I’m Frugal, I hate Comcast, and I love HDTV

As far as I can see, the current ‘future’ of living room viewing with High Definition has two options in the near future:

TIVO or Roku

I’ve just finished planning my Home theatre makeover, which was inspired by connecting a DTV antenna at my brother’s house.  We bought a $21 antenna at amazon for HDTV; we plugged it in at sunnyvale CA and found something like 67 channels.  While most of these channels require the ability to speak chinese or philipino, we were able to get all 4 broadcast channels in crystal clear HDTV format: Monthly cost $0.

I currently have a Tivo series 3 HD dvr which has a lifetime subscription (remember I hate monthly fees)  It’s plugged into my wired ethernet, and I currently am connected to Comcast with HD support but no premium channels.  I looked at my Comcast bill and I’m paying $45 for premium internet(12 Mbs), with a $5 a month cable modem rental.  I’m paying monthly comcast fees of $64.99 for standard cable, $16.99 for digital preferred, $1.50 for a cable card, $8 for HD technology Fee, and $16 HDTV additional fees for the cablecards in the TIVO.  We also have a Netflix account linked to the TIVO.

Tivo Option

After thinking about what I want, I can watch CNN/MSNBC on my computer (in fact I watched Al Jazeera on my computer because it wasn’t carried by Comcast).  If I install an HDTV antenna, I will get the Major networks and PBS for free.  With Netflix and my Tivo I’m set.  I have one remaining problem: no Giants Baseball.  I checked out MLB TV but they seems to backout the local team for home and away games.  So my conclusion is to downgrade my cable to non-digital standard cable; this reduces my Comcast bill from $107.44 a month to $64.99 a month.  Also, while I’m at it I purchased a current Cable Modem for $89 from amazon and I can kill another $5 a month from my comcast bill.

It seems like if I could solve my MLB addiction I could kill Comcast TV altogether.  I’m looking forward to this day.

Roku Option

For TIVO-less households like my brother’s, we are looking at an antenna combined with a ROKU box.  Roku gets Netflix and Hulu plus, so for about $20 a month fees you could watch cable programming (just not sports) and get netflix movie downloads.  That looks to me to be a great option.


If you install an antenna, check out what direction to place the antenna here!

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4 thoughts on “I’m Frugal, I hate Comcast, and I love HDTV”

  1. I’m an avid HD watcher too since my TV is so freakin’ big my picture looks like it’s underwater without it. I had Comcast before I bought an HD TV so I didn’t have to pay their high HD prices. I did drop Comcast though because with the extra fees, taxes, surcharges and digital prices I was paying way too much for what it was worth. Come on, I have a life you know, not just TV. I had been working at DISH Network for a few years, but my apartment faced the wrong way, so I moved. Now I have an HD DVR ($6 for DVR) no box rental fee, digital in 2 rooms and free HD for life because I qualified. That’s all the same for other customers too, otherwise I would have to pay the HD even as an employee in the past.

  2. Hmm, agreed there are better options than the Dish vs. CATV duopoly. I actually am now convinced that Tivo wont survive PVR’s moving into the provider space and the minutes of time I waste on commercials and awkward programming schedules pushes one to pay-as-you-go TV from sources such as Apple A disruptor the Networks have only just figured out is depleting there ad-sell revenue on repeat watching etc, long after the actors unions figured out the was a “residual” issue…

    I just spoke to guy who owns archiving for ABC (no, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) where they, as with most networks, only store for manual retrieval/distribution. Apple just turned on a 2M-SqFt Data Center… I suspect, to paraphrase Ed Bugnion, there’s a good reason Dinosaurs weren’t in charge of evolution….

    1. Phil,

      The two things I get from TIVO that I haven’t found elsewhere is the integration of tv sources like antennas and broadcast TV. The future is clearly internet connected displayed on a TV, and right now the TIVO is a great resource; HOWEVER, as a company TIVO’s connection to the cable companies have caused them to put a stone around their neck and jump off a wall while wondering why they are falling….

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