Cutting the cord?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Lounge' started by John F, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. John F

    John F Active Member War Zone Member

    So I'm thinking of getting rid of my landline phone and DirectTV, and I'm interested in other people's experiences who have done it.

    I have Verizon fro cell service. We have 3 cell phones, my wife's, mine, and my daughters. I was thinking of getting one of these:

    Anyone use this or similar hardware? I would like to be able to leave my cell phone at "base", and be able to pick up other handsets in the house to make/answer calls. Caller ID would be nice.

    As far as DirectV replacement...

    I have a 30Mbps internet connection that I'm satisfied with. I have Netflix (streaming), Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime. I have a PS3 on one TV, and an XBox360 and Amazon Firestick on the other, and Harmony remotes for both. The downside to the Firestick is that it doesn't work with the Harmony remote.

    I tried a small indoor antenna: on one TV it works well, on the my other TV it doesn't; I'm hoping once the foliage comes out, it won't degrade the signal too much. I would like the local channels through OTA, but can live without them. I'm thinking I will get my local TV news through apps if I can't get a good signal on the second TV. AS an aside, I was suprised by the number of OTA channels: things like a shopping channel, ION, ...

    I'm looking at adding either Playstation Vue or SlingTV, and I think I'll try Playstation Vue first. We don't watch a lot of live TV; CNN, HGTV, AMC are the main things we are watching. We are not much on watching sports. I do like the morning local news.

    Any comments with any of the above would be welcome.

  2. DustinDavis

    DustinDavis Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    Re: OTA, if you don't want the antenna outside, get the biggest one you can that fits in the attic. I had great success with this setup, back in the days when the best HD was OTA.
  3. Jay Brown

    Jay Brown Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

    I have two antennas installed in my attic. With this set up I'm able to dial in on two separate markets, both of which use both VHF High Channels, and UHF Channels. The antennas feed into a Channel Master CM-7777 Preamp, which connects to an HD HomeRun Extend Network Tuner.

    The HD HomeRun Extend Tuner is capable of transcoding for use with Smartphones, PCs, and Tablets.

    For my devices, I have an Nvidia Shield, and a Nexus Player, both running Android TV. This interface replaced Windows Media Center in my household. With that said, I have access to Netflix, Live OTA TV viewing, Sling TV, Pluto TV, and a few more Streaming Apps. There's no Amazon Instant available on Android TV unless you purchase one of the newer Sony TVs which also run Android TV. In the Meantime I have a Roku Stick, and a Sony Blu Ray Player which both stream Amazon Instant. No DVR Functionality at the moment.

    Plex is what I use to stream movies, music, and some TV Shows, which are located on my NAS. The Shield can handle 1:1 Blu Ray Rips with no issues. Plex Currently has the ability to passthrough DTS-MA, but not Dolby TrueHD at the moment. Some nightly releases of Kodi do have the ability to passthrough both Lossless Formats, but there is also a fork called SPMC which does both as well (due to some friction between developers over at the Kodi website).

    I am very insterested in the Play Station Vue app, for it has more channels than Sling TV. I would like to know about the Picture quality of the Vue package as well because Sling TV's quality is not that great.
  4. capsuleri

    capsuleri Well-Known Member War Zone Member

  5. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    Live sports is the biggie for dropping cable & OTA television. If you can live without sports or are willing to pay the fees for live streaming, cutting the TV cord is not a big deal.

    The only reason we still have a telephone landline is because my wife won't give it up. If I had my druthers we'd have dropped the landline a couple years ago.
  6. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    I talked a lot with DeeDee, girlfriend #2 in Tahoe, over the cell and even with a good headset it sucked SQ wise. Land line was much better.

    Now have Uverse with VOIP and it's much better than cell. Not quite as good as twisted pair but close.

    VOIP can get amazingly good though, the Co put in a network/phone link between our S CA and the Livermore office and it was amazing, sounded the same as if you were there (interoffice phones)
  7. John F

    John F Active Member War Zone Member

    I think an outside antenna is going to be the easiest (for me) to install. The DirectTV dish already has a mount and cable runs, so I should be able to take off the dish and stick in an antenna. :)
  8. John F

    John F Active Member War Zone Member

    A hadn't considered streaming quality. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are very good for me so I assumed/hoped that all streaming service PQ was going to be good.
  9. John F

    John F Active Member War Zone Member

    I was thinking about this. I was thinking of adding another cell number and switching over my old number, so we would always have a dedicated home number. But in the end, I think I'm just going to use my cell number.

    Annual savings of about $500.
  10. John F

    John F Active Member War Zone Member

    Sound quality is very poor. But for $500 annually, we will deal with it. :)
  11. John F

    John F Active Member War Zone Member

    Also, I very seldom give out my cell number, and I get very little spam calls on it.

    We do get at least one spam call a day on our landline, even though it is on the federal do not call list. I never put my cell number on the list. Is it recommended to add my cell to the list?
  12. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    Yeah, I give my LL number for almost all business and service transactions that require a phone number. I only give out my cell # to friends, family and a few online services that I need to access from the cell.

    I've been wondering if there is a way to cancel my LL service, but keep the number; maybe add it as a second line on my cell service?
  13. John F

    John F Active Member War Zone Member

  14. Shane

    Shane Active Member

    This is more of an individual question because I've seen people succeed and fail with cutting the cord. It comes down to your tolerant levels for live sports, old or dated TV shows and so forth.

    It's not necessarily cheaper either as I know folks with $100+ streaming budgets a month. Try it for a month or 2 and see what you can live with and live without then go from there. You can always reactivate cable or satellite another day if it doesn't work out.
  15. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Well-Known Member Top Poster

    We started the process yesterday in removing two key theme packs from our basic cable and sports. Those are two will be missed but it forces us to adapt and then once the hardware contract expires on the PVR we will cancel altogether. I get NHL games streamed via the NHL app for free (its part of the cell service I get) so I won't miss sports too badly since that's about all i watch live and most major competitions like the Olympics are streamed online.

    My girls are mad at us right now though about dropping the family channel.
  16. John F

    John F Active Member War Zone Member

    I'm less concerned with losing content. The Playstation Vue looks like it would be fine. Even Sling TV would be fine (although the On demand for ABC and NBC looks nice for Sony).

    I'm more concerned about technical problems I may occur. Like:

    Is the bluetooth in the phone handset OK? I'm assuming it wouldn't be a limiting factor for a phone? Do the bluetooth handsets introduce a delay?
    Do the seasons effect OTA? I can live with snow storms and thunder storms blocking an OTA signal. light rain and/or Foliage blocking an OTA signal would be a big problem. I'm going to wait for the spring before I commit to OTA.
    I can't use my Harmony remote with my Firestick (no IR for the firestick), but that is OK.
    My main TV has a much worse tuner than my other TV. Could getting an OTA set top box/DVR solve this? Are there some superior OTA tuners?
    I'll be using AVRs on both systems, and both TVs have TOSLink out, so I can use that for the OTA audio? I believe one TV has an HDMI out, but I know nothing about it.

    Thanks everyone for the replies. And Jay, especial thanks for detailed personal experience.
  17. BrandonH

    BrandonH New Member

    We cut the cord about a year ago. We have one Tivo Roamio Basic at our main TV hooked up to an antenna for all the local channels. We have four Tivo Mini's connected to all our other TV's that can watch live tv or recordings from the main Tivo. Its really worked well. We also have Netflix and Amazon Prime. The only show that I really missed was The Walking Dead and I purchase that now through Amazon Video the next day after a new episode airs on AMC. The Playstation Vue looks really neat and I really like the cloud DVR capability. This ultimately wouldn't work for us though because our ISP has a 300GB cap and every 50GB over is 10 dollars a month, so I think if we streamed everything we'd need to pay more for our internet service. I did try some of the free samples they had in the Vue app on the Playstation and the PQ wasn't quite up my high expectations, it was passible 720P I'd imagine but it didn't look as good as the best 1080P streams from Netflix and Amazon Prime.
  18. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Active Member War Zone Member

    SQ for phone service can largely be influenced by the cell carrier itself as well as the quality of the phone. A friend was shocked at the SQ of my iPhone versus her less expensive Android phone.
  19. Max Yokell

    Max Yokell Well-Known Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    OK You asked about the Panasonic Bluetooth phones cell link and while I don't have the exact model you posted I have a set of 4 cordless phones with the cell link. It actually works exactly as advertised.

    Basically you can connect two cell phones by BT and they will then ring through your cordless handsets. They will also Download the phone books from those phones.

    Sound quality is usually pretty good but I found I had one issue which was of my own creation. The base set is in my bedroom and this is where the BT link is set to and you can actually get pretty decent coverage even with your phone not real close to the base unit. I found though if the cell phone got too far the call quality would start to drop through the cordless handsets and one of the things I found myself doing was bringing my smart phone upstairs to the theater room which killed the sound quality of the cell link.

    I know if was my own fault but I found the allure of having a mini computer to strong to leave my phone down in the bedroom.

  20. capsuleri

    capsuleri Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    I have been all OTA since 2008, have a rooftop antenna no signal amplifier the house is 30 miles from the towers, the weakest signal is about 85 as seen on the TV signal meter. I have one station which is further out and off axis for the antenna the signal is generally about 40-45 the signal needs to drop below 30 for picture and audio to break up. My TV is circa 2004. The antenna I have is

    I want to switch to the solid signal antenna I mentioned earlier to catch the off axis station. Need to find someone not afraid to get on the roof.

    If you are worried about signal strength get an antenna one size larger than that or site recommends.

    I let go the landline in 2008 as well. Never missed it. I black list any junk calls that makes through on my cell. If any known number does not leave me a message thy do not get a call back. I do not pick up calls from unknown numbers unless I am expecting a call.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2016

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