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A new report presented by Nielsen indicates that 5 million U.S. residents are no longer flipping through the channels in the "traditional" way, and instead are opting for what is being called "Zero TV."

This is not an indication of course that more people are settling in for a good read, selling off their TVs, or getting off the couch. On the contrary. More and more people are simply consuming television programming by streaming the content from the Internet to their TVs, handhelds and other connected devices.


With many streaming services available at very low prices, and consistently offering more and more exclusive shows and movies, there is a dying need for high satellite and cable bills. In addition, "live" TV is becoming more readily available without the need for an antenna, through the same streaming services.

In fact, many people are choosing overlapping services, and at less than $10/month each, they are saving money by 'cutting the cord.' While there are many devices that can sit in between the Internet connection and the television, many SMART TVs are available with capable hardware and software to stream TV wirelessly.

Cutting the cord, so to speak, and streaming entertainment to the TV set

The process is simple.

- A home owner chooses the best Internet money can buy, preferably with unlimited bandwidth.

- Then, they purchase a higher end wireless router if the modem doesn't already have wireless connectivity.

- After configuring the router for security and connecting it to the Internet, they would then configure the TV to connect to the router wirelessly. Wired options are also available.

- Providing the TV is SMART (many Samsung's have this capability), it now has access to the Internet and local network.

- A collection of content (movies, videos, and photos) can automatically be shared from any device on the network, or connected directly via USB (or MHL, or HDMI).

- Additionally, after a streaming service or two has been purchased (many have free trials), the TV enthusiast can then jump into the "smart hub" of the TV and select from the available channels. Channels in this case aren't numbers. They are icons representing an app or service. This opens up to all of the available content included with the subscription.

Streaming TV content options

Many SMART TVs offer free and paid connection to countless media including: movies and TV shows (YouTube, Vudu, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video), Sports (MLB.tv, ESPN Next Level), Games (Angry Birds and the new-to-come Angry Birds Toons), Information (News, Weather, Maps) and others (Music, Social like Facebook and Twitter, Photos).

It depends a lot on the TV set (model and brand) of course what apps are available. To get even more options, sometimes a set-top-box is put in between the TV and router.

Roku is a popular example, and is available for less than $100. Plus they have a USB stick to plugin to the TVs to remove the need for their tiny box. Roku recently surpassed 700 different channel options. Some of their channels however, like TWC TV, and Fox Now are only accessible to paid customers of their respective services, i.e. non cable cutters.

Some set top boxes include an antenna for live TV, but a lot of times live TV can be streamed direct to the TV from the Internet without an antenna.

Satellite companies, cable companies, TV broadcast networks and more are making their content available in this manner as they see it is an inevitable path to take.

Many TV watchers are also getting more into the interactive "Social TV" aspect of things and use their tablet or smartphone in conjunction to what is being watched on the TV.
 

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We do most of our television viewing via the computer or ipad. We just have too many activities during the day/evening to watch it on it's regular scheduled date so watching it a few days delayed via the internet is the most convenient way.
 

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I see this reflected everyday in the installations that I do. I might add that most of my customers are also purchasing BluRay players and in many cases find no need for Smart TVs. As an added bonus, a BluRay player has all the same streaming capablilty and is more easily integrated into the new amplifier/receivers available today.
 

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We cut the cord years ago also and opted for the fastest internet available in our area. We also installed a digital antenna (Clearstream4) for OTA. Never looked back as we get all our programs through OTA and streaming (have Roku's in every room). In order to do this, I had to make sure our Ethernet in the home was totally up to it as wireless usually cannot provide enough throughput for multiple streaming - wired is always best.
 

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I see this reflected everyday in the installations that I do. I might add that most of my customers are also purchasing BluRay players and in many cases find no need for Smart TVs. As an added bonus, a BluRay player has all the same streaming capablilty and is more easily integrated into the new amplifier/receivers available today.
Yep, plus you can get Blu-Ray/DVD/CD/SACD to boot. I also added a decent HDTV antenna and Netflix account.

Good thread, keithlock! :T
 

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As soon as they include all of my sports channels I will also cut the cord. I'm almost embarrassed by our monthly cable bill. 2 movie channels and we pay almost $150/month.
 

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The only reason I keep paying for cable is to justify my TV show downloads. It so much more convenient to download everything and dump it into the server where I can watch it through XBMC anywhere in the house.
 

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We were paying $130 a month for DirecTV, and that was only for the package just above the basic - i.e., no premium channels. They nickel and dime you to death. Half our bill - half! - was for "add ons" like hi def, DVR service, extra basic receivers in the upstairs bedrooms.

We replace their DVRs with a couple of TIVO DVR units that work with a basic TV antenna and also do streaming. Between the TIVO service and subscriptions to Netflix annd Hulu, we're only paying 1/3 of what we were before. An added bonus is that many of the local TV stations play lots of old shows on their "side channels," so we're getting content we never had access to before.

By the way, if you ever want to cancel DirecTV, they'll blow out all the programming you have saved on your DVR. However, you can easily prevent this by unplugging the phone line and internet connection before the cut-off date. Might not hurt to go ahead and and uplug the antenna cables, too

Regards,
Wayne

 

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I just ordered a new rooftop antenna so we can dump cable for ever! I am tired of the outrageous charges to watch tv shows. We watch maybe 6 channels and have to pay for all the other channels we could care less about.
 

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Just recently jumped the Cable Company, mostly due to work furlough. I have plenty of movies (hardmedia). I have netflix, vudu, crackle on the PS3 and can always pick up movies at one of the neighborhood Redboxes for $1.35. Miss root tv for baseball though. Anyone have any experience with MLBTV on PS3?
 

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We cut the cord just a few months ago. All of our children have in the last year. Our cable bill had started at $70 with promotions, over the years with regular rates and add-ons was close to $200. Now with Amazon Prime (already had it, but okay, $6 per month), Hulu+/Netflix streaming with one disc per month, $16, and for a few must-have-it-now shows like Breaking Bad, we will pay for the current season on Google Watch (cost in a year, less than a month of cable) the total is around $30 per month. Got a $40 indoor antenna, gives us great reception on a dozen local channels. Episodes of premium series like Dexter come a year later on disk via Netflix. We see what we really want to, and watch a lot less of that which we really didn't care for just because it was on.
 

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I went without cable for a while relying on NETFLIX DVD rentals/streaming and DVD/blu-ray movies (meaning my own or newly purchased) but what I was really missing was sports. So, I gave in and got what is known in my area as BASIC cable. So, I get my HD sports but I don't even have a cable box. It's $18.99 a month and I get a bunch of channels in standard def as well as HD and I'm satisfied with that. Outside of sports I don't watch much broadcast TV at all. Occasionally I'll watch the news before work but I mostly stream via NETFLIX. I have always been astounded at the prices cable companies get away with charging (beyond super basic like I have) but I'm more amazed that a lot of people still pay those prices. Friends of mine tell me what their cable bill is and I nearly pass out. Then they tell me they don't ever watch even a quarter of what they're paying for. I'm not entirely sure which is worse. The amount charged or actually paying it.
 

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I went without cable for a while relying on NETFLIX DVD rentals/streaming and DVD/blu-ray movies (meaning my own or newly purchased) but what I was really missing was sports. So, I gave in and got what is known in my area as BASIC cable. So, I get my HD sports but I don't even have a cable box. It's $18.99 a month and I get a bunch of channels in standard def as well as HD and I'm satisfied with that. Outside of sports I don't watch much broadcast TV at all. Occasionally I'll watch the news before work but I mostly stream via NETFLIX. I have always been astounded at the prices cable companies get away with charging (beyond super basic like I have) but I'm more amazed that a lot of people still pay those prices. Friends of mine tell me what their cable bill is and I nearly pass out. Then they tell me they don't ever watch even a quarter of what they're paying for. I'm not entirely sure which is worse. The amount charged or actually paying it.
Sounds like your super lucky. HD sports in a basic cable package for $19!!!!!!!! Can you run that cable on a splicer over to my place Pleeeeeeeeeeeease:crying:
 

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Just recently jumped the Cable Company, mostly due to work furlough. I have plenty of movies (hardmedia). I have netflix, vudu, crackle on the PS3 and can always pick up movies at one of the neighborhood Redboxes for $1.35. Miss root tv for baseball though. Anyone have any experience with MLBTV on PS3?
I believe Apple TV has the MLBTV maybe something to look into
 

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I went without cable for a while relying on NETFLIX DVD rentals/streaming and DVD/blu-ray movies (meaning my own or newly purchased) but what I was really missing was sports. So, I gave in and got what is known in my area as BASIC cable. So, I get my HD sports but I don't even have a cable box. It's $18.99 a month and I get a bunch of channels in standard def as well as HD and I'm satisfied with that. Outside of sports I don't watch much broadcast TV at all. Occasionally I'll watch the news before work but I mostly stream via NETFLIX. I have always been astounded at the prices cable companies get away with charging (beyond super basic like I have) but I'm more amazed that a lot of people still pay those prices. Friends of mine tell me what their cable bill is and I nearly pass out. Then they tell me they don't ever watch even a quarter of what they're paying for. I'm not entirely sure which is worse. The amount charged or actually paying it.
I do love my Directv and even though I pay a fortune for it I won't be giving it up anytime soon. The reason for my post though is that I feel the same way about people's cell phone bills when I hear about them. I gave up a contract cell phone two years ago and went with Tracfone. For $99 total a year I get a new phone, microphone/ear buds, car charger, case, and enough minutes to last me a full year and then some. It does everything the major carrier cell phones do and the coverage is far better than I was getting. I have no idea why people pay what they do for their cell phone. The whole TV/cell phone thing has to do with what is a priority in your life. When I was growing up getting a driver's license was the thing to die for. New cars could be had for $1,995 and good used ones for a couple hundred dollars. Now with some cars costing what I paid for my condo and with gas going from the 18¢ a gallon I remember to nearly $4 a gallon kids couldn't care less about a driver's license, getting an iPhone is the thing to die for. I realize I am dating myself but my point is people's priorities change depending on their circumstances. If I were a young man I would cut the TV cord and be done with it. I am not young anymore and have had a heart attack and cancer. It is worth it now for me to be able to just sit in my Home Theater recliner, push buttons on my remote, and watch my Directv. Last point, let me know when streaming will give me the same picture and sound quality as Directv or Blu Ray. When 4K gets going full tilt I want to seem them stream a 4K movie.
 

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I believe Apple TV has the MLBTV maybe something to look into
But that would cost me the purchase of Apple TV device on top of the subscription to MLBTV. What free services come with an Apple TV that a PS3 (which I already have) can't do?
 

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I would love to get rid of my cable bill but dang it I want my sports. Mainly to watch my twins and Vikings and sometimes college wrestling. I may have only watched 3 baseball games last year but I want to be able to watch them. I have a problem
 

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It is going to be a viscous cycle before too long. With less and less folks having cable and satellite programming, they'll have to raise prices on the ones that are left subscribing. As more folks drop off because of the cost the prices will just get higher and higher.

I've had a full-blown wired network in my home for about 10 years now that I mainly used for HTPC. I've upgraded disc players and such and they came with streaming apps. I dropped to the lowest Dish package last year and use NetFlix and Hulu Plus along with an OTA antenna. The rest of the Showtime/HBO stuff I can get when it is available through NetFlix. I weighed the cost of a TiVo vs. just keeping the Dish hardware and it is about even. I get some basic programming and random bonus channels in HD every month for $26 a month, which is about double the cost of a TiVo subscription. It still costs over $40 a month for TV plus the $54 for the internet.

Only thing I see coming is that ISPs will start jacking up their prices and decreasing bandwidth caps when they start to see their costs go up for their network access.

There are no free lunches. They'll start finding other ways to get money from us.
 

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So i recently cut back all my Comcast Cable service....Basically only kept cable with them because I currently get Blast Plus Internet and its cheaper to have basic digital cable service and Blast internet than it is to just have Blast Internet. Then I signed up for Dish. With Comcast it cost $190 for Blast Internet and 1 HD DVR and 1 HD box. Now I have Comcast Blast and 1 Digital Basic Box for $49 and Dish with 1 HD Hopper and 2 HD Joey for $59 for a total of $108 a month for 12 months. At which point dish will go up $30 for another 12 months for a total of $138 a month.
The way i see it I save money and get more for my money this way.

Either way its a constant juggling game trying to stay ahead of the providers dipping in your pocket.
 
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