Can High Speed Internet replace my Directv? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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02-01-2010, 03:11 PM
Looking to cut costs this year so i've canceled my cell phones for a prepaid one which saves me over $100 per, i want to know if i can replace my $100+ Directv service.

I have a 2 new desktops with Vista Home Prem for work. It doesn't have a video connection like HDMI or S-video,but those look cheap to add.

Can i insert a video card and stream internet content to my projector and LCD? They both have HDMI,component, S-video and composite.?

Reading the latest posts here it looks like i can save enough to get a PS3 and use it to stream then my savings will start to add up.

Not sure where to start. I work in IT, but the home video/streaming part is new to me.

JoeE SP9
02-01-2010, 03:33 PM
I do. The ATI display card in my music server has composite, HTMI and S-Video outputs. The display card (NVidea 9800 GX2) for my next computer has HTMI and DVI outputs. The real issue is slow speeds (sometimes) from the server.
I have no cable or "dish". FiOS is not available here yet. I do get very good over the air reception. Living in a larger urban area gives me 12 broadcast stations. Some of them transmit on as many as 4 channels. Combine that with content from the "web" and I'm fairly well satisfied.
If you go this route with your PC I recommend acquiring a game oriented display card with at least 1/2Gb of display memory. Most current desktop PC's use shared memory. Unless you add more memory (I would anyway) there is a trade off in performance when 1/4 or 1/3 of your system memory is used by the display. I've been using my system to display sound and video from my computers for many years.

I just got (last Wednesday) a monthly prepaid phone. It costs $40 a month for unlimited local and long distance, unlimited text and unlimited Web surfing.

02-01-2010, 04:16 PM
This topic has been spun quite a bit on tech blogs -- that now is the time to cancel cable/satellite service because programming is moving online. Personally, I think that's nonsense. Online video as it stands right now is not ready to replace cable or satellite service for most subscribers. It might be ready depending on one's viewing habits, willingness to jump through hoops, and tolerance for substandard video quality. But, for how typical consumers watch TV, going the online-only route would be a huge tradeoff in most cases.

Connecting a media PC to a TV is not huge technical hurdle. But, average consumers just don't care to connect a PC to their TV. A PS3 or other set top box are more user friendly, but the selection of streaming content will pale by comparison with what you might be used to with Directv. Also consider that Hulu currently blocks access to gaming consoles and most set top boxes. I have a PS3, and I use it as a Blu-ray player and for wirelessly streaming music and photos from my computer. But, it would be very inadequate if I was looking to cancel Directv.

If you're paying over $100 a month for Directv, you obviously have some packages in your subscription. Many of the Directv packages include programs that aren't available online at all.

With my Directv subscription, I added the HD service, DVR, HBO package, and sports package. Right off the bat, I can tell you that online video cannot replace the sports programming that I subscribe to. And for most other live sports (especially pro sports), you cannot watch it live online without paying yet another subscription fee.

Also, HBO programming is not available online, unless you want to go the torrent download route.

Then there's the video quality. A typical broadband connection is not fast enough to do real time HD video streaming without using a highly compressed image. And even DVD quality can look marginal unless you go with a faster broadband connection. Much of the online video quality I've seen, especially for live events, looks bad enough on a computer screen. I can't imagine how horrible it would look blown up to full size on a big screen TV.

Consider your viewing habits and which channels you watch on a regular basis. Online options for many programs are spotty, even if you opt for illegal downloading. If most of your viewing is on broadcast channels anyway, then canceling the satellite service might be worthwhile, regardless of whether an online option is available.

If I needed to pare back on expenses, I would actually lower my broadband speed and jettison a package or two from my Directv service rather than cancel it altogether.

JoeE SP9
02-01-2010, 04:30 PM
I agree with you Woochifer. That's why I didn't suggest giving up Direct TV. I am used to not having satellite or cable access. For others it may not be such an easy thing to do without. FWIW, being able to watch Internet programming is a nice extra. However, I don't do it that often.

Sir Terrence the Terrible
02-01-2010, 07:04 PM
In my Oakland home I have no OTA, Cable, or Satellite, it is all streaming for television programming. I used to not be there all that much (but there more often now) so I saw no need in getting any broadcast stuff over the air of from cable. My two PS3 there supply everything I need in terms of programming via Playon, which is a fantastic piece of software for streaming to the PS3. I can even watch daily news-feeds via ABC east coast before the news is even on here.

If you are not attached to any specific cable or satellite programming online streaming is perfect. I do not much care about the PQ or sound, it is all about the content for me in this case. When I need my high definition fix, I pop in a Blu ray or HD DVD disc and there I go. Since I already have a huge library of movies at my disposal, and usually purchase more monthly, I am just not into television all that much.

If you cannot shake loose the desire for cable or satellite, then streaming becomes an accompaniment to that source, but I would not recommend cutting satellite or cable loose until you are pretty through with the programming it offers, or it becomes a not so great value to you like it became for me. Will downloading or streaming ever replace the disc for me? Most definitely not, but it sure replaced television broadcast and cable.

Streaming is great if it is going to a television 50" or under. Any larger than that(like a projector) and it looks like excrement from a dogs booty. The smallest set in my house is 52", and it gets the most use from streaming.