Seeking opinions on streaming services.

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Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby mac5155 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:01 am

I have finally cut the cable cord (aka removed my satellite). After watching about 4-5 pens games total this year at my house, I have realized I can survive without DirecTV. All my wife watches is Law and Order SVU it seems. So I am seeking the best streaming recommendation to get L&O SVU as well as some of the History/Discovery Channel programming. Is this available through most of the services (i.e. Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime)? I have a PS3 and an iPad and was thinking about just getting a Chromecast for the bedroom TV. What is the best service to buy and should I splurge for a Roku or something instead of the Chromecast?
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby dodint on Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:23 am

Just random thoughts, I don't know the offerings of each specific package anymore. All of this pertains to the PS3.

Amazon Prime has good content, but the search/interface is the most clumsy. Better to go onto Amazon on your computer and add things to your watchlist instead of trying to sort stuff on the app. I used it to watch Under The Dome last year, and my wife caught up on Downton Abbey with it.

Netflix was the staple, but I think I'm going to cancel it when I get caught up on the show I'm watching. It's a service where its good at recommending stuff to me, but as soon as I get it into my head I want to watch something and search for it, it's not there. Also, stuff purges out of there with little warning. I was watching my way through The Larry Sanders Show and it got deleted from the system mid-run for me. Boo.

I won't watch Hulu on principle. They have commercials, and I'm not paying for commercials anymore. If you could FF through them like a DVR I'd consider it, but you can't. I understand its part of the business, but its my right as a consumer to say no. However; if you want the most up to do shows Hulu is your answer.

I don't watch a lot of scripted TV, except for a handful of shows. I cling to DirecTV because of Center Ice for the Pens, Formula1, and some stuff like SoA and The Blacklist. Most of the stuff here is personal preference, so your mileage may vary.

As an aside, NBC streams many of their shows on their website for free. L&O:SVU is one of them. I only know this because I thought I missed an episode of The Blacklist and when I searched on their site I found entire episodes there. Not sure if you can access them from the PS3 through.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Hockeynut! on Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:35 am

I found Hulu to be really annoying, both because of the commercials and the content. It seemed like 50% of what I wanted to watch wasn't available to stream to my TV.

I have Amazon and Netflix. There's a lot of overlap in the content and for currently running shows, you usually have to wait until after the entire season has aired. I like streaming in theory, but if you like to watch a lot of shows that are "new" it can be a pain.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby mac5155 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:43 am

Yeah, it's nice seeing a new show but i think we can survive without watching them right away.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Factorial on Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:12 pm

So, no more Pens games or are you going to find a stream? Radio?
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby shoeshine boy on Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:16 pm

Hockeynut! wrote:I found Hulu to be really annoying, both because of the commercials and the content. It seemed like 50% of what I wanted to watch wasn't available to stream to my TV.




I also found this to be true about Hulu and Hulu Plus. they need to combine this to one service. we wanted to watch Sanctuary from teh beginning and couldn't find it on either service. we ended up watching it on YouTube through the app on our blu-ray player.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby mac5155 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:27 pm

Factorial wrote:So, no more Pens games or are you going to find a stream? Radio?


Like I said, the few that I'm missing won't be heavily missed. I have my parents house a block up the road, and my siblings and I did just buy them a 60" LED for Christmas. :pop:

Perhaps eventually I will invest in a Slingbox.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby columbia on Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:29 pm

I wish my brother would let me set one up, so I could always get Root.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Digitalgypsy66 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:31 pm

Also check out a Google Chrome app called Hola. It allows you to use foreign versions of popular streaming sites without a VPN. Very, very easy to use.

For instance, the UK Netflix has Hobbit 1, The Godfather, and Saving Private Ryan all available to stream. Of course, there are many variants of International Netflix, each with their own set of movies to stream.

I would imagine that this works with BBC/CBC/TSN streams as well, but I haven't tried it yet.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby mac5155 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:44 pm

Is Hola free?
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby PensFanInDC on Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:46 pm

Digitalgypsy66 wrote:Also check out a Google Chrome app called Hola. It allows you to use foreign versions of popular streaming sites without a VPN. Very, very easy to use.

For instance, the UK Netflix has Hobbit 1, The Godfather, and Saving Private Ryan all available to stream. Of course, there are many variants of International Netflix, each with their own set of movies to stream.

I would imagine that this works with BBC/CBC/TSN streams as well, but I haven't tried it yet.


THANK YOU!!!!!!
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby PensFanInDC on Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:47 pm

mac5155 wrote:Is Hola free?


The regular version is. I'm on Netflix UK right now. With this app I basically tripled my Netflix options.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby pittsoccer33 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:49 pm

Hockeynut! wrote: I like streaming in theory, but if you like to watch a lot of shows that are "new" it can be a pain.

Hulu/Hulu+ does remedy this, to an extent

For starters, who is your internet provider? Comcast just started encrypting QAM channels. Before they did that you could get your local channels in HD if you were an internet subscriber. Other providers like Verzion are still sending them through in the clear.

Netflix used to have every episode of SVU thru season 12 on there. Now its only 8-12. They also used to have a ton of A&E Networks programming - including lots of History Channel stuff. Its mostly gone now. But instead they have more independent documentaries with the same kind of subjects.

I don't really get Chromecast - do you really want to use your phone or computer just to watch tv? Do you want to be limited in what tv programs you can watch if you break your phone screen?

What device(s) do you have now? Smart bluray player, Xbox 360, PS3, spare older computer, unused laptop?

In general a PC has access to the largest variety of streaming solutions, but not the best quality (either in terms of A/V quality or interface navigation). Lots of networks put free episodes on their websites or on Hulu. But they also block devices like Google TV from opening their sites and watching the programming.

Roku has to have the largest assortment of streaming services you can subscribe to. They all have free trials - give them a try. I bet the overlap of services is 70% or more just from what I've seen of things that interest me.

Xbox 360 has actual apps from National Geographic and History, but you need to subscribe to a cable package iwth those channels and an affiliated cable provider to get them.

You can also do things like buy season passes of shows from places like iTunes or Amazon. So for instance if you are a die hard Always Sunny fan you can buy access to the episodes shortly after they air.

Use Crackle. Its a free webiste ran by Sony/Columbia. Not the best selection of movies but they often have the caliber of films shown on Encore. Right now they have Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters 2, Step Brothers, Rudy, Groundhog Day - all for free.

And don't forget the library! I just got season 1 of Game of Thrones on bluray for free from the library.

Perhaps a device that can play mp4/mkv files from a hard drive is something you might consider too. I like the WDTV Live for streaming AND local playback.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby mac5155 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:43 pm

I have Armstrong Cable internet. I have yet to see if the channels you speak of are locked out or not. I will try that tonight. Otherwise I might invest in an antenna.

I have a PS3, iPad, MacBook, Laptop, and will probably have a Nexus Tab since my sister keeps forgetting to take it back. :pop:

Chromecast isn't worth it then?
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby pittsoccer33 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:13 pm

mac5155 wrote:I have Armstrong Cable internet. I have yet to see if the channels you speak of are locked out or not. I will try that tonight. Otherwise I might invest in an antenna.


Being as far south as you are you would likely need a very large (ie expensive) antenna and would still have trouble. I bet Armstrong is sending those channels through. Connect the line directly from the wall to your TV's coaxial cable input. Go into your tv set up settings. It will ask if you have cable or an antenna, select cable, and run a channel scan.

mac5155 wrote:I have a PS3, iPad, MacBook, Laptop, and will probably have a Nexus Tab


The PS3 I imagine is always connected to the TV, but probably not the others. You can access a number of streaming services on there, and its probably the device I'd use if I were you and didn't want to guy buy another one. us.playstation.com/ps3/psn-services is a list of what you can use on there. us.playstation.com/ps3/psn-services

mac5155 wrote:Chromecast isn't worth it then?


I don't think it is if you're using it with a phone [yet]. If you're using it with a PC you can access anything in a Chrome web browser. so that will force you to install Chrome (I don't like having 3rd party software in my PC). And if you have to use your pc to use it anyway, why not just connect the PC via hdmi? I think they will develop more uses, and would be an excellent device to use in hotels if you travel a lot, but I personally would look at other things right now, such as the PS3 you already own.

Or, you could build a pc and be a weirdo like me:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1505076/htpc- ... t_24064663
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby mac5155 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:15 pm

I would love to build the PC. Maybe after a year of savings on monthly bills, i'd be able to afford it.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby GaryRissling on Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:22 pm

I'm not sure of Chromecast's features, but the ability to use your iPad/iphone apps to watch the nbc live extra/ other video on your tv makes the appletv better than roku.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby pittsoccer33 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:36 pm

GaryRissling wrote:I'm not sure of Chromecast's features, but the ability to use your iPad/iphone apps to watch the nbc live extra/ other video on your tv makes the appletv better than roku.


To get the most out of an Apple TV you need another iOS device. Which is cool if thats what you want to do - Airplay is amazing. There just are no where near as many Apple TV services as there are for iDevice. So you need to run the app on the device and then mirror it to the ATV.

This is kind of where Chromecast is going to go. You can already mirror anything open in the Chrome browser. The way I understand it is that they need app developers to turn on "play on Chromecast" ability in their apps to start making it more useful with an Android or Apple device.

The reason I'm sort of against that model is that I've taken to actively shutting my phone off/leaving it in another room when I watch tv or a movie. I felt like I was missing out on so much by screwing around with my phone or netbook instead of paying attention.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Sarcastic on Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:40 pm

I know a few guys who use those HD antennas to get local channels. They're cheap and do work.

As far as TV shows, they're all available online (pirated --- I know a site that has each new episode in high quality from basically every TV show uploaded on 10 or so separate file-sharing websites) a couple hours after they air - 3 of those are so fast right now, it takes a minute or two to download a full episode.

Full movies are the issue. However, I don't know if there is one service like Netflix that has anything worthwhile. Do not get Netlix for movies, it's completely worthless. Maybe a regular DVD rental place can be of help. Unless you want to hunt for pirated stuff, but movies are a bit tougher to locate and d/l than series. I try to stay away from torrents so I am generally not a torrent guy, btw.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby columbia on Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:42 pm

pittsoccer33 does a good job of demystifying a lot of things. :thumb:
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby mac5155 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:52 pm

So I think for now, I will see how the PS3 can work on the main TV. Are you just against Chromecast for the reasons above, or is it truly an inferior product to something like Roku/WDTV? I am thinking it may be the best option for bedroom TV, since that TV usually is on for less than an hour a day, around bed time.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby Digitalgypsy66 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:23 pm

One other nugget on Netflix UK - Person of Interest is streaming! It's not available anywhere in the U.S., except the iSlave store for purchase. Only the first season, so far, but not too shabby.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby dodint on Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:27 pm

http://tvfool.com/ is great for finding out which HD channels you can realistically get, based on your address and the height of an antenna. I was urging my Mom to get one in Latrobe instead of paying the extra $6/mo per TV with Directv. If I didn't live in the sticks here in NC I'd do it myself, but I'd only get three channels out of it.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby tifosi77 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:31 pm

Got a Chromecast earlier this year and I absolutely love it. It's not just good for watching TV at home, but it liberates you from the tedium of hotel television packages when traveling. It's worth the $35 for that aspect alone, and will only get better as more apps incorporate support.

Also recommend NHL Game Center instead of Center Ice. You have better app support via Center Ice, but Game Center is still the better value. Ymmv, of course, but I switched for this season and don't regret a minute of it. The only downside (that I'm aware of) is that at present it doesn't support Chromecast. So I have to use the clunky PS3 app or the even worse Vizio smart TV app if I want to watch hockey on ye grande picture box.

dodint wrote:I don't watch a lot of scripted TV, except for a handful of shows. I cling to DirecTV because of...Formula1...

I could not be more displeased with NBCs coverage of F1. It has been almost unspeakably terrible. They've taken Steve Matchett - who, to my knowledge, is the only ex-mechanic doing F1 commentary anywhere in the world - and reduced him to an aside. David Hobbs is starting to show his age (which, let's be fair, has been true for a while now). Leigh Diffey is sorta meh. They are overdoing it on the dumbing-it-down-so-simple-'Muricans-can-figure-it-out thing and it's a major turnoff. Plus, they are willy nilly in how the sessions are broadcast, often preempting F1 for EPL footie. The program guide info at the start of the season categorized every session as its own program; which meant you couldn't one-touch record and get every session, you had to manually seek each session and select it to be recorded. (Honestly not sure if that was NBC or DirecTV, but it never happened on Speed Channel)

The only thing that's kept me from cutting the cord completely and seeking streams of the Sky feed from the UK is that I can at least time shift the NBC broadcast. I've long since outgrown the notion of getting up at 4:30 am to watch F1 live, which I think I'd have to do to catch Sky's coverage.
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Re: Seeking opinions on streaming services.

Postby PensFanInDC on Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:45 pm

Digitalgypsy66 wrote:One other nugget on Netflix UK - Person of Interest is streaming! It's not available anywhere in the U.S., except the iSlave store for purchase. Only the first season, so far, but not too shabby.


I noticed that. Super psyched
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