Posts tagged Dad
It’s been a month since my home became satellite free. Re-cap, I canceled DirecTV, purchased a Roku, a digital converter box, signed up for Hulu+ and got a faster internet connection. On top of all this we already had a Wii, DVD recorder and a Netflix account. So far it has not been that bad.
I don’t really miss some of the cable shows I use to watch. There is more then enough content between Netflix and Hulu+, but when you want a TV show or movie that is not on Netflix yet, or even Hulu, Amazon comes in with a cheap solution. I rented Predators for $.99 the other night and watched it streaming, VERY COOL. Amazon has series passes where you can purchase a season of a currently running show and have access to new episodes the next day after it airs. Now, did I mention we are still saving money? Yes, saving roughly $70 a month is not bad especially when my medical insurance has gone up another $200.00 a month… Ya win some, ya lose some.
I solved my Sesame street problem with a one time purchase of a season on Amazon. Since PBS usually shows the same 3 episodes for months on end, I now have 12 episodes to cycle through with my son. Next month we plan on buying another season to add to the collection.
So back to regular TV, we have a DVD recorder so my wife can record her favorite shows that are not available online, like American Idol. Here the DVD recorder replaces a costly DVR. With our set up we have enough bandwidth to stream to multiple devices without any hiccups, I can stream 30 Rock in the living room on the Roku, while playing online on my laptop, while my wife watches what ever she watches on the Wii in the bedroom.
Overall, I’ve been very pleased with the Roku, it’s had some minor glitches easily fixed by a rebooting. I plan on getting the XD|S with its newly added ability to play video from a USB drive. I think it’s pretty slick for the less tech savvy folks who don’t want to set up their own server.
Are you up for the cord cutting challenge? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
The September issue of WIRED magazine had an article Hosted by Joel McHale, it was all about ditching cable or satellite in exchange for streaming media via the internet. First off, let me say there are many ways to do this, in this post I plan on discussing the way I did it.
It started 2001 on September 11, I ended my TV silence by climbing up on my roof and installed an old antenna I had in the backyard, the world was coming to an end around me and I needed to know what was going on. In 2008 we were having a baby, and I wanted to have some more kid friendly channels for my little boy to watch so we signed up for DirecTV at their introductory offer, nice for a year then it more then doubled. Now in an effort to save money like everyone else in these sucky times we are cutting back.
This December our DirecTV contract was coming to an end, and I really didn’t want to pay as much as I was for the few shows that were on that I actually watched. The DVR was nice, but with this new set up you won’t need one. For starters, I purchased a BluRay player, I was a little deceived by the articles I had read about the box, reviewers had said it would support Hulu+, which it didn’t, so I took it back and spent $59.99 on a Roku HD box. The Roku is wireless enabled; it streams video from Netflix, Hulu+ and AmazON Demand, the three services I really wanted. The Roku also has a number of other channels offering content from original content creators and many other services including Pandora. When it comes to internet speed, it won’t require much for Standard Definition. We had DSL at 1.5mbs and it was fine for what we were watching, but you couldn’t do anything else on the net while watching, so we are increasing our service (I will have a breakdown of costs at the bottom). We also purchased a Digital Converter box, since we don’t have a HD tv yet, we needed the box to get over the air free tv. This allows us to get our local channels and news. I was able to use our existing antenna and the Coax cable run for the DirecTV.
There are several other devices I have had recommended to me and have looked into. My main goal was cost effectiveness. I could have gotten a XBOX 360 or PlayStation 3, some of the Sony, LG, and Samsung Bluray players and TV’s have the ability to stream Netflix and other services, but they were all out of my price range.
About the services, Netflix is fantastic, I used to use my Wii to stream Netflix movies and it got me HOOKED. It’s so nice to have an ever expanding library of movies to watch when ever I’m in the mood. Hulu+ (Hulu Plus) is still in it’s infancy, there are many shows that it does not have just yet, but I think it will continue to expand into something a lot more useful. Hulu’s selection of movies is pretty much crap right now. That’s why there is AmazON Demand, that’s right Amazon, we rented “Sorcerers Apprentice” on a free credit from Amazon then rented “Inception” on another free credit for tweeting about the service. It worked great and the quality was fantastic. Pandora is a music service that offers 40 free hours a month of your own customized radio stations, or you can pay for unlimited service at $36.00 a year.
Ok you made it this far, time for my cost analysis.
Before the change:
DirecTV – $75.77 Service (Choice Package) plus Equipment Lease
Netflix – $14.99
AT&T DSL – $23.00
Monthly Total : $113.76
Yearly Total : $1365.12
Roku HD – $59.99
Digital Converter – $40.00
Netflix – $14.99
Hulu+ – $7.99
Pandora – Free Or $36.00 for a year
Time Warner Cable Internet – $29.99 (for 6mbs)
First Month (With Startup Costs, First month of Hulu+ is free) – $144.97
Second Month – $52.97
Yearly Total – $635.64 – without startup costs
Savings – $729.48 – without startup costs
Lets say you want to watch some shows that are not on Hulu, like discovery shows well you can get them on AmazON Demand for $1.99 per show not bad eh? If you were to watch one show each day of the week not weekends you pay an extra
$23.88 $39.80 a month.
Movies on Amazon are pretty awesome, they have daily specials on rentals often for $.99 so follow them on twitter.
Roku – http://roku.tellapal.com/a/clk/nx4vb – Use this link and get a free month of Netflix
Digital Converter – Coby ATSC Standard-Definition Converter Box
Netflix – http://Netflix.com
Pandora – http://Pandora.com
Hulu+ – http://hulu.com/r/56-dSg
Originally posted at MatthewWorley.com
My last review was on the Gospel Library app for Android. The Church did a fantastic job with it and true to form brought us another awesome app. LDS Tools, and I am not talking about those guys that play basketball every week in the cultural hall… (sorry guys) LDS Tools is a powerful way to keep track of people in your ward and stake. Need to know who is in charge of Primary in the other ward? Look no further. You need to be able to log into the church website to be able to use this app. What it does is pull the entire Stake directory into your phone for easy search and use. It keeps addresses, phone numbers and E-mail addresses all at your finger tips. This information is all available on the church website behind passwords you need your membership # to long in. Have no fear it’s not publicly accessible.
An alternative to this program is Ward Central. It works in pretty much the same way, it is more Ward based. There is another version called Stake Central which is just that more Stake oriented. Both are Free (now).
FYI this is also available in the iTunes App store…
Please post your comments and thoughts.
Ok folks, here is the skinny, there are some real nice Android phone/tab apps for you all to consider. The first one I am going to review is Gospel Library. This app was created by the Church, well members of the church. It has a fantastic interface and did I mention it’s FREE?!?!
The official write up is “Gospel Library is an official application from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that allows you to study, highlight, and annotate the scriptures on your Android phone. You can also access LDS General Conference, Gospel Principles, and the Old Testament Study Guide”
I use this app all the time, I can get to scriptures very quickly and hymns as well. This is a must have if you have an Android powered device, for me it beats carrying a set of scriptures, I have a little boy to carry.
LDS Scripture App – comes with a price tag of $14.99 and has many of the same features, plus many more not offered by Gospel Library.
FYI this is also available in the iTunes App store…
So the choice is yours, post a comment and let us know what you think.
No, I’m not talking about giant women… I’m talking about self reliance, well no I’m not talking about that either. What I am getting at is saving some more cash in these financially difficult times. I recently found on Amazon.com a service called Amazon Mom. If you are familiar with “Amazon Prime” this service is very similar except for the upfront fee… There is no fee for Amazon Mom. You get the perks of Amazon Prime’s free 2 day shipping and a sweet up to 30% discount on baby care items you use all the time, such as baby wipes and diapers. It’s easy to sign up, you automatically get 15% off most brands, we use Pampers. You can even sign up for a subscription service to products you use most, the subscription gets you another 15% off. We get a box of diapers delivered monthly, it’s pretty sweet, we don’t need to go to the store. The price we get beats the big box store prices. The average price for a box of papers is about $40.00 for the 176 pack, we get it for $28.00 through Amazon Mom. Technology, saving us money 1 box of diapers at a time.
If you found this helpful please leave a comment.
It’s been a couple years and since I’m still paying for the domain and hosting plan, I guess I better use it. MormonCast is what we make it. It started out as a Video blog, now it’s a blog that might have some video. I will be posting items related to things I know well, technology, video production, being a Dad and Church.
and so begins another chapter of MormonCast…