Monday, May 9, 2016

Cutting the Cord....On Mother's Day Part II

And Now The Conclusion! (I’m such a STNG Nerd, lol)

So, let's get all the additional hardware and software required for this transition.  I set a personal goal of keeping the cost below the price of the last cable bill.  If you were already tech-toy savvy, you may need very little.  Those who haven’t been keeping up with the teens, you might need a few more items.  First let’s look at some hardware.

Backbone Devices

Internet Service Provider (still need a hardline)
VoIP adapter & Wireless Home Phones (For home number)

Broadcasting devices


Viewing Devices

Smart Phones

Input devices

Smart phones
Smart remotes

Apps & Websites

Amazon Prime Video

I should started with this, but you must have internet service for this to work.  I’ve seen people run wireless media with 4G and it could work, but there’s nothing like High Speed Internet during a Game of Thrones marathon.  It’s much less choppy and you can clearly see which of your favorite characters just died.  One of the benefits of using your previous cable company for internet is, there’s a line already running to your home, no contractors running around, no drills penetrating the walls of your home, etc., unless you're into that sort of thing, lol.  Another benefit, most providers give you a modem/wireless router for
free or for very little a month.
If you don’t have a modem/wireless router, and you don’t want wires running all over your home, get yourself a wireless router.  My advice, get the best you can afford, but with the price dropping everyday, you could find a good one for $20-$50.  If you plan to keep your home phone, you’ll also need a VoIP adapter, which basically converts internet signals to phone signals.  You’ll also want some wireless phones, unless you’re ok with your phone being attached directly to the devices I just mentioned early.  
Ok, now that our wireless network is running...Oh, did I need to talk you thru setting a wireless network up, boy! that's a whole other series.  But, I’ll drop you some links below, if you need some help.  As I was saying, now that our wireless network is running, we need some way to push what we want to watch on our TV’s.  There are a bunch of different ways to do this, and many items can be used as both your broadcaster and your input device.
 For example, The PS3 in the family room (I know, the next Sony gaming system drops this year and I still have a PS3, tell my wife that, lol) can connect to the internet, run NetFlix, Amazon & Hulu apps, and has its own input device, the controller.  Another preference is the Roku Box, which can run apps and has a remote control.  A computer connected to the TV would also work, but let’s talk less cords.

If you have a smart TV you’re already there with your internet, broadcaster and input device, cut the cable cords and go nuts.  But if your TV is less smart, you can still accomplish your dream.  If you just want to stream Netflix and the like, grab a Chromecast or Amazon Fire Stick, connect it to the HDMI port and use your smartphone for a broadcaster, apps and input device.  If you want to do a little more, but still have ease of use, get a stick computer like the Chromebit.

 This device runs a Chrome OS and everything is based off the browser. Sounds simple right, and with it you’ll have access to any of the Google apps you use on your phone, like Gmail, Youtube, Docs, Drive, the Paystore and Evernote.  Additionally, Intel produces an Compute Stick which runs a Windows operating system, which most will find familiar.

Finally for your input devices, You can use a variety of items to control your viewing.  Just remember, you may need to browse different menus or type out web links, so choose something that can makes your job easier.  There are smart remotes out that can start apps for you and allow you to browse.  But others prefer game controllers for their ease of use.  In my living room, I have a lightweight keyboard mouse combo as the input device for my Chromebit and my son loves that he can take it into the dining room and still control the TV.  Ok let’s recap, internet, wireless network, broadcast device, input device, Star Trek DS9, lol.  

Since I had most of the items, my final monthly cost was less than $127 a month.  That’s with $65 a month 100 MPS internet service, $85 for the Chromebit, Vonage $18,  $10 for NETFLIX,  $12 for Amazon Prime, $15 for HBO Now.   That’s cutting the cord in a nutshell.  Thanks for your patience.  Whoo, that was a lot of info, if you've cut the cord, tell us how in the comments. Cheers