Who Says You Need a TV Service Provider to have a DVR?

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Back in February, I wrote a multi-part blog series on cutting the cable television cord. In that series, Step 3 was Setting up an Optional Digital Video Recorder (DVR) for over the air (OTA) programming. In July, I did this myself. Now it’s September and I’ve had a couple of months to get accustomed to this new TV paradigm. I’d like to share my experiences with you.

First, I bought the TabloTV 4-Tuner whole-house DVR from Nuvyyo (Kanata, Ontario). I’ve discovered that the concept of “whole house DVR” takes my friends and family two or three times of hearing it before they finally get it. The easiest way to explain it is this: the box sits next to the router and has the antenna connected directly to it. I can watch it anywhere I can get on the WiFi, with my iPad or Android tablet.

Second, I began wanting to view the content on my large TV so I bought a Roku 1 and downloaded the Tablo app onto it. When I launched it, it automatically found my Tablo, being on the same subnet in the house. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) felt natural for the Roku, but was different from the iPad app. It didn’t take me long at all to find some shows that I had already recorded. Watching them was a breeze.

In the mornings, I tend to watch live TV, such as news and weather, but in the evenings I only watch recordings from earlier. I use my Roku almost exclusively to watch the content because I like the large picture and full sound. If you have a new AppleTV, you can use Airplay to watch the content from your iPad. Google’s Chromecast is supposed to work, too, but I don’t have any experience with it.

Even though I love having it, and saving the $100+ a month from having dropped cable TV, I still found the software lacking, albeit serviceable. The mental list got so long, I captured it on the TabloTV community forum thread here. I really would like to see a full 9-12 months of feature and functionality improvements on their GUI before they begin to call it stable.

But I have no regrets with my choice and, for the money I’m saving, I have been able to adapt and overcome the withdrawals of having 200 channels and a DVR. Now I have TabloTV plus Roku with Netflix, Amazon Prime, WatchESPN, Hulu+, A&E, History, NFL Now and Qello to keep me entertained.

If you decide to go this route, do yourself a favor and bump up to the 4-tuner model, rather than skimp on the 2-tuner. You’ll be resolving conflicts left and right if you don’t. But you certainly don’t need to pay ridiculous prices to have television piped into your home and a DVR. Go antenna plus Tablo and save big.

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NFL Needs the San Antonio Raiders

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With all of the recent difficulties in the NFL, including player behavioral issues off the field, the league’s bad boy team, the Oakland Raiders, don’t get much respect from their fan base. They should move.

There are 32 teams in the NFL, and one team is consistently the worst supported in the league — the Oakland Raiders. Oakland has had its difficulties getting fan attendance, moving to Los Angeles and back again. But as big as L.A. and Oakland are, their stadiums have always been underfunded and the fans showed weak support for pro football, as witnessed by the Raiders waffling and the departure of the Rams in 1995.

So let’s look at the absence of Alameda County residents at their home games. The last several years, Oakland has only been able to muster 50,000 fans per home game, worst in the league, compared to the average of 68,000. Even “small” market cities, such as Buffalo and New Orleans, each with 1.1M people, can muster 66K and 72K fans per home game, respectively.

But the Raiders have a good, recognizable brand, and their merchandise is often purchased in the most surprising of cities around the globe, even if it is favored by those in “rough” neighborhoods. So rather than fold, they should move to a city that would respect them.

If I owned the Raiders, I would would relocate them to San Antonio. Why?

1) Fanbase. There are 3.5 million people in the San Antonio / Austin area. If just 2% of that population attend the home games, they would be in the top 1/3 of of NFL teams for home attendance. The have the fan base potential.

2) Freaks. People in Texas just love football — they’re freaks for it. Boys grow up playing Pop Warner. College football loyalty is fierce. Old ladies watch it on Saturdays. The Alamo Bowl brings in over 65,000 fans every time a Texas-based university is invited.

3) Space. San Antonio and Austin are just an hour drive from each other, so a new stadium located in the space between then, say, near New Braunfels, will easily find room to construct a 21st century, 80,000-seat stadium and will fill from both the north and the south on I-35.

San Antonio and Austin can jointly support an NFL franchise, placed smartly near New Braunfels.

San Antonio and Austin can jointly support an NFL franchise, placed smartly near New Braunfels.

4) SeparatedSan Antonio is 175 miles from the Houston Texans stadium and 250 from the Dallas Cowboys stadium. Those two teams don’t have to worry too much about fan loss with the appearance of a new franchise. Besides, Dallas has an overabundance of fans and can spare a few from the south.

5) Attitude. San Antonio can pull off the Raiders’ attitude. With their Wild West and Alamo history, plus Austin’s “Keep It Weird” approach to life, there is enough swagger there to make themselves Raiders fans with their ‘tude.

With all the troubles in the NFL, it’s time for a surprise move, if only for a wake-up call to lazy NFL fans who don’t go support their local team. Move the Raiders to San Antonio and leave the Al Davis era behind.