Archive for July, 2014

I have based my primary IPTV video content access on the Roku box. They deserve it, after all they pioneered IPTV hardware and have done a super job of providing content channels for their customers.

It is unfortunate that somebody at Roku pretty much shot the winning race horse just as the race is starting. Roku signed an exclusive deal with DISH to provide ALL of the international programming channels available through the Roku box. So now DISH controls WHAT international programming you can access and HOW MUCH you have to pay. Unlike the Android platform that has hundreds of international IPTV apps available.

Don’t get me wrong, I will pay a fair price for services or products I want or need. Most people will. But every day you read about how cable companies are holding subscribers hostage with unwanted channels and stupidly high prices. You would think the move to IPTV would relieve you of the burden of being held hostage by a huge mega company. The DISH/Roku deal looks and smells like another cable company move to creep into the IPTV world. Let me explain.

Right now I can access TV content from almost any country in the world. Many times for FREE. I can view foreign TV websites on my computer or tablet and view directly on my device or steam to my TV (android tablets/phones or Windows PC/Linux). Sometimes I need a VPN solution like Hola! (www.hola.org) to get around geo locking (you can’t view shows unless you are digitally located in that country, VPN’s do that for you).

So why would you ask would someone like Roku LIMIT programming availability through their device when they are the leader for online IPTV content provider? I don’t know. I can’t figure it out. But if you look at the DISHWorld website (www.dishworld.com) and read the press releases; we should all be happy that if you want to watch programming in the following 15 languages:

  1. Arabic
  2. Brazilian
  3. Bangla
  4. Gujarati
  5. Hindi
  6. Malayalam
  7. Punjabi
  8. Tamil
  9. Telugu
  10. Urdu
  11. Cantonese
  12. Mandarin
  13. Taiwanese
  14. Filipino
  15. Vietnamese
  16. English

Now don’t get me wrong, I think it great to START with 15 languages, but it has been two years and guess what? No new languages. Sure looks like cable and smells like cable to me. It sure would be nice if they threw in a few more languages (I should say countries) like:

  1. French
  2. German
  3. Spanish
  4. Canadian
  5. Polish
  6. Russian

Well they may offer those languages because for $10/month I can get programming in those language I just mentioned from my cable company! I love competition don’t you? By the way DISHWorld is offering all of this variety through your Roku box for around $20/month. There are multiple channels available for that amount, but I can get pretty close to the same quantity and quality of content from a FREE IPTV android app in foreign languages as well.

I am not sure I understand why DISHWorld thinks just because they offer their programming over IPTV instead of satellite, its still worth the $20 or so a month to get to content you can get for FREE or for less cost.

I can’t blame DISHWorld or Roku for making a business deal that works for both of them. That’s business right. My point is there is NO ONE looking out for you. It’s all about MONEY. I love my Roku boxes, and I love my French TV programming. Thank goodness I can use my tablet or PC to get to that content and put it on my TV WITHOUT DishWorld. Looks like cable, smells like cable.

You decide.

homemediaguy 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I went to my local Best Buy store last weekend and purchased an $18 indoor brand X antenna. It came with a 6’ coax cable permanently attached and I hooked it up to a TV upstairs and on the East side of my house (facing the location of local TV stations transmitters. I ran a channel scan and bingo. I got 44 stations. 7 of which are NBC,CBS, ABC, FOX along with PBS, Cozi and WB.

I then took the antenna to the upstairs West side room and OMG only got 4 channels. Moving downstairs to the bid 50” Samsung which sites in the middle of the house, I got 11 channels including the 7 above.

Reception was great on the East side, OK (with some tiling) on the West side and only one channel with some tiling downstairs. So what? Whoopee, for $18 I really got local HD TV. If I spent a little more money and had one master antenna in the attic I could get my 7 main channels and a bunch more for maybe $40-$60 for a good attic mounted antenna.

The whole proof of concept took less than 30 minutes and I feel good about having my cable dumped at the end of my low cost two year cable contract.

OK. Now that I know I can do it, how do I get a bunch of my cable conveniences to move to my future new master antenna?

Easy. Roku boxes and a great little device called Tablo (www.tablotv.com). Talbo connects to your indoor or outdoor antenna. You can put it anywhere in your home (I suggest connected to your cable modem) and wirelessly provides you with local TV stations using your antenna. It transmits to the TV’s in your house wirelessly and you can use your Roku box to access local TV content. WOW.

The Tablo also comes with a two week in advance TV guide (like cable). The guide costs you $5 a month or $149 for a lifetime subscription. So what? Remember when your parents used to subscribe to TV Guide magazine to see what’s on? Same thing.

AND you can connect a 2TB external hard disk to the Tablo to record your favorite shows. I am thinking about not even using the DVR capability because I will subscribe to HULU+ to watch shows I missed for $8/month. Amazing isn’t it. You now have options. Something the cable company doesn’t give you AND no more cable box rentals! Hallelujah. The Tablo sells for around $200 with 2 tuners so you can watch one channel while recording another (good for me with HULU+) or a 4 tuner option for $299.

Have fun.

homemediaguy

Let’s face it; the cable company bill to your house will never go away as long as you have internet service. That’s how they get you with the “Bundle”. Sure it’s only $20 – $30 more for the TV and phone. BUT, you end up losing big time on the monthly cable box bill. That adds another $30-$60 a month. Ouch! Taking all this into consideration, if we could pay for internet and Live TV only, that may not be a bad deal. After all, a lot of people don’t have an attic or space to put an HD antenna for over the air broadcasts.

Even I sometimes want a little background noise while reading or doing something around the house. If you are lucky, you can get an outdoor antenna, plug it into your homes cable input point and you get FREE live TV. Many of us for various reasons are a prisoner to the cable company (we like to watch TV5Monde from France). So how can you save money without losing live TV? Read on…

Essentially, you are ditching your $15/month cable DVR for HULU+ which lets you view TV shows one day after they air. Dumping your cable boxes for Roku 3 boxes in all the rooms of your house, you can access HULU+ from any room, tablet and smartphone.

What about movies? Oh yeah, we all LOVE paying an arm and a leg for “Premium” channels like HBO or MAX. Where you get access to movies broadcast years ago that you already saw 15 times. Well, that’s easy. Dump the rest of your cable boxes (except one that your cable company requires you rent). I use either the Roku Redbox (rental) channel or watch FREE movies on Roku channels such as Snagfilms, Kino Lober, Directors Cut and more. There are a lot of great movies you never heard of but they are great. Give it a try. I did not include Netflix in my analysis below because I use the free sources I described above.

So take a quick look at my math below. Your numbers will be slightly different, but there are ways to save some serious money with your cable company.

Normal Home Setup Month 1 Month 2-24 Month 25+
       
Bundle Cost (no HBO, MAX, etc) $       99.00 $     99.00 $ 145.00
Phone      
Internet      
TV      
Subtotal $       99.00 $     99.00 $ 145.00
Cable Box Cost      
Living Room DVR $       15.00 $     15.00 $   15.00
Master Bedroom $       10.00 $     10.00 $   10.00
Bedroom 1 $       10.00 $     10.00 $    10.00
Bedroom 2 $       10.00 $     10.00 $   10.00
Basement (any other room) $       10.00 $     10.00 $   10.00
Subtotal $       55.00 $     55.00 $   55.00
       
Total $     154.00 $   154.00 $ 200.00
Home Media Guy Alternative Month 1 Month 2-24 Month 25+
       
Bundle Cost (no HBO, MAX, etc.) $       99.00 $     99.00 $ 145.00
  • Phone
     
  • Internet
     
  • TV
     
Subtotal $       99.00 $     99.00 $ 145.00
Roku Box Alternative      
  • Living Room w/Roku 3
$     100.00 $      0.00 $     0.00
  • Master Bedroom w/Roku 3
$     100.00 $      0.00 $     0.00
  • Bedroom 1 w/Roku 3
$     100.00 $      0.00 $     0.00
  • Bedroom 2 w/Roku 3
$     100.00 $      0.00 $     0.00
  • Basement (any other room) w/Roku 3
$     100.00 $      0.00 $     0.00
Subtotal $      500.00 $      0.00 $     0.00
       
Total $     599.00 $     99.00 $ 145.00
Savings Each Month with Roku $ (445.00) $     55.00 $   55.00
Hulu Plus subscription $       0.00 $       8.00 $       8.00
Total Savings each month $       0.00 $       47.00 $       47.00

NOTE: 8-9 month payback depending on the number of cable boxes you have.

 

homemediaguy