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Time Warner now offering smaller TV bundle with HBO for $30 per month

By Shawn Knight ยท 12 replies
Dec 3, 2013
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  1. Time Warner cable customers can now gain access to HBO without having to purchase an expensive bundle full of channels they may not ever watch. The new bundle, known as Starter TV with HBO, includes all local channels in addition...

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  2. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,160   +1,413

    Hmmm... they're trying a smaller bundle, but won't do a la carte. Here's a groundbreaking idea... let us build our own bundle! Why not make a package that gives you 30 channels and you get to pick which ones and your bill depends on which you pick. This would be sort of like a la carte, except that you would HAVE to pick 30 channels and pay for them. The difference would be, your bill and channel list would be your choice!

    Yeah, I'm sure they'd have to make some changes to their system to allow this, and people may not fully understand why EPSN adds more to the bill than Home and Garden, but they'd figure it out. And we'd still have regular packages to pick from as well.

    The cell phone carrier industry is getting all shaken up with pricing and options, why isn't cable paying attention?
    SantistaUSA likes this.
  3. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    HBO alone is like $17 a month. I frankly don't see the point buying into these plans always turn out to be more expensive and the service is poor. STB or DVR going to add more to the cost. Some CATV providers force you to rent the STB now and taken away just the simple hookup to save even more money with coax to HDTV. But oh no they don't want you to save, they want to milk as much as they can. It's best to keep the internet out of the package because doing so adds more in taxes.

    I have COMCAST just for the internet. I now pay 1/2 than I did in 2011. But the battle to get to this one with them wasn't easy. Like they don't want you to drop any services with them.

    That's why I ditched all back late 2012. I am very happy with my dual HDTV ANT outdoor. Of course to get the best picture one ANT pointed NW and the other is pointed SE for my local market. Along with 2 amps. I now get 71 channels only about 5 are SD the rest are HD 1080i and 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound. All this cost me Zero dollars a month.

    QVC already does over the air now followed by HSN has appeared on my line-up. 24/7 Movies on the THIS TV channel, BOUNCE TV and ANTV also show movies. That's really enough. I use two laptops as my DVR with USB IR Receiver on Logitech Harmony 600, 650, 700 remotes on WMC (Windows Media Center). I also use Network tuners I have 4 of them using Silicone Dust HDHomeRun.

    More channels are coming back over to local air.
  4. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,215   +177

    I subscribe to my cable companies Internet only service. But because Internet through a cable company is provided on certain channels, they have no choice but to give me basic TV channels for free in order to deliver the Internet channels.

    It's a loophole which I'm abusing for sure, but is it my fault that the cable company cannot separate channels to deliver a la cart?

    I'm paying about $75 per month for premium internet service. I would like to drop to a lower tier service to lower my bill, but I can't get under the cap each month. My family prefers to stream our video content on demand from services like Netflix, Hulu, or youtube.
  5. Ziffel

    Ziffel TS Booster Posts: 75   +62


    Rendering this 'deal' pretty much ordinary. This is just basic cable with HBO. Sans HBO, I get more channels than this with an OTA antenna.
  6. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,998   +2,292

    I'd love to do something similar where I live, but where I live, I'm in a valley, and I barely get OTA local stations, and I also have an antenna mounted preamp as well as a distribution amp - both are extremely low-noise. I think I get something like 13 OTA DTV channels. However, among those are CW and ION / Cubo - but I don't watch anything on ION or Cubo. IMHO, the 8VSB standard was a drastic mistake. OTA DTV could have been great for everyone if they used a modulation schema similar to the DTV modulation schema in Europe.

    Ah yes, the catch.

    In my area, TW has a monopoly. They give crappy service, slam people onto their telephone service, and when you call to complain, they ask you if you want to buy more. To me, its THUGS Warner, not Time Warner.

    However, very slowly, there is a firm that is bringing fiber to the home in our area. As soon as it is in our neighborhood, I'm telling TW to take a hike. I only get internet through TW right now, and TV via Dish Network. But next year, I'm dropping Dish in favor of streaming.
  7. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    I still stream using Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Videos. We do need to have a section for OTA stuff. I can live without HBO an it's outrageous pricing deals. OTA if your in the right market like I am works out great for me.
  8. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,998   +2,292

    Yes, I will have an OTA component in my system, too. I'll be taking a look at the tuner you mention. My plans, currently, are to go with the dual-tuner Happauge 2250, but its an older chip, and that concerns me somewhat.

    Forgive me for being a bit paranoid, but given the fact that 8VSB modulation is so sensitive to location, I have to wonder whether one or more of the companies that sat on the board that decided on that modulation schema had a stake in cable or satellite TV. In cases like yours, it is clearly as good as cable in terms of the number of channels received, and, as I see it, that would have put a big dent in the subscriber TV model.

    I have three moderately sized US cities in my area as well as being within signal shot of Toronto. If we were on a hill, we would probably get about as many channels as you do. I know this because a friend of mine gets OTA from one of the nearby cities - however - his antenna is not on a rotator like mine is, nor does he have amps. I've pointed my antenna at the same city as my friend, however, the channel scan pick up no channels from that city.

    We are also planning on Netflix and, potentially, other sources. We will live with shows that are not first run.
  9. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    I'll post pictures before and after for those who like to learn more how all this can be setup and you can ditch your CATV, but keep the internet only. Digital Phone should be ditch and use your Cell phone. This is how I do it now. I live far west away from cities. The nearest OTA towers are about 30 to 40 miles from me northwest.

    The other towers are over 40 to 50 miles southeast. I pick those up clearly now. Finding the right hardware to use and going through some bad amps that don't deliever in harsh weather. So what I have now I have 80 miles range in either direction that's more than enough. About 6 HDTVs and 4x Network Tuners connected to two laptops on 24/7 well they sleep when idle then fire-up recording in HD 1080i with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 Surround Sound.

    As for streaming movies an etc the best service as been Netflix. Amazon Prime Instant Videos okay but they don't have a queue for your favorites. Only if you purchase movies or tv shows then they say with you forever. Hulu Plus (commercials) waste of money. I had it and got rid of it. So much on local ABC 720p, NBC about couple of those all 1080i, CBS, FOX, CW, METV, BOUNCE TV, ANTV, THIS TV, ION (PKG), 24 hr cartoon network no not CN but Q? one. So 71 channels they're adding more stations to the line-up.

    As for the network digital tuners they're much better than the old Hauppauge tuners. I use to have them also. But HDHomeRun boxes have 2 tuners inside them. Work on the network. All you have to do is install the HDHomeRun software which updates the firmware (ROM) on each box. I have 2x HDHomeRun gives me 4 tuners more than I need. So each PC on the network or tablet can view HDTV or can setup to record.

    Right now the extenders for WMC are $99 and up. I use laptops and netbooks for that process.

    As for the signal you have to know where to point your ANT to the OTA towers. Once you do that your all set.
  10. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,998   +2,292

    For you, yes.

    I'll suggest this, though. Consider your location and whether you have clear line of sight to the OTA towers. I suspect you do. From this, I'll guess that either you are in an area that is flat, or you are on a hill. In either case, I am willing to bet that your antenna has a virtually unobstructed view of all the towers. This makes your situation ideal.

    I guarantee you, though, that if you were at the base of a hill and one of those towers was anywhere on the other side of that hill so that you did not have clear line of sight to the tower, you would get nothing from that tower no matter how far it is away from you. Does this make sense?

    Consider, also, that if you were to research this more, there are some areas such as NYC where people do have clear line of sight to towers, but the signal is so strong that it overloads their tuners. They receive nothing as well. I wish OTA DTV was as simple as you state, however, in some cases, it gets very difficult. 8VSB modulation is the primary reason OTA DTV in the US absolutely sucks in some cases. For one thing, 8VSB is highly susceptible to multipath interference. What this is is when a tuner receives the same signal from multiple directions at the same time. A highly directional antenna can, in some instances, eliminate this, but the tuner also has a role.

    In my valley, I do not have clear line of sight even to the local towers, and I suspect that the local OTA DTV signal I am able to receive is from reflected signal and not clear line of sight. I know where the stations are, and my antenna is on a rotator; it is a trivial matter for me to point the antenna at the stations. I've tried many times. The signal, if any, getting through from the various directions of the distant stations is not sufficient for my tuners to lock onto. If it were, I would be a happy camper like you. :)

    Unobstructed view of the towers is the most important thing in OTA digital reception. Then comes the quality of the tuner. Anyone who has an unobstructed view of any OTA tower will get pristine reception from that tower, unless, perhaps, they are very close to the tower. In that case, the signal may overload the tuner and without an attenuator, they would also get nothing.

    At certain times of the year, atmospheric bounce can allow reception of stations from OTA towers that are not in direct line of sight, but that only happens during part of the year. From what you describe, I highly doubt that this applies to your system.

    As far as my amps go, I did not buy them at "The Shack." The antenna mounted one is an extremely low-noise Channel Master, and the distribution amp is an extremely low-noise Winegard. Both have noise figures less than 3db over their entire frequency range and they are some of the best amps, noise wise, on the market. Low-noise is important because if the noise level exceeds the signal level, then the tuner may not be able to pick the signal out from behind the noise.

    I'll give the HDHomeRun boxes a closer look. Thanks for the suggestion. In my case, I'll be setting up MediaPortal which has a server mode and could also stream to any device in my network. HDHomeRun boxes are supported by MediaPortal.

    I am interested in your pictures.
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,998   +2,292

    Sorry for the empty post.

    BTW - the cartoon network you get is probably this - http://qubo.com/
  12. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    Flat here no mountains no valleys. I am so far west of everything. Behind me is protected land for the life forms that live there. Near the ocean over here that helps. Many bodies of water too surround me too.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,009

    I'm lucky. In Philly, they bring, "The mountain to Mohammed", so to speak. Most all of the transmitting antennas are on the highest ground in the city, the Roxborough / Manayunk area, overlooking the "lovely scenic, Schuylkill River"....;) Has been that way since even before the AM stations began putting out, "50,000 watts of power".

    These are called "skip" conditions. But if I recall correctly, they more often occur with long wave signals (AM radio, that range). In fact, VLF signals actually follow the earth's curvature. (Again, if I recall correctly).

    As far as springing for HBO goes, I don't know about you, but if I watch a movie once, that's normally enough to last me a few years. After that, it starts to become new again. Point being, I used to have cable with "The Movie Channel, & "Cinemax", and them running a movie 5 or 6 time a month, with half hour "commercials between features, got real old, in a big, big hurry. And now, it's off to "Redbox".

    I'm probably really lucky with respect to DTV. Because the day they went digital, was the happiest day of my life. Prior to that, with analog TV, I couldn't use the TV below channel 10, there was too much interference. CBS is channel 3 here, and they have all my favorite shows on it. Comes in clear as a bell now.

    As far as "a la carte", pick & choose TV channels goes, remember, ordering separately is never going to be as cheap as ordering, "the special of the day", now matter at what cable restaurant you choose to dine.

    All things being considered, It's nice to see the cable companies finally being instilled with a bit of humility.;)

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