Internet TV

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DoingHomework
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Internet TV

Postby DoingHomework » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:20 am

I'm kind of ignorant about internet TV options. We currently have Direct TV but are considering getting rid of it in favor of streaming options. But I have a bunch of questions first:

1. With Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services, can you record stuff to DVR? We rarely watch live TV. We record everything and watch it later without commercials.

2. With movies, can you pause and pick up much later? When we watch a movie we almost never watch something all the way through. We might watch for an hour or so and then not finish it for a week or so. We have never bought a movie on Direct TV because they only give you 24 hours.

3. We only have a 1.5 Mbps internet connection. I realize things will be slow if we try top stream but will we be able to download things (say to a DVR) and then watch later with these services or are we going to be stuck with crappy service because of our internet connection? (We actually could get faster service for the same price but we live in a historic neighborhood that lacks the infrastructure for faster service so that is not an option.)

In general, are these streaming services a good substitute for Direct TV? We mostly watch USA network, Bravo, History channel, and that kind of thing, not so much movies. We pay about $80 a month for Direct TV and it is reliable and hassle-free. If we go to streaming I don't think I'd want to pay more than about $50 a month in subscriptions, if that much.

I'd love to hear others' comments and experience.

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Re: Internet TV

Postby catchingup » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:54 am

Streaming means that enough frames are stored at a time so that you can watch smooth video, but once a frame is viewed it's removed from the hard drive, so there is no real way to download a video to your hard drive. Although I'm sure there are illicit applications out there that do that...

1)Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are all on demand services - the video starts when you click start - so there's no need to download to view. Hulu does tend to make certain shows available for a only few weeks, so you would need to watch the video during that time frame.

2) Yes. Netflix in particular will automatically start the movie where you stopped it, Hulu does sometimes but will let you skip forward, I haven't used Amazon yet.

3) 1.5mbps is enough to stream as long as you only stream one thing at a time and don't do a lot of other high-bandwidth browsing while streaming.

If there's anything in particular you want to be able to watch, both services will let you search before you subscribe. I have both Hulu+ and Netflix with one disc, and I pay $24/month. If I remember correctly, Amazon is about $80/year or <$7/month, so you could get all three and still be well under $50.

Since I cancelled cable two years ago I haven't really missed it. Sure, there are times when I'd rather flip channels than go through Netflix's huge list, but for the most part I prefer streaming services, and I have an antenna for network news.

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Re: Internet TV

Postby brad » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:13 pm

Do you have any bandwidth caps? We had one guy up here in Canada who ended up with a $50,000 bill to his internet provider when he went crazy downloading movies, music, and streaming videos without realizing that he was capped at something like 10 gigs/month.

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Re: Internet TV

Postby DoingHomework » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:59 pm

Thanks to both of you.

I'm pretty sure we have no bandwidth caps but it's something to check into before taking the leap. I'm glad to hear 1.5 Mbps is probably fast enough.

I'm kind of leaning toward giving Amazon Prime a try first. We buy enough on Amazon that we'd likely get our $80/yr or whatever back in save shipping anyway. Then if we find that's enough content for us we could drop the Direct TV.

I used to watch Hulu (free) quite a bit on my laptop. It was really annoying when they switched most stuff to pay.

So I guess all I need is a device to stream to the TV. I've been looking at either a Sony bluray player or one of the new google boxes that I heard was coming out this summer. (No Wii or other access device besides our laptops in the house right now.) Any suggestions on which is best? Since this is partly an experiment I don't want to spend too much.

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Re: Internet TV

Postby tdelamater » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:04 pm

DoingHomework wrote:I'm kind of leaning toward giving Amazon Prime a try first. We buy enough on Amazon that we'd likely get our $80/yr or whatever back in save shipping anyway. Then if we find that's enough content for us we could drop the Direct TV.


That's what I do and it's been more than enough content for me. I watch a series every month or so and probably about 1 movie a week.

DoingHomework wrote:So I guess all I need is a device to stream to the TV. I've been looking at either a Sony bluray player or one of the new google boxes that I heard was coming out this summer. (No Wii or other access device besides our laptops in the house right now.) Any suggestions on which is best? Since this is partly an experiment I don't want to spend too much.


I got a refurbished PS3 for about $200 2 years ago. I play about 2 games a year, but even if you don't it's not a bad deal.

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Re: Internet TV

Postby catchingup » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:20 pm

There are several options for streaming. I use my XBox 360, but I also play games. Roku is a good choice if you want something small, simple, and cheaper. Another option is to use an older computer - if you aren't multitasking you don't need much to run the video and remotes for Windows can be purchased for $30 or less.

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Re: Internet TV

Postby Savarel » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:23 pm

I would reccommend a Roku.

http://www.roku.com/

Its like $50 - $80. I have one and use to watch Game of Thrones on Amazon, since I dont have HBO. I have also used it for Netflix.

Netflix has a nice option where you can load up a queue using your laptop, and then just go to the queue on the Roku so you dont have to search through everything again.

The Roku has a million apps. Hulu+, Amazon, Netflix, etc... It was very easy to set up.

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Re: Internet TV

Postby DoingHomework » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:23 pm

Savarel wrote:I would reccommend a Roku.

http://www.roku.com/

Its like $50 - $80. I have one and use to watch Game of Thrones on Amazon, since I dont have HBO. I have also used it for Netflix.

Netflix has a nice option where you can load up a queue using your laptop, and then just go to the queue on the Roku so you dont have to search through everything again.

The Roku has a million apps. Hulu+, Amazon, Netflix, etc... It was very easy to set up.


Thanks. I think I'll start looking seriously at hardware this weekend. I've already looked at the Roku online and it looks pretty good. It's nice to hear from others I "know" who actually have used it and like it!

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Re: Internet TV

Postby DoingHomework » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:24 am

Sorry to necro this thread but I have some follow up questions...

We signed up for a Netflix 30-day free trial and probably will try out Hulu+ the same way. So far though I am not impressed. The selection on Netflix seems to be very poor. We spent over an hour the other night just trying to find something to watch that was actually available. Almost everything less than 5 years old seems to be only available on DVD. And the TV selection is poor as well. I've got friends who say they love it. I've also heard news stories about them losing access to many networks, studios, and so forth recently. Has Netflix gotten really bad lately?

So far we're just streaming from my laptop over wifi. I've got a hard line available but it has not been necessary. At least that part seems to work great.

Honestly, if this is the best netflix has to offer I'm not going to pay $8 a month for it. Am I maybe missing something? Is the a better service?

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Re: Internet TV

Postby iDude » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:21 pm

I'm looking forward to the response as well. I'd like to "catch up" on a few older scifi series that I've either sporadically seen (STTNG, DS9, Voyager) or saw the first couple seasons and then dropped off (ST:Enterprise, Babylon5) or never caught the end of them (Farscape, Andromeda, BSG). I was hoping I could do it via something streaming, so that I could do an episode or two per night at my leisure.

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Re: Internet TV

Postby nelson » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:49 am

I like the new "House of Cards" series on Netflix (exclusively). Other than that I agree that new releases aren't their forte.

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Re: Internet TV

Postby Greenewashed » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:28 pm

DoingHomework wrote:The selection on Netflix seems to be very poor. We spent over an hour the other night just trying to find something to watch that was actually available. Almost everything less than 5 years old seems to be only available on DVD.


Try http://instantwatcher.com/ first - at least that will let you see only what's available on Netflix streaming (and it lets you know what's new and what's about to expire, too). I agree it is really frustrating to try to find stuff by typing titles into Netflix.

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Re: Internet TV

Postby douglas » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:48 pm

I’m really happy with my Roku. I use it all the time, and I’ve saved a lot of money on cable bills. You lose the ability to casually surf through the channels like you would with cable, but it hasn’t really been a problem for me. I’ve actually found that it saves me a lot of time because I don’t get wrapped up in shows that I really don’t care about.

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Re: Internet TV

Postby iDude » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:35 am

I just ran across another potential option. With Amazon Prime ($79/yr I think, with a one-month free start), there are a bunch of movies and tv series that are free to view. The catches are that it is difficult to sort through the lists, and that 60% of the content is not free with Prime membership. For example, all the Star Trek series are free with Prime, but Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Andromeda, Farscape etc are $20-30 per season on top of Prime.

I mention it here specifically because if there are a few movies or tv series that you've been wanting to catch up on, doing the free month of Prime is a great way to do it.

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Re: Internet TV

Postby stannius » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:57 am

Yeah, I got Amazon Prime for other reasons, and haven't been overly happy with the way they have it organized. It's hard to "channel surf" for free stuff in the UI (maybe it's better via Roku or whatnot?). And searching for specific stuff it seems well under 50/50 odds that it will be free. At least with Netflix everything you see is free.


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