Leaving DirecTV...yes, you read that correctly

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by bonscott87, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. Jan 17, 2010 #1 of 182
    bonscott87

    bonscott87 Cutting Edge: ECHELON '07

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    No, this isn't another "I hate DirecTV so I'm leaving" threads. :) But I've had a few inquiries of where I have been lately as my posts have dropped off a lot and I didn't blog the latest conference call. So here is the explanation.

    I have been with DirecTV since 1996. Sunday Ticket every year since 1999. I have enjoyed DirecTV a lot. Been with the CE program here at DBSTalk since the begining. I've made more then a few online friends thru DBSTalk.

    But costs have gotten out of hand. When I add it up I'm paying $85 a month, not counting Sunday Ticket, for 5-6 channels that I can get free OTA. And now the DVR fee is going up, yet another rate hike and a charge for MRV looks to be good. And Sunday Ticket looking like it'll be pushing $450 with Superfan. It's just getting out of hand. So I've been thinking for a while now about cutting back or going OTA only. I've also recently lost my job so that lit a fire under my rear to finally do something.

    My first thought was to get a PS3 for Netflix/BluRay and Internet streaming. Cost about $350 or so with remote. Then get a stand alone DVR (Tivo most likely) for OTA HD. Another $300 PLUS a monthly Tivo fee. But for the cost of that I could try my hand at a HTPC (Home Theater PC) to do all that and more.

    So I've built a HTPC in hopes of replacing most of what I get from DirecTV. Other then some live sports I have now replaced 98% of what we paid DirecTV for free.

    HTPC has a BluRay/DVD player, streams Internet content from Hulu, Boxee, Justin TV and pretty much any other source under the sun. I already had a Netflix subscription and now can stream directly into Win7 Media Center (very sweet I might add). And I've got dual tuner OTA HD and can record 150+ hours of HD.

    OTA covers about 80% of our shows, the rest are covered by Hulu and Netflix (yea it's not HD but I can wait for the DVD if it's really bad).

    I can't replace Sunday Ticket but I'll live. Stop by a buddies place or hit the bar once in a while. Or get the Uverse low end package and get Red Zone Channel for $5 bucks a month for the 4 months of the season.

    So with the money savings from DirecTV ($120 a month) the HTPC will pay for itself in short order. My total monthly costs now: $10.99 for Netflix w/BluRay.

    I've had this thing going for a few days and let me tell you, it's sweet. Windows 7 Media Center really is amazing just like the reviews said. And it's free and has a ton of open source plugins. I would rate it as one of the best DVR solutions on the market, and it's free with no monthly fees. Just last night we sat down and watched 3 hours of Chuck via Hulu, caught a CSI via CBS streaming thru 7MC since our recording via DirecTV had the blurps and watched two OTA shows via the 7MC DVR. All from one device. And I haven't even messed with a bunch of plugins and such yet. :) Wife loves it so WAF isn't a problem. Even when I get a job again, I will not go back to pay TV, just not worth it.

    Anyway, this post was just to say that I've enjoyed my years with DirecTV and this community especially. I won't be leaving DBSTalk and will make helpful posts when I can but as time goes on I'll know less and less about DirecTV and have less to post about. But I'll check in a few times a week and you can find me more on AVS now in the HTPC forums.

    See ya around!
     
  2. Jan 17, 2010 #2 of 182
    JeffBowser

    JeffBowser blah blah blah

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    Thanks for that feedback, and sorry to hear of your job loss. I have been considering going OTA only myself for over a year now, especially since I can grab two major markets with a small antenna in my area. I'll be curious to see how you like this longer term.
     
  3. Jan 17, 2010 #3 of 182
    TANK

    TANK Icon DBSTalk Club

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    Sorry about your job loss. Thanks for the info over the years.
     
  4. Jan 17, 2010 #4 of 182
    BubblePuppy

    BubblePuppy Good night dear Smoke... love you & "got your butt

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    Bonscott87, I'm sorry about your job loss. I'm also sorry that your DBSTALK will be limited. There are a handful of posters, that when I see their screen names on a post, I make it a point to read the posts, yours are one. You will be missed. Thank you for all the contributions that you have made here. Good luck in your future endeavors and job hunting.
     
  5. Jan 17, 2010 #5 of 182
    nitty316

    nitty316 Legend

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    The streaming on PS3 via Netflix is the real deal. I've been streaming the office to get caught up and same with Brotherhood and it is all in HD. Fantastic stuff.

    I'd like to hear more about streaming Hulu on PS3 though, I tried and it won't allow me to. Do I need a disc or something?

    Thanks and Good luck. Sorry about your job, that's a tough deal.
     
  6. Jan 17, 2010 #6 of 182
    Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

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    Really sorry to hear about your unemployment. I would like you hear the details on your HTPC setup. I am using Windows 7 on a HTPC, with a Hauppauge HDPVR to record PBS HD programming. Its got SageTV on it. Havent tried WMC7 yet, even though its there. How do you hook it up, or what do you buy, to get it to work with the remote, or do you use a cordless mouse? Please post the specs, which video card you are using, etc. I need to upgrade mine, and would be curious, as I dont know if I should stick with SageTV (and their remote HD Media extender) or try WMC7.

    Thanks and good luck. BTW, if you have room for a 10' satellite dish and money for a $400 receiver, you can get all the CBS NFL games, and almost all the ESPN live sports free on C band. Could probably find someone with an old dish in their yard, long unused for free if you look around.
     
  7. Jan 17, 2010 #7 of 182
    Ed Campbell

    Ed Campbell Hall Of Fame

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    Works for some folks. I follow a couple of Euro-based sports and they're locked down tight against legal online streaming/recording; so, that alone leaves me out.

    We use our Apple TV for 8-12 hours/week of programming. Again, that's limited to legal downloads.

    OTA network programming? That's about 4 shows/week for us. We watch more than that on HGTV and Planet Green.

    As news junkies, we're not going to go without up-to-date offerings from non-network sources. Especially with a good shot at BBCA [maybe even BBC World] coming up. I have my fingers crossed for Aljazeera; meanwhile, they only stream via Real and I won't let that crap on my computers.

    Been with D* since their 2nd or 3rd month in 1994 and we haven't an urban area in the whole state that offers anything close to the content. So, we keep paying for what we want.
     
  8. Jan 17, 2010 #8 of 182
    harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    I bought the PS3 Blu-ray remote at Amazon.com for under $20 delivered.

    The PS3 turns out to be a excellent value and perhaps one of the most full-featured Blu-ray player/media extenders.
     
  9. Jan 17, 2010 #9 of 182
    joed32

    joed32 Hall Of Fame

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    Goodbye and the best of luck to you. I hope everything works out well.
     
  10. Jan 17, 2010 #10 of 182
    TheRatPatrol

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    I thought all of those feeds were scrambled?
     
  11. Jan 17, 2010 #11 of 182
    mdavej

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    We'll miss you bonscott. But I'm glad you found a great solution.

    FWIW, I've picked up a couple of insignia netflix streaming blu-ray players on ebay for $30 shipped. Superior to HTPC because standalones can stream HD netflix and PC's can't. For this low price, these presumed broken players, are, as I suspected, usually fine. I go for the one's that say "network doesn't work". That usually means previous owner didn't know what he/she was doing. YMMV, of course.

    Best of luck on your job search. Don't watch TOO much tv ;-)
     
  12. Jan 17, 2010 #12 of 182
    bonscott87

    bonscott87 Cutting Edge: ECHELON '07

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    Thanks guys. I'm not too worried on the job front. Being in Michigan I can be on unemployment for over a year. ;) I'll get something, even if it's a greeter at Wally world.
     
  13. Jan 17, 2010 #13 of 182
    bonscott87

    bonscott87 Cutting Edge: ECHELON '07

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    Netflix streaming is built into 7MC and is fantastic. Can actually FFW and RRW unlike with PlayOn thru the HR2x.

    As for Hulu, you can stream it to any DLNA complaint device like the PS3 or HR2x using PlayOn which runs on your computer. Since this is a HTPC I just run Hulu Desktop. Hulu Desktop is actually pretty slick. Full transport controls as well.
     
  14. Jan 17, 2010 #14 of 182
    bonscott87

    bonscott87 Cutting Edge: ECHELON '07

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    I've got a FTA sat dish (1 meter) and with that I get all kinds of news channels for free like Aljazeera, Russia Today and a few others. No BBC though.
     
  15. Jan 17, 2010 #15 of 182
    bonscott87

    bonscott87 Cutting Edge: ECHELON '07

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    There is nothing to buy, 7MC (Win 7 Media Center) is all built into Windows 7 for free. Any media center remote will work with it by default. So any $20 MCE remote off NewEgg is all you need. You can of course go more expensive if you wish. I also have a wireless keyboard which has a trackball built in for the few times I need it.

    Here are my hardware specs. It's a new Core i3 based system which has only been on the market for just over a week. The graphics are all integrated with the CPU. Intel made these Clarksdale processors just for HTPC's in mind. Work great.

    Case: SILVERSTONE GRANDIA GD04B
    PSU: Antec BP550 Plus 550W
    MB: ASUS P7H55-M PRO LGA 1156 Intel H55
    CPU: Intel Core i3-540 Clarkdale 3.06GHz
    Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
    Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5 TB
    Graphics: On board MB
    Sound: On board MB
    Blu-Ray: LG Black 8X BD-ROM

    My OTA tuner is a SilconDust HD Homerun which is a digtal dual OTA tuner and also supports clear QAM. You just plug it into your network and any computer on your network (PC, MAC or Linux) can access any available tuner. Need 4 tuners? Just add a second box on the network. I *really* like this solution because there is no card to plug into your HTPC and if you upgrade you don't have to do anything about your OTA tuners, they are still there on the network ready for use.

    The AVS forums have a HTPC dedicated forum for tons more options and details. For builds with my specific mobo there is this thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1216503
     
  16. Jan 17, 2010 #16 of 182
    jaywdetroit

    jaywdetroit Hall Of Fame

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    Bonscott:

    Sorry to hear about your situation.

    I've been tempted to go OTA for awhile now too. As a big Tiger fan in the Detroit Market though, I would have no way of getting the games that I know of.

    To go OTA, does anyone have suggestions to address the loss of:

    History/Science Channel Programming
    News programming, CNN/FOX/MSNBC
    Local MLB Games

    Report back to us if you find things you are missing from Pay TV service.
     
  17. Jan 17, 2010 #17 of 182
    longrider

    longrider Well-Known Member

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    Sorry about the job situation, Bonscott. I have to admit I have been thinking about this myself, basically doing just what you did. I can get everything I watch except motorcycle racing online, this summer I am going to see what the live streams of MotoGP and WSBK look like on a 50" screen and decide from there. (Commitment is up in December)
     
  18. Jan 17, 2010 #18 of 182
    TITAN_53

    TITAN_53 Godfather

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    What remote did you get? I have been looking at the Blu Link remote with the built in blue tooth and it is a learning remote.
     
  19. Jan 17, 2010 #19 of 182
    dpeters11

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    The interesting thing is that we have all these options now. It used to be either OTA only, or sat/cable.

    Of course some Internet providers are doing what they can to prevent this option. Download caps, and it's only a matter of time before Hulu is a paid service.
     
  20. Jan 17, 2010 #20 of 182
    jaywdetroit

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    You know, Bonscott, you really have me thinking.

    I had completely dumped TV YEARS ago. In the early 90s I stopped watching, and save for the occassional football game, didn't watch for about 10-12 YEARS. (Never saw an episode of Seinfeld until about 2002.)

    I didn't miss it. I had DirecTV basic service for my Ex wife, and the sports.

    Then I had to go and get a DirecTIVO. Suddenly I could watch TV without watching the commercials. Suddenly I found myself interested in TV shows again.

    Now I find myself paying over $100 bucks a month?????

    Really - all I "NEED" from Sat/Cable channels are my Tiger Games.

    Thanks for putting me on a mission, Bonscott.

    Can someone recommend a KICK A** OTA Tuner card for my Brand new DELL PC?
     

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