I am in the 1st week of my switch to Roku only. I ditched satellite a week ago, though I tinkered with the Roku for a couple of months before going with it as my only access for TV. I came upon Playon 2 days and installed the trial version. I added several plugins and as it sit, there is no doubt this will be the most used channel on my roku by a huge margin. I now have access to most every cable channel - Live - and every show on TV. That's every show on TV. I have been very pleased with the quality, as everything I have watched - live channels included, have been given 4 dots by Roku. What more could you possibly want? This one player single handedly replaces cable, when you add in everything else the roku offers, I actually gave up a $100 month sat bill for no bill, and have so much more!
If you don't mind using torrents you can free yourself from cable pretty easily.
Need a normal PC with HDMI out to TV.
Vuze with RSSfeed Scanner
Torrent RSS Feed
Limagito Lite (or another file mover)
XBMC with auto update script
All you have to do is setup Vuze to read the RSS feed, and download the shows you want by itself. It's pretty much like Tivo's season pass. If you use a good site, you can get a show 10 minutes after it airs.
If you want, you can setup the downloading sides of things on another computer (server), then share the Media folders with the PC running XBMC.
The show airs, gets released to the torrent site, is downloaded automatically by Vuze, sorted automatically by the file mover to the appropriate directory for that series, then automatically added to the XBMC library.
Everytime you look at your recently added TV shows in XBMC, whatever just aired will be there. No need for streaming, DRM, or waiting for DVDS or any other crap.
Great article by the way. I don't think there is a convenient way to get rid of the cable type distribution, with a family. The Roku is very neat and inexpensive, but of course would be expensive if isp's lower caps as many would if they felt too many were cutting off cable. Things have changed a lot since your article. The iPad2 has AirPlay mirroring and hence will play anything on the TV that can be played on the iPad. Still not ideal, but it's an interesting way of getting around the content provider's fears of free distribution.
It would be interesting to have a followup article in a year. Things seem to be happening, though I am not clear as to what the goal is.
I just tried Playon because I have recently cut the cable cord (Mohu Leaf antenna and Tivo to record OTA signals, Roku for streaming) and wanted access to their content and have a Roku box. I wanted to watch Playon on my 42" HD TV. The buffering took a long time and happened frequently mid show. Worse of all, the pictures were terrible for all shows on all channels. I emailed tech support and they replied the resolution for most shows is 480p. So... if you'd like to watch their content on a large HD screen (as opposed to a computer or portable device) the quality is poor. It's a great idea, but as of this time, poorly executed when it comes to a large HD screen.
So we are approaching the 1 year mark of the switch back....
Any word from DirecTv about what your new monthly amount will be?
Don't even get me started about those guys. The special deal lasted for about two months, then the $20/month discount disappeared and my bill crept back up to th $70/month range.
If it weren't for my wife's addiction to HGTV and similar home and garden programming (and the general non-user friendliness of most cable-cutting solutions), I would have quit them long ago. But happy wife, happy life!
PlayOn is run by amateurs. Their pricing and what you get in return is murky at best IMHO. Back when they started it was difficult to define how much or how little you were going to get, especially when things went pay only. I paid their initial fee since it seemed worth it. But they didn't know how to treat their own customers.
And then came these odd offers and boasts of how you'll cut the cable. What a joke. PlayOn is nothing close to cable TV. If you don't watch much TV you didn't need cable in the first place. The only thing PlayOn does is put on your big screen what you already can get on your PC. That's it. But you pay $40 per year for the privilege of doing so and not knowing what you will and won't get at anytime.
So after they put out these offers for the Roku that changed and conditions like they will give you the value of a Roku as of the date April 19, 2012 (or whatever date it was, as if any person actually knew or could know what value it was on that date), I decided to look elsewhere. And guess what? I found Plex!!! It's a little less intuitive but it provides virtually everything PlayOn does for FREE.
Now I'd be willing to pay a premium for a good service when these things mature. But with Google, Microsoft and others playing in the same game, it seems ridiculous to blow your money on standard definition like Play On with shifting policies. I also found that if you were a PlayOn customer you'd end up paying more money for upgrades than new customers at various times. If you contact support you think you're speaking to children. You have to see the emails to believe it.
PlayOn was good for what it was years ago but the people never knew how to run a business. Now they have some bizarro digital DVR that also makes little financial sense. So it goes. Check out Plex and keep an eye out for where it goes. Until then, most of these services are more hype than reality. Just buy an Internet ready TV and you're ready to go.
Just registered with the site just to say thank you very much. Come across this site last week after I decided to start planning a significant overall to my home network, and the home wiring in general. So I have just about everything planned out now. I did run into a minor roadblock when I decided I'd try to find a way to take my OTA signal coming in on coax from my antenna and make it available on the network. I found the answer in the final part of your article about Internet TV alternatives. That HD Homerun is exactly what I was looking for, just to be able to provide Broadcast TV to my computers that didn't have it otherwise. So thanks man, you've helped me out a great deal. I haven't read this thread yet (will do so after I get some sleep) but I hope you continue to find improving Internet TV alternatives.
I was just reading all the Internet TV articles you've done out of curiosity since I've done well with Internet TV, wasn't expecting to find a solution to my search. Before this I had never used any Paid TV service, which I include Netflix and company as a part of, so I have a slightly different perspective from you on this. Instead of looking at this as an alternative to get an equivalent or even just a satisfactory amount of content cheaply and easily, I view this as a way to increase the amount of content I have readily available cheaply. With my Sony BluRay S580 player I can stream with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, and even local content stored on my personal computer. After trying everything out I have only stuck with Netflix and local streaming of a few free online videos, like you mentioned several times, content is king here. So now I'll be adding that HD Homerun in addition to a dedicated NAS, transfer the rips of my DVD's & BluRays to it, as well as the Homerun recordings I will be able to create. I'm completely satisfied with this solution, but it's much easier for me since I don't have a wife that wants premium content either