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May 07, 2017

Cutting The Cord: It's Easier Than You Think. I Think. I have No Idea. That's What This Post Is For

cord cutting.jpg

Treat this as a forum in which to discuss the various ways to decrease your financial commitment to the various media companies that drain our life's essence every month through their nefarious, government sanctioned pillaging of our bank accounts.

A couple of requests....please don't recommend anything that is against the law, and please try to stick to the topic at hand, which is, obviously, guns and boobs ways to get content that don't require a cable or satellite connection, or at the very least allow one to decrease the total cost, and limit the exposure to dirty stinking filthy leftists ESPN.

This post is entirely my idea, and "Village Idiot's Apprentice" has nothing whatsoever to do with its planning and execution.

And to prime the pump of cord cutting conversation, here is commenter "Blaster"......


We cut the cords last fall. Prior to cutting we had Netflix and Amazon streaming (because we had Prime). After taking the cable package off of our FIOS, bill went from $160/month to $60.

We added the following - Sling TV and DirecTV Now.

A few notes:

Sling comes in a couple of flavors. Sling Blue, Sling Orange, and then both together. Orange is $20/mo, includes 30+ channels. Those include ESPN and ABC family of channels. IMPORTANT TO NOTE: only streams on 1 device at a time.

Blue is $25/mo, 40+ channels. No ESPN or ABC. Streams to 3 devices simultaneously.

Then you can get both for $40/mo.

Sling works on just about anything that plays streaming video.

DirecTV Now Is $35/month and has 120+ channels. It is $35/month - they have been promising/threatening to take it to $60 a month, but it is still $35. The $35 price will stay if you started at that price. They say. Stream to 2 devices simultaneous. IMPORTANT TO NOTE: does not work on Roku. Yet, They said it would be Q1 2017. Now they say 2017. So it could still be a while. We got a prepay 3 months get an Apple TV free. We also, for some reason, got a year of HBO for free. I don't know if everyone did or some other reason.

The DirecTV Now login works with many other apps for streaming, so you might get those apps on Roku and watch things there. (Example, HBO Now works on Roku with DirecTV Now login) I do not think they count against device logins with DirecTV Now.

Quality: Your device matters. We started Sling on a 2015 model Amazon Fire stick. It worked. Kind of. Had to restart the app or stick often. Have a Roku stick (we got free with 3 month prepay of Sling) and it is much better than the Fire stick. But not nearly as good as the Roku Premiere or Apple TV. The picture quality on the boxes is fantastic. I am on 75mbps internet and we have few issues with buffering, but it does happen sometimes, but I think it is a problem at the source. Every once in a while a channel is down.

What you give up: DVR and DVR functionality. With a cable DVR you can pause/rewind etc. every channel. Not so with Sling/DirecTV Now. Different channels offer different functionality. I suppose there are PVR options out there but I am pretty much top of the techie food chain, and I can't be bothered with it. Some channels have on-demand but that functionality differs per channel, and they seem to be mixing those up over time. Sometimes there are more shows/episodes than at others. So it is possible that if you miss a show, well, you missed it. You are tied to the "broadcast schedule" a little more tightly. For example, if you missed a show that was on tonight, it may not be on demand for a couple of days or a week, depending on the channel.

Navigational interfaces - I actually miss the up down button and channel surfing. Also, you cannot punch in a number and go to the channel you want. There are only the slidy interfaces. Sling has a horizontal motif, DirecTV is vertical. Neither wraps around, so you get to the end, you have to slide back. They both have the ability to designate favorites so you can slide through a smaller number of channels, but no way to do one button press to SyFy for example. I suspect these work better if on a phone or tablet than with the remote. And just a note, the new touch screen like pad on the Apple TV remote is too darn sensitive. Hard to control in comparison with rockers. And, because it is an RF remote, if you watch in bed and stick it under the pillow you still can change channels and stuff when you move.

I think that eventually this stuff will come to streaming, but for now, the streamers will be less easy to use than cable or a dish on purpose.

What you gain: Out of contracts. Unless you do the 3 month prepay in exchange for some hardware, you can cancel any old time.

Out of hardware rental. You buy your stuff and it's yours and you don't have it on the bill. The hardware updates fairly often, though so it may net out if you buy often. But a $40 Roku streaming stick? Works pretty well and you can take it with you wherever if that matters.

Theoretically you are a la carte on these, but they are really bundles. You get plenty of crap channels along with the ones you want. I think Sling's 40 channels is about half and half. But sometimes even the crap channels have something to watch.

Let me add another service that is in the mix, and all I have is what is on their website, since I don't use them: Playstation Vue. They were just getting started when I cut my cord, but despite the name, they are available on other than PlayStation devices. Channel lineup looks similar - but not the same - as SlingTV on their base package, which is $30/mo. They have Cloud DVR included with their service, and it *looks* like that works with all the channels they offer. Their Elite Slim package looks like everything a cable package would include that doesn't have premium channels for $45/mo. I would rank DirecTV Now as the best deal out of these, but when they go to $60/mo pricing, I think that PS Vue will move to that position.

Just one more thing to add, we have both sling and DirecTV so our total bill is only $45 less than before, but we will drop Sling TV when DirecTV now is available on Roku, due to the mix of hardware we have. Plus, we got Sling TV before DirecTV Now became available. If we were doing it today we would be DirecTV on Apple TVs.

Kind of stream of consciousness, but hopefully something useful there

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posted by CBD at 06:30 PM

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