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New Tube
updated: Jan 18, 2013, 8:51 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

We have been paying way too much for basic cable for MANY years! What are some more affordable options here in Santa Barbara? My husband and I are interested in streaming TV, but aren't really sure what that even means. We think it means we need to go buy a modern flat screen and then order through Netflix!? If this is the case, where is the best place to buy such a TV?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 365129P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-18 09:07 PM

Get an Apple TV box for $100. That's all you need along with an Internet connection.

Hulu+, for a fee, is amazing!


 COMMENT 365130P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-18 09:13 PM

I cancelled my Cox cable 18 months ago. Since then I have found great content for free on Hulu, my favorites are Modern Family and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

My main source of entertainment is streaming through Netflix. This week I watched, "The Artist," "Hugo," and "The King's Speech." None of which I saw in the theater.

Even though I have a 32" tv, I prefer my iMac. The smaller screen has a clearer picture.

I was raised in the 1960's, when there were three stations on tv. So if I think about it, I don't really need most of what cable provides.


 COMMENT 365140P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-18 09:52 PM

Is it possible to stream Public Access, city of SB and other government channels, through Roku or Apple TV?


 COMMENT 365165P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 02:48 AM

140- most of them not likely.
But you can check the websites of public access to see if they stream on their website.

And by the way Roku is better than Apple TV. More options of channels, formats, etc.


 COMMENT 365169 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 06:24 AM

I live in Sicily and watch most of my US & UK shows on TVlinks...or Project free TV.....on my Mac........FREE


 POTPOURRI agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 08:14 AM

Go to Roku.com and it will tell you where to buy a Roku box, how to install it, and describe the channels that are available. You need to be connected to the internet.


 COMMENT 365230 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 09:17 AM

Streaming TV basically means that your video is sent (streamed) to your set over your home Internet.

"Smart" TVs have either a direct Ethernet connection via Cat5 cable to your router or some can use a wireless adapter to connect.

Otherwise, you use a bridge device like a Roku, Apple or Google TV box or thru a game console such as xBox.

In any case, your experience is limited by the speed of your Internet service - so good luck with that one.


 COMMENT 365235 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 09:25 AM

I quit the cable racket 3 years ago and never looked back! I have a 27 inch iMac and I watch tv through the internet for free, (well, we still have to pay evil ol' Cox cable for wireless internet fees, but it's much cheaper!). There are problems, sometimes, with a program not loading quickly, but if you allow time for it to load ahead of time it usually works. I've been watching things like Dexter and Downton Abbey. I've seen the whole third season of Downton Abbey before anyone in the states with regular cable has!


 COMMENT 365236 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 09:25 AM

We have been streaming Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime through our PlayStation 3 for over 2 years. For those subscriptions + the fastest Internet service Verizon provides we pay less than $100/mo. So happy and not looking back!


 COMMENT 365250 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 10:16 AM

236 here... I forgot that we do have a Roku too... But primarily use that for Pandora. The PlayStation is easier to use and seems to have a better connection. Also - no need to upgrade your TV with the PS3. Otherwise, Costco has a Samsung BluRay player that is wifi compatible for $120 (it might still be $100 - saw it on sale last week). It comes pre-loaded with Hulu and Netflix "apps" with the ability to download others.


 COMMENT 365258 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 10:30 AM

Streaming TV allows you to watch TV, movie, and other video content using an internet connection. That connection can be over a phone line, cable, satellite link, etc.

There are many different sources of programming (most are based on a paid subscription) which are accessible via some an electronic device in your home - an internet-enabled TV, blu-ray player, or gaming console, all with viewing applications. Or a companion media box like a Roku, WDTV, etc. that attaches to your TV). Some allow you to view your own content too.

Sources of for-fee programming include Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Cinema Now, Vudu, etc. An added confusion is now some traditional cable TV providers (e.g. Comcast) are offering programming content via their internet services (so Comcast acts as both Cox and Netflix).

The most general way to receive streaming content is to attach a laptop or HTPC (Home Theater PC) to your TV. But the less tech-savy may find this option inconvenient.


 COMMENT 365272 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 11:53 AM

258 here ...

A laptop or HTPC connected to your TV is your most general-purpose and flexible solution. Just open a web browser and point to Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, etc.

Right now, the Australian Open tennis tournement is being streamed live to the US on their website. So I just open a web browser on my laptop and hook it up to my TV using an HDMI cable.

Same thing goes for any sports you'd watch on ESPN's websites, etc.

You can purchase remote controls that will allow you to control your PC from the couch. Some look like miniature keyboards with a touch pad to control the mouse. Newegg and Amazon have many to choose from.


 COMMENT 365290 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 01:51 PM

Should I get a PS3 or a smart TV?


 COMMENT 365302 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 02:21 PM

Does an apple box (Apple TV) work with an old 1980's Panasonic TV? Or do I need to upgrade? Recommendations?


 COMMENT 365303 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 02:27 PM

290, are you going to play the PS3? Because if you don't see yourself playing games put the money into a better TV. Some TVs allow you to stream and surf the web with no other devices connected which might be a better option. Or get a Roku Box/Apple TV and go that route if your TV doesnt.


 COMMENT 365304 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 02:29 PM

We ditched our cable over 4 years ago and have never regretted it. Also, you can use bunny ears to still grab some local channels and live sports.

If you don't already have an HD TV, you should probably consider getting a "smart TV." These can connect to the internet and download apps such as Netflix, Hulu+, Pandora. Netflix streaming and Hulu+ are the two best streaming apps with many movies and TV shows. There are others streaming services as well such as Amazon, Vudu, Blockbuster, HBO Go, but most of them just offer streaming TV shows and movies to rent or buy.

If you already have a decent HD TV, then you don't need a smart TV, and can just buy a Roku, Apple TV, Playstation 3, XBox, or Nintendo Wii instead to access these streaming TV services. All of these above mentioned devices can connect to your TV with an HDMI cable, and will stream content from the internet. I personally like Roku the best, as it offers the most streaming channels.


 COMMENT 365338 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 04:46 PM

Apple TV gets my vote. We've tried several other "boxes" including Cox's HDTV box—and Apple beats them all! After just 10 mins of set up time we can control any TV in the house with our iPhones. The iPhone controller app has 2 buttons and is the most intuitive remote controller I've ever used. My Cox controller has 55 buttons and the TV controller has 62! We can operate the iPhone controller in the dark without our reading glasses or even looking at the iPhone screen.

Hulu has become our favorite content provider. We watch several HBO serials (i.e. Monk), film noir movies (i.e. Casablanca) and several adult animated shows (i.e. South Park). Hulu has it all and Apple TV's menus are logical and easily navigated.

While standing in line at the DMV the other day I used the iPhone app to search for and queue up our viewing list for the evening. Sweet.


 COMMENT 365372 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 07:01 PM

@302, In general, when you shop for a media box, you have to make sure the connections between the TV and player are compatible. Your ancient 80's Panasonic TV doesn't have the digital HDMI input port required to connect with the Apple TV's HDMI output.

Other boxes like the Roku, WDTV, etc. have HDMI plus a "composite video" output to make them compatible with an old TV. But to maximize enjoyment, getting a large HDTV is in the cards (I often tell seniors who are reluctant to change technology that a large HDTV will make viewing easier and less fatiguing for older eyes).

Bottom line, make sure the TV, blu-ray player, gaming console, or media player you select includes the viewer applications for the sources you want to use (e.g. Pandora, Netflix, Vudu, Amazon, etc). Some Netflix viewers are better on one media box than others.

Note: Nintendo Wii has only a 480i output, not 720p/1080p.


 COMMENT 365385P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-19 07:23 PM

I've been a loyal Apple user since 1985. All my computers currently are Macs. Saying that, the AppleTV really doesn't provide the same level of options as the Roku. I suggest the Roku over the AppleTV for sure. ATV is good if you only plan to stream media from your computer to your TV and other basic things like Netflix. But Roku has more channels and options - and since it is around the same price the better deal. Make sure you get the HD version so you don't get a new HD tv but are not able to view streaming HD channels.


 COMMENT 365505 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-20 10:25 AM

385, that's not true. Atv (apple tv) does more than stream content from your computer, it is a standalone unit downloading content from the interwebs all on its own. It's limited in the idea that you can't " add apps" yet but give it time they will do that I bet. So most content comes from iTunes, Netflix, or Hulu

I have a Mac mini for my " home theater " it works for me because I know what I want. But for someone not as tech savy ( or older ) its more complicated than they can handle. My suggestion, apple tv, roku, some sort of connected tv, or bluesy player. As this will polish an interface for you and make it easier to do what you want.

But be warned, the content on the web is not always exactly what is out there over the airwaves. Shows can take up to 6 months to show up sometimes, and sometimes the next day.


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