So we cut the cord entirely. With the move happening soon, I had to take care of unburdening myself of both my Dish Beta Program equipment as well as my standard Dish receiver. Since I’m now out of the program, I can say that it was a really great experience, and I got to play with a lot of cool hardware. The wireless Joey receiver was amazing. But alas, all good things come to an end, and I was ready to move on.
We’ve been a Roku family for a while, and between Netflix, Amazon Prime and Plex there wasn’t much we had to do to proceed. The kids have been consuming almost everything from Netflix and various Roku apps anyway. There wouldn’t be much in the way of disruption for them. Aimee was going to go into withdrawal from lack of Property Brothers and the rest of the HGTV lineup, but could go without for the sake of no more satellite bill. Broadcast TV and sports were going to be a problem though. I’d tried several antennas before, and had a heck of a time maintaining reception. I read a couple of reports and then decided to try the Winegard Flatwave unamplified antenna. Remarkably, when I stuck it to our bedroom window, I got everything in the Philly area, including WPVI-6 and WHYY-12! I had my doubts that this was going to work since my TVFool profile was kind of questionable. The good thing was the antenna they recommended was more than I would need. You can check what you need at their TV Signal Locator page.
So now I have an antenna but I need a way to distribute that around the house. I don’t particularly want to run coax cable; I haven’t ever been good at terminating it and I don’t want to put it everywhere. There’s a bunch of bad coax all over the new place, and I want to pull that out and caulk the holes shut. So I have the Rokus, and a pair of Chromecasts…and the Tablo 4-Tuner OTA DVR fits the bill. They have a 2-Tuner model as well, but in my experience if I’m going to record things and watch them at the same time, 2 tuners don’t cut it. There are other devices with similar capabilities but they lacked features or had subscription requirements I didn’t like. I just supply an external hard drive and boom, live HDTV on my TVs via the Roku or Chromecast. More info on the Tablo at their website.
As to sports…I’m a New York fan in enemy territory. Which means that if I want to pay for online streaming services I’m pretty well set. But ESPN would be nice. And that’s where Sling TV comes in. Dish Network, those guys I just dumped? Turns out they’re way more forward looking than anybody gave them credit for. Except for those of us beta testing their stuff.
They’re starting an OTT streaming service for Rokus, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox One. The Cliffs Notes are as follows:
- ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family and CNN.
- No commitment
- $20 a month
Oh, and they’re going to have $5 packaged content: a News pack, a Kids pack and a Sports pack. There are more details if you want to go poking, but that’s going to scratch both my ESPN itch and Aimee’s HGTV itch…
It’s a brave new world, cordcutters. And it’s only going to get better.
As in my other posts of this type, comment if you have questions and I’ll update as necessary.