July 13, 2009
We have a problem that we can't solve and I thought you guys or someone might be able to help us out. It's 'sort of' computer/internet related & you guys have been them the most helpful in the past so here goes.
We eventually want to ditch DISH [when the contract is finished] and go to total internet streaming. I know there's a few contraptions to hook up to the TV to get streaming internet as well as game consoles. We have DSL broadband with wifi. Which is best device or does it vary depending on location, equipment, etc.? How do you control the 'surfing' on the internet via the TV without a TV remote?
On a side note, I have a DVR full of saved movies & TV shows which I now discovered are coded for DISH only so they cannot be transferred directly to another DVR or hard drive and remain viewable. Is there any way around this, perhaps recording the shows from the TV instead of the DVR [play them and record them from the TV?] What is the best external recording device, a new DVR or new external hard drive or something else? I would love to not keep buring DVDs all the time, but have it all on a digital device I can easily access.
Thanks again for any and all help, advice and direction!
I haven't "cut the cord" yet, but I've given the idea much thought of late and I'll pass along some general advice. You did leave out a few details, but I can assume you have HD televisions and you're probably thinking of connecting everything wirelessly.
Start small! This will allow you to dip your toes in the stream (pun intended) before you jump in. The ultimate streaming device would be a small form factor PC, which can play any local content (including DVD/BluRay) along with stream anything you can find in HiDef, but cost adds up quickly if you have more than one viewing location. The second option are one of the myriad of set top boxes being sold to stream content to the TV, but their are dozens to choose from and not all of them are created equal in their abilities to deliver the content you want at the quality you want.
Things are different when all of the media you consume is streamed. You can't count on any one service to have everything you want to watch. It's just the nature of the beast - everyone wants their own piece of the pie, or wants to micromanage their content. So, while you're thinking "drop cable and stream netflix" the actuality is drop cable and stream, Netfilx, ESPN, HBO2Go, buy some shows on Amazon, etc.
What I would suggest is starting small and experimenting before cutting the cord. This will allow you to see if streaming will satisfy your entertainment needs. Probably the best solution would be something like a Roku 3or a Roku 2 XD
if you have older or non HD TV's. Roku's are popular and versatile so if you find streaming works for you would could buy additional units and have a similar setup for each TV.
If you have an Android smartphone, or an old one you don't use any longer, you could also try a Google Chromecast.
Another thing to consider is connecting the devices. Wired will always be better than wireless. With the proper signal strength wireless will work, but you could run into problems depending on how many devices will be connected and how crowded the wifi spectrum is near your home. If you later decide that wireless isn't cutting it and stringing Cat5e isn't feasible you might look into powerline adapters like the Linksys Powerline 4-Port Network Adapter Kit.
As for your DVR, well it isn't a rosy picture. If you own the DVR you may be able to use it for a while (without service) to watch your shows. These boxes use a proprietary video format so you can't just "copy" the files (if you can even read them) and play them from a computer. At best the only option I know of would be to play the shows out in analog formats (either component-best or composite-worst). The only way I know of to accomplish that is with a DVD recorder with component inputs (red/green/blue and red/white for audio) or a Diamond Multimedia USB Video Capture Device.
July 13, 2009
Thanks so much for your reply and information, David.
Yes I thought we might try streaming Netflix or Hulu to our computers first, maybe some others, to see how that goes before 'cutting the cord' completely. Might have to just watch TV on the computers if we can't figure a way to hook up internet to the big TV. It would have to be wireless, otherwise, it would be just too much trouble and effort to run cables all over the house.
As to the DVR full of movies & TV shows I fear the bottom line is going to be to give them all up or keep DISH, neither of which is a good option. Our TV doesn't even have any video out slots even tho it's a pretty new Sanyo HD! Sometimes I think they purposely make things DIFFICULT or IMPOSSIBLE for us!
There's nothing preventing you from running powerline adapters like those linked to above.
You wouldn't use the outputs of the TV, but the outputs of the DVR (red/green/blue for video and red/white for audio, or in a worst case scenario composite which is yellow for video and red/white for audio).
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