• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Cut the cord on Saturday

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
31,838
11,113
146
Man, this has been brutal. I spent over an hour on the phone with Time Warner Cable in August trying to get a decent deal. They got bought out by Charter and are now Spectrum. Thought I kept my same price. Come to find out that they added an extra bogus charge to make my package deal even more expensive than before. Plus, they fail to inform me that they have cut a lot of channels to my package. That includes ESPNU, ESPN News, MLB, AHC, and a lot more. Called them about that. They said that the package is no longer available. But I could get a better deal. I'd get all new equipment and all the channels I wanted, including BTN which I currently pay extra for as part of a sports package. This would include DVR service. The catch? It's going to cost me just a little bit more.

Eff that.

I feel I've been paying too much for too long. I'm tired of overpaying for 200+ channels of crap that I never watch. This duopoly keeps my bill creeping higher and higher every freaking year. It wouldn't bug me as much if we had true competition and we could pick our channels a la carte. But no, we can't do that. When I heard SlingTV offered a skinny package last year for $20 I was like oh yeah! But when you try to add in your local sports network the costs rise up. There's not one package that has what I'm looking for. Plus, the picture qual has been reported as subpar. I'm trying Playstation Vue out. It's like $40 for 45 channels and $45 60+ channels (all the basic, plus regional sports, BTN, SEC, NFL, MLB). They allow 5 simultaneous streams and 28 day DVR on their servers. I also heard that DirectTV Now is launching service for a reported $35 for 100 channels, but only one stream and no DVR (only 72 hours). I need multiple streams so that is out for now until they can offer something better. Probably will cost more. I hear Hulu is going to get into the live streaming game as well.







Well, I'm went for it. I've been with cable tv in one form or another for the last 22 years. No more. I've bought three Amazon Fire TV boxes and hardwired them with CAT6 cabling. The Fire TV devices are really quite good. Quad-core (two pairs of cores) processor, 4K capable, miniSD card expandable, HDMI, slim remote with voice recognition, wireless ac and ethernet connectivity. All in a device the size of a coaster. I'm sure the wireless ac is quite capable, but I went with ethernet. When it comes to video streaming I don't want to wait on buffering if I can help it. I downloaded VLC player and ES File Manager and am able to browse and play the files on my file server. Badass! I've tested everything out and it streams Amazon Prime Video very easily. I've had to order a 15 foot optical audio cable to move the sound from my TV in the living room to the Denon receiver. I've got a 10 ft. one that I am currently running to the cable box. I want to run the cable through the wall instead of hanging straight down on the outside of the wall so I have to go with the longer cable to do so. The Fire TV box only has HDMI out and my receiver doesn't have HDMI, but has three optical audio inputs.



I've also purchased digital antennas for each of the TVs. I'm getting 87 digital channels out in the living room. Combine that with Amazon Prime Video and some live streaming service and I don't think I'm going to miss cable tv. I figure I will save $50 month on my current service (when paired with cable internet). My buddy in Denver cut the cable in March, paying only for Hulu Ad Free and Netflix. When I told him that my wife was freaking out over the change he put me on speakerphone and his wife asked me why I was torturing my wife. LOL. It seems that she felt the same way when my buddy dropped DirectTV.

Before you Kodi guys chime in... I've already have that hooked up on the dedicated HTPC that I built in January. It's cute, but gimmicky. Not really a reliable way to get HD streams when you want them. And yes, I have all the sports add-ons installed. You can spend your night searching for a working stream and then the qual usually is sub-par. Now, if you are streaming to a smaller laptop or monitor it may be adequate. But to my HDTVs it looks quite poor quality and that's if I can find a working stream. I've already have a dozen or so streaming sites that I use on my desktop while surfing the internet. I like free, but I like reliable and quality and will pay to get that, within reason.

Anyways, I've been giving Vue a trial run since Friday. I've got all the wires run and tucked away. I'm turned in my cable tv devices on Saturday. If cable tv can be competitive with IPTV then I may switch back in the future. Until that day, adios muchachos!

Now, everything has been working fairly well. I've set up profiles for me and the missus in Vue. The OTA antenna works great. Amazon Prime Video is seamless. Vue has been fairly trouble free. Just getting used to it's quirks and setting up DVR for the wife.

I've got one problem though. One of my Amazon Fire TV devices cannot see the other computers on the network like the other two can. It obviously can access the network since Vue and Amazon Prime Video work without issue. I swapped devices out from the living room/bedroom just to rule out the location. Both are wired. It's a device issue and not the location. So, what could the problem be? Is it ES Explorer or that specific Fire TV device? I can't find any settings in ES Explorer to affect the devices on the network that it sees. The other two Fire TV devices see my main rig and file server without a problem or special settings. I've got discovery turned on and password protection turned off (on the file server and main rig). Any ideas?
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
31,838
11,113
146
Edit: I uninstalled/installed ES Explorer to rule that out. Ruled out. Behaves the same.
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
1,264
38
91
test out both Emby and Plex as a facilitator to getting things viewable on your devices...
https://emby.media/
https://www.plex.tv/

Both should provide what you are looking for at the low low price of free, and both have additional functionality available in a paid tier (monthly or a lifetime option)
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
31,838
11,113
146
test out both Emby and Plex as a facilitator to getting things viewable on your devices...
https://emby.media/
https://www.plex.tv/

Both should provide what you are looking for at the low low price of free, and both have additional functionality available in a paid tier (monthly or a lifetime option)
Any idea why ES Explorer can view my file server on two Fire TV devices, but not the third? I will check out Emby and Plex, but I still want to know why my computers are not viewable on the lone device.
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
1,264
38
91
Unfortunately, no idea as to why ES wont see you server... I guess you could try disconnecting then reconnecting your Ethernet..
I only suggested plex/ emby as a more robust method of providing your files to your client devices....
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
1,264
38
91
For comparison, I set my system up in a more centralized distribution. My antenna feeds my 2 HDHomeRun Connect network tuners and my Table 4 tuner DVR. This allows all my client devices to operate from a single rooftop antenna, and each client location needs less wires.
MAP:
 
  • Like
Reactions: adamantine.me

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,207
38
91
We cut the cable about 10 years ago... I'm not missing anything. I don't watch sports on TV, but I feel for you guys who do... it always seems like live sports are the most difficult to stream from any other source besides cable/sat. We survive on stored media and Netflix. Tried Hulu but was rather underwhelmed by their offerings; if I can scan through the movies three times and not find anything to watch, you know it sucks.

We had ATT cable, and it was OK (service-wise; ) prior to that we had TWC... I've always felt there is a special place in Hell for TWC.
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
31,838
11,113
146
I think I'll take my issue to the Fire TV reddit. If anyone on this board can think of another way I can test out the device let me know. I'm leaning towards just sending the defective device back to Amazon for a replacement.
 

Zaap

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2008
7,175
423
126
My household has been cable/sat free for about 5 years. Don't miss it in the least.

Netflix/SlingTV/Amazon video and occasional Redboxing a newer release or two more than fills our entertainment needs. Whatever it is I'm missing... I don't really care that I'm missing it.

For me, expanded more custom tailored streaming services are the way forward, and overpriced cable/sat services full of channels I'd never watch are pretty much gone forever.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Congrats on cutting the cord! It is a liberating feeling for sure.

To chime in on the part I know (ie Kodi):

For the most part Kodi isn't useful as a streaming service. Yes there are plugins for that, but as you discovered they are crap for the most part (only good if your price is free or you lack other options due to location).

Where Kodi shines is playing LOCAL on your network content. So instead of a file manager and VLC, you install Kodi and point Kodi to your share and it scrapes it (that means get the TV or movie info from some website) and then puts all your local content in the same type of on-demand interface that you get with Netflix or Hulu.

What is nice about Kodi is once you lock in the sources (aka you point the boxes to the network share) that is remember forever. I have had devices that had trouble "discovering" my server work every time with Kodi. Another nice thing about Kodi is you can sync all the Kodi boxes you have to a single database so you only setup the share in one place and every other box just follows along. Also that means you can stop a movie in one room and continue it in another room like Netflix lets you do. Basically a fully configured Kodi gives you the same interface (actually better) than Netflix but for stuff on your server. I don't know about you but asking the wife to hunt a file down in a file manager and then play it in VLC is simply asking too much. Kodi makes it as easy as any other option.

Kodi isn't the only way to get there- as mentioned above there is Plex. The tradeoff with Plex is the setup is easier than Kodi, but in trade you have to dedicate some system in the house (maybe the server) to push the video to your Amazon Fire TV. Unlike Kodi, Plex needs a middle man so-to-speak. The other upside to Plex is once it is setup you can pay to access your Plex content away from the house.

Overall I think you are on the right path, it is just finding what works for you. The only question I have is: what remote do you use?

One way to "sell" your wife on this whole thing is to spring for a Harmony hub. With a Harmony hub when your wife presses one button all of this happens: the TV turns on, it goes to the right input for the Fire Tv, it puts the AV receiver on and on the right input, and then configures the single remote to be as optimal as possible (volume controls the AV receiver, everything else controls Fire TV). It takes a very steep learning curve for the wife and makes it super flat.

good luck!
 

adamantine.me

Member
Oct 30, 2015
152
4
36
www.adamantine.me
I've tried out Kodi, open elec, Emby, and Plex - I have to say, the most recent versions of Plex make it the clear winner. With my current setup, Plex grabs all the metadata (but not always subtitles) perfectly and the UI is very pleasing. Did you know, a raspberry pi with RaspPlex is like a FireTV?
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
31,838
11,113
146
Update time! Got my replacement device today. After having trouble getting to the setup screen I was able to login to Amazon and then into Vue. However, after installing ES Explorer, I was not able to see the detect the computers on the network. Flustered, I tried to manually enter the IP of the file server. Nope. Went back into the file server to check the network properties. For some reason it was set to auto detect IP. I changed that to manual and assigned the file server a static IP. Going back to the Fire TV device, I was able to enter the new static IP in to ES Explorer and log into the file server. Success!

Unfortunately, ES Explorer is difficult to navigate, both functionally and visually. I will be definitely trying out some of the other apps mentioned ITT. Thanks again for everyone's input. :)
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
Why do you need to browse local network folders? Setup plex or emby as the back end, then use the appropriate app on the firetv to view the local content. You should never be folder-browsing to watch a movie.

Kodi is not gimmicky. It's the illegal addons that are gimmicky.
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
31,838
11,113
146
Why do you need to browse local network folders? Setup plex or emby as the back end, then use the appropriate app on the firetv to view the local content. You should never be folder-browsing to watch a movie.

Kodi is not gimmicky. It's the illegal addons that are gimmicky.
Whatever the method I still have to see the server. Kodi, as a means to watch internet TV, is gimmicky. So, you are correct. I do use it to playback TV shows and movies locally or on my network.
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
1,264
38
91
Whatever the method I still have to see the server.
I agree, and this is why I recommended Plex or Emby- They can provide that visibility in a manner that self corrects for most changes in the minutiae of your network topology automatically.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Whatever the method I still have to see the server.
True, but a path to a video source can be set in Kodi so it doesn't have to "discover" the server every time (like ES File Explorer does) as it just tries to connect directly to a path it assumes is there. I have all my video shares added as sources (separated by tv and movies) and I never have to deal with network issues:

http://kodi.wiki/view/Adding_video_sources

The discoverability just has to work once to set it up and select the proper content. Then it should connect every time when you go directly to that share under videos.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY