Internet TV Suggestions

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Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:15 pm

So my wife and I are closing on our first house this Friday. For about a year now, I've been toying with the idea of ditching my cable package and doing internet TV. Now seems like the perfect time to try it out. Looking for any suggestions as to what services to sign up for (Netflix/Hulu Plus/etc) and their pros and cons.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:30 pm

You want best advice? Try them all out and decide which one YOU like the best. All of the streaming services have different movies/TV shows libraries with different encoding bitrates and different "extras". I personally dislike the **** Netflix's library but some people are completely satisfied with it.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:28 pm

Amazon Prime is a good one to pick up if you're not already a member. Aside from a good selection of TV shows you get free two day shipping on most Amazon products and some Kindle/KFire perks.

Netflix has good movies and okay shows, also their original series House of Cards just won several Emmy awards and they'll likely follow it up with more quality original programming ala HBO.

Hulu is jointly owned by Disney and three of the four major broadcast networks so they have a lot of network-exclusive material.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:04 am

Amazon prime is a must.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:44 am

So far, it sounds like Amazon Prime is highly recommended. How does their TV selection compare to Hulu Plus and Netflix?

I'm thinking I'd like to have no more than two subscriptions. I know Amazon Prime and Netflix offer 30 day free trials (I'm sure Hulu Plus has something similar) but I was hoping to get some first-hand advice from the TR gerbils instead of trial-ing them all for myself.

Are any of these services faster at getting new content/shows available?

JohnC wrote:different encoding bitrates

I'd really like to have at least 720p available (1080p would be preferable). I typically watch TV through my TV speakers which obviously aren't good, I have a 2-channel stereo that I use for movies. It may not be surround sound, but the sound quality is very good IMO.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:00 am

Currently I use Netflix and Amazon Prime. Prime is a good mix between Netflix and Hulu as far as TV offerings go. While Hulu had a lot of stuff it was mostly stuff I didnt watch, a lot of TV shows from the 70s, 80s, and early 90s; and a huge offering of anime.

Netflix has won me over with their exclusive shows House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. But I am not too keen on Netflix always rolling over their offerings. Some things I want to watch and never get a chance to because they are gone.

I haven't 'rented' anything from Amazon Prime only sticking to the free stuff. But at least I know its their if I ever get that itch. The prices are pretty much the same as Apple Tv/ itunes (which I use from time to time).

And If and when HBO Go ever becomes subscription based it will be a day 1 purchase.

I dont know what hardware you plan are using for this but What I did is got the best dual band router (Asus RT-AC66U) and I use the 5Ghz band for stream stuff to my Roku3, Apple TV and consoles. Everything else goes on the 2.4Ghz band. I am able to maintain 1080 that way.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:14 am

I have Amazon Prime and love it. Your not going to get all the latest shows or movies. There is a nice selection though, enough to keep you entertained but its not going to be all encompassing. What you can get for no further charge is updated fairly regularly as well. For the $79 a year it costs its well worth it I think. Additionally the free shipping and the one Kindle book a month you can read for free is a nice bonus.

If your wanting the latest shows and movies I suggest you give Hulu a look. I think its like $8 a month with some limited advertising. A little more than Amazon Prime but with lots more content available.

From what I hear from family and friends I would stay away from Netflix. Their selection is getting worse all the time and "technical issues" seem to be rampant. I have no first hand knowledge but I would be cautious when looking into Netflix myself.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:54 am

I haven't done much more than Netflix, but I think I'm going to turn off the DVD rental and might try one of these myself.

There are tons of movies and TV shows, but a lot of shows are on a pretty big delay, so it's not a replacement for TV, IMO.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:10 am

It looks like I'll be getting Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus based on what's been said so far.
tanker27 wrote:I dont know what hardware you plan are using for this

I have an A8-5600K HTPC and am planning on feeding it via Ethernet until 802.11ac stuff becomes cheaper with more hardware choices.

superjawes wrote:There are tons of movies and TV shows, but a lot of shows are on a pretty big delay

This kindof touches on my previous question regarding the delay of each service. We have DVR right now, so I rarely watch anything live anymore. She does, but admitted that it's not critical. That being said, I'd rather not have to wait a month for TV shows to become available. Anybody care to comment on this as it applies to Amazon/Hulu/Netflix (or others)?
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:16 am

DPete27 wrote:
superjawes wrote:There are tons of movies and TV shows, but a lot of shows are on a pretty big delay

This kindof touches on my previous question regarding the delay of each service. We have DVR right now, so I rarely watch anything live anymore. She does, but admitted that it's not critical. That being said, I'd rather not have to wait a month for shows to become available. Anybody care to comment on this as it applies to Amazon/Hulu/Netflix (or others)?

Netflix is currently missing the most recent season (entirely) of Doctor Who and The Walking Dead, and if How I Met Your Mother premiered its final season, Netflix is more than a season behind.

It's great for shows that you want to watch from the past (old Futurama, Stargate SG-1, Star Trek: The Next Generation), but you'll be months (plural) behind for some shows on Netflix.

EDIT: I would still recommend Netflix. The movie selection is good, and being able to turn on old episodes of several shows is great. You just aren't going to be up-to-date on several shows, and might catch a few spoilers of fan favorites...
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:22 pm

I have Amazon's Prime, but I got it for shipping options, not their crappy library of few free movies and TV shows. Their bitrate (whatever they use) is also pretty crappy even for a paid content and looks bad when streaming to tablets with high resolution display (like my latest gen iPad). I much prefer the quality of iTunes digital content and even though they don't have any "exclusives" or a price model similar to Netflix/Hulu/Prime I personally do not mind paying for their content. This is why I said "try all of the services by YOURSELF and decide what YOU like the best, using your specific devices". It doesn't cost much to try all of them (most of them have free trials anyway), so just do it instead of relying on highly subjective opinions.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:35 pm

Amazon Prime works pretty well for me. THe free selection is hit or miss, but they all are you know? One thing I'd warn you on though; you really need good internet or it looks like ass, since they'll scale the quality depending on the available connection (IIRC so does Netflix). I have 10 megs down and it works well for me, but I tried ti back when I had 1.5 megs down and it was bad.

Hulu just sucked, at least for movies. Netlix was middling.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:24 am

None of them are a singular solution. But two may satisfy your needs. I have to tell you my biggest gripe about Hulu though, its the ads. Sure they are not frequent but I've been known to power through episodes/seasons and the ads are the same one over and over and over again. Enough so that you would stab your eye out.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:57 am

Something I haven't seen mentioned that you may want to also consider is a Roku and a Simple.TV. The Roku is compatible with most online services, but you are still left with rabbit ears and swaping inputs. The Simple.TV would allow you to watch OTA shows. http://gigaom.com/2012/10/15/cord-cutters-simple-tv-the-dvr-for-cord-cutters-reviewed/

Another thought, a SlingBox would allow you to watch OTA shows most places, too.

I would have done this, but I live in BFE so I don't get any OTA channels.

A personal mini-rant on this:
I tried this. It worked OK. I had cable internet and it came with "basic" cable. That and a blu-ray player with Hulu and Netflix for services and a Boxee Box for local stuff and I was set

Then I did some number crunching. After all of the service fees, I figured cable wasn't much more expensive. ($80 a month for cable and internet, internet was ~$40 alone) The down side is I wouldn't have gotten all of the shows when I wanted to watch them. WMC and a cableCARD tuner resolved this for me. I now can get all of my shows I like, record them, remove commercials, compress them, and archive them on my own drives and use them on any device I want. This seemed to be the better long-term solution for me. It may take a while, but I will eventually gather a large archive of content with no strings attached that I like. I can also take the content with me when I don't have a reliable internet connection (like, say, in a hotel).

Looking back at it, though, a regular cable tuner that works with "basic" cable would still record ~90% of what I watch. If you go with internet through your cable provider, and get free "basic" cable, you could do the same thing, also getting your the OTA stations, which "cable cutting" does not get you. I also wasn't a fan of trying to remember what shows are on what service and IF it was even available on a streaming service. So "basic" cable (if it comes with my internet) and Hulu+Netflix would probably the way I move forward if I get fed up with cable and them jacking up my bill.

So, that's my $0.02 (or more like $0.03) on the subject
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:41 am

Around here cable TV runs about 50 a month. Amazon Prime is 92 for the whole year and lets me get free shipping on bulk baby supplies, camping goods, etc. Netflix is 96 for the year IF you subscribe every month (and I don't, I do a few months on then a few months off, wind up spending about 50-60 a year on it).

Makes it an easy choice for me.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:53 am

We do cable during college football season and drop it during off-season.
One think you have to realize is that by cutting the cord, you are changing the way you watch tv. Instead of watching an episode a week, you will do more marathon watching of seasons. Again, it's a change of viewing, not a swap.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:01 pm

phhhhh, this all seems so overcomplicated.
- Netflix/Amazon/Hulu all take so long to make episodes available (why?)
- My current DVR records all the latest episodes of the shows I want and lists them all for me to enjoy. I love when seasons start back up and I look at my recordings list "oh _______ started back up, I forgot that started this week!"
- Multiple online services + Over-the-air w/ some sort of hardware puchase to enable recording = hastle

Whatever happened to that Intel TV service?
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:11 pm

DPete27 wrote:- Netflix/Amazon/Hulu all take so long to make episodes available (why?)

Probably due to contracts. Netflix can't just take a feed from CBS, HBO, or AMC and broadcast episodes whenever they want, especially when they are commercial-free.

- My current DVR records all the latest episodes of the shows I want and lists them all for me to enjoy. I love when seasons start back up and I look at my recordings list "oh _______ started back up, I forgot that started this week!"

If that's what you want, you might need to consider something other than streaming as an alternative, like paying iTunes or Amazon for episodes at ~$24 a season.

- Multiple online services + Over-the-air w/ some sort of hardware puchase to enable recording = hastle

Hastle is, unfortunately, the tradeoff between cable and internet right now. Television business hasn't really evolved even though the internet has changed the way media is delivered. Comedy Central does okay by offering full episodes even though there is often a delay. Netflix is actually offering exclusive shows with no commercials and all at once, like House of Cards, Arrested Development, and Orange is the New Black...not that I've watched any of those, but at least it's a new idea.

Maybe your approach is wrong, though. I would still recommend trying several services via free trial or short-term paid, but maybe you should start by listing shows that you "need" to watch and see if there is an internet alternative. If not, cable+DVR is probably still your best fit.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:31 pm

Take this from someone who has used them all, for way too long:

Netflix is the best place to start for most people. Netflix has tons of great content, streams at a generally higher quality than anyone else (in terms of both resolution and bitrate, including 5.1 surround), and now has some exclusive shows that are really HBO/Showtime quality. And it's $8/month, you can get a free one month trial, and cancel at any time. That's why you start with Netflix. Where Netflix falls short is that it lacks the latest season of almost any show. You're also not going to get HBO content.

The next place to go is Amazon Prime. I've been disappointed by their video quality in the past but it seems to have improved some and with Amazon Prime it can be a good deal. You pay your $80/year, get much improved shipping, and access to some content for free that Netflix may not have. That said, the library of "free" content for Prime members that Netflix lacks is extremely shallow. Prime doesn't really compare to Netflix in terms of library size or streaming quality, but it's a good way to supplement things. I will say that like Netflix they're continually improving their offerings. You can also a la carte purchase content from Amazon, which is great in a pinch, but similar to buying from an iTunes or whomever is quite expensive.

Hulu is the way to go if you're into network broadcast shows.

And then you've got all the other guys out there that work like iTunes who will sell you stuff a la carte. Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Blockbuster, Cinema Now, etc. They're all costly, all useful, and as far as internet tv goes it might depend on whatever apps your solution has depending on if you're using a google tv, apple tv, roku, chromecast, game console, some sort of blurary player or smart tv.

The most important thing to note is that there isn't one service that's going to have everything that you want, you will almost certainly want to use multiple services. But I would very highly recommend you start with Netflix: it's the cheapest option that will give you the largest access to the most high quality content streamed at the highest quality. And you can get a free one month trial. As opposed to Amazon, which is less of all of the above and has a higher cost of entry. Not to dissuade you from Amazon (I've been a prime member for years), but that you have it.
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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:35 pm

I have a smart tv with Netflix and Hulu+. If I had to choose just one service I would choose Netflix. It's easier to use, quality seems better, and the menus are a little more intuitive. I still haven't pulled the plug on my cable service because of live sports and what not.

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Re: Internet TV Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:54 pm

I know you asked about streaming off the net but there is another option to cable. Get a Dish or Direct TV set up. Generally its cheaper than cable, depending on what programming you choose. You can get the local channels as well. The only down side to a dish set up is it can fail due to heavy rain. That happens to me here in Ohio maybe two or three times a year.

I have Dish and in effect your renting the equipment from them. So if something breaks or stops working they come and fix it at no charge. I think Direct TV works the same way but I am not sure since its been a long while since I had their service.
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