Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

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Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby mida68 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:38 pm

Hello, I really want to go with Roku (Hulu, Prime, maybe Netflix) to get rid of Verizon TV and save money. I'm wondering the best way to go about this and if anyone knows how much more I'll pay for individual services instead of a bundle. Currently I pay:

Phone: $30
HD TV: $64.99
Box Rentals: $16.99 + $23.98 (DVRs)
FIOS 25/25: $35

At first I thought, wow i can save $105 per month by ditching the TV and box rentals. We often rent 1-3 movies a month so that's another $10 - $15 per month (easily paying for Netflix). But, I'm sure Verizon discourages this by charging more if you reduce services (kinda makes me want to find a way to un-Verizon myself entirely!!)

Any advice on "un-bundling"? :?:

Thanks!
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby thetick » Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:42 pm

You will pay more unbundeling since ALL discounts go way. I have 25/25Mb FIOS / Extreme HD and phone for $94.99/month. It's $79/month for just internet, so $15 more a month I get hundreds of TV channels and phone. I also only have one $6.99/month HD STB, so for me unbundeling would cost me more. Do you really need all those STB/DVRs..$41/month on STBs

If you need all those STBs it would much cheaper for you to get one HD STB then use slingbox or get HDHomeRun Prime with a cable card.
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby mida68 » Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:39 am

Thanks for the advice, actually, no, I really only need one DVR STB, I'll check out the alternatives. :idea:

However, I would love to cut Verizon all together, not get stuck in another 2 year contract (who knows what alternatives will arrive in the next year or so) and reduce my nearly $200 monthly payment to under $100 :-)

I'm assuming I need the 25/25 speed if I'm going to be using Roku, and lots of internet usage. I have 3 TVs, all of which are active in the evenings including kids on the web playing games. (This is a sad reality, we really need to get out more!)

Guess no other ISP can come close to the 25/25 speed?

I want to break free from Verizon, lol! :lol:
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby vnazario » Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:40 am

Hello:

Granted, unbundling will certainly raise your internet only charges. So, I recommend to just bundle phone with internet. If you can pick up your locals with an antenna, this is a good setup if you can get your favorite TV content through OTT streaming.

If OTA is not an option (Or Aereo is not in your market) then just scale down your TV to barebone basic TV and bundle with phone and internet. No need to pay rental fees for secondary TV's you don't watch much. Roku offers enough content to view on secondary TV's in the home. However, as previous poster said, you can always purchase a HD HomeRun Prime cable card TV tuner and watch your traditional TV on all your Roku equipped TV's. All you would pay is a $2.00 monthly cable card rental fee. With the HDHR Roku private channel you can watch everything except On Demand, PPV and EPG content on all your Roku equipped TV's. So you will save a lot of money on equipment rental fee's.

You can always call Verizon and "threaten" to cancel your contract and go with a competitor. They would rather work with you and give you discounts and incentives to keep you instead of losing the account.

Explore other options:

If you currently pay $30 or so for the land line phone maybe consider Magic Jack or Straight Talk VOIP service. MJ is so cheap that even if you end up paying a higher internet bill you would still be paying less altogether. Maybe ditch Verizon and go internet only with a cable company. For example: I pay Optimum for internet and phone only (Bundle for discounts) and get their 50MBps Boost. I pay $69 for internet and phone. I get free OTA TV through QAM (Same coax that comes in to my modem-router). My Optimum account still authenticates on the Disney, Fox Now, ESPN and other standard TV programming Roku apps. The only ones that don't authenticate for me are the premium HBO Go and Showtime channels.

While you are enjoying your $100 "triple-play" bundle stay with it. The moment your promotion ends then consider cord-shaving or cord-cutting when your TV gets higher. I was paying over $140 per month at one time and am down to $69. Hope these tips help you and others save money without sacrificing too much their favorite TV content.
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby mida68 » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:08 pm

vnazario wrote:Hello:

Granted, unbundling will certainly raise your internet only charges. So, I recommend to just bundle phone with internet. If you can pick up your locals with an antenna, this is a good setup if you can get your favorite TV content through OTT streaming.

If OTA is not an option (Or Aereo is not in your market) then just scale down your TV to barebone basic TV and bundle with phone and internet. No need to pay rental fees for secondary TV's you don't watch much. Roku offers enough content to view on secondary TV's in the home. However, as previous poster said, you can always purchase a HD HomeRun Prime cable card TV tuner and watch your traditional TV on all your Roku equipped TV's. All you would pay is a $2.00 monthly cable card rental fee. With the HDHR Roku private channel you can watch everything except On Demand, PPV and EPG content on all your Roku equipped TV's. So you will save a lot of money on equipment rental fee's.

You can always call Verizon and "threaten" to cancel your contract and go with a competitor. They would rather work with you and give you discounts and incentives to keep you instead of losing the account.

Explore other options:

If you currently pay $30 or so for the land line phone maybe consider Magic Jack or Straight Talk VOIP service. MJ is so cheap that even if you end up paying a higher internet bill you would still be paying less altogether. Maybe ditch Verizon and go internet only with a cable company. For example: I pay Optimum for internet and phone only (Bundle for discounts) and get their 50MBps Boost. I pay $69 for internet and phone. I get free OTA TV through QAM (Same coax that comes in to my modem-router). My Optimum account still authenticates on the Disney, Fox Now, ESPN and other standard TV programming Roku apps. The only ones that don't authenticate for me are the premium HBO Go and Showtime channels.

While you are enjoying your $100 "triple-play" bundle stay with it. The moment your promotion ends then consider cord-shaving or cord-cutting when your TV gets higher. I was paying over $140 per month at one time and am down to $69. Hope these tips help you and others save money without sacrificing too much their favorite TV content.


Oh, great advice here, let me see if I understand and adapt to my specifics:

- Don't care much for local channels, think I'll figure that out later. (Also, flexible on ditching channels to save money, so right now, no MUST haves.) Also, I'm paying $200/mo right now, way too much! I like your $69 bill!
:?: There are cable options that match or beat 25/25? I'm so going to check that out! I'd love to find a way to get out of 2 year commitments.
:?: At the moment (my mother lives here, she might move soon) so we have 3 heavily used TVs. (I see Roku or Hulu have her favorites so I'm good there. Just need to figure out how to get "live" Fox News for her.) So, question is - the best set up is a Roku box for each TV? (thinking there is no need for DVR since we are moving away from schedule programming)
:?: Still confused about HomeRun and cable cards, what is their purpose? Getting live TV like news?

Thanks - yes calling and threatening Verizon may be a great option if I can't break from from them!
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby vnazario » Sat Feb 22, 2014 4:10 pm

The HDHomerun Prime is a network DVR TV tuner that has a dedicated Roku private channel. Very similar to Simple.TV DVR with the exception that this Prime model uses a cable card adapter so it will substitute your Verizon OTT DVR box. You can use a single Prime tuner with an attached USB HD as a DVR and you can use all your Rokus to watch live and recorded TV. You would need 3 Roku's (one for each TV) and a Prime unit. You will not need to rent Verizon boxes for any of your TV's. The only rental fee would be about $2.00 per month for the cable card. Over time your Roku-Prime investment will pay itself. The Prime has an advanced EPG sub fee (like TiVo) but can be used without the sub but I don't recommend using without the subscription.

Hope I answered your question regarding the HDHomerun Prime network TV tuner-DVR that works with Roku. The Prime is the only cable-card Roku-friendly TV Tuner/DVR solution. If you are going to ditch TV service and go with OTA/QAM for basic TV you have other Roku-friendly options like: Simple.TV, EyeTV and soon Tablo DVR solutions.
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby thetick » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:40 pm

Note all the above looks good except the $2/month cable card. Verizon charges an outrageous $5.99/month per cable card! I figured for $6.99/month I get the HD STB and all the on-demand content so for me a DVR is not needed. Also the callerid popping up on the TV is very nice feature with the STBs. I know for some it would be like living in the stone age without a DVR but for the ridiculous $15.99 or $19.99/month for DVR I can do without it.

Seriously $41/month for DVR service really is crazy.
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby vnazario » Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:21 am

thetick wrote:Note all the above looks good except the $2/month cable card. Verizon charges an outrageous $5.99/month per cable card! I figured for $6.99/month I get the HD STB and all the on-demand content so for me a DVR is not needed. Also the callerid popping up on the TV is very nice feature with the STBs. I know for some it would be like living in the stone age without a DVR but for the ridiculous $15.99 or $19.99/month for DVR I can do without it.

Seriously $41/month for DVR service really is crazy.


Wow!!!! Optimum only charges $2.00 for rental of cable card (I use one with my TiVo Premiere). Didn't know Verizon were such "crooks". I guess they over-charge you and make you commit to a 2 year plan. I guess that for a dollar more you get their STB and at least you have access to EPG, Caller ID, PPV and VOD. I agree DVR service $19.99 is over-kill. Invest in a Simple.TV or other DVR solution with lifetime sub if you must have DVR with your setup. Find ways to ditch Verizon. Many competitors will pay your Verizon cancellation fees to get you to sign up. So talk to your Cable Co. and find out what they can do for you. Once you have the right info then call Verizon and "threaten" to leave them. See what offers/incentives they give you to stay and if not good enough go with the Cable Co. that offers you the best deal if they cover your Verizon cancellation fees.
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby Jerry A » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:08 am

I went around with Verizon to get only Internet service and now pay including tax for 3 MBPS $12.98, with Vonage $18.98 including tax for Unlimited local and long distance calls, Netflix is watched on Sony Blueray player and Samsung Smart TV connected wireless to my router with no buffering or shutdown issues. Have ROKU box that my wife does not use anymore because of the re buffering issues. If you go around with any of the Internet service providers and tell them you are going, and also ask to talk to a supervisor you will get a better deal. I am a Microsoft Engineer and anyone that pays for FIOS is getting ripped off. The providers do not have the infrastructure to provide what they tell you! :roll: :roll:
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby vnazario » Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:08 pm

Jerry A wrote:I went around with Verizon to get only Internet service and now pay including tax for 3 MBPS $12.98, with Vonage $18.98 including tax for Unlimited local and long distance calls, Netflix is watched on Sony Blueray player and Samsung Smart TV connected wireless to my router with no buffering or shutdown issues. Have ROKU box that my wife does not use anymore because of the re buffering issues. If you go around with any of the Internet service providers and tell them you are going, and also ask to talk to a supervisor you will get a better deal. I am a Microsoft Engineer and anyone that pays for FIOS is getting ripped off. The providers do not have the infrastructure to provide what they tell you! :roll: :roll:


Your Roku seems to have many re buffering issues because 3 MBPS is not fast enough for your home network. Your BR Netflix experience seems to be better since it is most likely connected via Ethernet instead of WiFi. If your Roku supports Ethernet, try this. If not, I highly recommend you get higher bandwidth. 15MBPS or higher is recommended if you will be doing a lot of downloads and streaming. You will make the wife happy again by enabling her to enjoy the use of your Roku.

Hope this tip helps.
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby vnazario » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:48 am

Jerry A wrote:The ROKU was wired and the BlueRay and Samsung are connected wireless and have never had a problem for weeks, as I mentioned I am a Microsoft Engineer for the last 30 years or more, it is the ROKU box you should also look at the enclosed link and see many people with highspeed internet have the same issues, streaming is different than downloading .
:lol: :lol:



I'm glad your setup works great with only a 3MBPS connection. I guess being a MS Engineer helps "Squeeze" and optimize the use of your bandwidth across your home network. I have a 25MBPS connection and don't have re-buffering issues. Although the Roku does choke and reboot (like we all have experienced regardless of bandwidth speed) but that is a Roku device issue.

Can any Roku moderator tell us why our Roku's choke and reboot so much? Assume we are connected/setup with best case (recommended) scenario Roku connected via ethernet. I know Roku 3 have better hardware but assume we are using older 600MHz CPU boxes. Any info in this regard and tips for helping us improve the reliability of the device is much appreciated.
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby jjennings2510 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:45 am

vnazario wrote:
Jerry A wrote:The ROKU was wired and the BlueRay and Samsung are connected wireless and have never had a problem for weeks, as I mentioned I am a Microsoft Engineer for the last 30 years or more, it is the ROKU box you should also look at the enclosed link and see many people with highspeed internet have the same issues, streaming is different than downloading .
:lol: :lol:



I'm glad your setup works great with only a 3MBPS connection. I guess being a MS Engineer helps "Squeeze" and optimize the use of your bandwidth across your home network. I have a 25MBPS connection and don't have re-buffering issues. Although the Roku does choke and reboot (like we all have experienced regardless of bandwidth speed) but that is a Roku device issue.

Can any Roku moderator tell us why our Roku's choke and reboot so much? Assume we are connected/setup with best case (recommended) scenario Roku connected via ethernet. I know Roku 3 have better hardware but assume we are using older 600MHz CPU boxes. Any info in this regard and tips for helping us improve the reliability of the device is much appreciated.



In another thread Roku stated that they are aware of whats causing the problem but no ETA on when a fix will be issued...hopefully it will be fixed with the next major firmware update....they didn't give any exact reasons as to why so we're all guessing and trying different things.....

As far as the speed goes yes 3Mbps is fine I'm sure even though HD would pretty much eat up all of that....folks don't get faster speeds for streaming...they get it to have more leeway while streaming...that way they can surf the net while streaming on one or more boxes without having to worry about everything slowing to a crawl....if you don't download a lot or stream on multiple boxes at one time then you could stream at 3Mbps....but I would recommend 6Mbps at a minimum if you do a lot of HD streaming...plus in my area 3Mbps is only $5 cheaper than getting the 6Mbps package from cable.
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby garyjnj1 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:27 pm

I had Comcast and fired them for constantly going up on my bill every 6 months. I cant get FIOS on my area so now i have Version DSL and voice for $55. Roku runs fine. Netflix is fine. My samsung TV and blue also run off the WiFi on DSL. No problems.
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby mida68 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:39 pm

vnazario wrote:The HDHomerun Prime is a network DVR TV tuner that has a dedicated Roku private channel. Very similar to Simple.TV DVR with the exception that this Prime model uses a cable card adapter so it will substitute your Verizon OTT DVR box. You can use a single Prime tuner with an attached USB HD as a DVR and you can use all your Rokus to watch live and recorded TV. You would need 3 Roku's (one for each TV) and a Prime unit. You will not need to rent Verizon boxes for any of your TV's. The only rental fee would be about $2.00 per month for the cable card. Over time your Roku-Prime investment will pay itself. The Prime has an advanced EPG sub fee (like TiVo) but can be used without the sub but I don't recommend using without the subscription.

Hope I answered your question regarding the HDHomerun Prime network TV tuner-DVR that works with Roku. The Prime is the only cable-card Roku-friendly TV Tuner/DVR solution. If you are going to ditch TV service and go with OTA/QAM for basic TV you have other Roku-friendly options like: Simple.TV, EyeTV and soon Tablo DVR solutions.


First, thank you so much for helping me work through this. :D I found out that in order to get Fox News (24/7 for my mom, ugh), I need to keep FIOS TV, although I can downgrade it one notch. So, to save some more money, I want to turn in the STBs and go with 3 Rokus and 1 HDHomeRun Prime. Am I correct in that I:

1) buy the HDHomeRun Prime and get a cable card from Verizon
2) hook the HDHomeRun Prime to my main TV only in addition to a Roku
3) hook two more Roku's up to the other TVs

Questions: Will I still be able to select channels from a menu system like I do now with FIOS? I'm not quite sure what to do after I plug these things in - how will we select the FIOS channels.
Is the Roku/HomeRunPrime solution better than a Tivo solution?

THANKS!
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Re: Unbundling FIOS HDTV Advice Needed

Postby vnazario » Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:17 pm

mida68 wrote:
vnazario wrote:The HDHomerun Prime is a network DVR TV tuner that has a dedicated Roku private channel. Very similar to Simple.TV DVR with the exception that this Prime model uses a cable card adapter so it will substitute your Verizon OTT DVR box. You can use a single Prime tuner with an attached USB HD as a DVR and you can use all your Rokus to watch live and recorded TV. You would need 3 Roku's (one for each TV) and a Prime unit. You will not need to rent Verizon boxes for any of your TV's. The only rental fee would be about $2.00 per month for the cable card. Over time your Roku-Prime investment will pay itself. The Prime has an advanced EPG sub fee (like TiVo) but can be used without the sub but I don't recommend using without the subscription.

Hope I answered your question regarding the HDHomerun Prime network TV tuner-DVR that works with Roku. The Prime is the only cable-card Roku-friendly TV Tuner/DVR solution. If you are going to ditch TV service and go with OTA/QAM for basic TV you have other Roku-friendly options like: Simple.TV, EyeTV and soon Tablo DVR solutions.


First, thank you so much for helping me work through this. :D I found out that in order to get Fox News (24/7 for my mom, ugh), I need to keep FIOS TV, although I can downgrade it one notch. So, to save some more money, I want to turn in the STBs and go with 3 Rokus and 1 HDHomeRun Prime. Am I correct in that I:

1) buy the HDHomeRun Prime and get a cable card from Verizon
2) hook the HDHomeRun Prime to my main TV only in addition to a Roku
3) hook two more Roku's up to the other TVs

Questions: Will I still be able to select channels from a menu system like I do now with FIOS? I'm not quite sure what to do after I plug these things in - how will we select the FIOS channels.
Is the Roku/HomeRunPrime solution better than a Tivo solution?

THANKS!


To answer your questions:

1. The HDHomerun Prime is a "network tuner". It does not connect directly to the TV like a TiVo does. The HDHomeRun Prime needs a computer with Media Center to record shows and serve as DVR and EPG. Roku's would serve as "extenders" with the HDHR private channel.

2. Computer must be decent in speed and processing power (Windows XP MCE, Vista or 7 with MC). Recommend dual-core or better system with 2GB or more RAM if using PC as dedicated Media Server. If you will be using your Main PC (where you do your work) then a more modern quad-core with even more RAM.

3. The HDHR must be connected via Ethernet cable to your router and to the cable line.

4. Each TV must have a Roku box with the HDHR private channel OR one of the TV's can be connected to your Media Center PC.


The TiVo route (Mind you TiVo solution is more expensive).

1. Tivo Premiere or Roamio as main unit and TiVo Mini's or TiVo stream boxes as extenders. This is a lot more expensive as far as equipment and sub fees goes.

IMO a dual-core PC is inexpensive to build or buy used off Craigs or E-Bay. Each Roku $50 to $100 ea. new (less used or refurbished) and the HDHR Prime is about $100 and sub EPG fee is a lot less than TiVo's.

Personally I use a TiVo Premiere and like it as a stand-a-lone DVR solution. But the "extender" options are just too high for me. I prefer Roku's on my secondary TV's. I use a MacMini with EyeTV as my DVR for my Roku's but this is just basic TV, not for "cable-card" content. Through the PLEX channel I can send my recordings from my Mac Mini to my Roku's.

I don't use HDHR Prime unit so I don't know about the interface through the Roku boxes (I'm sure there are videos on Youtube or on Silicon Dust website (Makers of HDHR). However, the Windows Media Center on the PC is very easy to use and configure. Very similar to TiVo or DirectTV's modern DVR's.

Hope I have answered your questions.
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