worried about the payback, it just sounds interesting and I finally have an excuse.

    Rich
     
  18. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

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    While the quotes for new windows at my old house weren't that widely separated, I sure learned a lot about 'advertised' price and what the real price would be. Windows World was advertising $129 each installed all over the place, so I called them. After adding in 'show up fee', cleanup fee, fee for removing some windows for some bogus reason it ended up that they would cost about $500 each installed. They didn't get the job!
     
  19. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    My window replacement came in at $400 a window. Had I put in Anderson windows the cost would have been ~$1,800 a window. Yeah, I get it, Anderson windows must be great. But the cost! Think of this, if my neighbor went for the $34,000 estimate that would be $3,090 a window! Heart stopping.

    Rich
     
  20. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    Friend of mine has a pool, and solar heating panels on a south facing hillside next to it (a fluid flows through them which transfers the heat to the pool) There's an automatic cover on it that covers it at dusk and opens it mid morning, to hold in the heat overnight. It is warm enough to swim in early April though late October (in Iowa) and it costs her nothing to heat beyond the cost of the heating panels.
     

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