We need a better Channel guide if we want to dump cable – My IPTV Wish List

It is so cool to be able to watch the shift from the omnipotent cable companies who control TV programming to IPTV. We are in a time similar to when the Internet first became popular in the 90’s. Free ideas, lots of choices, but Whoops, very few standards.

I certainly understand this is just the beginning and companies like Roku, Aereo, Apple and Google have jumped into this trend will both feet. But I think we are now at the time that the masses (that’s us) and not the big corporations need to step up and tell those companies along with small developers what we really want. Thus I am providing my wish list. Feel free to Tweet, Facebook and email to anyone who will listen what you really want.

One of the biggest problems IPTV needs to solve is the current “user experience”. That is hitting the guide button and surfing to find what you want to watch. So simple compared to today’s channel structure in IPTV (Roku, Apple TV, etc.). Most people don’t want to have to work to find what they want, which is what you have to do today to find a show you like; even if the shows are already categorized by channel (UFO TV, Kino Lober, etc.). You have to drill down the menus sometimes 3 or 4 times to get to the listings you want to choose from.

My list.

  1. One or two or even three types of channel guides for IPTV content. I mean a channel guide similar to cable in format (for lack of a better idea). Where the channel provider like Paranormal TV, Russia Today, Netflix, HuluPlus, and everyone who provides content will show you their content on the FIRST screen. Say the channels would be across the top (where cable companies put the time) and what is showing now along the left edge. Any new content (shows, channels, etc) would be listed at the top with a “NEW” logo. This idea means that the providers would “push” what is available to you instead of you “pulling” digging and drilling down to find what you want.
  2. Select “Favorites” from providers like Hulu on the first screen like cable so you don’t have to sort through tons of stuff you don’t care about.
  3. Finally, wouldn’t it be cool to integrate this concept with an over the air channel guide like the one Tablo provides? Right now it’s just a dream. But you have to start somewhere.

Hey, I understand all the content providers will scream NO! But like a lot of IT related issues, rarely do they think of the “user experience”. Fixing the channel lineup issue will go a long way to move from the early adopters of today to the masses.

What do you think? Help spread the word.



A real deal? For $50/mo. Verizon offers FiOS Internet 50/25 Mbps + TV Local + HBO® and HBO GO®

Somebody at Verizon finally woke up. I never thought I would see a deal from a cable company I would ever consider until now. You can find the deal at http://www.verizon.com/home/MLP/OnlineCS1.html?promotion_code=JUNCT/W04&CMP=AFC-CON_2014-Q2_CJ-NA-CJConsCpn_0001&AID=11761168&PID=552179&SID=VTB4N3F3b0JDak1BQUJObmx2WUFBQUEw.

The $50 they charge is actually the same they charge (depending where you look) for internet alone. Also note that this package does not offer telephone services, but for many, who cares?

Of course that does not include everything you need. I used the Verizon chat service and found out there are more monthly charges, but not a lot. Take a look at the chart below for the list and my alternative suggestions.

What you need  Cost Alternatives  Cost
One regular cable box $11.99/mo. None  
Rent for Digital Adapter per TV (no HD channels) $5.99/mo. HDHomeRun PRIME (HDHR3-CC)

Roku Box



Base FIOS deal $50/mo. Base FIOS deal $50/mo.
TOTAL per month $78.00~/mo. TOTAL per month $50.00~/mo.


Let’s say you hook the set top box up to your Living Room TV. BAM! You got cable for approximately 20 channels in HD and a program guide. In your other rooms you can start with the Verizon digital adapter to see how you like it. Then add a couple of Roku boxes to all your TV’s. Why? With Roku you can now access HBOGO (and on your tablets and phone as well) along with tons of free movie channels such as Snagfilms (free), Netflix (pay) and tons of other content for FREE! You can also get a free DVR. Sign up for the regular HULU (not HULUPLUS) and watch your favorite programs when you want.

If you want to use your cable cord in other rooms you can also purchase the Silicondust, HDHomeRun PRIME (HDHR3-CC) at http://www.hdhomerun.com/products/hdhomerun/prime/. It allows you to watch all unscrambled content form Verizon similar to the digital adapter you rent from Verizon.

Keep in mind both the Roku and Silicondust options are one-time costs, paid back in a short time.

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. The deal is not for everybody, and I strongly suggest you contact Verizon and ask a lot of questions before you decide.


The Role of Streaming TV in an IPTV World

I started paying attention to my family’s viewing habits and discovered that like most family’s, we leave the TV on all day to make the noise people are most comfortable with hearing. Being able to glance at the TV when something interests you like a news flash. I would walk into the room and ask if I can change channels because no one is really watching while family members read books, pay bills, etc.. The answer I usually get is “Sure no problem, I am not really watching.” Does this describe your family? If it does, then think about what options are already out there that cost little or nothing to get you to dump cable.

The easiest streaming option with a little money is an outdoor antenna mounted in your attic or outside, depending on your location and geography. Simply go to www.tvfool.com and find out what stations are available based on your address. Chances are you can get 5-6 major stations like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and PBS. You can also go to YouTube and search for HD antennas. You get tons of how to make your own HD antenna for a few bucks.

So what happens at the end of the day when you really want to watch all your “favorite” shows? TADA! IPTV gives you all your shows for a few bucks month. You say “but doesn’t the antenna already give me my shows at night too? Yes it does. But if the over the air reception in your location doesn’t meet your expectations, then here is what you can do.

Buy a Roku 3 device for $100. Sign up for HULU Plus for $7.99 a month and Bingo you are good to go. The reason I use HULU Plus is because like most people, I do not watch all my favorite shows when they are broadcast. With HULU Plus, I get an instant DVR with the whole season of my shows saved for me. There is a free version of HULU you can try that does not give you your shows for a day or two (depending on the original broadcast channel) and will give you limited past episode access, but it is Free.

Roku also gives  you cable channels like PBS, Lifetime, A&E, History who have thier own channels on the Roku box. Add in some extras like Snag films (free) or Netflix (paid) and that is alot of content.

Roku channels like Redbox and VUDU let you rent movies like you may be used to without leaving your house.

So what are you waiting for? Dump  Cable!