Back about a year and a half ago my Comcast bill went from the low 100’s to $260+. Additionally they were charging for data overages that they couldn’t explain why my byte counts (100 gig range) and theirs (400 gig range,) were off, so I dumped them.
I switched to DirecTV for TV, got a Comcast business internet line, and was right back in the low $100s for everything.
Side note, DirecTV has gone out twice in slightly over a year on their HD channels, but not on their SD. Both times the sky was green and we were watching tornado level events, so as long as I had news I was ok.
A year passed, that intro rate passed as well, and DirecTV is coming up to about $95 a month and I decided to really sit down and do an accounting of my TV life.
Almost 100% of the stuff I want to watch live is on broadcast TV. Anything else I can wait a day or two on. For me this means ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX I want live, all the rest can be recorded and if someone decides to spoil an episode of whatever because I haven’t seen it on Hulu yet, well goodbye friend.
Beware, old tech guy attempting to change his TV ways ahead, also attempting to do everything legally.
So what do I need?
I’m currently in possession of these tools and have most things set up.
$29 HD Antenna – I got this one however I’m not terribly impressed but it works for 3 out of the 4 channels I want.
$99 HDHomeRun for DVR/Live TV recording purposes. I’m impressed with the hardware, the software needs work, the documentation radically incorrect even on their website. You can see the companion piece here.
$119 Lifetime Plex Pass – I needed a media server that would also use the HDHomeRun equipment to DVR things as I knew before I bought it the HDHomeRun DVR was a software subscription add-on I didn’t want. You can see the companion Plex piece here.
While I could have stopped there I also wanted the ability to record seasons of some shows so I got PlayOn, which is always having a sale of some sort, so $29 is what I see the current price is for lifetime.
It should be noted if you just want to dip your toes into the cable cutting waters the plex and playon software can be paid for on a monthly rate.
An internet connection, which I’m not including in the price.
At this point we’re at $276 for hardware and software and you might want another antenna just for TV purposes unless you know how to stream off the HDHomeRun box from your setup.
You’ll also need subscriptions via Sling.TV, Hulu, Amazon, or some other service(s) or a relative or friend who’s willing to violate their cable contract and give you a login.
Lot of stuff right?
My goal is to go over each of these pieces in the coming week or so as it’s a lot of stuff and the savings isn’t all that evident at the start of cord cutting.
What is all this stuff doing?
Plex is my primary media server. I keep TV in a TV folder, kids TV in a kids TV folder, movies in another, etc. Plex also does all the TV DVR work for me (in conjunction with the HDHomeRun and the antenna,) for live over the air TV. With the Plex Pass I’ve got a TV guide and can subscribe to OTA TV shows, which Plex will record off of the HDHomeRun set.
So that’s my Live TV DVR taken in one paragraph. For services like HBO, Starz, etc I’m using PlayOn.TV’s service to subscribe to the items I want and record them to the TV folder. This means when a new Sesame Street gets dropped, awww yeah it’s right up in my Plex, player.
When a new show is recorded, it’s on deck on Plex. No wondering if I’ve got anything new, it’s there and ready for me.
Putting it all together
I’ll be going over the steps, pitfalls, and what I have not been able to accomplish later. I’m going to attempt to link every part forward and back to this article and expand on it.
Or I’ll take a nap and forget everything and review a bluetooth poptart.
Questions, comments, how did you do it?