Saturday, January 3, 2015

Adventures In Cable Cutting: Getting Real Time Live TV For The NFL & Network Television Using Roku & Chromecast

One of the largest challenges since I have dropped my cable is the ability to watch NFL games and real time news or tv shows that run on network television or are not available on HULU or Netflix. I will preface this post that I keep a HULU  account at 7.99 a month and a Netflix streaming only account at 7.99 as well. I consider this affordable for what the cost to simply rent a cable box or pay taxes on the cable or Directv costs on a monthly basis. I also use a Roku streaming player and a Chromecast.

For my live tv I use a Roku Channel called USTVNow. This is a great free channel which streams local television from a channels in Pennsylvania. Even though it does not give me my local news it gives me a chance to watch the weekly telecasts of the NFL  games and whatever maybe on the networks nationally. You can upgrade for more channels but that really kind of defeats the purpose of saving the money from cable. The quality is decent and starts with HD for the forst 45 days.

For local news I use Fox 25 Boston Roku app which has a consistent stream of video on their app and also has the weather and major news events. CNBC and CNN also have high quality apps for national news. Channel 7 in Boston also has a stream on one of the NowhereTV apps available from Roku but it only streams during live broadcasts.

My Chromecast has been very useful at streaming NFL games from my laptop to my television. The link I have been using comes from a USlivestream webpage. Just be sure to search using the 2 teams you want to watch. This site has been relatively consistent.

A helpful tip is to let the Flash ads expire before attempting to go full screen. Overall the quality is not great but doable especially as you get used to going cable free.

Roku offers a variety of public and private channels which stream live content but none will truly replicate your cable or satellite service. There are compromises but as a whole it is great not to get that bill!

Adventures In Cutting Cable: Using PLEX for Videos and Media & Watching Local Video Files On Your Television

One of the cooler things I have begun experimenting with since i have cut cable is the use of the PLEX media server in order to view my videos from a variety of different devices. PLEX requires that you have one main computer connected to the internet(the server) which holds all of your video content and you view the content throught the app on other devices. PLEX assists in helping you organize and view this content.

This has been helpful to me since I own a Roku streaming player and a Chromecast. Now all I need to do is access this application to view videos on these players through my tv is to add the PLEX app. Through the App I have access to the  saved files on my server computer. PLEX makes the setup relatively painless with good directions and you have alot of options through their free account. This service is great if you have a ton off downloaded videos that you would like to watch on your tv.

Beyond the download of the server and adding files you will also need to synch your device with the server through a simple 4 letter code combination. I needed to do this to use my Roku account with PLEX. I guess the final hurdle of having PLEX as your go to is the 4.99 monthly charge for the use of the app which is how most people will use this service.

Watching Local Files Through Chromecast With Videostream App on Chrome Web Store

On my Chromecast one challenge is the streaming of local video files to my television set. I was able to solve this with the use of the with the Videostrem Chrome Application. This app has performed well at allowing me to stream a local file off my computer to my television.

This application performs well and so far no surpises with available length of stream or reasons for the premium account. The Premium account offers addtion smartphone capability and ad free experiences none of which have really been a major benefit in the current use of a cable cutter.

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