Getting Rid of Cable TV

arncap

Baseband Member
Messages
21
Location
Canada
I am looking to ditch my cable TV. I don't want to pay the monthly $90+ for a lousy selection of channels, most of which we either don't watch or that we can stream live online. I watch a lot of pro sports and I am able to stream them from various websites free.

Can anyone suggest how to best set up our 3 household TVs - and with what equipment so that I can make the transition to getting rid of our cable a reality? Currently we simply use HDMI lines to connect a laptop or phone to a TV to stream whatever we want on a big screen. Would it be best to designate 1 device for each TV in order to stream whatever we wish to stream? Would it be best to buy an Amazon fire stick or cube? Or what about a Roku? Apple TV or Google Chromecast?

No idea how to best sort this out. I do know that there are some very inexpensive Internet cable option available these days. For example: https://rivertv.ca/

Please advise if you can to assist with this transition. THANKS!
 

Trotter

Grandfather of Techist, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Staff member
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33,237
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The South
I have an old Dell small form factor desktop hooked up to the big screen in the living room. It is connected to the network via wifi. I have a NAS that holds movies and TV shows, plus I have Amazon Prime Video set up on it. I have a Roku on my MiL's TV in her bedroom; she mainly watches Prime video as well.
 

Joe C

Fully Optimized
Messages
4,467
Location
Great Lakes State
We cut the cord here about a year and a half ago.... Not regretting it at all, I do not miss those "administrative fees", sports channel fees, extra fees for charging you fees, or excessive taxes.
I only pay for my internet. I do use Philo for some cable channels that I still like and that is $20. (Watched Gold Rush last night) I originally invested around $250. to install my own antenna, run cable lines, install a mast on the roof and get a signal amplifier.
For the $20. Philo fee I get around 60 channels and from my local free tv I get about 15 to 20 channels. Of course area makes a difference on install costs and the number of local channels.
To use Philo you should have a decent internet speed. I do have a smart tv but it is old and I can not natively get Philo, so I got a Roku and use that for Philo. We do have access for Amazon Prime tv but for some unknown reason we don't use it.
https://help.philo.com/channel-lineup/

Edit I still pay $20. for Philo but for new accounts it will cost $25. because they recently raised their costs.
 
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arncap

Baseband Member
Messages
21
Location
Canada
Thanks for the responses. Joe: I did a quick search on Philo and it states right on the site that it is only available in the US. Being in Canada, I would need to look at other options.

As far as cable goes, the main benefit for most people - my family included - is the convenience. By this I mean being able to use the universal remote that comes with each PVR, click on any station we want and watch it instantly. It is also nice to use the PVR to record any movies or shows at any time.

With cable TV, we would be forced to stream everything from the Internet. This would require a streaming device such as a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone either connected by an HDMI or via Chromecast, Apple TV, etc. None of our TVs are smart TVs, so I would either have to use an Amazon device or simply operate from my Internet device. For example, if I wanted to watch the CTV news or a specific baseball game on one of my TVs, I would have to make sure the connected device (say a laptop) was powered on and ready to go. Then I would have to find the CTV news site, way for some ads to finish, and then maximize it on the computer / TV screen. With cable, I would simply use the remote, go to the station, and there would be my news on immediately! As far as the baseball game goes... Unless it is the Toronto Blue Jays, in which all of their games are on a Canadian cable station, or another game that happens to be on one of my channels, I wouldn't be able to watch it on TV anyway. Therefore, I would either have to have a subscription to MLB TV or use one of 'free' websites that I often use, to watch the game. In either case, I would have to locate the game on my Internet device, and then stream it so I can watch it on the big screen. It is definitely more work than simply using the remote control.

Having said all that, we already have Amazon Prime and Netflix. I can get all the sports I want free online. I can also get all the news I want online. So, it really comes down to having a device dedicated to each TV so that we can stream whatever we want at any given time. I was trying to find out if there are any 'stand alone' Amazon or other devices (like an Amazon Fire Stick or Cube) that would allow me to stream anything I want from the Internet without having to use a computer or smart phone. It seems that those devices are only there to support TVs that are not equipped like smart TVs. They basically turn a non-smart TV into a smart TV. Also, they only have certain websites or apps pre-installed on them like Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc... So, they wouldn't help me stream a baseball game or a show from another site.

Please verify if you agree... I would need a computer device connected to each TV and operate it either wirelessly (ie, Google Chromecast or Apple TV), or with an HDMI cable (which we have been doing). AND the only drawback to doing that would be the inconvenience of not being able to channel surf or quickly look at guide and go to a station. Also, the fact that I wouldn't be able to record anything because I wouldn't have access to a PVR system.

I saw this Internet cable company: https://rivertv.ca/. Something like this would be able to replace some of the lost channels I suppose.

I am still not sure how the best way to setup my TVs would be if I ditch the cable!
 

Joe C

Fully Optimized
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4,467
Location
Great Lakes State
Apologies! I never looked into the fine print to see that.
Although there are ways and means if you want U.S. tv...
https://gekbuzz.com/philo-in-canada/

but..... if your going to use a VPN service, then there are other services (IPTV) that offer much more in the way of channel selection and lower costs. Those require a router VPN service too... in fact they insist that you must use a VPN and there is no guarantee their service won't be shut down in the future. You'll find these places on google also, check reviews first.
Some helpful info about IPTV for your reading pleasure...
https://www.firesticktricks.com/best-iptv-service.html
 
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arncap

Baseband Member
Messages
21
Location
Canada
I have used a VPN before. I found that it tended to slow my Internet speed down a lot, thus I didn't continue after the free trial expired...
 

Joe C

Fully Optimized
Messages
4,467
Location
Great Lakes State
I have used a VPN before. I found that it tended to slow my Internet speed down a lot, thus I didn't continue after the free trial expired...
VPN's do vary and yes, you'll need a good download speed to use any VPN too. I use Nord VPN and it does not seriously slow me down but I'm not that far away from the servers that I use, Currently I'm connected to Chicago
Other folks here might know of a VPN service that works well in Canada
If your bound to use a Canadian tv service legally and the service provides all the channels you like, And... you can get decent local channels then you can't go wrong by cutting that cable tv cord!
 
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arncap

Baseband Member
Messages
21
Location
Canada
As far as VPNs go, I am still a little confused as to how this would be of benefit to me if I choose to ditch my cable. Is it that I would have access to any and all U.S. online streaming options? If this is the case, wouldn't I still need to provide any such service with proof of a U.S. address?
 

Joe C

Fully Optimized
Messages
4,467
Location
Great Lakes State
Post #5 provided a link to use Philo from CA.

Step 3: Get A Philo Subscription​

Once you connect to VPN, minimize the ExpressVPN, open up a web browser on your device, and follow the steps below to get a Philo subscription.

  • Head over to philo.com, which is Philo’s official website.
  • Enter your email address in the required field and click Get Started.
  • Now type in your credit card information carefully. For zip code, you can take your Canadian zip code, take the three digits from it, and add two zeros at the end. (Example: A2B3C4 -> 23400)
  • After entering your payment information, click Subscribe and follow the on-screen instructions to pay for the Philo subscription. You will also be asked to complete your Philo account creation process after that.
Edit: as far as I know IPTV depends on which service you select
Canada:
Northern IPTV offers a Complete IPTV service offering 2200+ Channels, including Local & International, Sports, Events & Video on Demand that work on any device.

All Your Favourite Live Channels for $17.85 CAD Per Month​

+ On Demand​

 
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