Stay with WMC or move on?

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jeepman

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Stay with WMC or move on?

#1

Post by jeepman » Mon Mar 23, 2020 2:33 pm

It was fun getting the upgrade to work, but I may not able to afford Cable soon... :( So I am faced with hoping that Spectrum Time Warner will lower my cable bill, and lowered by like a lot, or I will need to return my Cable Card and Set Top Box and get rid of cable. Last time I tried, they did not budge, so I am thinking they will not budge this time too.

I think that means I will have a pretty useless setup moving forward, at least in terms of Media Center. I will be adding an HDHomeRun Duo for OTA channels, so not totally useless, but for other channels, I will be using my Roku and hopefully find a way to pay for just a few specific channels.

Anyone else thinking about austerity moves like this too?

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Scallica

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#2

Post by Scallica » Mon Mar 23, 2020 3:37 pm

jeepman wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 2:33 pm
So I am faced with hoping that Spectrum Time Warner will lower my cable bill, and lowered by like a lot, or I will need to return my Cable Card and Set Top Box and get rid of cable. Last time I tried, they did not budge, so I am thinking they will not budge this time too.
Not going to happen.
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adam1991

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#3

Post by adam1991 » Mon Mar 23, 2020 3:41 pm

I dropped the pay TV thing like a hot potato years ago, changed over from Ceton tuner to HD Homerun, redid the TV signal on my 7MC box, and never looked back. All of my recordings stayed right in place, and the scheduled broadcast network recordings just kept on humming.

Me, I can't imagine ever watching a commercial-laden, scheduled, appointment-based, grid-TV product ever again. You may think you "need" some stuff from that, but really, you don't. And here's food for thought: the streaming pay TV products may offer DVR, but if there's an on-demand version of the thing you "recorded," they force that on you instead--with commercials that can't be skipped.

Anyway, over the last 10 years that traditional cableco-brokered pay TV thing has turned into pure junk, nothing but National Enquirer-level programming to feed to the mouth-breathing proles.

I've had Netflix for 20 years. I still do the mail thing for stuff that's not available on streaming anywhere, and I still keep the streaming sub alive--but as it turns out I barely use it. I have Hulu on-demand with no ads, and it's turned into my go-to. $13. And over the years, SO much of what my wife thought she would miss--the HGTV stuff--has come to appear on Hulu.

My wife has Amazon Prime, and I've watched The Grand Tour, but other than that Prime Video has absolutely nothing I need. I glance at it every now and then, but end up just going back to Hulu and Netflix.

It's not so much of an austerity move as you think it is. You'll pay less money, but you won't be suffering for video entertainment.

My recommendation is always to keep what you have in place, but switch your behavior over to your Plan B. Subscribe to whatever streaming things you think you might watch, and watch that. Watch nothing on the DVR other than broadcast TV you can get with an antenna. Evaluate after a couple of months. Are you missing the old cableco-provided stuff? If not, call the cable company and dump them.

Regardless, at the end of that couple of months of testing you'll have facts in hand with which to make your decision. Sure, for those couple of months of testing you're oversubscribed; so? It's an investment with a high return.

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Scallica

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#4

Post by Scallica » Mon Mar 23, 2020 6:18 pm

adam1991 wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 3:41 pm
And here's food for thought: the streaming pay TV products may offer DVR, but if there's an on-demand version of the thing you "recorded," they force that on you instead--with commercials that can't be skipped.
This is true for Hulu without the "Enhanced DVR" option. I use FuboTV and never watched one commercial on a recorded show.
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jeepman

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#5

Post by jeepman » Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:59 pm

So many thoughtful answers! Thank you, got some good food for thought, and I love that HGTV was thrown out there too because that would have been an issue! I will need to see if Lifetime is available on Hulu too.

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#6

Post by adam1991 » Tue Mar 24, 2020 5:01 pm

Again, with respect to Hulu my experience is with individual series and shows--not networks. I don't do any live pay TV.

That being said, if you have a list of shows you're interested in, I'd be happy to see what Hulu has to offer.

Right now on their HGTV page they show:

Fixer Upper
Flip or Flop
Property Brothers: Buying & Selling
Caribbean Life
Good Bones
House Hunters Renovation
Fixer Upper: Behind the Design
Container Homes
House Hunters International
House Hunters
Property Brothers
Extreme Homes
Flea Market Flip
Love It or List It
Home Town
Love It or List It, Too
Desert Flippers
Property Virgins


On their Lifetime page, they show:

Devious Maids
Project Runway All-Stars
Married at First Sight
Dance Moms
Little Women: LA
Mary Kills People
War & Peace
Christmas Perfection
Project Runway
UnREAL
The Killer Next Door
I Killed my BFF: The Preacher's Daughter
Little Women: Atlanta
The Simone Biles Story: Courage to Soar
Witches of East End
Making a Model with Yolanda Hadid
Mommy Group Murder
The Rap Game
Glam Masters

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#7

Post by adam1991 » Tue Mar 24, 2020 5:03 pm

Oh--and Hulu is the exclusive outlet for MASH in pure re-worked HD glory. They went back to the original film, which had all the width and resolution, and individually re-worked every scene of every episode. It's phenomenal.

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#8

Post by Space » Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:56 pm

So they have true wide-screen versions of the MASH TV show? Considering it aired in 4:3 aspect, I would expect that the extra wide areas would not contain much, other then the occasional crew member or piece of production equipment.

HD quality is nice, but wide-screen does not sound like a good thing since they were originally meant for 4:3 aspect ratio.

Of course this is MUCH better than cropping the top and bottom of the original 4:3 frame to make it widescreen, so if they HAVE to make it widescreen (due to naive people complaining about black side pillars) then I guess it's for the best.

I did look this up just now and see that they did also crop a little off the top and/or bottom of the frame, but also added to the sides. Again, I would prefer to see the full frame, none of this cropping.

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#9

Post by adam1991 » Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:36 pm

Space wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:56 pm
So they have true wide-screen versions of the MASH TV show? Considering it aired in 4:3 aspect, I would expect that the extra wide areas would not contain much, other then the occasional crew member or piece of production equipment.
Yes, it's true widescreen and high def. Trust me, it's the pure product. You have to see it to believe it. Google is your friend if you're interested in the details.


HD quality is nice, but wide-screen does not sound like a good thing since they were originally meant for 4:3 aspect ratio.
I think you'll be surprised if you see it. My attitude is, I love the higher resolution--and if it comes in widescreen (which in general I don't care about and agree with you in this case) BUT the widescreen doesn't take anything away (which it doesn't), that's great.

The end result is so natural, you'll be hard pressed to remember that they knew their audience was going to see a 4:3 frame.

I did look this up just now and see that they did also crop a little off the top and/or bottom of the frame, but also added to the sides. Again, I would prefer to see the full frame, none of this cropping.
I know what you're thinking--"this is the TV in the tire shop waiting room set to "fill the screen"." Nothing could be further from the truth. Seeing is believing. Life is full of tradeoffs. Once you see how carefully they did this, you'll never go back. It's the most natural thing in the world.

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#10

Post by Space » Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:36 am

Yeah, well I'm weird, I know that if they were paying attentions then it will probably not be missing any important stuff, but little things still bother me, particularly when it was not necessary (they could have just used the full 4:3 frame). For instance look at this example. You can see that the frame is cropped at the top and the bottom.

Not being able to see that IV bottle/bag in the lower right corner next to the patient's head would really bother me even though it does not add much to the scene. What bothers me is that the director put that bottle in there and had it in the frame so that we could see it, but someone else decided I didn't need to see it.

If it was originally 4:3, remaster it in 4:3 at a higher resolution. If someone doesn't like the bars, they can just zoom in to the pic on their TV. They could have even made it wide screen without cropping the top and bottom, why not do that? (I'll guess that the film frame does not extend far enough unless they zoom in a little, otherwise still leaving black bars on the sides, although smaller bars than a 4:3 crop would have)

By the way, I generally don't watch sitcoms anymore, I just got tired of them, but my two favorite sitcoms of all time are MASH and Taxi.

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#11

Post by adam1991 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:53 am

Space wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:36 am
If someone doesn't like the bars, they can just zoom in to the pic on their TV.
The problem is, that would be just a dumb zoom--way different than the careful handcrafting of each scene that they did in production.

Notice in your research, they didn't just zoom in on the final 4:3 image and call it a day. They went back to the original film, which had plenty of material at the sides with which to work. That left any top/bottom cropping to be minimal, and they did that intelligently.

And also, they did things like move the clock in that one scene--again, shows they did this intelligently and didn't do a simple zoom for the mouthbreathers like the waiting room TV.

Trust me, watch it and see. If you had never seen that IV bottle in the first place, you wouldn't be "missing" it today. The handcrafted reworking is so well worth it, you'll never miss a thing.

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#12

Post by dkrom » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:19 pm

Stay

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#13

Post by dab2kab » Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:57 pm

If you want to watch ota tv, id say keep WMC and just supplement it with whatever streaming services youre willing to pay for. If youve already got the WMC software, tuner, and antenna, id keep it around until atsc 3.0 finally kills it off. That's what ive chosen to do. But i think your instinct is right, in todays market, there is little reason to pay for cable. If you really need live tv with a grid, youll likely be satisfied at a lower cost with youtubetv(50 per month), which includes locals and an unlimited dvr.

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#14

Post by adam1991 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:39 am

that's exactly right. I've been OTA for years now. It still has value, given the price I had to pay to implement it--which was the price of the HD Homerun tuner.

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#15

Post by DavidinCT » Sat Mar 28, 2020 3:35 pm

jeepman wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 2:33 pm
It was fun getting the upgrade to work, but I may not able to afford Cable soon... :( So I am faced with hoping that Spectrum Time Warner will lower my cable bill, and lowered by like a lot, or I will need to return my Cable Card and Set Top Box and get rid of cable. Last time I tried, they did not budge, so I am thinking they will not budge this time too.
The ONLY way I have seen to get a lower cost from a provider is to change providers.

Odds are you have more than one choice for TV/internet services. See what promos they are offering for like 2 years and change over. You get a good deal for 2 years, and when they go back to normal expensive price, you jump back to another provider.

I know a few people who have been doing this for years, and a lot of the "new user" promotions are really good..

Sometimes when you call to cancel service, they sent you over to a team that will give you a very discounted rate to stay...
-Dave
Twitter @TheCoolDave

Windows Media Center certified and WMC MVP 2010 - 2012

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#16

Post by adam1991 » Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:41 pm

DavidinCT wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 3:35 pm
Sometimes when you call to cancel service, they sent you over to a team that will give you a very discounted rate to stay...
Usually you must FIRST *actually* cancel service.

Suddenly they know you weren't bluffing.

WOW Cable understood that for me 3 years ago. I was with Spectrum for a month. But two days after I cancelled WOW, after they told me "sorry, there's nothing we can do,"I got "the call". "We never do this, but..."

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#17

Post by adam1991 » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:38 am

Space wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:36 am
By the way, I generally don't watch sitcoms anymore, I just got tired of them, but my two favorite sitcoms of all time are MASH and Taxi.
I'm watching The Movie; at least we get My Darling Clementine in widescreen...

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#18

Post by DjFourmoney » Fri Aug 06, 2021 9:06 pm

I have flitted with the idea of dropping cable while my parents were still alive.

WIthout getting too far into stuff, I have been paying the cable bill to the tune of $213 a month (Triple Play). During the pandemic I found myself watching more content online.

That said I would get my Covid-19 information from local news sources and some cable news outlets. Local news has started uploading segments to YouTube, so watching an entire newscast to get the information you need is less needed.

All that said, you still get digital cable if you get broadband internet so there's no point in not taking advantage of it.

I am heavy live sports watcher. I can shift things like Formula 1 because the races are often when I am sleeping anyway and results have to be searched or I may get a notification of who won.

Now that forced to make a clean break and decisions that only impact me, I will likely continue getting basic cable with broadband. Most of my watching TV is on YouTube. After the Expanse series ends, there a few other things on Amazon and I am Prime user anyway.

I have accounts with Hulu and Paramount + (Picard, Below Decks)

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#19

Post by TVTechTB » Tue Nov 22, 2022 12:57 am

Windows 8.1 support ends January 10.
https://www.pcworld.com/article/1381119 ... e-now.html

Still have cable TV with a cable card, SiliconDust Prime with some protected channels. Should I keep running Windows 8.1 with WMC or move to NextPVR or Plex? Not sure if WMC on Windows 10 will be stable enough for the rest of my household. I don't mind losing the few protected channels. I have 2017'ish Apple TV box for streaming. The Plex app on Apple TV is not bad but I have run into streaming issues with 4K video from my Plex PVR.

Any opinions welcome!

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#20

Post by dab2kab » Tue Nov 22, 2022 1:09 am

TVTechTB wrote:
Tue Nov 22, 2022 12:57 am
Windows 8.1 support ends January 10.
https://www.pcworld.com/article/1381119 ... e-now.html

Still have cable TV with a cable card, SiliconDust Prime with some protected channels. Should I keep running Windows 8.1 with WMC or move to NextPVR or Plex? Not sure if WMC on Windows 10 will be stable enough for the rest of my household. I don't mind losing the few protected channels. I have 2017'ish Apple TV box for streaming. The Plex app on Apple TV is not bad but I have run into streaming issues with 4K video from my Plex PVR.

Any opinions welcome!
Unless there is something specific that you think is superior about plex or nextpvr, i wouldnt switch. Not getting security updates isnt a big deal. Ive been running 8.1 and havent updated it in years. If anything, your WMC will likely be more reliable once it stops getting updates that might break it. I still use 8.1, my only concern is the drop of software support going forward for other programs as I use my WMC box for daily computing tasks. The big one that jumps out is that chrome will stop being updated on 8.1 in early February...

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