We Cut The Cord – No More Cable TV

A few months ago Jess and I decided to cut the cord and get rid of cable TV. I couldn’t stand paying so much money per month to watch the same shows over and over again. Thousands of channels at our fingertips but in reality we only watched a few.  With the savings I signed up for Netflix streaming and Amazon Prime. I’ve had a Netflix account in the past but only kept the DVD service alive for the last few years.

I just recently added Hulu Plus to the mix. I don’t even pay for that service. I use my Bing Rewards points and get months free, but since I can get the free month before the month-end, I essentially don’t have to pay at all. Yet another added bonus to this scheme was when I dropped the cable TV plan from Time Warner they actually increased my internet speed and lowered the price just to keep me happy. Little do they know I’m actually stuck with them and have no alternatives where I am unfortunately, but I’ll take the discount.

Since we’ve been using the services, we’ve found that we actually enjoy watching TV without stupid commercials. We watch only what we want to, and it’s always new content. Many shows we always wanted to watch but never remember to DVR are now at the ready. I’m actually amazed at how much less time we spend watching TV also. It’s nice sometimes to just enjoy silence and not have reruns of Family Guy on just until some show you want to see comes on.

Now I know many people have already been doing this, but this is for the people out there that are worried about cutting the cord and missing out on programming. There are always ways around road blocks. I was worried we wouldn’t ever see football or hockey anymore. To get around that I simply got myself and nice VPN that allows me to connect to somewhere in Europe. With that I signed up for NFL Gamepass, which is far superior to DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket. I get to watch every single game in better quality HD, even the blacked out games, the late night games, and the ones on Monday and Thursday, something you CAN’T do with Sunday Ticket. I also get the full playoffs and Super Bowl, which also isn’t part of Sunday Ticket. For NHL I can use the same VPN and watch blacked out games on NHL Gamecenter. Man I love technology.

I considered using an antenna for the main channels, but being 80 miles from the city and 50 miles from the secondary sites up north I wouldn’t really get great quality, if the mountains don’t get in the way. So for popular shows I haven’t quite found a way around it that everyone can use since Aereo got shut down. For now I just “borrow” my parents Verizon FiOS account and stream the shows from their perspective websites over to my Chromecast.

Feel free to comment if you have any questions on how to get around certain things or wondering what you can and cannot access when streaming only.

Dutchess County Fair 2014

Since I had this week off, I was able to go to the Dutchess County Fair twice this year. Good food and smelly animals times two! Arianna loved being at the fair and absolutely adores all the animals. She wasn’t too big a fan of the rooster that was hurting her ears with its crowing, but other than that just about any animal she could touch got a hug, especially goats. Luckily the rain held off today and we had two solid days with clear skies. Can’t wait to go again next year when she’ll be ready for more big kid rides.

Check out the full photo gallery here.

Check out some videos I shot of both days.

NFL Sunday Ticket Online

For those of you living in an apartment, you may now be eligible for NFL Sunday Ticket online from DIRECTV. Since my complex doesn’t allow dishes and I cut the TV cord already, this is an awesome option for me this year. Don’t know if I’m late to the game or what, but I just discovered this glorious deal. Now I have to see how many games will actually be blacked out and see if the service is worth buying. Since we’re Patriot fans, I would guess that most games should be available for us and I’ll just have to figure out what to do for the ESPN/Monday night games. Plans start at $199 for mobile/web streaming or $239 to stream on your PS4/XboxOne console only. You can check your eligibility at NFLSUNDAYTICKET.TV.

Xbox Live Open NAT Type With Cisco IOS Router

Recently I implemented a Cisco IOS router at home because I got tired of the home versions just crapping out after a year or so. When I did, I noticed my Xbox Live Open NAT type went to moderate and even strict at times, making multi-player gaming pretty terrible. It took a while for me to find out some fixes online so I figured I would summarize it below for anyone else out there looking to get Xbox Live back to open NAT type.

Step 1
Create an access list for the WAN interface to allow the Xbox Live specific traffic through.

ip access-list extended Xbox_in
permit tcp any any eq 3074
permit udp any any eq 3074
permit udp any any eq 88
permit ip any any

Step 2
Apply the access list to the WAN interface

interface FastEthernet0/0
ip access-group Xbox_in in

Step 3
Create static NAT statements to allow the Xbox Live ports to forward to the Xbox console

ip nat inside source static tcp 192.168.1.XXX 3074 interface FastEthernet0/0 3074
ip nat inside source static udp 192.168.1.XXX 3074 interface FastEthernet0/0 3074
ip nat inside source static udp 192.168.1.XXX 88 interface FastEthernet0/0 88

Step 4
If you have the router doing DHCP, you can create a reservation for the Xbox console so you don’t need to manually assign a static to it on the console.

ip dhcp pool Xbox
host 192.168.1.XXX
client-identifier 01XX.XXXX.XXXX.XX

Fill in the X’s with the MAC address of the Xbox console. The 01 needs to stay in the front.

That should do it. As soon as configured the above I had Xbox Live Open NAT type. Leave a comment if you have any questions or need any assistance with your config.

the incoherent ramblings in my head