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Your Guide to Cord Cutting

Greetings!

My name is Steve Sayer and I would like to invite you to join me in becoming a Charter Member in CordCutters.US.  My approach enables a consumer with their own Home Theater Personal Computer (HTPC) and an internet connection to immediately cancel cable or satellite subscriptions as well as any streaming services you hardly watch potentially saving hundreds of $$ per month.  My methods include sharing media and even subscriptions that go anywhere home, car, travel etc... To most, this will be no different than what you are used to in watching TV from a cable/satellite box or your Smart TV. However, there will be some who will want to get more involved and I am eager to teach what I know part of the benefits of a Premium Membership in CordCutters.US.

To help you visualize what being a CordCutters.US member with your own custom built Media Server looks like as compared to your current cable or satellite box  I have put together this short video from my Fire TV device.  Note please do choose Full Screen in bottom right corner of video screen for better viewing:

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I provide a custom built fully-loaded and functioning Home Theater Personal Computer Media Server (HTPC) including all recommended software and applications, instruction and support all together with a full year’s Premium Membership in CordCutters.US.  Your PC can be a spare, used or new… desktop, laptop or mini that runs quietly in the background.  Want to know more? Email contact us and just type “Around Woodstock” in the message box. Or, schedule your free 30-minute phone consultation for a Q&A session to help introduce you to television independence. 
 

Below you will find reviews on Plex, Channels DVR and Streaming Devices in 2022. Just highlight the category and enter / select:

  • Is my Xfinity Bill going up in 2022?
    Unfortunately yes, tens of millions of Xfinity cable customers will see their bills rise 3% nationwide on average, a company spokesperson said in December 2021. This chart does not include box rental fees or the realistic modem rental fees. My box fees were $7.50 a month and my router/moden (which most get unless you have your own router) is $25.00 a month. BTW... to get unlimited data, you have to rent their router! And all these fees in chart and just recited are before any supscription fees for programing. For more on the rate increases go here.
  • What is a HTPC?
    HTPC stands for Home Theater Personal Computer. Traditionally a HTPC is a PC with a purpose to play and/or serve media (such as video, audio, photos) in a theater-type setting (living room, etc...). It does this through specific hardware and/or software. A HTPC can act as a client, a server, both or standalone. Our approach and practice is to use as a server only, a Media Server (built around Plex) conveniently located in your premises on your network to play on any of your TVs, clients or devices and essentially streaming your media and TV subscriptions at home and anywhere in the world you are with an internet connection. Our "off the shelf" HTPC Front, Back and side views.
  • What if I don't want or need another computer monitor for my HTPC media server?
    Your media server does not have to be included with or attached to a monitor. What is more recomended (although not required) is that your server be hardwired to your modem/router. If your residence is not wired with ethernet cable then try to either relocate your modem/router or locate your media server in that room. My media server is mounted back to our big screen TV which is in very close proximity to my modem/router and able to easily connect with a short ethernet cable. If I want to or need to access the computer, I have RemotePC installed on all my computers so that I can access from my main desktop computer.
  • What if I need help with my Media Server?
    As I mentioned in the previous question (#2) ... I install RemotePC on all the Media Servers that I build and maintain. That gives me access for troubleshooting, updates, instruction etc... For most, a HTPC (like other appliances) run quietly in the background with the monitor turned off unless you care to use other computer functions such as emails or browseing. If there is an issue restarting your Media Server and or streaming devices many times will correct. It is also a good idea to restart your PC on a regular basis. To give you a better idea how I can access your HTPC check out this short video about RemotePC: RemotePC by iDrive - Rather Nifty Remote Desktop Software | Best Alternative to Teamviewer; for more detail follow this link.
  • Can I get rid of cable and still watch TV?
    If you want to get rid of cable or satellite and still watch live TV, you'll need to consider going back to the basics and investing in an HD antenna. This will allow you to watch local, over-the-air programming from channels like CBS, NBC and Fox. ... And lastly, cutting the cable cord requires a streaming device.
  • Why I Should Digitize my DVD & CD Collections?
    One of the biggest problems with DVDs and CDs is their lifespan, and while they have been great, serving their purpose of providing music & movies-on-demand, their lifespan, however, is short. Plenty of people have either filed them away, boxed them up, or just kept them in their TV entertainment center, thinking it is good long-term storage. But it isn’t. Depending on the discs and CDs that you have, the lifespan of DVDs is usually between 5 to 10 years, even less if it’s exposed to environmental factors such as humidity and heat. CDs maybe longer but if you play a lot could be shorter! If you are one of those people who have been religiously collecting movies, music and TV series DVDs, then it is time to get them out and move that data into a more reliable place. While you still can continue to keep your DVDs in their cases and in your cabinets, you may want to rip and store them on cloud storage or local storage on active hard drives. I expand on this topic in the Members Section.
  • What if I can’t have or get good reception with a HD antenna?
    I also live in a bad reception area but I have various streaming solutions that gives various over-the-air Atlanta stations. However even with my restrictive view, I still manage to receive 47 Atlanta stations.
  • I have had DirecTV for years and would love to cut the cord if I didn't lose NFL SUNDAY TICKET! I have yet to see anyother alternatives?
    Cut the Cord and enjoy CordCutters NFL SUNDAY PASS! No Red Zone Channel but it dosen't cost $300 either. Become a CordCutters.US Member and learn how.
  • I have home DVD(legal) of certain movies which i purchased. Is it legal to give it to my friend for a limited time period and get money?
    William Robles lawyer specializing in IP and contract law answers this question in this way: Yes, you can rent your DVDs, at least in the US. That includes making money. It’s called the First Sale Doctrine, and it allows you to rent or resell your legally bought physical copy of stuff. This is why movie studios hate RedBox. While theaters have to negotiate deals to show movies to crowds, there's no need for RedBox to do that if they want to rent DVDs directly to you. In fact, Redbox has been known to do exactly this when they’ve had licensing disputes with Hollywood. Redbox would send a horde of shoppers to Walmart stores, buy up all the copies they needed and load them into their rental machines, end of story. In fact, he goes further to write "I don't care what those stupid notices say on DVDs about banning reselling or renting. They can't change the law".
  • What is Plex?
    Plex gives you one place to find and access all the media that matters to you. From personal media on your own server, to free and on-demand Movies & Shows, live TV, podcasts, and web shows, to streaming music, you can enjoy it all in one app, on any device. Plex, the multi-faceted entertainment platform that's evolved greatly over the years. Whether you just want some free streaming or you want to build and maintain your own personal media collection, Plex might be an interesting option for you... This video breaks down what Plex has to offer, supported devices, how much it costs, and more. If you've been curious about Plex, but haven't had a chance to see what it's all about, this could be the video for you. 5 Things You Should Know About Plex Free Streaming and Plex Media Server!
  • Can I install Plex on any computer or do I need to buy a new one?
    Whether you want to run your Plex Media Server on your every-day computer, you’re looking to use a dedicated computer, or you want to run it on a NAS device, you’ll need to make sure that the computer/NAS is compatible and that it will support what you want to do. Running Plex Media Server on a desktop computer is a very popular option. This allows you to choose your operating system and you have flexibility in your computer components. Technical requirements such as CPU and RAM depend on your plans for usage and this is something I can advise you on.
  • Do I need an internet connection for Plex?
    There are a number of situations in which you will need an “internet” connection for either your Plex Media Server or a particular Plex app you’re using. The Plex Media Server generally assumes you will have an active internet connection when using it. While most things will still work fine if you temporarily don’t have a connection, some things do require an active connection. Streaming services definitely require internet. This is something I can advise you on.
  • Can you share Plex media library with friends and family?
    Plex Media Servers associated with your Plex account will be available. For each server, you can choose whether or not to share content with the friend. Select the server name to share all libraries or you can unselect it to choose only individual libraries to share. I have thousands of CDs and DVDs and friends were always borrowing something and sometimes not returning! Since I started Plex my friends have all my media in one place and if friends want to borrow they have to set up their own Plex (even the free version) of course with a little help from me.
  • Is Plex Illegal?
    Plex is a streaming service that has agreements with many distributors in order to offer content for you to enjoy on almost any device. These licensing agreements are common to the industry and give Plex specific authority to offer specific content. These types of agreements are made between distributors and almost every streaming platform. Plex is also a media server and a media player that allows users to catalog and watch their own personal media libraries. These libraries are curated by individual Plex users who must also hold the license to own and/or view the media they provide themselves. So when you ask “is Plex illegal”, you can be certain that the company is always mindful of how and with whom we do business. Plex always maintains the highest of standards for our customers and our partners. Through its evolution, Plex has remained legal in every country in which it does business, has attracted millions and millions of users worldwide, and is a leading global media streaming service.
  • Is it illegal to share Movies on Plex?
    While the use of Plex isn't itself illegal, Plex has made the illegal viewing of copyrighted content easier. Also, Plex allows you to stream your content to as many people as you like. If someone illegally downloaded a movie and placed it on their Plex server, it would be available to all their Plex server users.
  • What does cut the cable cord mean?
    Cord-cutting: The process of cancelling a cable or satellite subscription and getting TV shows and movies by other means. O.T.T.: Short for “over the top.” It refers to media companies that provide a range of programming directly to internet users, freeing yourself from expensive cable or satellite company bundles.
  • Why Did You Start CordCutters.US?
    If you read about my background, I spent over 35 years in the Broadband Communications Industry. I have always been a "gadget guy" since childhood. I've been streaming for years and really got into cordcutting in 2015 starting with Plex and my Roku boxes. I will give a lot of credit to one of my favorite YouTube channels, Modern Dad. In 2017, Modern Dad did a video on cordcutting and a follow up 18 months later. Modern Dad spurred me even futher so I have included both videos here: And 18 months later: Technology, Streaming, Programming and pratically everything has changed and improved since Modern Dad's 2018 video. My approach to CordCutting is different than Modern Dad but he is the who inspired me in my cordcutting activities. If you would like to know more and/or have questions lets talk!
  • What Does CordCutters.US Provide?
    Besides a fully-loaded and functioning home media server but also instruction and support mostly utilizing an active membership on CordCutters.US.
  • Why Do I Need CordCutters.US to help me Cut the Cord?
    Getting rid of cable and satellite can be complicated and confusing if you don’t work with new TVs, steaming devices and Internet technology every day. I consider myself a cord-cutting expert that brings the best tools, hardware, and expertise to deliver a five-star alternative to over-priced satellite and cable TV.
  • Will cord-cutting significantly change the way I watch TV?
    When you first cut the cord, you will notice some changes. However, you will still be able to plop down on the couch, turn on the TV and start watching what you want to watch. After a few weeks, you will wonder why you did not cut the cord sooner. I have noticed most of my clients actually save even more money over time by cutting back on channels they used to need but now do not since they have so many other options for TV shows and movies. Even if you don’t have a large collection of CDs and DVDs like I do; you will have the incentive to start one! I will show you how.
  • Is it legal to have CordCutters.US install a cord-cutting solution/media server?
    Yes. I do not endorse nor install any options that are not 100% legal.
  • What problems will I run into if do it myself (DIY) Cord Cutting?
    I talk to people all of the time that have tried to DIY and have failed miserably. They wasted a bunch of time & money only to create a half-baked and hard-to-use TV setup. We fix all of the common DIY Cord Cutting confusion and avoid the 4 main DIY problems before they happen. I will save you the most money every month. Problem 1: Confusing and Difficult If you DIY, your family should be prepared to make sacrifices-missing channels, glitches, complicated setup, etc. CordCutters.US does all of the work & delivers an Easy To Use Cord Cutting setup with 1 device, 1 Interface & no TV input switching! Problem 2: Bundle BS You waste hours calling your Pay TV provider only to get misinformation and the run-around. I should get your internet-only bill down to $40-$56/mo (ALL taxes & fees included)! Problem 3: Poor Antenna Reception You clutter your home with cheap indoor antennas and you are missing channels or having pixilation. I will show you how to get all your channels in awesome HD w/o interruptions! Problem 4: Streaming Buffers and Pauses Hardwiring your media server to the router is the best and most efficient way. You can then stream w/o buffering & pauses while using Wi-Fi to stream to all your TVs and devices. I can help you evaluate your modem and your Wi-Fi coverage.
  • How much bandwidth do I need to cut the cord?
    As a rule of thumb, home internet speeds should be at least 15Mbps (megabits per second) for each device you plan to have running at the same time. If you tend to have three TVs playing at once, you'll ideally have home internet speed of at least 45Mbps.
  • How much can I save by cutting the cord from cable or satellite TV?
    Each cord-cutting situation is unique, which is why I suggest afree phone consultation where I will be able to let you know exactly how much money we can save you every month. I helped a retired couple save over $2,450 per year.
  • How do I cut the cord and still have a guide and do I need to buy a DVR?
    A stand-alone set-top DVR unit can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000, with subscriptions averaging about $13 a month. Most units hold around 40 hours of programming; if you want more storage, the price will go up. I have a great solution that doesn’t involve the purchase of any hardware, interfaces with most streaming services including your local HD channels without paying for storage.
  • Why should I cut the cord?
    The number one reason people cut the cord is to save money every month. If you are paying more than $100 for your internet and TV bundle, then you are paying too much. You save the most money every month by lowering your internet to only $40-$55/mo and getting your TV for free!
  • What channels can I get if I cut the cord?
    Believe it or not, you can actually get pretty much any channel that you can with Pay TV for free or a lot less money with no contract! Actually, most people find more content than what they had with their old Pay TV provider.
  • What technology will replace cable TV?
    Subscription streaming video services like Amazon Prime and Netflix give you on-demand access to individual TV series and movies. The video streaming services we're talking about here, such as Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV, are designed to replace a typical cable-TV package by giving you access to familiar channels.
  • What is streaming?
    Anyone with a fast enough Internet connection can watch high-definition movies or make a video call over the Internet. This is possible because of a technology called streaming. Streaming is the continuous transmission of audio or video files from a server to a client. In simpler terms, streaming is what happens when consumers watch TV or listen to podcasts on Internet-connected devices. With streaming, the media file being played on the client device is stored remotely, and is transmitted a few seconds at a time over the Internet. Streaming uses the internet as opposed to watching via cable, satellite, or antenna signals. There are two types of streaming, on-demand streaming, and live streaming. Netflix is on-demand streaming, which means the content is always available and not live. Watching live Cable News on Fox News or CNN is live streaming. Streaming Live TV on your big screen TV requires the right hardware setup properly.
  • How does streaming work?
    Just like other data that's sent over the Internet, audio and video data is broken down into data packets. Each packet contains a small piece of the file, and an audio or video player in the browser on the client device takes the flow of data packets and interprets them as video or audio.
  • What is the difference between streaming and downloading?
    Streaming is real-time, and it's more efficient than downloading media files. If a video file is downloaded, a copy of the entire file is saved onto a device's hard drive, and the video cannot play until the entire file finishes downloading. If it's streamed instead, the browser plays the video without actually copying and saving it. The video loads a little bit at a time instead of the entire file loading at once, and the information that the browser loads is not saved locally. Think of the difference between a lake and a stream: Both contain water, and a stream may contain just as much water as a lake; the difference is that with a stream, the water is not all in the same place at the same time. A downloaded video file is more like a lake, in that it takes up a lot of hard drive space (and it takes a long time to move a lake). Streaming video is more like a stream or a river, in that the video's data is continuously, rapidly flowing to the user's browser.
  • What is buffering?
    Streaming media players load a few seconds of the stream ahead of time so that the video or audio can continue playing if the connection is briefly interrupted. This is known as buffering. Buffering ensures that videos can play smoothly and continuously. However, over slow connections, or if a network has a great deal of latency, a video can take a long time to buffer.
  • Why does buffering sometimes take a long time?
    Buffering can happen slowly for many reasons. Generally, these issues are either on the user side or the network side, the latter meaning the Internet service provider (ISP) or streaming platform. I have a good internet connection with many TVs and devices and I rarely have buffering issues. To learn more about internet and buffering read this article: What does buffering mean? | Buffering in video streaming
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