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Bryan Eacret
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Joined: 08 February 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 546
Posted: 16 March 2018 at 2:53pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Iím getting pretty close to cancelling DirecTV, and going to a combination of live TV streaming and over the air broadcasts, via a powered HD antennae. Currently, I have the basic package on DTV. It costs an additional $20 a month to receive a package that has local sports, and a bunch of channels I wonít watch. I can afford it, but it pisses me off, and I think Iím already paying too much for the service.

 

The internet livestreaming options are cheaper overall, and I can get the local sports channel. They each have good points and bad, but seem workable overall. There are a few options Iím considering and would like some opinions from people that are using them.

 

Iím very concerned about internet data usage. I have a 1TB a month cap. Iím using about 250GB a month (this is mainly Netflix and Amazon and whatever my daughter does on the internet when Iím not home). I donít want to pay an additional $30 a month for unlimited data, as I donít feel like that would save me enough moneyto be worth shutting down DTV. I did some calculations (guesses on usage, basically) and I think I would be OK, but not sure. Also, Iíve upgraded to 4K,which uses more data if a program streams 4k. Anyone using the internet for all TV viewing? Any data usage concerns?

 

One service Iím looking into is SlingTV. If I went this route, Iíd probably buy a Tivo forrecording broadcast TV, as SlingTV doesnít have all the local channels I would like (no CBS). Anyone using an over the air Tivo or SlingTV?

 

Iím, also, looking at Sonyís Playstation Vue. There is a package that I like for about $45 a month. I think itís lacking a couple of channels my family watches occasionally, but weíd survive. The concern with this option is the data usage. Iíd watch broadcast channels over the air (news and sports mainly) as much as possible. However, most of the shows we watch would be through the online DVR. I donít know if adding a Tivo to this package would save me enough to make it worth it. Definitely, paying additional for data would not be worth it. Again, anyone using it? How much data is it sucking up?

 

Iím interested in anyoneís experience in cutting the cord in general. Youtube TV and Hulu wonít work for me, but if youíre using them chime in.

 

Thanks in advance.





Edited by Bryan Eacret on 16 March 2018 at 3:13pm
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Steve Coates
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Joined: 17 November 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 351
Posted: 16 March 2018 at 3:40pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Bryan, Can you give your metropolitan area?  It would help to understand the OTA in your area. 
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Bryan Eacret
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Joined: 08 February 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 546
Posted: 16 March 2018 at 4:09pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I'm in the SF Bay Area. I'm getting a great picture over the air on all stations, using an indoor antennae. Recording shows OTA is a problem. That's why I'm looking at streaming live tv and/or a Tivo.
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Steve Coates
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Joined: 17 November 2014
Location: Canada
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Posted: 16 March 2018 at 5:19pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

No, recording is not bad. When I cut the cord, I used a HomeWorx converter on my oldest tv and coupled with a USB harddrive (passport), I was able to record in full 1080p. The files were not encoded to the device, so I could watch them directly from the usb on a different tv or computer.

Since the HomeWorx box died, I used a ChannelMaster. Expensive and since it has internet streaming it uses an encoding on its pvr harddrive, preventing viewing ,while not using the Channelmaster box..

I have recently purchased two, newer version, HomeWorx boxes and I intend to phase out the Channelmaster. Sometimes there are two programs I want to record and the Homeworx only allows for a single recording at a time.

The HomeWorx boxes are inexpensive and the only problem I seem to have is with the newer USB3 harddrives. I got mine through Amazon.

A search online reveals many broadcast channels in your area. I get six here and two are of no interest to me. The signal strength is strong and I can easily run 3 lines from it without loss. It is a passive antennae, not powered.

While the kids were away at school, my daughter acquired a Netflix account, which leaves something to be desired, but worth the cost for our family. I also have an Amazon Prime account, Canadian, so not the same content as the U.S., and I am using a computer directly connected to the main TV for family viewing.
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Mark Tillson
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Joined: 17 February 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 324
Posted: 16 March 2018 at 7:50pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Four years ago we gave cable tv a kick in the posterior.  We purchased  Amazon Fire Fire TV for $49.99.  Our subscriptions: $49.99 for unlimited internet, $10.99/month for Netflix, $7.99/month Hulu, and Amazon Prime is free, because I went back to school= $68.97/month...and a friend gave us their login info for HBOGo, so we're golden.  I'll never go back to regular cable. 
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Bryan Eacret
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Joined: 08 February 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 546
Posted: 16 March 2018 at 9:24pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I am not really interested in getting all my tv over the air. There are a few cable channels that my wife and I watch. My wife is addicted to HGTV. That channel and my desire to watch local baseball and basketball (only available through nbc sports), without adding to my bill, are driving me to the live tv streaming services. 
I donít find that Netflix and amazon prime are a satisfying alternatives to having cable channels. I use both services in conjunction to what I currently have, but donít want them in lieu of.
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Steve De Young
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Joined: 01 April 2008
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Posted: 17 March 2018 at 10:54am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I switched to SlingTV a year ago and will never go back.  I pay $60 a month to Sling for a much longer list of channels (which my wife and I picked) than we had before with cable, and HBO.  For me, though, the real benefit of Sling is that in addition to the livestreams of all those channels, everything from all of those channels is available On Demand.  HBO in particular has a massive library of nearly everything they've ever done, plus whatever movies they're currently showing.  I often can't schedule life around a TV schedule, so with this I don't have to, and I don't even have to remember to record things.

As far as local channels go, Sling has NBC and Fox OnDemand included, which covers pretty much all of the commercial TV I watch.  I did want to have a local channel, so I paid $48 for a year of CBS All Access, which gives me access to the local CBS channel as a live stream, and their whole library of programming, which includes all of Star Trek, plus a lot of classic shows (like Twilight Zone, etc.)

The only caveat I have about Sling is that its a bandwidth hog, so make sure your internet either has no cap, or a high one.  My wife and I are heavy users.  We frequently have multiple streams going, and do a lot of online gaming.  Our cap is 1 TB, and we've never gone higher than 90% of it in a month.  As a rule of thumb, Sling uses about double the bandwidth of Netflix for the same time streaming. 
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John Popa
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Joined: 20 March 2008
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Posted: 18 March 2018 at 4:59pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I cut the chord a year or two back.  I go with basic SlingTV for $20 and an indoor HD antenna for the networks. I can't record but I never DVR'd anyway. I'm looking at going to Youtube TV for $35 soon but I'd need to upgrade my Roku device.  During football season I'll add the bigger ESPN package for $5 to get more college games (SEC Network, ESPNU and what not.)

I have Netflix and Hulu as well as Amazon Prime but I spend about $50-$70 less than I was spending when I had a full cable package. 
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Kevin Brown
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Joined: 31 May 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 7460
Posted: 19 March 2018 at 6:59am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Iso want to cut the cord, but nearly everything I watch, with the exception of sports and The Voice, is recorded.  I was thisclose to cutting DirecTV and moving on, but I'm not finding any viable solution to the shows I record.... yet.
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Bryan Eacret
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Joined: 08 February 2007
Location: United States
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Posted: 19 March 2018 at 8:49am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

For those using SlingTV, how easy is it to record shows and use the online DVR? My wife has trouble adapting to new technology.   
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Matt Reed
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Joined: 16 April 2004
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Posted: 20 March 2018 at 1:41am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I'm such an NFL fan that I just can't cut the cord.  Can't.  The only way you can watch full NFL games live the day that they air is via the Sunday Ticket.  DirecTV has got me, like millions, locked because I don't just rely on Red Zone which you can get through just about anyone else.  I actually envy people who aren't sports fans, but that's just not me.  I am and so I need to pay for it, thus I need a subscription.  

Plus as much as people tout On Demand as a way to watch series, it's not all that great.  Many networks, both broadcast and cable, can only allow the last five episodes "on demand" so you can't really catch up that way unless you find a specific series with a different contractual obligation.  So if you have no DVR option and hope to catch everything live but just so happen to miss something, you can't hope to lean on On Demand to catch up with a season 13 episodes into its run.  Then you need an arm (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon etc.) to stream it, thus adding to your total consumption.

In the end?  What I pay for DirecTV is similar to what I'd pay for the various streaming options + Sling to get everything I want.  A la carte isn't the panacea that many have touted.  
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Robin Taylor
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 1062
Posted: 20 March 2018 at 9:37am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I cut the cord a decade ago when I moved out of ontario and haven't looked back. The few times I want to watch network tv I have a digital antenna that pulls in Over The Air uncompressed HD broadcasts (7 channels here in Edmonton) that look and sound amazing. 

Everything else I watch Over The Top via various devices, like tablets and game consoles.

The only caveat I offer is that I have unlimited data on my home internet so caps have never been an issue for me. Between my wife and I watching VOD and my stepson watching youtube 24/7 we are well in excess of 300-400 GB a month.

Playstation Vue is not great.

If a large or unlimited data cap is not in the cards, cutting the cord may be very challenging especially as 4K content becomes more ubiquitous.

RT


Edited by Robin Taylor on 20 March 2018 at 9:38am
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Bryan White
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Joined: 01 February 2005
Posts: 450
Posted: 21 March 2018 at 5:21pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Has anyone tried Youtube TV?


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Steve De Young
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Joined: 01 April 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 2806
Posted: 21 March 2018 at 10:53pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

As a Sling user, I'll be honest, I've never felt the need to pay the $5 a month for the Cloud DVR.  Damn near everything that airs is available on demand within 24 hours of it airing, most things even quicker than that, so if I miss it first run, I just do the On Demand thing.  If you come in late, there's a 'Start at the Beginning' feature for most stuff.  
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Bryan Eacret
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Joined: 08 February 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 546
Posted: 22 March 2018 at 1:46pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

That's interesting about the on demand option. I think DirecTV's on demand system is awful.
Are you able to fast forward (skip commercials) using Sling's on demand? Are Network shows available?

Thank you 
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Steve De Young
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Joined: 01 April 2008
Location: United States
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Posted: 22 March 2018 at 2:50pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

With Sling, some channels will let you fast forward On Demand content and some won't.  I think its a contractual issue with the sale of ads by some networks.  And Fox and NBC On Demand are available, and are pretty comprehensive.  For example, right now Fox OnDemand has the entire first season of The Orville and the entire series of X-Files, including all of the current season, available OnDemand.

ABC I never really watched anyway, and I paid for a year of CBS All Access, so it cost very little, and that gives me their whole OnDemand library and a local livestream. 
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Bryan Eacret
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Joined: 08 February 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 546
Posted: 28 March 2018 at 12:36pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I ended up signing up for the free trial on PlayStation Vue. My wife and I like it enough that we are going to try it for a full month to make sure it's what we want. Also, I'm still concerned about the data usage, but I think we will be fine.
I expect we will cancel DirecTV before the month ends, which sounds harder to do for me than it should. It feels weird to disconnect from a way of viewing I've used my whole adult life. I'm sure DTV will throw all sorts of perks at me to try to keep us on.

Anyway, Vue seems good. It will cost $45 a month and we will get almost all the channels we care about. If I were to add on the local sports channel to DTV, I would be paying about $120.
The on-demand shows are plentiful, but you can't always fast forward. The DVR allows us to fast forward the shows we set up as favorites.
The layout of the guide and channels is not the greatest, but we will get used to it.
I think we are getting an East Coast feed for cable shows, so that throws my wife off when she wants to watch live TV. She hasn't quite grasped the concept of using on-demand. 
After I adjusted the Apple TV settings, the picture on Vue is great. Better than DTV. 

Some more questions for anyone who cares to respond:
Is anyone using an Amazon Firestick? How is it? I may buy one for my second TV. I don't need the 4K version for this TV. I would like to connect the stick to an Ethernet cable. Anyone doing this?

Thanks again for the responses.
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Matt Reed
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Robotmod

Joined: 16 April 2004
Posts: 32221
Posted: 28 March 2018 at 9:16pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

The Firestick is great.  It's far cheaper than an AppleTV, has a great interface and the apps are plentiful.  I'm still a huge fan of my AppleTV, but the Firestick is a worthy addition.
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Michael Casselman
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Joined: 14 January 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 940
Posted: 29 March 2018 at 8:33am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Cut the cord? Hell, my road just got cable this last week. I've been relying on DishTV for years.
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Steve Coates
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Joined: 17 November 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 351
Posted: 29 March 2018 at 7:25pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I just wanted to mention my monthly costs, which for Netflix and Amazon Prime are about $18.50, including taxes.
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Pete Carrubba
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Joined: 22 June 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2698
Posted: 11 April 2018 at 8:59pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I stopped watching TV on a broadcast schedule years ago. The only shows I watch with any regularity are recorded news shows. Seasons of TV shows I watch I simply see when the seasons are added to Netflix, so MCU shows like Agents of SHIELD are not indulged in until I can binge watch them. 

I'm interested in trying a streaming service that has live news broadcasts. Don't care about sports. The only thing that has prevented total cord cutting is access to recording news shows. I prefer to zip through commercials. On-Demand  commercial shows disable fast forward. 

I also believe this new data caps thing on home internet needs to go. It's a direct affront to cutting the cord, and as 4K becomes more widely used, we'll see those data caps become a genuine nuisance. 
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