Adventures in Cord-Cuttery

For the last few years, I’ve been a cord-cutter. While we have had comcast internet, the TV side was never quite there. I’ve tried a few solutions but now think I’ve reached a good point in things. There are two parts of this cord cutting for me:

Over the Air Antenna. My pick is the this one.

hdota

I know it looks weird but in my room, its positioned in my one window and I get a lot of digital quality over the air stations including the local channels and PBS and a bunch of other stuff. This works really well for a variety of shows for me but being able to watch the majority of NFL and NCAAF football games eludes me if they are on ESPN or the NFL network. This leads me to the next device.

Roku Streaming Stick 2016 model.

roku

I’ve tried a number of streaming devices including the Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and earlier Roku devices. There is nothing out there which offers the choice and variety like a Roku device. This one specifically provides a great value for the cost and I get the choices of channels on Sling TV. Sling works for me only over the fall and winter for football. Then I remove most of the channel options and get the bill down or just cancel it completely. There is no required subscription period.

Between both of these, I get TV the way I want it. There is one other thing which was a challenge I had to overcome when I moved to my room last year. Internet service from the downstairs router to my room was so bad, could not really stream any channels but still could watch the OTA channels. Moving the downstairs router, expanding the existing wifi made no real difference. What did make a difference for me was a third thing which I have done before. My alternative was to expand the network using Powerline Ethernet adapters along with a dedicated WiFi router in AP mode upstairs. I plugged in the downstairs powerline close to the comcast router and then attached a cat 5 cable to the router and to the powerline. Then I went upstairs and plugged in the upstairs powerline adapter. At this point, I had a router but its default firmware sucked so it was time to flash DD-WRT on it which really extends things just the way I need. I made a few changes to the default setup and turned off DHCP and let the downstairs router do that. I set its IP address above the DHCP range by a healthy amount and set wireless security to what I wanted. Now I had my own network and can see decent bandwidth. I get half of the total bandwidth in the house at this point to my room. If you live in a house with spotty WiFi you may want to consider my alternative. Its cheap and you can use an existing router that will support AP mode and suddenly have another access point in a garage or shed.

Now I have the entire solution in place for my little room and its good. I could move and re-implement the whole thing in another house in about 30 minutes. It gives me my own wireless access with my security and SSID and I don’t bother others or the house owner with requests to enhance the house network.

My cord cutting experiments always continue and I am always looking for new things to try. ATT has released their own streaming competition to Sling and perhaps there will come a time when its as stable as Sling is for me. I cannot see ever owning classic cable TV again. I don’t even pay for internet now since the home owner has decided they can take care of that part for us. Even paying for Sling TV is cheaper than the other charges but I willingly pay the charges for the comfort.