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Old 01-11-2019, 07:26 PM   #3436
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Sometimes a device will just stop working, when that happens I do whatever that particular device manufacturer says to reset it to factory (usually turning it off and on several times) then re install it with the hub (SmartThings) app. Usually it will re-install with the same name so Alexa doesn't even know it was gone.
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Old 01-13-2019, 12:49 PM   #3437
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I'm officially cord-free today. Next month my Spectrum cable + internet bill was going up to $186/mo and I wasn't that happy with the service anyway, so I cancelled my TV service from Spectrum, kept their internet service because they are the only provider in my city, but signed up for Hulu with Live TV. I added the Entertainment add-on option ($7.99/mo) and the commercial free option ($3.99/mo) for on demand viewing. Now I'm paying less than half for the TV service and I get the channels I wanted and cloud DVR service. Plus I don't have to use a crappy cable TV box--I can watch Hulu with Live TV on my Rokus or Fire TVs. It is nice to stick it to the cable company for once! I'll be saving over $50/mo.
My Spectrum bill was $170/mo for TV and Internet, without any of premium channels. When I canceled over the phone, the price for Internet only was quoted as $70, but when I returned my cable box in person a few weeks later, the agent dropped to price to $50/mo for a year if I added Internet phone service. Which I did, with no intention of ever using it.

Sling TV with two add-ons is $35/mo; Hulu is currently $1/mo because of the promo. I already had Prime Video. So I'm saving $85/mo--that's a lot to play around with if I want to add channels or rent video now and then.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:37 PM   #3438
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My Spectrum bill was $170/mo for TV and Internet, without any of premium channels. When I canceled over the phone, the price for Internet only was quoted as $70, but when I returned my cable box in person a few weeks later, the agent dropped to price to $50/mo for a year if I added Internet phone service. Which I did, with no intention of ever using it.

Sling TV with two add-ons is $35/mo; Hulu is currently $1/mo because of the promo. I already had Prime Video. So I'm saving $85/mo--that's a lot to play around with if I want to add channels or rent video now and then.
My Spectrum bill before I cancelled it was $157/mo for internet and cable. I had wheeled and dealed last year to get that reduced rate. I basically had the Silver package but without the premium channels, but I had digi Tier 1, and only one cable box/DVR. They gave me a $30 discount for 12 months, and since that was about to expire my monthly bill would have increased to $187. Ouch!!! I tried to wheel and deal again, but they wouldn't budge much and the best they would give me was $177/mo. I started out with Spectrum about 3-1/2 years ago and had the internet phone package to reduce the rate until I finally dropped it last year. It sucked so bad you couldn't use it anyway and they were starting to charge me for it. My internet without cable TV is now $70.99/mo plus taxes and fees which comes to about $75/mo total for 200 Mbps (the slowest speed they offer now). I got Hulu with Live TV for $39.99/mo, added the Enterainment package for $7.99/mo and the no commercials option for $3.99/mo, for a total of about $56/mo. That comes to about $131/mo for TV and internet combined, but that also includes the Hulu streaming and on Demand service which was costing me about $8.50/mo, so I'll save $177 + $8.50 - $131 = $54.50/mo and have about the same services and channels as I had before. I also have Amazon Prime Video, but to be honest, Amazon charges extra for almost every TV show or movie I want to watch. I also have the Britbox option at $7.99/mo plus tax. So I have plenty of things to watch.

BTW, I'll probably drop Hulu's no commercials option as it is not worth the $$$. They have so many gotchas built into it that very few streams actually are commercial free. Live TV of course is exempted so plenty of commercials. Any on demand streams provided directly by networks via Hulu are also exempted. Only the on demand streams of old TV shows and movies provided via Hulu itself are commercial free, and even then they can still have a few. So far I have found one show that was commercial free in the dozens I have watched.

Last edited by OtinG; 01-13-2019 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:49 PM   #3439
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Spectrum does offer the option to stream their cable service via an app on the Roku and Apple TV 4K boxes, but you have to be a current customer and they provide no option to record anything, so no cloud DVR. You will save a bit by getting rid of their DVR box(es), but without recording you are very limited on catching a lot of programming. Spectrum was charging me $7.50/mo to rent the cable box DVR, plus another DVR usage fee of $12.00/mo. Add tax and that is $20/mo just to be able to record programming. Ouch! Hulu has a pretty good cloud DVR and though the free version is limited to 50 GB, I find that enough as long as I don't procrastinate in watching the recorded shows. There doesn't seem to be a limit on how many shows can record simultaneously, at least I have not encountered one yet. Spectrum only allowed recoding of two shows simultaneously per DVR box, and you had to watch one of those two. In other words, you could not record two shows simultaneously and watch a third one at the same time.

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Old 01-13-2019, 02:09 PM   #3440
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Originally Posted by OtinG View Post
My Spectrum bill before I cancelled it was $157/mo for internet and cable. I had wheeled and dealed last year to get that reduced rate. I basically had the Silver package but without the premium channels, but I had digi Tier 1, and only one cable box/DVR. They gave me a $30 discount for 12 months, and since that was about to expire my monthly bill would have increased to $187. Ouch!!! I tried to wheel and deal again, but they wouldn't budge much and the best they would give me was $177/mo. I started out with Spectrum about 3-1/2 years ago and had the internet phone package to reduce the rate until I finally dropped it last year. It sucked so bad you couldn't use it anyway and they were starting to charge me for it. My internet without cable TV is now $70.99/mo plus taxes and fees which comes to about $75/mo total for 200 Mbps (the slowest speed they offer now). I got Hulu with Live TV for $39.99/mo, added the Enterainment package for $7.99/mo and the no commercials option for $3.99/mo, for a total of about $56/mo. That comes to about $131/mo for TV and internet combined, but that also includes the Hulu streaming and on Demand service which was costing me about $8.50/mo, so I'll save $177 + $8.50 - $131 = $54.50/mo and have about the same services and channels as I had before. I also have Amazon Prime Video, but to be honest, Amazon charges extra for almost every TV show or movie I want to watch. I also have the Britbox option at $7.99/mo plus tax. So I have plenty of things to watch.

BTW, I'll probably drop Hulu's no commercials option as it is not worth the $$$. They have so many gotchas built into it that very few streams actually are commercial free. Live TV of course is exempted so plenty of commercials. Any on demand streams provided directly by networks via Hulu are also exempted. Only the on demand streams of old TV shows and movies provided via Hulu itself are commercial free, and even then they can still have a few. So far I have found one show that was commercial free in the dozens I have watched.
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Spectrum does offer the option to stream their cable service via an app on the Roku and Apple TV 4K boxes, but you have to be a current customer and they provide no option to record anything, so no cloud DVR. You will save a bit by getting rid of their DVR box(es), but without recording you are very limited on catching a lot of programming. Spectrum was charging me $7.50/mo to rent the cable box DVR, plus another DVR usage fee of $12.00/mo. Add tax and that is $20/mo just to be able to record programming. Ouch!
I had been a Time Warner customer for years and was grandfathered in to Spectrum. I never once tried to get a better deal, just kept staying with them and absorbing the increases. My original goal was to add digital phone and get their introductory offer of $100/mo for a year, but they told me I couldn't do that; the best they could do was lower my TV/Internet by about $25/mo. When I made the final decision to cancel a week or so later, they offered me a $90/mo for a year for TV/Internet, but I was so annoyed with them that I dropped TV entirely even though it was a deal I would have taken if they'd offered in in the first place.

I didn't have a DVR, and I had just a single cable box. Right now I haven't opted for any cloud DVR.

I may end up trying Verizon Fios, as they've recently resumed work on it in my building, so presumably it will be available sometime soon.
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Old 01-13-2019, 02:13 PM   #3441
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I may end up trying Verizon Fios, as they've recently resumed work on it in my building, so presumably it will be available sometime soon.
My personal recommendation is stay away. You cut the cord, don't go back.
(unless just for Internet)

If there is a video entertainment gap you need to fill I 'm sure we can fill it. (I really want a crack at getting your Magnavox working as you hoped it would.....)

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Old 01-13-2019, 02:25 PM   #3442
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Old 01-13-2019, 02:39 PM   #3443
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I had been a Time Warner customer for years and was grandfathered in to Spectrum.
Time Warner Cable is hands down the worst cable TV service I ever had. They were the only game in Austin when I lived their for 14 years. I was in an apartment and they didn't allow satellite dishes. I got Spectrum when I bought my house in my current town of residence because they were the only game here. They were actually pretty good until a couple of years later when they bought out Time Warner Cable and essentially replaced what we had with TWC. It sucked worse than Time Warner Cable had in Austin. TWC has always had lower resolution video and often dropped services due to poor maintenance of their system.

For some people it is easy to cut the cord, but for me it was a chore to find the best service with all the channels I wanted at the best price. Sling's à la carte garbage is as pricey as cable TV because they set it up, just like cable, to make you have to add a large number of à la carte entrées to get every channel you want. That is cost prohibitive. Other streaming services won't offer one or more group of channels from a large network of channels so you cannot even get A&E, the Discovery channels, or one of the similar multi-channel groups you want. I ran into that issue with Playstation Vue and others. DirecTV Now had all my channels, but their price was higher and I hate dealing with AT&T--that never ends well in my experience. So in my case, I had to do a lot of research and a lot of free trial testing before I made my decision. And next week or next month or next year everything could get totally turned upside down if Hulu drops a must have channel, which happens a lot in the streaming contract game. Hulu and Spectrum have both dropped CW and their related channels over a contract dispute, but fortunately I rarely watch CW or WGN, so I didn't care.

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Old 01-13-2019, 06:13 PM   #3444
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Why Amazon Alexa And Google Assistant Are Becoming Omnipresent

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CNBC

Published on Jan 13, 2019

Until recently, Amazon and Google competed for presence in our homes through their own gadgets: Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, TV add-ons like Chromecast and Fire TV and even home security systems like Nest and Ring.

At CES 2019, that competition was brought to a boil as partners from both companies launched dozens of products that will bring Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant into nearly every aspect of our lives.

I've been attending CES for more than a decade, and it's always home to all sorts of new doohickeys, from robots to health trackers and the latest in TV technology. While those things were all on display this year, too, I couldn't help but notice the massive presence of Google and Amazon, two companies that didn't even exist at CES a couple of years ago. That's because their smart assistants, the ones you can control by voice, are being built into almost every category of new product that was introduced at CES, from TVs to ovens — even lawnmowers and a toilet.

more...
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Old 01-13-2019, 08:39 PM   #3445
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My personal recommendation is stay away. You cut the cord, don't go back.
(unless just for Internet)

If there is a video entertainment gap you need to fill I 'm sure we can fill it. (I really want a crack at getting your Magnavox working as you hoped it would.....)

ApK
I haven't even hooked up my Magnavox DVR to record--I just got around to getting the coax cable I need for it. The main OTA program I record is an afternoon soap, but Hulu has it next day if I miss it, so at this point, I'm only using the Magnavox to play back already recorded movies. I haven't tried again to do anything with the Roku 1 and the composite cables--I've replaced it with a Premiere Plus--but may fool around with it again at some point.

I am happy enough without cable TV, but I'm thinking of Fios mostly for Internet and phone (I still have a landline that I pay way too much for). If the package with TV was a better value, I might go for it temporarily.

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Time Warner Cable is hands down the worst cable TV service I ever had. They were the only game in Austin when I lived their for 14 years. I was in an apartment and they didn't allow satellite dishes. I got Spectrum when I bought my house in my current town of residence because they were the only game here. They were actually pretty good until a couple of years later when they bought out Time Warner Cable and essentially replaced what we had with TWC. It sucked worse than Time Warner Cable had in Austin. TWC has always had lower resolution video and often dropped services due to poor maintenance of their system.

For some people it is easy to cut the cord, but for me it was a chore to find the best service with all the channels I wanted at the best price. Sling's à la carte garbage is as pricey as cable TV because they set it up, just like cable, to make you have to add a large number of à la carte entrées to get every channel you want. That is cost prohibitive. Other streaming services won't offer one or more group of channels from a large network of channels so you cannot even get A&E, the Discovery channels, or one of the similar multi-channel groups you want. I ran into that issue with Playstation Vue and others. DirecTV Now had all my channels, but their price was higher and I hate dealing with AT&T--that never ends well in my experience. So in my case, I had to do a lot of research and a lot of free trial testing before I made my decision. And next week or next month or next year everything could get totally turned upside down if Hulu drops a must have channel, which happens a lot in the streaming contract game. Hulu and Spectrum have both dropped CW and their related channels over a contract dispute, but fortunately I rarely watch CW or WGN, so I didn't care.
I had occasional problems with Time Warner, but was mostly content with them. The service deteriorated some when Spectrum took over. With TWC, I never had an outage of TV and Internet at the same time, but with Spectrum, both would sometimes go out. Customer service also deteriorated.

I have everything I want with Sling TV--I added a news package and another package (entertainment? lifestyle? whatever it was, it gave me one or two other channels I was accustomed to watching). Baseball is the only sport I care about, so once the season starts I'll have to reexamine what I'm getting and not getting.
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Old 01-16-2019, 07:50 PM   #3446
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Forgive me if it's been posted, but I didn't see it. Amazon has added multiple speeds to listen to your Audible library. When your audiobook starts, say "Alexa, read faster". She will tell you the speed and continue on. First speed is 1.25x which is what I typically use if I want to go faster, but there are faster speeds. Say "slow reading" to slow it down.

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Old 01-16-2019, 08:15 PM   #3447
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Forgive me if it's been posted, but I didn't see it. Amazon has added multiple speeds to listen to your Audible library. When your audiobook starts, say "Alexa, read faster". She will tell you the speed and continue on. First speed is 1.25x which is what I typically use if I want to go faster, but there are faster speeds.
I almost never use Alexa to listen to Audible; I'd rather stream Audible through her from a device. I like the controls and I especially like how granular the speed of the Audible app has gotten, with 0.05 intervals. 1.25X is too fast for me with a reasonably fast narrator reading fiction when the performance matters, but 1.10X is imperceptible and saves a lot of time over the course of 20+ hour book.

That said, I'm glad to know. More tools are always good.
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Old Today, 01:36 PM   #3448
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Grand Tour 3rd Season just started on Amazon Prime Video

The 3rd season of Grand Tour just started on Amazon Prime Video. It is pretty good. It gets battered about by those who sneer and say it really isn't a "car show", and it really isn't, so what? It is an entertaining comedy series that features three goofy guys and a lot of cars few people could ever afford. Personally I think it is better than 90-95% of the shows on Motor Trend (formerly Velocity) which tend to be little more than California chop shops ruining antique and classic automobiles. At any rate, the new season just started if you are interested.
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Old Today, 02:03 PM   #3449
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I almost never use Alexa to listen to Audible; I'd rather stream Audible through her from a device. I like the controls and I especially like how granular the speed of the Audible app has gotten, with 0.05 intervals. 1.25X is too fast for me with a reasonably fast narrator reading fiction when the performance matters, but 1.10X is imperceptible and saves a lot of time over the course of 20+ hour book.

That said, I'm glad to know. More tools are always good.
I almost never did with the first generation Echo/Dot devices. Audio quality just wasn't good enough. And I wouldn't have thought that was an issue with an audio book, but it appears to have been. Now, with a new Echo in my office, I sometimes listen to a book in there when I'm waiting on something to install, or compile, or whatever. Whereas before, I would have used the Audible app on my desktop or phone.
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