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How Complete are TV on demand libraries?
Old 02-11-2017, 03:12 PM   #1
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How Complete are TV on demand libraries?

Any insights or any of this, but TV VOD libraries in particular, would be appreciated.

Dish just floated a price increase, so DW has finally relented and we're going to move to streaming (all or part) and drop our 3 HD TV DVR package.

For live local/PBS channels, we'll either get the most basic 1 HD TV no DVR package from Dish or XFinity, or go OTA.

For all other live channels, we'll probably get Sling TV or Direct TV Now, both have VOD libraries including major networks. We've heard the Direct TV Now VOD library is spotty/incomplete, and I haven't heard how long after live airing before episodes appear on either service.

If the above isn't satisfactory WRT VOD library, I'd probably try Hulu Plus over Netflix, Amazon or PS - only because I've read HP adds new episodes the day after live airing and the others are next year.

We'll use Chromecast and/or Apple TV.

Movies are not a priority for us, we'll be fine with whatever the above VOD movie libraries offer.
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Old 02-11-2017, 03:58 PM   #2
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For my regular streaming, all I have is Amazon Prime so can't give feedback on the others (I do try Sling TV during baseball season). I'm cheap and try to only watch Prime movies or ones that I've earned enough Amazon digital credits from getting no-rush shipments. One thing I don't like about Amazon Prime for movies is movies and TV series pretty often get switched from Prime to no longer prime and vice versa. So, I might start watching a series or have a movie in my watch list, only to come back and see a few weeks later the movie is no longer Prime.
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Old 02-11-2017, 05:37 PM   #3
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Sling on demand is pretty poor IMO....it has decent coverage of NBC primetime on demand..but the platform is really balky..you should be able to get a free 7 day trial of Sling
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Old 02-11-2017, 05:42 PM   #4
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With PBS, I signed up for their membership - $5 a month (or an annual $60 donation) gives you access to a huge portion of their library. I don't know what would be missing online, but I've been able to go back a few years for some shows. Without the membership you can only stream what has aired in the past two weeks.
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Old 02-11-2017, 05:44 PM   #5
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What is available on Netflix rotates in and out each month, although they have an extensive library. Of course all their original programming is available once it releases. They seem to have a large amount of original content coming online.

On Starz - looks like all their original programming is available, plus a huge number of movies.
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Old 02-11-2017, 06:34 PM   #6
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I don't think you can depend on any VOD library. Providers have to pay for rights and the content holders sell to the highest bidder.

I am on DTV Now, which I got back in December for 3 months to get free Apple TV. I have not looked at VOD, mainly use it to stream live TV.

Also had Hulu Plus for a few months, mainly to watch some original or exclusive shows. But then I watched season 1 of Unreal. Season 2 isn't available on Comcast or anywhere else as far as I can tell. I would have to buy episodes or the season from iTunes, probably for more than what the DVDs would cost.

So if there's some old shows you'd like, you may have to buy discs.

One thing about streaming. Comcast claims my data use went way up since I started with DTV Now. Claims I used 900 GB in January and 515 GB in December.

I've been traveling since Feb 2 and so far they show 60 GB of use this month. Shady ISPs who are also TV providers will try to get their pond of flesh if you cut the cord.

If I go over 1024 GB a month, I will be subject to overage surcharges.
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Old 02-12-2017, 06:44 AM   #7
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I don't think you can depend on any VOD library. Providers have to pay for rights and the content holders sell to the highest bidder.
Precisely. The objective for streaming services is to make their service attractive by way of having exclusive rights and such. So a same-to-same-ish conversion from broadcast to streaming will require subscription to at least two and probably at least three different streaming services.

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One thing about streaming. Comcast claims my data use went way up since I started with DTV Now.
We noticed a big up-tick in data consumption when we started streaming frequently in the fall. We were using about 100 GB a month pretty consistently before that, then when we started streaming a lot it went up to 220 GB, then 384 GB during the one month our niece was here living with us, then 250 GB and 250 GB. So yes, streaming will definitely bump up your data consumption. Replacing our broadcast consumption with streaming would cost us far more, between subscription fees and data overage fees.
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Old 02-12-2017, 06:52 AM   #8
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I'm about to cut the cord with Comcast and go with Google Fiber + Netflix. Just replaced an old TV that wouldn't work with a Roku box with an inexpensive "Roku TV"- didn't know such things existed but it's got the Roku software built in.

My advice- just find a good streaming service and you'll find content you like. I'm going to miss some cable offerings but there's a ton of material on Netflix and I'lll never be able to get through all of it in the time I spend watching TV, and that's OK. And now that I see I can get PBS for a small donation, I may do that, too.
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Old 02-12-2017, 10:14 AM   #9
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It really depends on what kind of programming you enjoy. If you're watching an American-average 150 hours of television a month, and most of that is first-run hour-length drama episodes and half-hour sitcoms, you will eventually "catch up" and exhaust the supply of any streaming service, even Netflix. Assuming that you're going to pay for the streaming data anyway, the right answer may be to plan to hop from service to service, rotating through them to most cost effectively consume their offerings.

As I understand it, HBO Now offers every HBO original series (ever). If you've never seen The Sopranos, you can subscribe to HBO Now, pay $15, binge watch the series beginning to end, and then cancel at the end of the month. Amazon is just starting to produce original series. We ripped through every one of their series we were interested in in four months. We're back relying on broadcast television now, but come this summer, we'll probably subscribe to Netflix, and start rifling through their catalog.

The real question for my spouse and I is whether we can really reduce our reliance on cable. We could put Hulu and CBS All Access into the rotation, but right now neither offer any significant amount of original series programming that we have not already seen. If we focus on Netflix's original series programming for an extended period of time, followed by Showtime's streaming service and then Starz', perhaps will will have developed enough of a backlog to get off the train (i.e., and thereby put Hulu into the rotation), but I doubt it.

Instead, I think for us we'll never abandon cable entirely. Comcast is very smart about pricing. They know that you cannot really cut the cord, because the cord also carries your broadband service. The way they have their pricing now, keeping just the broadcast channels and high-speed Internet will run only 25% less than what I'm paying now for 150+ channels. And Google Fiber doesn't help; where they're offering it near here it is the same price as Comcast.
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Old 02-12-2017, 12:20 PM   #10
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We pay $70/mo for 50/50 internet (no caps) and broadcast TV via Frontier FiOS. Adding the broadcast TV tier is actually cheaper than internet alone due to the double-play discount. And it avoids me getting up on the roof to fiddle with an antenna (we are 35-40 miles from broadcast towers).

We subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Curiosity Stream for $25/mo total. Between the streaming content and live TV, we can always find something new that interests us. Our 2 TVs are each equipped with Fire TV boxes running Kodi, which provides free EPG and DVR functionality for live TV.

We've been quite happy with this set-up for almost 4 years now. From what I remember, most cable programming had become pretty bad. Anything that's good seems to eventually show up on Netflix or Amazon. So we can now binge-watch some of the "better" cable programs with no commercials.
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Old 02-12-2017, 12:24 PM   #11
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Playstation Vue has a free trial so you might try that one too. I haven't tried DTV Now so can't comment on it, but I have used Sling. It was ok but Vue much better imo. I find lot's of good movies on Vue and just record them through their dvr cloud. Saves it for 28 days. You can add Epix Hits for $3.99/mo if you want that. I haven't as I see plenty with Vue and Prime.
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Old 02-12-2017, 12:37 PM   #12
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I am probably going to do free trials on several services.

For live broadcasts other than local/PBS I'll probably try Sling, though Direct TV Now looks better on paper. If both fall short, we'll try PS. If their VOD libraries aren't good enough, I will probably try Hulu Plus.

As far as live major network local/PBS, we'll either use OTA or bite the bullet and get the most basic Dish or XFinity package we can buy.

We have one Chromecast, but we may buy an Apple TV or Roku for one TV. We have one (Samsung) smart TV, and two stupid Sony's (with HDMI) - though we only "need" one.

Slowly coming together, baby steps with DW...

Sure wish there was a way to find out more about the TV show libraries on the various streaming services. Sounds like no one has complete libraries, and it's hard to figure out when after live broadcast, streaming episodes are available online. Like mobile, they make it as difficult as possible to get information - but they make it easy to subscribe (without knowing to what exactly).
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Old 02-12-2017, 01:22 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Cobra9777 View Post
We pay $70/mo for 50/50 internet (no caps) and broadcast TV via Frontier FiOS. Adding the broadcast TV tier is actually cheaper than internet alone due to the double-play discount.
Our pricing used to be like that; no more. Once they scrambled everything, basic cable is $40 plus fees, on top of whatever you're paying for Internet. Welcome to the new, unregulated marketplace!
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Old 02-12-2017, 01:29 PM   #14
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One thing about streaming. Comcast claims my data use went way up since I started with DTV Now. Claims I used 900 GB in January and 515 GB in December.

I've been traveling since Feb 2 and so far they show 60 GB of use this month. Shady ISPs who are also TV providers will try to get their pond of flesh if you cut the cord.

If I go over 1024 GB a month, I will be subject to overage surcharges.
They're showing you as having sonsumed 60GB when you're away from home? That's crazy. Comcast does the count, no scrutiny, and they have a significant conflict of interest. What could go wrong?

Is the billing period the calendar month? Do you have any wifi devices still running? One irritant with the newer Roku devices, when watching a series, it automatically starts the following episode. If I'm not careful and turn off the tv before ending the viewing session it could go on all night.
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Old 02-12-2017, 04:55 PM   #15
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They're showing you as having sonsumed 60GB when you're away from home? That's crazy. Comcast does the count, no scrutiny, and they have a significant conflict of interest. What could go wrong?

Is the billing period the calendar month? Do you have any wifi devices still running? One irritant with the newer Roku devices, when watching a series, it automatically starts the following episode. If I'm not careful and turn off the tv before ending the viewing session it could go on all night.
Billing period is not the calendar month but they count data by the calendar month in their app. And web site.

There are widespread reports of shenanigans with data overage charges.

I called and they could not tell me what was consuming the data. They suggested someone is using my wifi network, which is bunk.

I've streamed a few things with my Slingbox and used the VPN server on my router but none of that comes close to 60 GB in almost two weeks.

Back in January, they claimed several days in which I used over 100 GB. I stopped using streaming, which was at most a couple of hours a day. Yet I could see data increase on their meter in their app by 8 GB between like 11 pm and 9am the following morning.

My devices are getting notifications but my iMac is asleep.

If they try to charge me overages, though I have not hit 1024 GB, there will be war.

Now mind you the cap until October or November was 300 GB a month and I never got any notification that I went over it. My usage pattern has not changed other than trailing Hulu Plus which is 720p stereo and DTV Now, which can be up to 1080p stereos. Comcast's own website says streaming could be 1-2 GB an hour at most.
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Old 02-12-2017, 05:29 PM   #16
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And Google Fiber doesn't help; where they're offering it near here it is the same price as Comcast.
I was paying $135/month for Internet plus landline plus TV from Comcast. Their Internet-only packages are a joke; I can get Google Fiber for $70/month at speeds of up to 1,000 bps or Comcast for $75month for up to 100 mbps. No contest. Landline has been replaced with MagicJack at $35/year.
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Old 02-13-2017, 05:11 AM   #17
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They're showing you as having sonsumed 60GB when you're away from home? That's crazy.
It depends. If someone, like a neighbor, has your wifi password, I could imagine that. Or, if you just subscribed to Carbonite as you were leaving, that would make sense. Without really knowing all aspects of the situation, it is hard to say.

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Comcast does the count, no scrutiny, and they have a significant conflict of interest. What could go wrong?
There are ways to measure your own consumption, and those who have done so have discovered marginal differences, not substantial differences.

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One irritant with the newer Roku devices, when watching a series, it automatically starts the following episode. If I'm not careful and turn off the tv before ending the viewing session it could go on all night.
Just as a for instance.

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There are widespread reports of shenanigans with data overage charges.
"Widespread reports" are less reliable than Comcast, imho. People always complain about getting charged for something. Yet, there are no confirmed cases despite the ready availability of the means to capture and submit evidence to the district attorney.

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I was paying $135/month for Internet plus landline plus TV from Comcast. Their Internet-only packages are a joke; I can get Google Fiber for $70/month at speeds of up to 1,000 bps or Comcast for $75month for up to 100 mbps. No contest.
That just indicates that Comcast's phone service is overpriced. Their Internet-only service is indeed $75/month, just like Google Fiber near here.

And you can use VOIP alternatives with either.
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Old 02-13-2017, 07:52 AM   #18
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I can get Google Fiber for $70/month at speeds of up to 1,000 bps
There is some question as to whether Google Fibre is a viable business as currently structured

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An average revenue per user of about $65 means Fiber generated just $150 million in 2014 from its 200,000 subscribers. At that rate, it'll take 40 years to recoup just the costs of its capital expenditures in its first six cities.
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:15 AM   #19
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I just went thru a similar exercise. I had too many tech problems with DirecTV Now, Sling was OK, but I went with PS Vue. for $40 (because I am in a metro area), I get live CBS,ABC,FOX, and NBC, plus NBC regional sports. I downloaded the Halmark TV app and registered it while still on cable (necessary to get it) and also download the PBS.org app which give me my local PBS stations. Sling did not carry CBS, and ABC was a surcharge.
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:16 AM   #20
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I share a netflix account with my mom and dad and my queue of shows to watch grows faster than my ability to watch them (and I probably watch 10-20 hours in a typical week I would guess). Great content, both from other networks and Netflix originals. We mostly watch TV shows but they have movies on there too.

We tried Amazon Prime video for a month for free and it was okay. They have some decent original content (like Man in The High Castle).

One approach is to be polygamous. Sign up for one service, watch it till you watch everything you want to watch. Let it expire, then sign up for another service and exhaust their library. Want to binge watch an HBO series? Sign up for that service for a month. It's trivially easy to sign up for a service and cancel it.
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