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Time To Ditch Cable For Internet TV?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the slowly-but-surely dept.

Television 321

itwbennett writes "A flurry of announcements from YouTube, Boxee, Dell and Clicker on Thursday brought good news for anyone considering canceling their cable service in favor of internet TV. First, YouTube announced that within the next few days it will start offering full 1080P HD streams; better than your cable company can offer. Next, Boxee announced a 'Boxee Box' that promises to make it easier to get the content off your computer and onto your TV. Or you could hook up Dell's Inspiron Zino HD instead. 'This is an 8" x 8" PC running Windows 7 (with an option for Ubuntu) that you certainly could use as a desktop machine, but the form factor just screams 'Hook me up to your TV!' via its HDMI port,' says Peter Smith. And, last but not least in this roundup of announcements is the launch of Clicker, a programming guide for internet TV that aims to help you find what you want, when you want it."

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321 comments

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I'm sorry. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093866)

Next, Boxee announced a 'Boxee Box' that promises to make it easier to get the content off your computer and onto your TV.

Good luck. I'm hiding behind 7 of them right now!

Re:I'm sorry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094332)

I like Boxee, and here's why. I'm not postpubescent (over 25), I have a girlfriend, and I don't fantasize about her. I like her because she is the antidote, the antithesis, the hemlock in the cup to Internet Tough Guyism.

I was surprised to see that, for all its posturing, Slashdot really does hold one thing sacred: its "bad muthafucka" image of itself. Slashdot really believes that it's frightening, that it's tougher than a Ford Chevy, that it's badass masculinity personified, in a sense. And, before, there were very few ways to disrupt this image, to give it a good hard kick in the shins.

And then Boxee came along. Boxee love is everything Slashdot hates - passive, gentle, adorable, sweet. It gives without asking, it loves without asking in return. Instead of being aggressively faux-adult, it's happily faux-childlike. That's why Boxee became a meme - because she DIDN'T want the attention; because she provided no pics (as the Slashdottards will attest). As a result, Boxee turned into the most successful way to troll the Slashdottards ever devised. It actually makes the gore and violence and sexism and racism fantards squeal, because it hits them where it hurts - in their image of themselves. How can they be tough, scary guys when their favorite hangout is one long love poem to Boxee love? So that's why I love Boxee - the sound of Slashdot's humiliation is sweet music to my ears.

Is it live, or is it Memorex (3, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093890)

But can I keep what I download?

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (2, Interesting)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093920)

Why do you want to?

Imagine a world where anything you could possibly want to watch is available from the internet instantly for a flat rate all you can eat cheap price. That's where we are headed. In that world, why bother maintaining enough expensive disk space (with backups) for a video format that will be obsolete 6 months after you download it?

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (4, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093964)

Two reasons:

One, I can transcode it to eliminate the commercials.

Two, I never have to worry about my service provider (at the behest of the Content Cabal) revoking my ability to watch something I've saved.

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (0, Redundant)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094352)

Why do you want to?

Imagine a world where anything you could possibly want to watch is available from the internet instantly for a flat rate all you can eat cheap price.

Two, I never have to worry about my service provider (at the behest of the Content Cabal) revoking my ability to watch something I've saved.

If you stream the video, you won't be saving anything, so there would be nothing to worry about.

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094396)

You can save streaming video. Just use the right kind of media player.

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (2, Insightful)

TBoon (1381891) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094388)

Three, transcode for portable devices. Watch on while travelling.

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094492)

One, I can transcode it to eliminate the commercials.

I watch Netflix downloads almost daily and I haven't been plagued by commercials.

Who has the time to do a clean - professional-looking - edit of every episode of Law & Order?

I never have to worry about my service provider (at the behest of the Content Cabal) revoking my ability to watch something I've saved.

Like revoking the online key that unlocks the encryption? Or embedding a time stamp in the file?

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (5, Interesting)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094116)

Because this can, very easily, turn into one, giant, bait-and-switch. Once the big content companies companies get the entire market to abandon physical media and adopt online, on-demand, delivery it won't take long for them to end the "all you can eat" pricing system and adopt a "pay per view" system. Once that's done, they'll just keep jacking up the rates arbitrarily. We've already seen this kind of behavior from the broadband ISPs and cell phone companies in the US.

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (4, Insightful)

Skreems (598317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094172)

Come on, you really think someone won't find a way around it? If the rates become more than people think is reasonable, they'll pirate it. They already do. And technology in 3 years isn't suddenly going to become impregnable. At the VERY worst, it'll take one guy with a machine fast enough to virtualize Windows, fullscreen a paid Hulu account, and record the screen output to a video file, and you've got an unencumbered video you can share with friends.

No system yet has proven foolproof. If you can watch it, you can record it. And if the default experience becomes irritating enough, someone's going to work their way around it just to spite the media companies if nothing else.

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094334)

Why is this modded Troll? It is the plain truth!

Besides, some of us are outside the US and cannot access Hulu or any other similar service...

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094392)

I remember this early on with cable TV, pre-Internet. If you bought cable, you would get some more channels, and all programming you watched would be ad-free. Then ads crept in between programs. Then eventually the shows you watched on had just as many ads as the over the air TV channels.

Another example is tethering. As time goes by, there are more restrictions, fewer phones that offer this service without jailbreaking or reflashing, and more fees attached for this service.

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094496)

It could be just like video rental places now. Most movies I watch I just rent when I need them. I have the DVDs of a few I want to keep.

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094506)

You analogy is feeble. Net nuetrality will ensure a highly competitive environment. When one provider abuses its customers, those customers will jump to a better option.

Re:Is it live, or is it Memorex (4, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094158)

Last I heard, the average person watches an astonishing eight hours of television per day. Switching to entertainment on the internet to replace cable won't happen until data caps are lifted. Let's say people don't even have to watch HD content. Just regular digital/standard content. And let us say you have a family of four. Or are a few roommates sharing a place. That's an average of 32 hours of streaming video content per day or almost 700 hours of content per month. Not counting all the other bandwidth suckers you have going on like radio, gaming, etc.

I've canceled mine (4, Insightful)

LiQiuD (571447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093894)

I've canceled my cable, and I don't think I'll go back. It's me, my 3 kids, and my wife. They have all adjusted to streaming from Netflix and Hulu. About the only downside is missing out on life sporting events. I'm contemplating just adding a tuner card to my HTPC, and then getting those over the air.

Overall I'm very happy with the new setup though, it is saving me about $100/month (canceled phone as well) and we still watch the same shows. Of course YMMV.

Re:I've canceled mine (4, Informative)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093972)

I've done the same. However, I did actually build a HTPC with a dual QAM tuner for Boxee and OTA HD stations. Although, I did keep the $13 a month cable plan just so I don't have to fiddle with antennas. They pipe the OTA/QAM HD stations with this basic basic package.

I've rediscovered the simple pleasures of PBS, etc. I know I've had them all along, but the ability to just put reruns on was so great that I'd never actually watch PBS. Now I enjoy it again!

Why did I switch? Internet TV is so much easier. No, the quality, in general, isn't there yet, but it's so convenient to watch day old shows on Hulu and other sources. Come to find out, I was paying about $75 a month to pretty much watch NBC, CBS, etc. The only channels I miss now are Discovery and Disc Science. Other than that, screw it. Paying $75 a month for a bunch of channels I don't watch, no thanks.

The funniest part, the cableco was charging me $9+ for the DVR/Cable box and an ADDITIONAL $7 for the DVR _function_. $16/mo just for a metal box that sucks up electricity. Now I pay them $13 a month for the convenience of not needing an antenna.

Re:I've canceled mine (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094022)

The funniest part, the cableco was charging me $9+ for the DVR/Cable box and an ADDITIONAL $7 for the DVR _function

That's the sad part that most people don't realize -- that, EVEN if they were paying monthly(*), getting a Tivo or other DVR(**) likely would SAVE them money in the long run, and be less junky than the cable DVRs.
(*) Personally, I would not do that and have always bought lifetime subscriptions for mine.
(**) There's a new Moxi out that has *3* tuners.. but they ONLY do cable, not OTA, and you need an additional adapter to do analog at all. However, they *don't* require cablecards for guide data (for digital *cable* channels), which a Tivo does. (To clarify, Tivos work fine with OTA and analog cable WITH NO CABLECARDS.. to get guide data for digital channels, you need cablecards, unfortunately.)

Re:I've canceled mine (1)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094062)

If it's anything like previous versions of Moxi, I'd just as soon not watch television.

Re:I've canceled mine (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094092)

OK, I've not actually ever *used* a Moxi. They're just the first competitor to Tivo to come out in a long while for customer owned DVRs. (Of course there are some non-guide-based or TV Guide On Screen based recorders, but those are much much closer to VCR-like programming slots, and I don't know if any of those do HD.)

Moxi's 3 tuner announcement was very recent. I wanted to mention something besides Tivo, even though I'm a user of them and great fan.. just wanted to show that there were multiple kinds of "consumer DVR" that weren't from the cable company that were cheaper in the long run *and* potentially better.

Re:I've canceled mine (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094150)

Honestly, I was considering getting a Tivo and being done with the cable box. Then I researched it a bit. The problem ended up being that I would have had to rent a cable card for the Tivo from them anyways. The savings just wasn't there anymore.

Re:I've canceled mine (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094276)

Cablecards are typically about $1.50/month *additionally*, with the first being free with the digital cable subscription. I did say "typically" and it can sometimes be more, but those are relatively rare situations. That is, you'd probably still save that $16/month, or else save at least $14.50 or so a month (the difference being what you'd pay for a cable card).

Personally, I can't stand watching without a recording device of some kind.. Even for PBS shows (no commercials in the middle except for pledge break season), I want the ability to pause, FF, etc..

Re:I've canceled mine (3, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094406)

That's the sad part that most people don't realize -- that, EVEN if they were paying monthly(*), getting a Tivo or other DVR(**) likely would SAVE them money in the long run, and be less junky than the cable DVRs.

What a lot of people don't realize is you can stop paying for cable, and not get a Tivo or other DVR, and save even more money. Then you can read, go outside, etc.

How is this possible (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094280)

Where I live comcast promises 6 or 8 Mb/sec but can't sustain a netflix movie even once without rebuffering and quality degredations.

Is there some place on the planet where netflix actually does work over comcast?

I finally gave up on comcast lieing about 6Mb/sec (it works all day long till I and everyone lese gets home from work, then it barely makes 1Mb/sec) and when I went to quit they offered me their unadvertised 1Mb/sec line which costs far less. Now this one is capped but they actually can deliver that. So I'm at least getting what I pay for now. I pity all the idiots who pay comcast for their fictitious bandwidth.

Re:How is this possible (1)

orlanz (882574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094386)

Try out DSL, it won't matter how many of you get on the pipe. I don't like the telco, but value wise, my current trade off is cheaper net (AT&T) or basically uncapped net (Charter). But do ask your telco what the final price on your DSL will be as their advertised price is no where close to what they do charge you.

Using cable to distribute video (3, Informative)

inKubus (199753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093916)

I don't have cable and I use a DSL modem. I have a cheap $30 gforce with an svideo out and what I did was get a RF Modulator [homedepot.com] at Home Depot and I feed the svideo (well, composite, after a quick convert) and audio into it. Then I connected it to my house cable (it was wired for cable already). Outside I disabled the feed from the cable company. Anyway, I connected my TV to my home cable and I just set it to channel 4 to view any content I want.

Netflix includes Instant Play which has a TON of movies, all included with your $8.95/month membership. Lots of TV show DVDs, especially. It's a great deal.

Re:Using cable to distribute video (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093952)

Interesting. Could a similar system be used for HD?

Re:Using cable to distribute video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094066)

Interesting. Could a similar system be used for HD?

Yes, but not cheaply or nearly as easily.

Re:Using cable to distribute video (2, Informative)

inKubus (199753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094184)

For HD you'd need an ATSC modulator. They are available but like $500+, not $22 ;)

Some other details, I set resolution to 800x600. NTSC has 525 scan lines, around 500 of which are visible. But it really looks good, full screen fills the screen perfectly centered. The gforce handles the downconvert to TV pretty perfectly (and I'm going svideo to composite also). TV's are pretty blurry anyway so it's not noticable. The splitters in the system in this case act as a multiplexer in reverse. I was lucky that they all went into a hub type splitter.

My next purchase will be an RF remote and maybe an RF wireless keyboard. It's not sharp enough for serious text but movies look great and netflix uses gigantic thumbnails so you can browse movies pretty well on the TV.

Netflix instant play is a hit, I'm also doing youtube playlists, Hulu is ok (I hate ads), music with visualizations might be fun at a party. I'd like to have a entertainment center PC but for under $100 I couldn't be happier. Anything to get me out of this chair and onto the couch ;)

Re:Using cable to distribute video (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094372)

The audio will always be mono with RF modulators that regular people buy.

YouTube (1)

nxtr (813179) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093922)

What YouTube content equates to broadcast TV? Just come out and say it that you're going to be automating TV show torrents.

Re:YouTube (4, Informative)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093966)

http://www.southparkstudios.com/ [southparkstudios.com]

http://www.thedailyshow.com/ [thedailyshow.com]

http://www.hulu.com/ [hulu.com]

http://www.youtube.com/movies [youtube.com]

http://www.getmiro.com/ [getmiro.com]

I haven't paid for TV for over a year now. Neither did I torrent.

Re:YouTube (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094398)

Really only your second to last answers his question..

http://www.youtube.com/shows?p=None&s=None [youtube.com]
"equates to broadcast TV" since it is (at least partially) broadcast TV Shows.

Waytago, Dell! (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093924)

The inspiron uses a dual-core AMD chip.

Which means no Intel AMT security risks.

(Somebody wake me if AMD also does something as stupid as building "IT management" hooks into their chips to let your machine be remote-pwned without the OS having a say in it.)

Re:Waytago, Dell! (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093970)

The inspiron uses a dual-core AMD chip.

Make that "Inspiron Zino HD". Other boxes in the Inspiron line DO use Intel chips, some with AMT hooks (though it's not clear to me whether they have enough additional AMT support to make that a risk).

Re:Waytago, Dell! (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094038)

Where's the Ubuntu option, though? Only options I saw were Vista or 7...

where da Ubuntu machines? (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094258)

Where's the Ubuntu option, though? Only options I saw were Vista or 7...

Dell used to (still does?) keep thier Ubuntu machines on a different path at the site, something like dell.com/ubuntu - it's not done as one would expect/prefer, as an OS option, as that would be enabling consumers to easily choose something other than Windows. I really don't consider Dell all that Linux-friendly, considering this, and the fact that they don't offer the same hardware options (even when it has NOTHING to do with Linux compatibility) as the same hardware with Windows. Dell is full of WeakSauce(tm).

Re:Waytago, Dell! (0, Offtopic)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094376)

You're right. When you buy it, it only lists windows, but when you look at the tech specs it clearly lists the supported operating systems as:

Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
Genuine Windows® 7 Professional 64-Bit
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Basic 32-Bit
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium 64-Bit
Ubuntu® Linux® 9.04

Strange.

Re:Waytago, Dell! (1)

steve.howard (988489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094330)

I don't know much about it, but shouldn't disabling AMT in the BIOS essentially solve the problem?

The cable co will just set low caps. also live spo (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093934)

The cable co will just set low caps. also live sports are fully on line.

you need cable or sat to see most of your NHL, MLB and NBA teams games. Same thing for BIG 10, some nascar. At least all your team NFL games* are on OTA for free. *if they sell out games played in your area.

Re:The cable co will just set low caps. also live (1)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094384)

Not so true anymore. MLB, NHL and NBA offer online viewing, for a price. If you're only casually into sports, it's not worth it. But if you only have cable in order to watch sports, it's a no-brainer. Their price is cheaper than a cable package, and offers more games.

And I, for one, welcome our new TV overlords. I already ditched cable 'cause I was sick and tired of paying for 100+ channels, when all I wanted were the 3 sports channels. I haven't signed up yet, but when March Madness comes around, I probably will.

Playstation 3 (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093938)

iPlayer, youtube, DLNA, all you need. Stream your ... eh ... legitimately acquired media from any old linux (w. mediatomb) or windows vista or 7 (w. media player) machine.

Plus you get to play games.

Re:Playstation 3 (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094194)

Plus [with a PS3] you get to play games.

Only PS3 and PS1 games, not the bigger selection of PC games, and definitely not Free games.

Re:Playstation 3 (0, Offtopic)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094328)

What's your setup? Do you dual boot into linux or what? I've been thinking about a PS3 since it seems to do almost everything I want. Hulu is blocked I know, but I believe you can transcode video, store it on an external drive, and then play that. If only it had a torrent client and a transcoder, it would be perfect.

The sad thing is, linux is good because it handles most codecs and you can ignore drm with it (big win), but it always seems like getting 1080p and 7.1 surround out, and blue ray playing is iffy.

Re:Playstation 3 (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094380)

Wanker! I was perfectly happy in my ignorance, but now I not only know what iPlayer is, I also know that Sony doesn't deliver it to the states. Are there stateside work-arounds? I found the old site with a message that it's "in your XMB now" - bah!

wishing for (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093954)

I just want a way to watch the tv shows I want *using a portable HD* so that when on the road, or at the folks place (with dial-up), ect, I can watch my programs off that external HD without a net connection. I can download shows at work and watch them whenever....and I don't want to have to tediously rip DVDs and wade through broken torrents, legal would be nice.

Flat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093974)

Eight by Eight inch!
That's sixty-four square inches!
That's no volume at all! Brilliant! This would be brilliant for rackserving, but I guess the reduced surface would induce thermal death pretty quickly, if stacked densely. Leaving an eight by eight inch space in between might be a solution to provide cooling...

Was the internet meant for this? (2, Interesting)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093982)

Has the tech caught up to provide us with shows When we want them, Where we want them? Or will (example only) iphone users or wireless users start feeling the crunch as the bandwidth is being hogged by ex-TV viewers? Will it be less information interchange and more of movie watching?

I don't want the creators of the internet to be rolling in their graves. Oh, wait...

Re:Was the internet meant for this? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094102)

Will it be less information interchange and more of movie watching?

I think that threshold was passed long, long ago. As for the creators of the initial Internet, well, they're not paying the bills for it any more.

Still, I'm amazed how fast video stormed the Internet. There was widespread skepticism that the Internet could be scaled to do it, until youtube proved them all wrong.

Re:Was the internet meant for this? (1)

FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094460)

Well, imagine how much internet bandwidth will be available in the existing cable tv infrastructure once ALL broadcast channels go away, and PPV and etc.

I still pass (3, Interesting)

buss_error (142273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093992)

I'm not feeding the copyright cartel until they quit treating me like a criminal and going to insane lengths to monetize every last drop of creative talent. (And that's giving them credit and assuming that they have any.)

Re:I still pass (2, Insightful)

popo (107611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094362)

Not to mention the fact that TV actors are the most overpaid, undertalented idiots I've ever known. Why is it that starving waitresses suddenly make a couple hundred grand when they get a recurring sitcom role? Is there some shortage of actresses that I'm unaware of?

(And told tell me it's because they're talented)

Re:I still pass (1)

popo (107611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094370)

*don't

1080p Youtube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093996)

How many mbps is needed for that? Right now I get 50mbps downstream via Verizon FiOS. I thought you need at least 60mbps for that?

Re:1080p Youtube? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094048)

You should be able to do 1080p with a 50mbps connection no problem.

Uncompressed 1080p requires nearly 350mbps, but of course no one would be foolish enough to try to transmit uncompressed HD to the masses.

Re:1080p Youtube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094086)

thanks for the response, remember not yet for that 350mbps uncompressed stream (some lunatics I know out there will offer that in due time), gigabit connections are coming to the US, next I am waiting for uncompressed high resolution audio streaming... we'll see :)

Re:1080p Youtube? (1)

headhot (137860) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094128)

Actually truly uncompressed 1080p is more then 8Gbs.

Re:1080p Youtube? (1)

OnlineAlias (828288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094282)

Never gonna happen. Everything you see today is compressed in one way or another, whether it is delivered by cable, satillite or faux fiber (U-Verse, FIOS). More bandwidth just means more crappy content, and subsequently more advertising...

Re:1080p Youtube? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094202)

How many mbps is needed for that? Right now I get 50mbps downstream via Verizon FiOS. I thought you need at least 60mbps for that?

1080p Blu-rays with losslessly compressed audio average ~30Mbps. Highly compressed 1080p with lossy 5.1 audio can easily be done at DVD bitrates (7-8Mbps) and still look fairly decent. You will notice some banding and minor blocking, but it generally won't be so bad as to be distracting.

Sports and Crappy Slow Internet (4, Insightful)

piltdownman84 (853358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094010)

For me I will never give up cable until I can get sports with the ease and quality that I can on my TV. Sports really need to be watched live, and unless streaming makes leaps and bounds the internet is not going to catch up with HD TV anytime soon. I always find that on the internet the term HD is used very loosely. HD movies on Youtube don't compare to cable, neither does a single TV show downloaded with bittorrent that is labelled "HD". I have seen some "HD web streams" and they are ... if your lucky ...the same quality as digital cable.

Don't get me wrong, I hate my cable provider with a passion, but I can't give them up.

Sports live and in person (0, Troll)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094228)

I don't know about "ease", but you can get better picture quality by seeing your local minor league team in person, or better yet playing sports.

Re:Sports and Crappy Slow Internet (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094242)

Justin.tv [wikipedia.org] is like a streaming version of youtube. Most people are using VLC and it works pretty well. I watched the NBA playoffs on that (since I don't have cable, so no TNT). Dubious on the legality front, of course, and streams do get shut down on occasion.

Re:Sports and Crappy Slow Internet (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094278)

most of the bit torrent stuff you are refering to is labeled HDTV, meaning is was recorded from hdtv, not nessacarily that's it's hd quality. but none the less you are totally wrong, I can record free to air tv in hd and transmit it via a torrent if i wanted, it'd be hd quality.

Already did (1)

headhot (137860) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094026)

Boxee + http://ezrss.it/ [ezrss.it] + pytv + 25 Mbs Fios = better then cable.

Re:Already did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094152)

Ditto, though I'm using Plex instead of Boxee. *shrug*

Just one problem (5, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094032)

My internet connection is via the cable company...

Telecoms... (5, Insightful)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094036)

"Time To Ditch Cable For Internet TV?"

Not do-able if you get internet from your cable provider (Fios, or Uverse too).... If they see a shift, guess what: internet bandwidth costs will go up.

Re:Telecoms... (1)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094322)

"Time To Ditch Cable For Internet TV?"

Not do-able if you get internet from your cable provider (Fios, or Uverse too).... If they see a shift, guess what: internet bandwidth costs will go up.

That's just it. We get cable, then get Internet over that, then get our TV over the Internet over the cable. The next logical progression is to have our Internet data transcoded into what we're watching via some stenography trick. Then we can have Internet over cable over Internet over cable.

But really, what the question is trying to ask is "Time to turn all data-providers into Internet providers only and get our services and content that way?" The summary title is pithier. Now I don't know if I'll get +5 Insightful, +5 Funny, or -5 Guy Who Used Pithier In A Sentence. My guess is +0 Ignored Like Usual.

Re:Telecoms... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094342)

I just posted that I gave up cable service a long long time ago, and I guess that's not true, I do get basic (14 channel) cable bundled with my broadband connection, it costs an extra $3/month - we haven't turned it on more than 3 times in the last year... Thinking of it that way, it's not really worth $12 per hour of use to me, maybe I should cancel it after all.

Already canceled mine... (2, Interesting)

krovisser (1056294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094052)

I cancelled mine not too long ago. We just weren't using it all that much (me and the gf). We have a home server with Mediatomb, and she's got abc.com, and our homemade antenna [youtube.com] .

I spent just over 30 minutes "cancelling" the cable service. I was on hold for about 28 of those minutes. Don't tell me they don't do that on purpose... grrrr

What Not To Wear :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094088)

I desperately want to cut those life-sucking leeches at Comcast off, BUT my girlfriend 3's TLC's "What Not to Wear". Until the Internet provides some way of viewing that show, I'm afraid I'm at the mercy of those rat bastards at Comcast (well, or my angry girlfriend, but guess which is scarier ;-) ).

Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094100)

Of course nerds will say yes. Just like how their granny has Linux on the desktop, which is never dual booted on to with their windows xp box with IE6.

Deaf (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094120)

Hi.

That's all fine and dandy, but I'm deaf. I *need* captions and subtitles. Guess what, there's no legal reason for them to be on all these internet services.

Looks like I'll be paying Cable TV Raepage until the end of time.

Re:Deaf (3, Informative)

headhot (137860) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094214)

Almost all of the dvd and blueray rips enclude subtitles now. VLC usually has it on by default.

Won't last forever (4, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094122)

Cancel your cable if you want to save a little money and what you are interested in is available online. Free shows and movies online won't last forever, though. Free everything is just not sustainable, and right now they are just trying to capture eyeballs and prove the concept. At some point, expect paywalls to appear, at least for 'premium content' or selected episodes of a season or whatever. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Re:Won't last forever (1)

geekboybt (866398) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094162)

I'd rather pay $30 (or more) for a season of an enjoyable TV show box set or downloadable content than $50 a month for hundreds of channels of garbage and commercials.

Re:Won't last forever (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094404)

Maybe we can start paying for the shows we like instead of being coerced into $70/month plans to get a channel that carries a decent show once in awhile.

Re:Won't last forever (1)

VocationalZero (1306233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094448)

Free shows and movies online won't last forever, though.

IME, when something free dies on the internet, two more just like it instantly spawn.The internet is the world's largest distribution and advertising medium and you would be a fool not to try and use it [for free], if only for market exposure.

At some point, expect paywalls to appear, at least for 'premium content' or selected episodes of a season or whatever. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Whats wrong with 'premium content'? Doesn't that already exist on every source of media, hell every facet of life anyway? The "paywalls" argument I've heard again and again over the past two decades and it still ranks among the lowest things I fear actually happening, right after that 2012 bs.

Re:Won't last forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094454)

Won't last forever

Thats okay, I'd gladly pay for a quality streaming media service. I pay for Pandora because its what I want, when I want it, and at a reasonable price. I'd pay for movies and TV if the "what I want" and the "when I want" existed, but the idiot media companies are trying to take an archaic business model (free content + adds) into the next age of media. I have a solution for this though, and it is to vote with dollars and bytes. We are not at the mercy of the big media corps, they are at the mercy of us. Buy things that make sense and that you enjoy. Pirate everything else. This is how I pirate:

My rules of pirating:
1. Pirate games, especially before you buy (but you shouldn't be buying). They are stupidly expensive for no reason and their quality is steadily decreasing due to how easy the consumers are to fool. Steam is the only company I know of that does games right, and I will and do buy games from/through them.
2. Pirate music if its from Big Media, pirate it if its from indies before you buy it, and buy it if you like it. Share it (IRL) as much as possible. Music is love.
3. See movies at the theater, then pirate. Pay for the experience and finance the next season's blockbusters, but never, and I can't stress this enough, NEVER buy DVDs.

Re:Won't last forever (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094458)

I pay $8.99 a month for a subscription to Netflix, which gets me 1 DVD at a time and unlimited access to Netflix watch instantly. When I started using Hulu, I looked to see if there was some way I could pay a monthly fee to get rid of ads and was stunned that there wasn't (though it sounds like there may be soon). I'm happy to pay a small monthly fee for the shows I want to watch rather than paying $40 a month for the same shows plus several dozen channels I'm never going to watch.

I made the switch (1)

tool462 (677306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094136)

I made the switch about 2 months ago, once FiOS become available in my neighborhood. With the 20Mbps pipe to the house, and full HD digital TV signal available OTA, we had no further use for cable. The vast majority of shows we watch are either broadcast TV or available online (legally).

We have an AppleTV and an HD TiVo connected to the TV, so between those we can watch TV and movies using:
iTunes
Netflix Instant Queue
Amazon Unbox
Boxee (for Hulu, Comedy Central, etc)

The variety of options makes up for the shortcomings of any individual service.

The OTA digital signal is better than our digital cable signal was, too, which is a nice bonus.

Hulu Dekstop?? (1)

rocketPack (1255456) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094200)

The article made no mention of it this, but Hulu desktop has revolutionized the TV-watching habits of my girlfriend and I since we got it on our Macs; paired with the Apple Remote control it's better than my Comcast and much more responsive and easy to use that onDemand. Also, we have a Netflix when we're in the mood for a movie.

I still don't think I could get her to kick the Cable just yet though...

No (1)

Fizzol (598030) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094222)

And not likely to any time soon. The internet isn't nearly good enough to replace cable. Unless you're will to steal content there's not enough decent stuff to watch. Maybe in ten years, maybe.

I support your efforts to lower my cable bill... (1)

cfa22 (1594513) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094234)

...too bad my cable company is also my ISP.

I already do that. (1)

Codex_of_Wisdom (1222836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094252)

I only watch two shows anyway, so I just watch them off Hulu on my wide screen monitor. Fewer commercials and I can watch whenever I want :)

Not in Canada anyways (1)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094260)

Hulu shows are locked to U.S.A I.P addresses.

I'm thinking of ditching Cable for BitTorrent if I genuinely can't buy what I want legitimately...

Increased competition will drive down the prices (2, Insightful)

nanospook (521118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094286)

Unlike cable companies which pretty much hold a monopoly, we may find ourselves with a multitude of internet TV companies. Now we will see true competition keeping the prices down.. PS Got rid of the TV and cable services more than a year ago. Have saved over a grand which went on the credit cards. PSS Unless these internet TV services offer full captioning, I will probably stick to torrents.. hearing loss..

A better question: (1)

popo (107611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094288)

Is it time to ditch Hulu for Clicker.com?

The PVR functionality of Clicker makes it a no brainer for me (as I'm sure it will many others). But there's a larger issue here, and that's that the nature of online services is changing quickly towards more of a quasi-ownership model of the media -- which reduces the amount of control the networks have even more.

http://tekobot.com/better-than-hulu-clicker-com-launches-new-comprehensive-new-web-tv-and-movie-aggregator-service/ [tekobot.com]

Re:A better question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094338)

Yeah. Hulu is in trouble I think. Clicker wins, imho.

Youtube? (3, Insightful)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094298)

Seriously...
they (buffering) have trouble (buffering) offering (buffering) (waiting) standard video.

I don't think starting a movie 45 minutes after it starts streaming a good idea :)

Does anybody stream in 5.1? (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094308)

Currently netflix doesn't stream in 5.1. Only stereo. Not a problem if you watch movies on your home computer, but my TV is connected up to my 5.1 receiver.

How many of these streaming services provide live feeds? For free.

Most sporting events you need to pay to watch online. Unless broadband provide gives you access to say ESPN360.
I don't recall too many news sites that stream the 6:00 news and many times I don't want to sit around and read news articles, because maybe I'm eating dinner, washing the dishes and can't scroll a webpage at the same time.

I ditched TV in 1998 (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094312)

Actually, I've never paid for cable TV (got my own place in 1992 and just installed an antenna), so maybe I'm not their target demographic anyway.

Last night I watched a 35 minute lecture by Robert Sapolsky on YouTube [youtube.com] the night before, a random TED [ted.com] talk. The night before that, hulu [hulu.com] , and Netflix has been cheaper than premium cable forever. My parents-in-law gave up their TV in about 2001 and we gave them a cheap PC and Netflix subscription instead, they love it.

Yeah, cable service has been as dead to me for a long long time now.

Ready for Prime Time? (2, Insightful)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094336)

I don't think this is ready for prime time yet, while digital terestrially TV offers real time high definition TV for your set or wall screen, the computer (if the home has one), still sits in the bedroom and office. Bandwidth is usually low enough that you have to predownload programs before you watch them. When the BBC rolled out they Iplayer a custom player for all BBC programmes, ISP went nuts, complaining about the huge bandwidth increase. In fact the Iplayer repeat programmes while popular weren't so popular as to deluge broadband connections. I doubt Internet TV will be popular for quite a while, maybe creaping up in popularity slowly and being mainstream in the 2020s, but thats just my guess.

---

Interactive Television [feeddistiller.com] @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

I'm on the fence... (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094374)

I own a TIVO HD and it's setup to grab all of my favorite shows. I use KMTTG to pull the video off, VideoRedo to to strip commercials, and I am working on figuring out ways to best compress this down from HD to a good looking SD. Trying for the 350meg an hour size I can get from torrents.

Here's the killer. Video comes off my TIVO at about 1meg a second and 8Gig files take time. Then I get to encode, this takes a little while but I'm using an overclocked I7 @4.2ghz - it FLIES. I haven't quite automated this but it's not faroff - I just need to get the encoding profile nailed down. Sounds good right? Last night while I was tinkering with encoding profiles and getitng pretty frustrated I had managed to get the RSS feed for uTorrent working and it had pulled up the SAME shows I was recording as being available for download. After spending HOURS frustrated playing with this I downloaded the torrents. They took about 6-15mins apiece! Talk about frustrating! If I can better automate my processing off the TIVO I'll be pretty happy but it sure is way easier downloading! I'd like to be a little more legit but damn it's much more work. The DVD and BD files I've got nailed down, I don't ever download movies.

So what do I store and watch this with? I use unRAID for storage. ALL of my DVD\BDs are ripped and stored as well as my MP3 on a server that holds a bit over 8TB and growing. My second server holds my backups, misc files, and my TV shows - it's about 8TB too. With the latest software upgrade to unRAID it's WAAAY faster too. That's the storage end..

Viewing is even easier. I use an ASROCK 330 dual core ATOM box. It supports VDPAU under Ubuntu and I use XBMC to view the content. Streaming audio stations, pictures, and all of my stored video. I've not really tried BOXEE much, it's a fork of XBMC. So is Plex. All of them work well I'm sure, XBMC updates their code in SVN constantly and it just keeps getting better. I get 5.1 surround sound via HDMI and I can play high bitrate video without dropped frames thanks to the VDPAU code.

The ASROCK consumes little power, the unRAID storage spins down drives when they aren't being used, my desktop probably uses more power than all of them combined!

Time? You're 7 years late! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094436)

I ditched TV entirely in 2002, when I noticed that I could switch trough all the channels on a random evening, and find nothing even remotely worth watching. Besides, it's not as if I got any real news from there anyway.

I switched to the obvious: eDonkey and BitTorrent (with mldonkey) for TV shows.
And RSS websites for news. (Well, going to news sites, as RSS was not used much yet.) Nowadays many of those are called "blogs". :)

I must say that while I miss some "old media only" news/"scandals", etc, which I'm not interested in much anyway, I'm very happy with my descision.
Instead of sitting in front of a device that allows passive usage only, I get to really deal with the subjects. Like commenting on news stories. (I avoid sites without comment functionality like the plague.) Or going to forums to talk/read about a TV show afterwards.

In my opinion my level of intelligence and education grew extremely trough all the things I learned by thinking and discussing things with others.
So it's pretty strange to get together with TV-only people and see them watch something like "big brother" or another pointless stupid mind-numbingly boring plastic fantastic show, or fake "real news". It's impossible to discuss things with them, since they have no idea of what's really going on in the world, or in general. You only hear those pre-formed mass-opinions that everyone of them thinks are the correct ones, without them putting a single thought into asking or answering question.

Also I play a lot more games, which belong in the same category as TV shows anyway.

So as a summary, I can only say:
Improve yourself! Throw away your TV! (If you must have a big screen, buy a beamer. ^^)

Not all 1080p's are created equal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094464)

Even if they put a checkmark next to "1080p", that doesn't mean that you get a certain quality. The bitrate and codec and encoding matter. There could be something that is technically 1080p but they may have compressed the living daylights out of the quality. Don't expect Blu-ray quality. Heck, don't even expect good upscaled standard DVD quality. And surround sound with a good audio bitrate? Don't count on it.

What difference does it make? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094470)

It's still all niggers and fags.

But.. It's tv! It's TV! (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094476)

People are just thinking about this now? I've been without tv for months. It's beautiful. Now it'll take a bit to get adjusted I grant you. The complete Simpsons is a big file. But once you get that on your system it's smooth sailing from there. Plus there are other forms of entertainment that're better than tv. Like books. I know you've seen them around. But seriously they're like big DVD box sets. You just sit there and read them, and it's entertaining. You're like 'I wonder what Elric of Melnibone's gonna get up to today? Life's not easy for Elric of Melnibone that's for sure'. Then when people talk about tv, you say 'Hey have you heard of Elric of Melnibone?' and the people you talk to will think you're cool because they'll think you're talking about some new TV show that you can only get on fancy extended cable. But you'll never tell ;)

Inspiron Zino HD - no 5.1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094484)

Looks like 2.1 audio only on the ZinoHD, and not internally upgradeable. So to use it as an HTPC, you would need an external 5.1 audio card.

Surprised that the ZinoHD has 2 eSata ports though.

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