Here is how I cut the cord and my wife likes it better than cable

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Here is how I cut the cord and my wife likes it better than cable

So I am finally able to cut the cord after years of trying.

 

I can now get all the shows/movies the wife and I want, many before they air on the west coast including HBO and Showtime series automatically downloaded with Meta Data and art for $19 ($11 without Netflix) a month. This system is completely automated and can be managed from a web browser so my wife or I can add new shows/movies from our iPhones or the iPad on the couch.

 

My main fail point to cutting the cord has always been the WAF. She finally said she likes my solution better than Comcrap!

 

What I am using:

Win 7 Media Center (both)

Media Browser (both)

AirPlay for Windows Media Center

Sick Beard (server only)

SABnzbd  (server only)

CouchPotato (server only)

Netflix (for the kids) $8 month 

Astraweb Usenet host ($11 month)

802.11g and 100mb Router

2xMCE remotes

HTPC/Server 3.2GHz QaudCore Duo in the Office

HTPC 2.8Ghz Athalon x2

40" Samsung LED and Infocus ScreenPlay 7200 in the living room

47" Philips Plasma in the office

 

I started with this article on life hacker:

http://m.lifehacker.com/5601586/how-to-get-started-with-usenet-in-three-simple-steps

 

Then moved on to this:

http://m.lifehacker.com/5771670/how-to-turn-your-computer-into-an-internet-personal-video-recorder

 

And lastly this:

http://m.lifehacker.com/5838169/how-to-turn-your-freenas-box-into-an-internet-pvr-with-sabnzbd-and-sick-beard

 

I am not using FreeNAS but the article helps to learn the automation process. 

 

If you are not ready to pay for a usenet host you can get a free unlimited 1mb account here to try it out (select Germany for your country):

http://www.xsusenet.com/en/

 

 

Signup for a free NZBrUs account here for faster results:

http://www.nzbsrus.com/signup.php

 

If you want to use usenet for music and movies as well I recommend getting a $10 lifetime account from newzbin It will also get you even faster results on your tv shows:

http://www.newzbin.com/account/signup/

 

I have been using astraweb for years and they are a great usenet host with great prices. Here is a link to get the unlimited account for only $11 a month:

http://www.news.astraweb.com/specials/kleverig-11.multicards.html

 

One SABnzbd app not mentioned on lifehacker that I stumbled across is CouchPotato, this app lets you add movies like you do with Sick Beard and it watches usenet for them to be released. It can also be configured to download the first release, then download and replace the first one if a better quality version comes out. There is also a greasemonkey script that allows you to browse IMDB and add to your CouchPotato watch queue. Here is the discussion on SABnzbd forums for help setting it up

 

The only thing I was missing was local TV and live sports so today I pulled out my old ATI 650 dual tuner and hooked up an antenna. I will probably sell my Hauppauge cablecard tuner and get a used HDhomerun next.

 

Once you have this setup you can also download lossless music albums and all kinds of digital files off of usenet through SABnzbd.

 

Next up I will be looking at secondrun.tv to add more streaming content and HeadPhones  which is very similar to CouchPotato but for music.

 

If anyone has any suggestions or questions post them in the comments. 

 

Ganjagadget 

Chasseur's picture
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Joined: 17 Mar 2010

I'm not sure what to think about it. You sure have an extended setup, but cancelling Cable to save money and start paying usenet services to get illegal stuff...

captain_video's picture
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Joined: 6 Jul 2007

I'd be curious to know whether your wife will still like this setup once she realizes all those movies and shows she's watching were obtained illegally.  I don't mind using bittorrents once in a while to pick up a TV show I missed, but I draw the line at downloading Hollywood movies.  That's what I have NetFlix for (disc rental, no streaming). Getting TV shows might get you a cease and desist warning, but copyrighted movies will attract sleazebag lawyers like flies on fesces.

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Joined: 20 Dec 2006

I've got to agree with this.  I've got a similar setup at home, but by default my SickBeard listings are set to skipped and I only change it to "wanted" if I miss a recording on TV due to a tuner fault or some stupid news announcement that messes up the timing (those things should be illegal Yell ).  If I'm interested in a movie I'll go out to Redbox and rent it.

I used to use Bittorrent, but after a few "cease and desists" for Basic TV shows (CBS, ABC, NBC) from Comcrap I decided to move over to newsgroups.  It's really tempting just to download all my TV episodes in Xvid/AVI format (350MB) versus keeping the 3-7GB GB files from recording them myself.  Not sure why, but my conscience says that downloading one-off episodes is okay, but not downloading entire seasons, or shows that I don't subscribe too (HBO, Cinemax, etc). 

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Joined: 21 Mar 2012

So let me make sure I understand this. It's OK to pay for cable or satellite @ $60 per month for 200+ channels-- movies and TV and music now. Add a DVR, VCR or DVD-R or two in the mix. Record everything that you want to watch no matter what time, day or night and have it whenever you wish to watch it for however long you wish. Once you finish watching the episode/movie/music video/whatever, you delete it from your DVR/erase the VHS tape with the next episode, etc. How is this different from the Sick Beard setup? Oh. Right. We're not paying the satellite or cable company to use their equipment but using ours that we already paid for. Hmmmm... DA out.

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Joined: 20 Dec 2006

Well... this is just my opinion.  In the first example (paying cable/satellite and recording and watching whenever you want) I see it as you are paying the provider, who in turn pays licensing to the content creators to transmit the content.  By doing this, you are paying for the right to watch the content that they provide, whenever you want, whether on their equipment or your own.  Of course, this is a grey area for the providers who would prefer that you only use their equipment (DVR, cablecard, etc.) and want to control the consumption (DRM restrictions to only play on the recorded device).

In the second example (just download everything via SickBeard, Torrents, etc.) you are basically getting the content for free as you aren't paying a subscription fee (monthly cable/satellite bill), which is the scenerio that the OP put up (cutting the cord).  The fact is, by paying a cable/DSL/etc. company a monthly fee for Internet access, this does not grant rights to cable/tv/etc. that might be carried by the same provider under a different service plan.

Now, if you do subscribe to TV services with the ISP provider, that is where it gets really muddy for me as far as being able to download regular (and even cable) TV shows that you subscribe to.  Personally, I have no issues downloading a copy of The River, Castle, or Eureka since I pay a monthly fee to have those channels and could record them via DVR if I chose.  However, I don't download Spartacus, Game of Thrones, etc. as I don't pay for the premium cable channels.

After saying that... I'm really wondering why I still use a PVR (SageTV) for TV recording and not just SickBeard for all of the shows I watch.  I guess it is because I still like to have the option of watching shows as they air (rarely happens) or catching shows that aren't as readily available (Tosh.0, Daily Show, random History Channel shows).

The one other area that muddies the water is OTA transmissions.  CBS, ABC, NBC, etc. provide these completely free of charge... if you can get a signal.  For me, I would have to put a large directional antenna on the roof (DB4 in the attic doesn't work) to recieve these in my area... which isn't going to happen.  So, in some ways I could see cutting the cord if these were the only channels I wanted to watch, but they aren't so I don't feel that it would be within my consumer rigts to download them without paying for them (in the form of a monthly fee)...

captain_video's picture
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Joined: 6 Jul 2007

Devil's Advocate wrote:

So let me make sure I understand this. It's OK to pay for cable or satellite @ $60 per month for 200+ channels-- movies and TV and music now. Add a DVR, VCR or DVD-R or two in the mix. Record everything that you want to watch no matter what time, day or night and have it whenever you wish to watch it for however long you wish. Once you finish watching the episode/movie/music video/whatever, you delete it from your DVR/erase the VHS tape with the next episode, etc. How is this different from the Sick Beard setup? Oh. Right. We're not paying the satellite or cable company to use their equipment but using ours that we already paid for. Hmmmm... DA out.

It all boils down to copyright infringement.  The studios don't have a problem with you recording shows that air live on cable or satellite as long as you record the commercials along with them.  They actually prefer that you watch TV live but DVRs have become so commonplace in most households that they realize there's not much they can do about it.  Even Nielson has finally recognized that shows are being recorded for later viewing and now take those numbers into account when rating market shares for any given show. 

Getting shows via usenet or torrent sites tend to have the commercials stripped out of them.  Downloading shows from either source opens you up to a lawsuit for sharing copyrighted material in direct violation of the DMCA.  FYI - usenet and torrent sites are closely monitored by the networks and they can see who's sharing what over the internet.  If they see a trend from a particular IP address they'll contact your ISP and ask that they send you a cease and desist notice.  Chances are that's all you'll get unless you decide to ignore the order and continue with your wicked ways.  Then, all bets are off because you've painted a bullseye on your back for a network lawyer.

The equipment you use to record the show has nothing to do with it.  Shows aired by cable or premium channels like FX or USA Network or HBO are only available through a paid provider.  If you get them through other means you're essentially stealing from the network since you're not paying to receive the channel.  OTA network channels are available without a paid provider, but the sharing scenario still holds true.

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Joined: 2 Dec 2008

Nice setup!, I'm not going to say whether or not I agree with what is going on with the set up but I will say this.  Cable companies have over stepped, I happily paid for HD cable basic at 60$ a moth with a 2 yr contract.  The end of my contract I was paying 80$ a month, I asked why and where did that come from.  I can understand renegotiation contracts make my bill go up 25-50 cents per month ok no biggie, but 20$ difference?  C'mon no wonder people are stealing shows/movies.  These cable companies in america barely have to compete with each other therefore they charge what they please.  They have become too money hungry basically.  IF I had the option of paying just for showtime or HBO, or a ESPN package without the 200 channels I could care less to watch; I would gladly pay for streaming those services or cable.  But there are no options.

 

Look at netflix I bet they have put a bigger dent in piracy than these silly lawyers ever could, create a cheap good service and people will happily pay for it, along with the content they want.  IF these lawyers (RIAA) keep pushing people they are only going to have a bigger issue on their hands that they wont be able to solve because it has gotten so bad.

skirge01's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2006

I won't get into a lengthy response here, but it all comes down to conscience.  Some people have one; others don't.  Those who do can often convince themselves that they're justified in whatever illegal activity they're participating in.  The bottom line, though, is that the only legal AND "free" way to obtain content is OTA.  If you aren't using that and you aren't paying for your content, it's illegal.  Right or wrong, that's the law.  End of story.

LowTech's picture
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Joined: 30 Nov 1999

And here I thought this was about the birth of a child after seeing the title of this thread.

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