Random Thoughts > Roku
I cut the cord to cable television about five years ago. I originally did it because I worked out of town a lot and just didn’t see the benefits of paying for it when I wasn’t home. I also looked at the channels being offered and wondered why I was paying for channels that I would NEVER watch. I wasn’t going to buy anything from the countless shopping channels, and I didn’t need the foreign language channels but I still had them and was paying for them.
I tried to talk to my cable provider about having a “pay per channel” plan but that wasn’t an option (and doubt it will ever be).
So I canceled my cable subscription (about $80/month), wrapped up the box, and dropped it off at the local offices. I was cutting the cord – cold turkey.
Now, I kept the cable internet plan – it had served me well and I was only paying about $40/month for it.
GETTING LOCAL TELEVISION
My first challenge was to get local television channels. I have a 42″ LCD television with a built-in HD converter, so I tried the old trick of taking a paperclip and making an antenna out of it. I pulled in about eight channels.
I found this helpful website, Solid Signal and looked to it for more information.
The first thing I did was to plug in my zip code and look for a “real” antenna. (link goes to zip code 43615 – your results may vary). I received results for their antenna models and signal strengths. I chose a HDB8X because it was the “extreme” model and that’s the way I roll. Also I knew I was going to put the antenna in my attic and needed something a little more powerful. Most people in apartments can get away with the Mohu Leaf or other wall mounted antenna.
I installed the antenna and scanned for television stations. I have 16 “stable” channels. Sometimes late at night, I can pick up a few Detroit, Cleveland, or Columbus stations – but that’s an experiment for a later day.
So this solved my issue with keeping up with local programming. I could watch the local news, broadcast television, and weekend sports (where available).
Could I have stopped there and been completely satisfied? Sure…I have a few movies I could watch if there wasn’t anything on broadcast, but I wanted something more.
ADDING MORE CONTENT
I wanted to add more content. I was already getting a great deal through over-the-air HD television (for FREE) but I wanted to add something, and keep my costs down.
The first thing I purchased was a 3-1 HDMI switch. My television only had 1 HDMI port in the back and that was filled with my BLU-RAY player.
I wired that up, cables purchased through Monoprice (seriously – don’t get beat up paying for cables, I put all the new stuff together for less than $50).
I had three ports in the back. One was for the BLU-RAY player, the second was for my ROKU box.
ROKU – ADDED CHANNELS
Now there are different ways to add more content. Some newer televisions have Netflix and Pandora built into their systems, some DVD and Game Units have it as well, but I don’t have any of those and opted for the ROKU 3 unit.
The ROKU unit operates off of the internet, whether it is wifi or corded Ethernet. I’m using the wifi mode. It has an HDMI cable in the back, USB port on the side so I can view videos/music/pictures as a micro USB port on the back to increase memory. Other models offer different video out options (composite) as well as memory levels.
With over 1500 channels (as of 02/25/14) to chose from, getting content isn’t an issue any more. I added the Netflix and HuluPlus channels (for the movies) and pay roughly $18.00/month for the two. This also enables me to watch the on my laptop or smartphone when I am away from home.
The majority of the channels offer free content, but others charge a one-time or monthly fee. Also, there are a selection of “Private” channels that you can add for more niche content.
There is a channel for everyone. From children’s programming, games, tech news, religious, movies, music, etc.
I will be updating this as I add an change things. =)