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REPOST--real world experience with receiving streaming video--lotta questions
Posted by: goodmanx
Date: September 14, 2009 08:05AM
at undoug's suggestion . . .

we're thinking about cutting the cord with dish network and getting all our video via streaming through our 16 mb comcast internet connection. we're curious about what experience others have had with this. we don't watch much at all from the broadcast stations. we usually watch movies on hbo or showtime, history channel, comedy central and other sundry cable networks. we like the idea of streaming movies thru netflix, but find the choices pretty limited. we expect to use a new mini as the hub of all things video and to have a triple- or quad-interface hard drive with at least 1.5 tb of memory. i have a lot of questions about how this whole operation will work.

maybe i can save all of us a lot of time by your referring me to a website that comprehensively describes the experience and how it differs from traditional providers. no? ok, here goes.

the current cable/dish paradigm seems to be that we either watch what the networks offer at that time or watch whatever we've recorded or have on dvd. how does this change after the cord is cut? do we use hulu or some other site to look for whatever we feel like watching that's been previously broadcast? what's your day-to-day experience in watching and how has streaming changed your (cringe) viewing habits?

will we be able to use a second monitor on the same computer so that the tv is used for tv and the other monitor is available in the same room for general usage or must the mini be dedicated only to video? (i actually know that the computer is generally available for other use via the tv monitor when not used for tv.)

are programs accessible in real time, such that you can watch them from the channel's website or is there usually a time-lag, so that they're available later via hulu or some other service? are all episodes usually available and, if so, how soon after broadcast?

if content is available in (cringe again) real time, do you use the online program guides as you would for cable or satellite? do you keep a browser window open for the guide while watching shows, maybe resizing the guide and content windows to see both at the same time, sort of like the guide function that dish has?

does netflix add new content pretty regularly or is it mostly the same old stuff that you're still not interested in watching?

are full series from syfy and other channels generally available to watch sequentially? how soon are they generally available after broadcast?

doesn't each tv needs its own video source (either a computer or apple tv or some other appliance), or is there a way to use wireless and connect from a router to the tv and get a video signal via ethernet? will all content from the mini be available to the other sets and, if so, how do you get it there?

since the tv channel isn't changed, is there much need for a traditional remote? do you find yourself using the remote much or just using the keyboard? volume/mute can usually be controlled through the keyboard and we almost never find ourselves messing with other settings; will this change because of the different signal qualities coming over the cable? do you use a regular or specialized keyboard? is there some other smaller input device that's available? how well does the iphone app work?

since we rarely watch broadcast channels, would there a need for a tuner like the elgato eyetv? if so, what other products do you like that generally do the same things? do you find that a digital antenna works well for capturing broadcast channels?

it seems like having content available to stream negates the need to record. is there a reason to record streaming content or do you just find a show online when you want to watch it? if it is recordable, then how do you do that? is there a way to pre-set the recorder so that it starts recording while we're away.

are there many problems with the quality of streaming content or is most of it reliably of pretty high quality?

will the constant video stream interfere significantly with other web usage?

we'll appreciate your responses and other thoughts, observations and recommendations about the streaming tv experience.

thanks to undoug and to doc for their previous responses.
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Re: REPOST--real world experience with receiving streaming video--lotta questions
Posted by: guitarist
Date: September 14, 2009 09:45AM
What a headache.This is the kind of tortured workarounds that you can start to think are sensible and compelling when you hang out at Macresource Forums too much. (we've all been there brother, but you'll be okay!) Instead of investing in a shelf full of Excedrin and spending hours and hours trying to reinvent the wheel, I'd recommend just ordering deluxe cable, make some popcorn, and enjoy the benefits of quality television programming. You'll be glad you did!
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Re: REPOST--real world experience with receiving streaming video--lotta questions
Posted by: abevilac
Date: September 14, 2009 10:00AM
I can only answer one part of this; I use a mini as a media hub and for netflix streaming. I stream from netflix once or twice a week and I find their available films to be fine for me, but I really like foreign films, animations, documentaries, etc. I think if you want the more current fare, the pickings are slim. They do update the list regularly but maybe not fast enough. As an example of their scope, my husband asked me to look for a film that Wired had as one of their favorite SciFi films - A Boy and His Dog [1980??] and it was available for streaming.
We have the mini hard-wired in because of a weak wireless signal to that part of the house. When we were wireless, we had times when the streaming stopped to buffer more, but wired-in, the streaming never stops. We have AT&T Uverse dsl and so our speeds are not a good as Comcast cable but, as I said, hard wired in you never notice a difference. I don't think there is much impact on other users; I have only experienced this when my daughter is home and streaming while I am working in my home office and it's been ok. HTH
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Re: REPOST--real world experience with receiving streaming video--lotta questions
Posted by: mikebw
Date: September 14, 2009 10:55AM
One thing I could suggest is the possibility of renting DVD and Blu-Ray movies thorough Netflix and ripping them to your media center hard disk to watch on demand when you want. I cannot speak on the legality of this practice, but I think most people believe you should be free to do what you want since you are paying for the service.
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Re: REPOST--real world experience with receiving streaming video--lotta questions
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: September 14, 2009 12:00PM
I didn't read your whole post but we use Apple TV and love it. If services like Hulu, etc. are important to you, you can easily hack Apple TV to provide access.

The rest we get the old fashioned way--from over-the-air (OTA). Digital OTA reception provides unexcelled quality. The antenna signal is distributed via coaxial cable split to 4 sets in the house.

No cable or satellite, no recurring fees, no problem.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/14/2009 12:04PM by Article Accelerator.
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