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Another piece to the Home Entertainment Network

Posted in: Technology by Steve on November 21, 2010

After so many different posts about Comcast and their horrible service and inability to help my with my bill, I’ve been slowly building up my entertainment devices and different things that will allow me to get rid of cable.  The next thing is trying to link up my upstairs network with my downstairs TV.  Unfortunately, I can’t run a hard wired ethernet from upstairs to downstairs because I don’t know what’s between the floors to get it through.  So wireless-N is the solution I need.

I already have a D-Link dual band router running my wireless network so getting another one of their products seemed like a good idea so I’m not worried about different product issues. I decided to get the D-Link DAP-1522 Xtreme 4-Port GigaBit Selectable Dual Band Draft 802.11n N Duo Wireless Bridge/Access Point

I’ll be keeping my Xbox downstairs and hooking it up to the wireless bridge because I’ve heard bad things about the Xbox wireless adapter.  I think this is one of the last pieces to allow me to break free of cable.  Once I make a full transition, I’ll have a full blog post on the entire setup with pictures.

Now the last thing to do is to stop watching sports.

Getting Rid of Cable

Posted in: General by Steve on November 8, 2010

Looks like I’m not the only one fed up with Comcast and other providers:

Netflix is definitely giving us a reason to move on to cheaper alternatives.

The Quest Continues

Posted in: Home by Steve on October 14, 2010

In my quest to get rid of Comcast, I found a great comparison of services on Gizmodo that media players bring to the table along with a table of features. This was recently updated to include the announcement that Ruku will support Hulu

New Quest – Get rid of Comcast

Posted in: Home by Steve on October 8, 2010

Last night I received a telephone call from a Comcast agent. He was offering up new pricing on the cable portion of my bill. I asked him why they were offering this now than 3 weeks ago when I called to complain about my prices going up. He said that they did give me a discount on my bill, but only on the internet portion.

Now, because my work pays for internet, this doesn’t help my total bill. This gives my employer a break, but I still end up paying the same amount for cable in the end. I asked him when this happened. Apparently, the agent I spoke with gave me a promotional discount without my knowledge.

This is fine and dandy, but doing something like this without my explicit permission is rather sad. It shows me that their customer service was not listening to my needs, and did what they thought was best for me.

So now, instead of getting rid of cable, I am looking to get rid of Comcast for my cable. I’ve realized that I will not have a house where I can’t watch sports and having something on in the background is necessary for my wife.

So I am off to find out if AT&T U-Verse, Dish Network, or DirecTV will be better for this house. The last straw has been drawn.

The Quest to Get Rid of Cable

Posted in: Home by Steve on September 26, 2010

Comcast d-bag
(in case you didn’t know)

I pay an outrageous amount of money a month for cable.  This d-bag over here represents Comcast.  They take so much of my money each month, it’s sick.  We were going over our monthly budget and decided to look at other options for getting our weekly fix of House and Man vs. Food.

So the first thing we needed to figure out was what are the shows that we absolutely have to watch?  I love to watch sports.  Right off the bat, I’m screwed because trying to get any of the local sports teams online is impossible.  Thanks to agreements between the major sports, they will not broadcast the NHL Gamecenter, MLB or NFL online because of local blackout restrictions.  So if I can live without watching sports, then getting rid of cable would be a lot easier.  This is really the crux of the decision.  Everything else is just a nice to have.  Sports is what we have cable for, especially NHL Network, Comcast Sportsnet, NFL Network and MLB Network.  The majority of my TV watching comes from these channels.

Since our local sports teams do not broadcast many games OTA, the decision is a lot harder than I realized.  I was watching the first couple of games for the NHL preseason and the HD is quite amazing.  It’s hard to say goodbye to that.

After having to make the decision on whether or not to do it, I have to determine how my media is going to get to my TVs.  Our current inventory of hardware and content consists of:

  • XBox 360 with Wireless G Adapter
  • Nintendo Wii
  • Western Digital HD Live
  • Netflix Subscription
  • PlayOn.TV
  • Windows Media Center
  • Windows Home Server

Our house has 3 physical TVs. We have 2 standard definition (SD) and 1 HD TV.  One of the problems that I am facing is how to get network to these locations.  The bedroom TV is easy because I can run an ethernet cable to whatever ends up being the media hub for that TV.  That leaves me with an SD TV in the far corner of the house, and the HD TV. For the SD TV, I’m looking at getting a Roku XD because of the extended range capabilities of the player.  I don’t know if even having a TV hooked up to media makes any sense because it’s in our son’s playroom. This could be the last step when building our our solution. 

Which brings us to the main TV in the house, the 61” HD TV.  Now trying to get HD quality signal to this television is going to be interesting to solve.  The XBox is connected to this TV and has a wireless G adapter.  This is fine for gaming, but when I try to connect to the Media Center, it never plays any of the videos.  A possible upgrade for the 360 is to get a Wireless N adapter to increase the bandwidth.  I could then get all of the media running through the XBox. 

I’m still weighing my options, but it looks like I might be able to save almost $1,300 / year getting rid of cable completely if I can live without local sports.