We’re back! Ron and I have had a busy few months to say the least but we wanted to check in with you all and let you know how the cord cutting is going, so please enjoy and check our previous posts to see how we got here!
Hmmm…where do we stand now?
We’ve been using Sling, Playstation Vue, and the antenna for the last few months and while I like them, I do have some issues.
- The Vue only works on PS3/PS4, Sony Televisions, Amazon Fire and Apple devices. Since we only have a PS3 and won’t be buying a new television for a while this is problematic.* I’m not the type of person to buy something just for one thing and I’m not about to start.
- Sling plays on everything, which is cool, but beyond getting the free Roku 2 for purchasing 3 months of service in one shot, it simply isn’t worth the cost if you have the Vue.**
- You can’t watch the Big Five live via PSVue or Sling which is fine if you don’t care to watch in real time but if you write recaps for a living can make things a bit more difficult than they need to be.
- The inability to pause live programming is a small thing you don’t notice you miss until you can’t do it anymore.
- The antenna is great, except when there’s a torrential downpour and you suddenly lose the channel mid scene.
One of the things I’ve noticed that I really enjoy is the On Demand capability. Using the PSVue is not that different than what we could do with DirecTV in terms of pulling up shows on the DVR because it’s available on multiple platforms – without having to add a bunch of cables or bulky equipment to the house – I can watch any of my shows easily. With Ron and I having two very different schedules this makes next day viewing, from our bedroom, on the couch or in transit, a lot easier. Ads are a few less than what you get on regular television, especially with PSVue, and you tend to be able to choose your ad experience: one long commercial before a program starts or small ad breaks in between.
I’ve also found getting the news, local and international, a lot easier. One of the features of the Roku is ability to stream specific news broadcast, like the PBS Newshour or Bloomberg TV, as well as your local news channels. The other thing that’s a nice bonus are some of the specialised channels on the Roku like CW Seed. The only over the air show I really watch is Supernatural so I don’t really notice any difference though finding old Wonder Woman episodes is a nice bonus!
It’s been a few months, and overall I have to say I do not miss DirecTV. I rarely used it for something I had to watch. Most times it was “scroll through the channels until I can find something to put on”, and I can do that without paying that kind of money. The only thing DirecTV/cable has over Vue is the responsiveness of the remote/channel guide. It just doesn’t work, and it is so unresponsive/unintuitive that I gravitate to Hulu or Netflix before pulling up Vue. It actually frustrates me to the point that I try to avoid using it, at least as the first option.
Streaming For Sports
As far as baseball goes, you can sign up for MLB.tv and get all the out of market games for about the cost of 1-2 months of cable/DirecTV. You cannot get MASN this way, though, but if you use a proxy server and put your location somewhere else (anywhere out of the O’s TV area) you can get all the Gary Thorne you want.
Now I may just need to figure out NFL…
What We’re Paying Now vs Before
We’re currently paying $60/month now, before we paid $155/month for DirecTV (already had Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime so those are not factored into either total as they are a constant). There are still channels we do not watch but the number of them is down because of the streamlined package and the month to month deal means no long term commitment. Other than some live sports events and the local weather channel we don’t watch the over the air channels very much, and we are just as likely to check out one of the sub-channels as we are the main channels. (Most over the air networks have at least one if not multiple sub-channels that offer alternative programming from the main broadcast).
As for value, the biggest value of Vue versus no live TV at all is the On Demand for shows we do watch. As the streaming services increase their lineups and what they offer I can see a point in the not too distant future where we drop Vue as well and only have the antenna and the streamers.
*Hulu Live Streaming
The Hulu live streaming service will be separate from the main Hulu service however you will get a discount: w/commercials will be $5.99 a month, w/out commercials will be $11.99
- Hulu DVR will not be unlimited, nor will the number of devices you can use it on, unless you pay an extra $14.99 and only for in home devices.
- The plans seems to be: $34.99 (which only allows you to login to one device) and $49.99 (which allows you to log in to multiple devices).
- Add On Services available:
- HBO $14.99
- Showtime $9.99
- Starz/Encore $9.99
- Epix $4.99
- Cinemax $9.99
- WWE $9.99
- Fox Soccer Plus $14.99
- NFL RedZone $9.99
- There will be a Lifestyle add-on for $9.99/month that will include the Cooking Channel; Food Network; Own and various others.
- For the children there’s an Education package that includes Animal Planet, Science and Discovery Networks and a few more for $9.99/month.
- Finally there will be two separate Entertainment channels for $4.99 each that include AMC; MTV2; BET and Spike as well as others.
** As of September 2016 the PSVue is available on Roku so we’ve dropped Sling completely as it didn’t have nearly the amount of channels that the Vue has and with the Roku device the interface is perfect. Now if we could only live stream the big four (you can currently live stream CBS via the Vue) we’d be set.