After experiencing another rate increase with DirecTV we had finally have enough. When we really sat down and discussed what channels we watch and what satellite was offering we found that we were basically paying $80 a month for a handful of crappy shows.
Going in we knew we wanted Netflix, Amazon VOD, and Hulu. My wife also insisted she wanted the ability to record OTA (over the air/antenna) shows.
We had several options presented but the problem always seemed to be the recording of those OTA shows. Yes, there was an option to use Windows Media Center with an actual PC to do this. However, everything I read said you needed at least a dual-core processor to make this work. This just was too much for our tight budget.
We also found some digital recorders, but they were really nothing more than glorified VCRs and we really wanted a “guide” so we could pick and choose shows not times.In the end we settled on Tivo. Utilizing our local craigslist we were able to find a Tivo HD with no contract. This made the monthly cost $9.99 instead of $12.99. Couple that with paying for the entire year and it broke down to only $8.99 a month.
Through Tivo we are able to get Netflix, Amazon VOD, Pandora, DVR recording of OTA shows, and the ability to watch over the computer from remote places. The only other item that was missing was Hulu (Tivo keeps promising this but it’s yet to be seen). Enter Roku, an internet streaming device. Everything I read about it was glowing, but once installed I’m finding it somewhat lackluster (but it’s growing on me).
One big problem is that you have to subscribe to Hulu Plus to get Hulu. There is no “regular” free Hulu. Luckily TV.Com has a free channel you can add, but the Hulu issue was VERY discouraging to start. I’m kind’ve kicking myself for not reading the Roku forums before purchasing.
Also, i had some issues with the wireless on the Roku and it being slow or dropping. Apparently the device doesn’t like to be too far from the wireless router (which i have moved to within about 20 feet). I would say that this might be due to all the other wi-fi broadcasts in the area. Whatever the case is I seem to have it working ok now.
Given everything we have gained HD (which DirecTV wanted to charge us extra for) and the ability to watch shows on-demand. The kids (6 and 3) had a huge issue with the prospect of losing Nickelodeon, but once they found Qubo they told us they actually like this more.So here is our setup:
- Attic antenna. (Came with the house)
- Tivo HD
- Netgear Universal Wireless Adapter (this is an awesome little device that makes any ethernet pluggable device a wireless device)
- Power/Distribution Amplifier (drop in replacement for DirecTV amplifier – see right)
- Roku XDS