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Wed Jan 30, 2019, 12:04 PM

Results of switching from satellite/cable to stick(s) Amazon/Roku.

Last edited Sat Feb 2, 2019, 02:45 PM - Edit history (6)

The other thread, about *how* to hook up the sticks is full of fantastically good information from everybody, especially Mr engineer KY_EnviroGuy: https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181174662

Whoever might be interested in this should know that I'm incredibly low tech, so am "discovering" things that many people know.

So I even had to learn what "streaming" is. Then, familiar with Amazon via Kindle for several years (which I find to be O.K. for reading but clumsy and cumbersome for navigating the web), I found out from everybody about Roku, with the subsequent dilemma of choosing without knowing either one.

Luckily, there's YouTube for getting acquainted with what the things look like, plus the fantastic Loungeteers, and for me it turned out that somebody had an Amazon stick that I got to try for connecting and navigating a bit. Then, the Roku website helped to figure what product I thought I wanted, which was the Streaming Stick+.

It turns out that both of these are apparently supposed to be so intuitive that the instructions are bare bones about plugging in, with even the devices themselves being *unmarked* with nothing except the Brand names on them.

***What this translates to is: No On/Off button, and remember the stuff keeps "streaming" so long as connected, and all the fanatics *rave* that the latest models have a Volume Up/Down buttons on the SIDE edge - my discovery being that when I'm squeezing the FRONT OK and other buttons I'm mistakenly also squeezing the SIDE buttons, mostly LOWERING the Volume.

So with a couple of hours of Amazon stick under my belt, I found the Roku available no big deal at Best Buy, Walmart, Target - eliminating the big deal of ordering. Amazon customer support had made the point that they service their item if it's bought through them but that if from a store you're supposed to get help from the store. Hmm.

Then being able to compare the two, my Kindle experience was validated with their stick - a bit more clumsy than the Roku, which is my choice. What was next was to decide whether this was actually what I wanted to get rid of satellite/cable.

For starters and *EMPHASIS* - my personal interests and habits are for live (as scheduled, not necessarily *live*-live): MSNBC (Rachel, Ari, Tweety, Brian, sometimes Morning Scab), the daytime non-cable GMA, View, and evening COLBERT and the others; SNL.

All of that is to EMPHASIZE that I have zero interest in run of the mill movies; certainly not the t.v. series, the cable reality shows, certainly not sports. Just the politics and network stuff above. I've been puzzled about all the people I've run into who are manics for movies or even music. I can't even picture how anybody spends all of that time in catatonia watching those things. From the '70s the comparison I make is of zonked-out post-Hippies lying on mattresses on the floor. Besides, the movies tend to have learning moral-to-the-story and the movie maniacs I've met don't seem to have learned anything.

Whew. Well, alrighty then. How do the sticks fit into my way of life and as a substitute for what I use satellite for? I'm an old retiree, with a daily rut. I wake up at 5 A.M., turn on Morning Scabs on the satellite and doze through it until 8 A.M. After the personal tasks, a couple of hours on the internet, mostly at DU. The afternoons are hit/miss, in/out, but daytime is basically for the local channels (via outside antenna). Then Ari, Tweety, Rachel on satellite (skipping HAYES and mostly skipping Lawrence), then maybe Conan, then back to local for the late night comedians. But here's the point, that I do *NOT* sit and WATCH those things. The main t.v. is on a shelf overhead, and I'm either on the laptop or doing other things, NOT WATCHING, just audio.

Weekends are mostly for the satellite - Saturdays the Expedition Unknown, or Egypt stuff; Sundays the Reliable Sources stuff.

Somebody in the other thread made the point that the stick programming had to be "babysitting" the stick. Not how I use the satellite as background. Besides, in my situation the main t.v. is in one room on a shelf half buried in knickknacks. So my main connection for the stick is in the bedroom, meaning that my main hours of use, late afternoon for Ari/TweetyEtc, the stick is not handy in the main room.

But here's a realization: After all these 20+ years of satellite, I just figured out I don't use it as much as I thought in terms of total hours, certainly not enough to justify the cost of satellite/cable. But also, the hassle of the stick is something to consider (for myself). As for the initial installation of the stick, it's physically simple, but I wasn't prepared for a whole lot of registering, lots of running back and forth to the laptop (wired in a separate room) to log into the different programs, all with passwords and code numbers to write down.

Somebody made the point that there's no on/off on the sticks, that if you leave them installed the streaming will continue if you're watching from another Source. So for me, I have been disconnecting the stick and re-connecting. This would not be fit my morning routine at 5 A.M.

Even on weekends, when I use satellite or stick most of all, stick is in another room, laptop (where I am) in another room. Hmmm.

As for the try-out yesterday of the Roku, which was easier than the Amazon, 95% of what I saw available was all the stuff listed above that I have *NO/ZERO* use for - all the movies, t.v. series, reality shows, sports, whatever. ZILCH/NADA/NOTHING I will ever have on. I happened on free History items that looked interesting (for weekends) and actually made the time to watch three of them - "Wagner and Hitler", "Spartacus" (documentary, not the movie), and "The Celts". Yeah, things I'm interested in, plus quite a few of the other things - Egypt, the real Merlin, stuff like that. But they were free, and the cliche (TRUE) happened, that you get what you pay for, so these items were high school bland stuff.

So far, the only things *LIVE* I found of my needs were on Tune In (radio) - where the MSNBC things are live as scheduled daily - Ari/Tweety/Rachel. And the other radio, I Heart. But that's the point, they're RADIO, besides that they are with the stick IN THE OTHER ROOM, not where I am with the laptop (wired down).

*********BOTTOM LINE ("bottom line" = financially speaking): My whole proposition was to GET RID OF SATELLITE/CABLE COSTS. Somebody told me in the other thread that I can get my MSNBC and CNN on Hulu. Yeah, for FORTY DOLLARS. And the YouTube channel ain't free, and neither are the other things I might want.

So it looks like I might just well go ahead and get rid of the satellite, and only use the Roku for limited things and DELAYED things. And. change. my. daily. routine.

i see there are already a couple of posts praising the *subscriptions* to this or that. I ain't going to subscribe to stuff. My whole point was to cut the cost.

**********ON EDIT, To put a finer point on my "solution" ************

And frankly, with a healthy dose of self-esteem, I believe my solution is rather INGENIOUS!1

I've got about a month left of Dish. After more than 15 years, it's a little rough to cut it off, not for Dish's sake but because it might mean being a little less plugged-in to stuff than my DU peers, since I want to be a little bit up on things though am backward in many things. I chose Dish in the first place because DirecTV was owned by MURDOCH and I regarded cable as a rogue exploiter along the lines of "Ma Bell" of the old days.

But after the above exploration of the Roku and Amazon sticks, I have hit on an idea that more or less keeps me connected to things while making it palatable to cut out the satellite.

First, to repeat, I discovered how little actual use I put in with the satellite offerings: Barely four hours of MSNBC/CNN on weekdays, more on Saturdays - and almost all of it as background noise while I am on the laptop or doing other things. Almost never as sitting/watching. The rest of the time, it is the Local channels with the big networks - also as background noise.

Second, the BRILLIANT INSIGHT is that Tune In Radio carries LIVE (as scheduled) the MSNBC/CNN programs. Radio. Audio only (need we say?). I have Tune In on the laptop, android phone, and Kindle. I have a SOUND BAR, bluetooth, such that I can access my stuff while on the laptop with Tune In on a separate Tab. And in the bedroom for the 6 A.M. Morning Scabs, can access on the phone with the sound bar amplifying.

Third, the STICKS, whether Amazon or in my preference Roku, would defeat the purpose of cutting COSTS of satellite because I have zero use for the mostly movies and SUBSCRIPTIONS (needed for MY stuff) would mount up to the same amount or more than satellite. Plus, somebody told me that leaving the stick plugged into the t.v. means that the streaming continues even when the t.v. is on a different Source, so I need to go through the (self-imposed) hassle of connecting/disconnecting the stick.

So now I will cut out the satellite; use the Roku mostly on weekends; use the laptop/phone/soundbar for my weekday news background noise. Brilliant, yes?!1 I say, BRILLIANT!1

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Response to UTUSN (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2019, 12:16 PM

1. We have been roku only since 2012 ... had amazon before that from 2009

My sis likes watching the pundit shows ... she subscribes to sling tv for that

Music is wonderful for background sound ... Pandora is awesome (and free)

You can get a roku stick for each of your devices ... cheaper than satellite tv, as you only have to buy it once

There are wonderful streaming channels available with lots of great documentaries ... and Netflix is a great way to have a variety of viewing choices ... newsy can be a bit weird ... but I read most of my news online

Hope you grow as fond of your roku as I am of mine

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Response to UpInArms (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 30, 2019, 12:28 PM

3. It works fine but I don't (sit and) "watch" stuff.

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Response to UTUSN (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2019, 12:17 PM

2. I bought a Roku+ stick and have HBO Now, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

I have the commercial-free Hulu with the live TV add-on.

Between the commercial-free content on Hulu and the other channels, there's nothing else I need, at a price that falls below price-gougers like Comcast and DirecTV.

Plus, the Roku Channel has a ridiculous amount of content, PLUS access to a mind-blowing number of OTHER channels, all offering free content.

My previous experience was with Chromecast, and I hated it. I connected from my laptop to the TV and it was perpetually temperamental. Sometimes it would connect, no problem. Sometimes it would take multiple attempts. Biggest problem was that I would rarely just sit and watch. I'm always puttering around on my laptop. This would cause either the channel I was casting to buffer or lock up, as well as the content I was viewing in other tabs on my browser. My take on using your laptop to power your TV content is that you don't want to do that.

Got the "+" stick because of its WiFi booster. Router is in the living room, TV is in the bedroom. All I can say is that after two months I may have had some buffering two or three times, but other than that, it's smooth as silk. We have a Sanyo flat-screen that cannot get HD or 1080p...we get 720p...but it looks fine to me. I don't need to count Robert Downey Jr's nose hairs as he battles Thanos, you know?

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Response to UTUSN (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2019, 07:37 PM

4. Ah, you are like my dad, a TV news junkie.

He still is. Mostly MSNBC and CNN I think

When I was a kid we moved away from the city and couldn't get CBS, not even from the tall antenna on the roof, but there was this new and magical thing called cable.

It was my dad's habit to come home from work, sit down, pop open a beer, and watch Walter Cronkite. It was worth $7.00 a month to him to be able to do that. This was the 'sixties when that was a lot of money.

I later got a job with a local cable company. I was the guy who loaded and supervised the playing of tapes for the premium Movie Channel. If the movie didn't start exactly as scheduled, or something else went wrong with the fussy equipment, or God Forbid a scheduled movie tape wasn't delivered on time, all hell would break loose and the only thing I had to hide behind was a "Please Stand By..." card, elevator music, and a few tapes of old movies in the Public Domain.

When things were going well and I'd finished all the job's other mundane chores, I was getting paid to sit around watching movies.

It was pretty rare for the forces of chaos to be so great that I didn't have time to watch a scheduled movie from start to finish uninterrupted if I wanted to.

Fast forward to the twenty first century...

I read all my "breaking news" on the internet. Best thing about that is I rarely hear Trump's voice.

If I encountered Trump in person I'd slap his face. Slapping Trump on my radio or television or computer would be silly.

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Response to hunter (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 30, 2019, 07:51 PM

5. Best post, I'd like to slap SHITLER's face. But do I sound *that* crotchety(as your dad, not you)?!1

My "discoveries" here have been:

* I don't use satellite/cable as much as I thought I do and way not worth the $s. I used to dismiss the DUers who post they totally quit ALL t.v. Sounds like I'm one of them now, a regular Henry David!1

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Response to UTUSN (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2019, 10:39 PM

6. So 2nite's problem (2nd day) - the Vue (channel?) PlayStationVue? - won't start.

I registered yesterday - is that Sony? registered with Sony for something. And now it just won't start, says it doesn't appear I'm registered, with the Address Bar being Sony/something-long. I've uninstalled the PSvue and entered the Code number into the laptop and nothing happens again.

So I'm checking out the rest of the stuff. Young Turks - aren't those verboten for us?!1 Uh, just heard them say from the other room, "Are you so DESPERATELY ANTI-TRUMP..." - well, that sinks them for me!1 Yes, yes I *AM* desperately anti-SHITLER, you're welcome!1

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