Well, it was long over due, but a couple weeks ago, we cut the cable. I had three main goals, stop paying for channels we didn’t watch, watch less, and avoid commercials. Other items on the wish list were: easy to use (for everybody in the house, not just me,) and easy connection to our big screen projector on movie nights.
tl;dr — Tivo Bolt, Tivo mini, HDMI adapter, Netflix and Hulu, and HD antenna. I love it.
- Hitachi Director Series plasma monitor (no tuner, no speakers, just a visually awesome monitor) I’m guessing it is 12 years old, and thus has no HDMI inputs (problem #1)
- ATT Uverse 200. 190 crappy channels spewing out hours of mind-dumbing programming and 10 good channels with mind-numbing commercials. Also have 15Mbps internet with Uverse (no complaints)
- Bose AV system, very old but does the job
- Wii (plus Xbox sitting in another room (no HDMI on monitor, remember?)
- A HDMI 4×2 HDMI switcher I use when using projector. It allows me to direct audio from any HDMI source to AV System, while video goes to projector
- Logitech Universal programmable remote
- Tivo Bolt $300 for 500GB version, plus $15/month after 1 year for online guide and such
- HDFury III basic $220 (including twitter and facebook posting discount!) – We almost bought a new TV, but the few remaining plasma’s are expensive, and we like our current plasma better than the reasonably priced options, so we went for an adapter to get all the HDMI items connected. It supports HDCP which is important.
- Tivo Mini $150 for second TV
- HD Indoor/Outdoor Antenna Clearstream 2V $100
- Same monitor, AV, Wii and Xbox
- Misc cables ~$150
- Existing laptop w/HDMI
- Single remote — Tivo
The Bolt is the center of the operation. The antenna connects directly to the bolt giving us CBS, ABC, FOX, NBC, KUSI, PBS, CW and a few others. Amazing picture quality, since no compression of cable. The antenna is still inside, and we rarely touch it–all channels come in great. I’m hoping the few times it pixelates, will disappear when I mount up on the roof. The Bolt allows for recording/DVR of four (4) simultaneous shows and will store 75 hours of HD on the small storage version I bought. If that runs out, it supports an external drive, so really not limited. On top of the OTA channels, the Bolt supports Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and a few lesser known apps. I’m getting what I need with what it has. Interface is easy to understand and the remote is well designed. For the popular shows, Tivo provides an exact “skip the commercials” button. Works great, but limited shows. My understanding is that somebody watches the show, and marks the commercials, so it is exact. Still has DVR controls so “old school” fast forwarding, rewind, etc is there for everything else.
While the Bolt will work using WiFI, the mini requires ethernet or MoCA. I went with Ethernet since the coax was already being used with the UVerse network. I might have been able to go with MoCA, but that’s new to me, so I ran two 100′ ethernet runs back to the router instead. Firewall prevented some traffic initially, but I configured my way out of that easily. The mini works great, just like the Bolt. Same remote, and interface (for the most part.)
So far, so good. Love the crisp picture quality of the antenna and streaming. For “special” events like the recent debates, we just hook the laptop up via HDMI and stream from the web, no problem. No sports fanatics in the house, so not missing anything there, but something like sling might fill that gap for those wanting it. Tivo DVR records the shows we want, we skip commercials, and probably most importantly, we CHOOSE what to watch.
I dropped about $1,000 to make this happen, but we will save about $85/month, so the first year is a wash, and the future years are profit. This wasn’t really a money thing, but it always influences the decisions.
Very happy we made the switch — we shall see how long the excitement lasts! 🙂
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