# TV Online

1. Nov 19, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Very cool! We just got a new computer that is dedicated almost entirely to the TV. Between Netflix, which charges what I consider to be a nominal fee if one utilizes all of the perks, the ever-growing number of sources and databases that provide free television programs, movies, and documentaries, and the fact that many broadcast channels like PBS offer everything online, or nearly so, we are going nearly 100% online for our entertainment and news. I hope to cancel the Direct TV soon; as soon as our viewing domain is covered completely. There are still a few things that I can’t find online but that improves by the day - there is no doubt that online viewing has come of age. So, we bought a computer built for online viewing - HDMI port and the latest hs graphics card included. The latest in router technology finally made it possible to setup a wireless network that reaches my office. So this simplifies life even more. This is truly a cause for celebration, at least for me.

We got everything last night and enjoyed our first night of watching what we want, when we want, with all the conveniences associated with regular television viewing. While we have been doing this for some time using a laptop connected to the TV, it was a pain without the wireless mouse. Not to mention that I don’t like dragging my work computer around any more than I have to.

I would have to say that this is probably the most dramatic change in the notion of home entertainment that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

It struck me that we are now getting our television through the telephone – A DSL connection. Not so long ago that would have seemed very exotic! This is particularly useful to us as we are surrounded by hills and trees that have always made television reception difficult. We have no access to cable. And even with Direct TV it has taken a ridiculous amount of effort and money to get a good signal to the house. One even can find a couple of threads about this – one from several years ago, and one recent thread - in the Electrical Engineering forum! It has been a real pain in the butt! But worse than that, as technology continues to evolve, I am faced with a new set of problems for each generation of technology. It had literally become the never-ending saga. Were it not an interesting problem I probably would have given up long ago. Online TV beats this problem, finally. YEAH!!!

Between Netflix, and the free services like Hulu, Fancast, YouTube Shows, Google Videos, and TV.com, the current selection of free and legal programming is quite large.

2. Nov 19, 2009

### Greg Bernhardt

I haven't had TV service for two years

I goto myp2p.eu for live sports streams

3. Nov 19, 2009

### Staff: Mentor

Do you get anything in high definition? Seems to me that would take a lot of bandwidth. And I wonder how long all that stuff will stay free. I think I read somewhere that Hulu is looking at moving to a fee-based model.

I still get my TV for "free" the old-fashioned way. With a roof antenna and a rotator I get stations from three cities, both standard- and high-definition. The network programming is the same, of course, but there's variety in local news, syndicated programming and some sports. One station that I wouldn't be able to get on cable here is running "Star Trek: The Next Generation" five nights a week.

4. Nov 19, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
I've been watching a number of my favorite shows online for a few years, but until recently, online was too dicey and sparse to be practical for me. Plus, it just isn't relaxing to sit and watch a laptop. We needed a computer dedicated to TV.

About the time I discovered Netflix and joined that, I was looking around again and was amazed at the selection available. They finally figured out how to inject current commercials into online videos; at least, someone finally did it. No doubt this is what makes it all possible.

5. Nov 19, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
The picture quality varies, but it ranges from good to excellent on a big screen lcd. So while we do see some difference depending on the source, I don't know if any is truly high def, nor am I sure what resolution defines hd.

I missed many of my favorites for years when we only had local broadcasts. I went the extreme antenna route, I even built a high-gain antenna for just one station! But, at best we only got a few channels with good picture quality. Plus, my favorite programs like Meet the Press, and even worse, STAR TREK, were often pre-empted by sports. Nontheless, with hills or tall trees so the East, South, and North, and nothing to the West but one PBS station, our options were unacceptably limited. The problem with the Direct TV is that the only shot going South is out in the pasture and about 500 feet from the house, which is too far for the system. There is also a large tree to the South that may blind that spot as well, eventually.

Last edited: Nov 19, 2009
6. Nov 19, 2009

### waht

Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
7. Nov 19, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Yes, I should have mentioned that. There are also a number of DVD players that come with varying levels of internet functioniality, including compatibility with Netflix. I think a couple that I saw [not Blu-ray] were less than $100. For us it made sense to get a computer [I mentioned that it is almost entirely dedicated to TV], but there are lower cost options out there. Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017 8. Nov 19, 2009 ### rootX Does it take too much time to download things? Or if you try to play them with using internet at the same time, video get stuck many too times.. 9. Nov 19, 2009 ### Ivan Seeking Staff Emeritus As I said earlier, we are on DSL. Part of what threw me over the edge was that at worst a little buffering is needed when starting the video. From there, almost everything that I've tested or used [recently] has been pretty reliable. I have had some issues specific to my XP system, but I think most have been resolved over the last year. The new system is loaded with Windows 7. Our one night of activity so far suggests that it is working well. Tsu also got a new laptop running Windows 7. So far I don't think she has had any issues with online stuff. The 106 episodes of "House Hunters", spanning the last ten seasons, is what really got her attention. It took about ten seconds to make her a convert. Last edited: Nov 19, 2009 10. Nov 19, 2009 ### Ivan Seeking Staff Emeritus Interstingly, any additional buffering time is more than offset by the very quick and few commercials. Additional buffering is sometimes needed, but one quickly finds that without the normal ten minutes of commercials per half-hour, breaks are also needed. So in practice the buffering has become a non-issue even for long videos that have excellent picture quality. I know Tsu was surfing last night while we were watching online. So far we haven't seen any problems. We even checked to see if we could stream Netflix simultaneously on two computers, which we did without any problems. 11. Nov 19, 2009 ### TheStatutoryApe Once I get home internet access my PS3 will be able to access it and allow me to view any internet content on my TV. The system controllers are wireless by default and it will also accept most any bluetooth device and allow for using a wireless mouse or keyboard. It has a decent sized hard drive so I can save content to the PS3 itself. It can also be networked with a computer and transfer media back and forth (with a bit of difficulty). So soon I should be able to play video games online, watch movies both dvd and bluray, play music, surf the internet, and get streaming content all on my tv. The only issue really is that my TV is old and I get HD on my laptop screen which is not much smaller than the TV lol. You can also get free programs such as TVersity which will allow you to use your computer as a streaming media server and stream either media on your harddrive or internet content. Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017 12. Nov 19, 2009 ### Zubin You can find all TV show episodes online so it just depends on your connection speed. Personally I don't watch TV at all because the one show I watch can be viewed on various sites. I find Youtube and etc. to be far superior media sources to anything TV has to offer. 13. Nov 19, 2009 ### jtbell ### Staff: Mentor HD is 720p (1280x720 pixels) or 1080i or 1080p (1920x1080 pixels). I haven't been paying close attention to the availability of downloadable / streaming HD material because my Internet connection is "DSL Lite" (768 kbps). I think Netflix and Vudu have HD, at least, and probably mark it clearly. But it would have to be compressed fairly severely, and converted from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 for efficiency. Over-the-air broadcast HD can go up to 19 Mbps in principle (MPEG-2). Most stations also have one or more SD subchannels which take some of the bandwidth, so in practice the HD has less. The stations around here mostly run their HD channels at 12 to 16 Mbps. Recordings fill up about 5 to 7 GB of disk space per hour. That's a lot to download. 14. Nov 19, 2009 ### TheStatutoryApe Youtube definitely supports HD content, many of the videos have the option for you to watch in HD. I am fairly certain that Hulu does aswell though I can not remember specifically seeing it. I have no experience with other streaming sites. 15. Nov 19, 2009 ### mgb_phys The HD downloads are generally H.264 ( Mpeg4) it can do 1280x720 at under 3MB/s it uses much clever compression than DVD - remember DVD was designed for the computing power they thought would fit in a consumer appliance 15 years ago. 16. Nov 20, 2009 ### rado5 Well I haven't read all of your words, but I think you are talking about internet TV. Ok just go to this site http://wwitv.com/ you will be amazed, cause it has all the TV channels from all the countries of the world. I usually watch "Classic FM" from UK. http://wwitv.com/ 17. Nov 20, 2009 ### JasonRox I use a chinese P2P sharing program that is streamed. Makes everything I seen my friends used look pathetic. I suggest looking outside of North America for programs. 18. Nov 20, 2009 ### Ivan Seeking Staff Emeritus That brings up another aspect of this decision. I am sick of paying$65 a month for, as Pink Floyd might say today, 500 channels of ****. In particular, I am paying good money for channel after channel of infomercials. This is simply unacceptable. It is tough enough to find quality programs on television.

Pay-per-view has far too few options. So that is a waste as well. We have had it for years and probably have only watched a few dozen movies. The irony of making trips to the video store while we pay for a premium service was becoming far too obvious. Then, with Netflix I am able to rent mostly Blu-ray DVDs, for about 50 cents a piece, with tons of free online programming as a perk. There are no late charges, I can keep the movies as long as I want, they pay for postage both ways, and most movies are only a day away [well, one day to mail two back, and one day to get the next two in the queue]. What more can one ask? This blows the video store right off the face of earth, for all practical purposes. I have absolutely no incentive to visit the video store again.

Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
19. Nov 21, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Whoops, I said the DVDs were 50 cents, but it probably works out to a little over a dollar each. I think it is thirteen dollars a month for possesion of two Blu-ray DVDs at a time, and unlimited streaming. We normally get at least two DVDs a week, with three or four some weeks if we or I have the time. When I was getting caught up on the series, West Wing, with only three episodes per disc and no commercials, it was easy to knock out a DVD every day or two.

Anyway, to me this seems like a clear-cut case of one service being completely outclassed by another. Video stores are doomed.

20. Nov 21, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
I was checking my connection speed, which seems to land reliably between 1.5 and 2.2 Mbps. That could be in line with my own observations wrt buffering for long videos of the highest quality. I guess some of it could be true hd.

Hulu lists their hi-resolution mode at 480p.

We could get DSL service [I think it is still DSL, maybe wireless?] good up to 15Mbps, but not where we're located.

21. Nov 21, 2009

### Monique

Staff Emeritus
Television on demand is great, I used to watch my favorite shows on demand on my computer, but Windows Silverlight ruined that for me (doesn't work on my mac).

Then I started taping them on my DVR recorder. One night I finally had the time to watch some television, so I installed myself with some cheese and a glass of wine.. to find out that the television provider had reset the receiver and everything was erased.. argh..

Then I turned on the mediacenter and hooked it up to the television and everything was working great.. until Windows 7 ordered me to restart the mediacenter to install an update.. after that it didn't want to start up anymore.. argh..

At that point I turned off the television and started reading a magazine. Windows is very annoying.

22. Nov 21, 2009

### Monique

Staff Emeritus
try lying on the couch with several pillows to support you and a laptop on your lap, it's very relaxing. My boyfriend always pronounced me crazy, since we've had the mediacenter for several years together with a huge plasma t.v. I still preferred watching it on my laptop, or I would watch content on my iPod, that absolutely would drive him crazy :rofl:

I must say that the content that is streaming from the internet does look very good on the big plasma t.v., the television upscales the signal and does magic tricks to make it look the same as a regular t.v. signal. We have a 30 Mb internet connection, so watching HD content is no problem either.

Now we just need to wait for a platform that is like a television library: where all content is categorized and stored and available on demand. The only thing I'm afraid of is that with internet television that practically anyone can make content, so it would create a jungle of broadcasts. At some point in the future there will be no television broadcasting anymore and everything will be on demand, I do hope that stations such as NGC and Discovery Channel would continue to exist in such an environment.

Last edited: Nov 21, 2009
23. Nov 21, 2009

### Staff: Mentor

If I were to switch to online viewing, I'd want good-quality video (including HD) which would require a much faster Internet connection than I have now (about 0.75 Mbps) that costs significantly more than I pay now ($15 per month DSL Lite from AT&T). Right now I don't pay anything for TV service beyond the money I've spent on equipment. If I were paying$60+ per month for cable TV, shifting some of that money towards my Internet connection would be an attractive proposition.

There's another specialized factor in my case. Closed captions or subtitles are very helpful for me. Most of the online videos I've seen so far (clips on CNN or YouTube, etc.) don't have them. This has really irritated me with CNN in particular because many of the items on their site now are video-only, with little or no accompanying text. I was very happy to read recently that Google has developed technology for closed captions in online videos, which it's going to start rolling out on YouTube soon.

Last edited: Nov 21, 2009
24. Nov 21, 2009

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
I currently have digital cable because when I moved, the whole package deal for internet, phone and digital turned out only a tiny bit more than just getting the bare minimum basic cable I had before. I only watch one more channel than I did before, though, don't even watch that now because I haven't seen a NEW episode of anything on it in the past 2 or 3 months, and I've only had it since May, and the on-demand movie selection is horrid! As soon as my promotion period expires, I'll drop digital. Even with digital cable, you STILL don't get a single "premium" channel bundled with it. That's yet another tier of expenses. And, since I can get most of the HBO series on DVD as long as I don't mind waiting an extra 6 months for them, I don't need it.

I barely have time to watch my Netflix movies (though, the monthly fee is still cheaper than late fees when I forget I have them). I sort of watch in binges though, so will make up for a slow month with a week of steady movie watching. It's great when traveling to be able to get the Netflix movies on my laptop.

25. Nov 21, 2009

### TheStatutoryApe

A side question, only slightly off topic.

I found a page online for Time Warner Cable with a phone number to call to get set up. When I called it I found that the people I talked to are not in fact the Time Warner customer service department with whom I need to set up my connection and pay the money for the service. Apparently this guy was going to give me a code to give to them and charge me ten dollars for giving me this code. Is this some sort of scam or do I really have to go through these people and pay them first?