Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cables cost HOW MUCH??

I like to keep my local businesses in my thoughts when I'm buying stuff. Walmart is generally my third place to look for anything. Yeah, I've got the Hippy Hatred of Chain Stores.

When you need a cable, connector, attachment, etc. price it at a couple of electronics stores, amazon,walmart and ebay.

Remember that shipping costs will eat your lunch. A 75c connector that costs $7 to ship is NOT a good deal. Unless it's only $7 to ship enough stuff to justify the expense.

In Ebay-land make careful note of where the product is coming from. Stuff from China and Taiwan can take a month or longer to make it to your mailbox. Generally, if it's only a little bit more to buy from someone in the US, I take that route. Unless you're someone who needs to be able to return stuff or buying something that is high dollar and does not have a warranty.

Gamestop or Radio Shack will have a cable for $20, on Ebay, maybe $7 with free shipping.

Sometimes, the difference is hardly worth thinking about...just make sure it's in stock.

How to find your IP address...

Each unit that uses internet will probably have an IP address. The router is where these begin. You will see extensions xxx.xx.x.103 or 101 or 102.

In Windows 8:

Press the button, Kronk!

right click and choose see all apps
click on command prompt (it's the black square one)
type: ipconfig in the black box that pops up.
Write your ip address down in your little text file saving spot and close the window.
These are the numbers next to ipv4

Find IP Address in Windows 8

This is the ip for the computer you are sitting in front of ONLY. It will be pretty much the same for each different unit.

If you plan to stream from one computer to the other, you will need this number. It's your computer's geek address. Keep it safe.

Bye Bye, Cable...

Hello all! We have been paying waaay too much for cable or dtv. I heard about "cord cutters" and surprisingly, it has nothing to do with umbilical cords. It's how to stream your tv through the interwebz.

Cable - we were spending almost $200/mo
Satellite - we were spending almost $160/mo
Streaming - 90% of this is initial setup money, after that it's $14/mo or less depending on which services you choose to pay for.

Streaming is different than cable. It's more of an on demand than fed by date/time experience.

Make a list of the shows you like and channels you enjoy. Most of the series I watch have been hitting their finales and going bye bye. *sniffle* This may not be the case with you. Premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime are not selling streaming only options. I am sure in the future this will happen, but it isn't here yet. You can certain shows a'la carte on your own from Amazon or Itunes or something.

There are generally 3 options for watching your programs.
1. Wait until the entire season has passed and it populates in Netflix.
2. Wait up to a week for it to populate on it's home channel or HuluPlus the next day.
3. Grab the torrent and download it from somewhere - not legal!! (bad llama, that's stealing the pie off the windowsill rather than waiting for dessert time - hypothetically speaking.)

The research on this project has taught me a few things. It go like this - here we go!

FIRST- Ya want it to be easy as cake, treat it like cake.

In the same way you don't make a cake until you've gotten all the ingredients on the counter, you wanna have all your stuff ready before you crack the first egg. Yes, there will likely be little things that got missed. Make your list and double check that you have all your goodies in order.

The flow is how you determine what you will need to make this a success. Do the math on a year of your current paid tv service. Mine was $1920 with an extra hundred for the router to start and more for the modem.

Go to your notepad on windows and make two files. One for "cost of cutting" the other is "needful things" In the cost file, you put how much you'd spend in a year for your current service and how much you will spend to get your streaming up and running. This simple little thing will give you the long view of what is going on. The second file will hold all your logon and password info for each device, you'll be coming back to this one a whole lot when you start. If anything goes sideways in the future, you have this to help reset your anythings back to where they were. Handy!!!

FLOW - From Modem to Router to Box to TV.

The internet comes into your house via DSL or Broadband (cable internet) through a modem. Cable is better for streaming, but dsl will work if'n that's all you can get. Don't worry about the routers that have a modem in it. You want each piece to be it's own thing. No shortcuts. Your internet will have a speed. You can buy upgraded bandwidth and it's probably a good idea to have the premium internet service. Figure the monthly extra charge and put that in your cost file.

The modem connects to the router. The router takes the internet and sends this info where you tell it the info is allowed to go. Think about the future, this is not the time to be a cheapass. Go for DualBand Gigabit at the very least. Expect to pay around $200. You CAN get these for less than that, but it's the high water mark right now. Mpbs is the max speed that the info will flow through your router. 300 is standard right now...shoot for higher and you won't have to replace your router in a year. (Unless you are streaming to less than 3 units...then 300 is more than fine for a while)

Think about the layout of your house. If you have more than one story to your place, you may need a repeater to get the signal through all the walls and floors. Try to get a repeater that is from the same company as your router. It really does make things easier. Layout is important, try to put the router in a central location if at all possible.

How many units will you be feeding internet regularly? We have 3 computers, a magic jack, a Roku, an Xbox, a Wii and a PS3. I expect that at least 6 of these will be running at the same time. More stuff = bigger router & more bandwidth.

What are you going to stream through? There are pros and cons to each setup. You can use your XBOX, PS3 or WII, or buy a ROKU. Which Roku depends on what kind of tv you have. Old style with no hdmi in the back? Roku hd - $60. If you have the spiffy new flatscreen type, then get the better Roku. You're looking into what will best serve you for the next few years, rather than just a quick band-aid fix. to see what they have to offer.

Different channels prefer different boxes. The wii is the odd man out for the most part.

I'll go more into details about the setup for each channel in posts for each one later. If you want more detailed info now, google it yourself.

Plex is a channel that is free. It can be used to stream info from your computer's hard drive to your tv. The wii does not get plex, but xbox, ps3 and roku do. Wanna watch your ripped dvd's or home movies on the tv? This is what makes that possible. It's the easiest that i've tried so far.

WiiMC is a free channel that will allow you to stream from your computer's hard drive to your Wii.
Easy to use, not so easy to set up. (Unless you have a how to that is easy to understand)

Playon costs $40 for a forever license. I haven't tried this one yet, but it looks SO much better than HuluPlus.

HuluPlus costs $7 a month. Other than being able to watch John Stewart and Steven Colbert, I can't figure out why anyone would want to use this service. Well, maybe if you're a hardcore anime fan. If you're ok with waiting a day to see your shows, then go right ahead.... *edited* ok, it's not as horrible as it first appeared.

Amazon Prime costs $7 a month. Go take a look at how their services work. They explain it much better than I could.

Netflix costs $7 a month for their streaming only option. They have a kids area that is pretty cool.

YouTube is free and has different channels that show original programming. I am a fan of My Drunk Kitchen, Space Janitors and about half the stuff on Geek and Sundry.

There will be channels that get you all excited and don't have jack worth watching on them. It's ok, you can find what you were really looking for elsewhere. For me, the wii syfy channel is like that and the msnbc one. I don't WANT clips, I want the whole damn show.

What kind is only important when it comes to the jacks in the back. You have to be able to connect your streaming unit to your TV.  I'll assume that you can read and hook up this stuff on your own.


Get all your hardware gathered for our expedition into streaming. The "needful things" file is going to hold important info like your IP address, your logon and pw for the router and for your channels and whatnot. Call the file whatever you want, I don't care. The important part is that you can find it without internet service and with ease.