Upgrading to Verizon FiOS

Currently at my house, we have Spectrum internet with an advertised speed of 100 mbps, though it’s often a tad faster, and there’s no data cap. For TV, we subscribe to Sling TV, which was a pretty decent deal at $20 per month, but less so at the new price of $25 a month. It gets the job done, but the basic tier we have doesn’t have several channels we’d like to have. We use an antenna occasionally to watch the local channels.

This weekend I stumbled upon the Verizon FiOS sign up page. We considered FiOS when we first moved in, but decided on Spectrum because at the time, FiOS had the same speed, with a data cap, for a slightly higher price than Spectrum. Now though, the tables have turned. FiOS now offers gigabit (actually around 950 mbps down and 850 mbps up) internet, your choice of several TV packages and home phone starting at $75 a month (without tax of course). The current Spectrum bill is around $65 a month with taxes and everything. Seems like a no brainer, right?

Verizon encourages you to rent their router and set top boxes, neither of which I want. And it turns out that’s fine. I already have a great Netgear Orbi setup I want to keep, and according to the forums, I can hook that right up to the FiOS box in the basement with an ethernet cable. In lieu of renting set top boxes at $12 a month each, I’ll be getting a single CableCARD at $5 a month. The card is going to plug into a tuner connected to an old computer acting as a server. I’ll be able to watch my TV channels and record things from anywhere I have internet access.

The only hold up right now is the tuner. I’d love an HD Homerun Prime. Unfortunately, and somewhat stupidly, they don’t have any for sale right now. They say the new six tuner model is coming this year, but in the meantime, they’ve stopped producing the three tuner model. So I can’t buy an HD Homerun unless I want to pay a lot for a used three tuner model.

The other option I’ve found is the Ceton InfiniTV. They have a few models, but the new ones are too expensive at $300. I’ve found a few used ones on eBay, so we’ll see if I can get one. There’s a problem with this tuner though. I really want to use Ubuntu sever for this because it’s free, and faster and easier to use than Windows for this project. There are Linux drivers for the Ceton tuners on Git Hub. The DVR and media management app I want to use, Emby, runs on just about anything. Emby only supports the HD Homerun Prime natively, but will work with the Ceton if you use the NextPVR backend for TV watching and recording. NextPVR only works on Windows though.

I think what I’ll do is get a used Ceton for a hopefully low price, and use my living room computer as the server. I’m just worried that with the transcoding Emby needs to do that there won’t be enough processing power left over for gaming at the same time. If it doesn’t work out I can always build or buy another computer I suppose.

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