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Directv Now or Hulu Live or ?
Old 05-20-2018, 12:45 AM   #1
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Directv Now or Hulu Live or ?

I have read the other cord cutting threads and have done a lot of research online. I think we will sign up for either Directv Now or Hulu Live and would like feedback from those who have them (or who have had them).

Our situation -- We will be new customers when we move into the house we just bought. We are now in the DFW area. Before we were in the Houston area and had Comcast (awful since there was no real competition).

The primary options for us will be Frontier Fios (either 100 mbps or 150 mpbs both up and down) with Frontier TV or Spectrum Cable (either 100 mpbs or 400 mpbs down but only 5 up I think) with Spectrum TV.

We will 4 or 5 TVs. Two of the TVs are 4k TVs. One of those is a Roku TV. The other 4k TV and two of our older TV are smart TVs that can stream stuff like Netflix.

We have few channels we absolutely have to have but really want a few specific channels. I primarily watch TV in 2 ways. First, most evenings will using my computer I will stream TV to my computer while I am playing games or doing other things on the computer. DH does the same. So being able to stream to the computer is important. Also, we will have an exercise room. I like to watch TV while I use the treadmill or exercise bike. Sometimes I stream TwitchTV or YouTube (our Roku TV is in the exercise room). But, the rest of the time I will watch DVRed episodes of shows from HGTV or sometimes the Food Network. Occasionally I will watch HBO or some other channel.

DH watches some sports. He is not hardcore but will watch football and baseball occasionally other sports a few nights/days a week. He has no interest in sports talk shows, just the actual events.

What we are comparing to: From what I can tell from the Spectrum webpage we can get a triple play package for 4 TVs for about $173 a month plus taxes and fees. That is with the 400mb internet. The 100 is $25 a month cheaper. We do both do gaming so we wouldn't consider anything below 100. My reservation on Spectrum is the upload speed is so slow. Also, I hate all the taxes and fees which add on a lot. (Oh - I don't want the phone service but it is cheaper with the phone service than without). I know with Comcast our service was $190 a month but taxes and fees added about $34 a month. So, I would guess the Spectrum option would be around $200 a month.

With Frontier Fios, I was quoted $175 a month from someone helping us set up utilities. That was for 4 TVs and with the 100mbps internet. 150 is an extra $10 a month. Again, I expect that when all is said and done it would be around $200 a month. If we stayed with cable TV I would probably do this one.

What we will get for sure: We will get Frontier Fios 150mbps internet for about $75 a month (possibly could save $10 for 100). We already have Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu (the on demand stuff, not Hulu Live). We will keep those (well, sort of if we get Hulu Live).

Streaming options we rejected - These are the ones we thought about but think won't work.

Playstation Vue - There was a lot I liked about it. Their HBO add on is expensive ($15 month) but that is the one premium channel we would get. I like their simultaneous streams. The real dealbreaker is that CBS is not available here. We do want ABC, CBS, and NBC. If my mom moves in (as planned) she will definitely want them. I know I can do CBS All Access for $6 a month. DH is not a fan of that as he doesn't want the hassle factor of having to use a different service for one channel. For the same reason, he doesn't want to do OTA either.

SlingTV - We would have done blue + orange as that was the only way to get the channels we wanted. But it is worse than PS Vue in that it is missing both ABC and CBS here.

YouTube TV - No HGTV or Food Network which is a complete showstopper

All of which leaves the two we are still considering.

Directv Now - This has all of the channels DH and I would want. Going to the $50 a month option does add in several channels that while not absolutely necessary are channels we each sometimes watch (Travel, Weather, Cooking for example). Going to the $60 a month option adds one channel I would like (Nat Geo Wild) and several sports channels that DH would want. Also HBO is only $5 a month.

Negatives - DVR is in beta apparently and there have been complaints about it. It is apparently for free only 20 hours and only for 30 days. I often waited longer than 30 days to watch things (and, no, they weren't always available on demand). Apparently I read that you may be able to increase the 20 hours to 100 hours for $10 a month which seems a little pricey if it doesn't add to the 30 days.

Also, only 2 streams is allowed which is a deal breaker. But, supposedly that is being increased to 3 at $5 a month. I am not sure though if that is happening now or is an in the future thing.

Total cost - $60 for 3rd tier + $5 for extra stream + $5 for HBO

So that is $70 plus $75 or so for internet.

Hulu Live - It has only one set of channels which is $40 a month. But to be able to skip commercials on the DVR and to increase streams from 2 to unlimited (plus 3 on the go) costs $20 a month. Also HBO is $15 a month after the first 6 months.

So total cost is $75 compared to $70 for Directv Now.

The number of streams is far superior to Directv Now. Also, Hulu has its DVR which may not be as buggy as Directv Nows and it allows you to store 200 hours (I think though for only 30 days although I'm not sure).

Both Directv Now and Hulu Live have ABC, CBS, and NBC so that is a plus.

However Hulu is missing a lot of channels. None of them are deal breaker channels but some I like to watch at least occasionally. (Comedy Central, Cooking, OWN, Weather, CSpan). Also it is missing a few sports channels that would be available on the selected Directv Package.

For both of these we would have to buy either Rokus or Fire TVs. I am conflicted on that. We really like the Roku TV that we have. We have 4 TVs now and may buy a 5th TV. If so, it will be a TCL Roku TV. For the other 3 TVs we will need either buy a Roku Ultra or Roku stick (for the 4k TVs) or the Fire TV (probably not the stick as the stick doesn't do 4k).

Right now leaning to the Roku as I watch a fair amount of you tube. Also we like the Roku interface. That said -- we just got a couple of Echo Shows so the Amazon Fire TV has some attraction due to interaction with Alexa.

My sense is that Hulu Live seems to be "friendlier" than Directv Now in terms of DVR and streaming. But, that comes at not having as many channels. Also, HBO is more expensive after 6 months which makes Hulu Live $75 a month compared to $70 for Directv Now. But, I worry about the streaming limit on Directv Now and the puny DVR. If I have to pay $10 a month to upgrade DVR on Directv Now then it is $5 more than Hulu Live.

Also some of this stuff is not yet here (or out of beta anyway) on Directv Now so not sure how well it will work. Hulu Live seems to have worked through that stuff. Also I guess I save $8.48 a month if I get Hulu Live as I won't need my Hulu on demand subscription any more.

But, Hulu Live is more lacking in channels that aren't core channels for me but are channels I would ideally want to have.

Would appreciate any thoughts/experiences.

Of course, I know we can try each one of them and can freely switch from one to another. But, trying to get it right from the start if possible.
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Old 05-20-2018, 04:36 AM   #2
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A point about streaming TV services. We have Direct TV which I like but is expensive. $113/mo. for three TVs. Daughter was telling me about her Hulu for $39/mo. One of my sticking points was local channels so I can get NFL games. Hulu (and others I've since learned) has them. I began looking at Hulu, YouTube TV, Direct TV now, etc.

Tuesday a severe storm hit. Several tornadoes in the area. Major storm damage and power outages. Fortunately we have a whole house generator. Charter internet was down longer than the power. A little over three days. Direct TV never skipped a beat.

So, I will be reluctant to be more dependent on internet service. Also I am aware that while Charter has been dependable, they are the only option I have for decent internet service. I don't like having all my eggs in one basket.
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:49 AM   #3
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Weíre considering changing from Sling to Directv Now since the DVR function is available. Note that the DVR is not yet available for Roku and some others (coming soon). It is available for Apple TV and I think phones and tablets. Looks like a good time to take advantage of the free Apple TV with 3 months prepaid. We currently have Sling (no networks) plus OTA outside antenna and Tivo for The 4 main networks. Our antenna signal is marginal and we sometimes only have partial recordings on Tivo so getting the networks with Directv Now is attractive. I recently read on Clark Howard that Directv Now is much improved over the last year. Thereís so much to consider and no clear best decision with the current state of streaming services. Glad Iím retired so I have all this free time to analyze these choices!
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:26 AM   #4
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Never had DTVN so no opinion. I tried Hula live and liked what you got with it but I had more problems with it freezing and buffering than any package I tried. PS Vue was the best for me. OTA with Vue was my best combo when cord cutting.
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:26 AM   #5
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Very well researched OP!

I’m a PS Vue fan but if any of the live local majors (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox) weren’t available where we are (as for the OP), we’d probably drop them immediately.

Sling, Vue, DirecTV Now, Hulu Live and YouTube TV all have their advantages and disadvantages, and that varies further by location. And they’re all evolving/improving rapidly, so one that doesn’t meet your needs now may in a few months.

I’d only caution for others that some packages show ABC, CBS, NBC & Fox in their channel lineups but they are on demand only, you can’t watch anything live. Or a mix of live and on demand. On demand libraries may not be complete, with some episodes and not others. And on demand libraries may not be available until long after the live broadcast. Some things to look into before leaping.

For us near Chicago, PS Vue offers all the majors live and on demand, plus cloud DVR - it was the closest to a cable/satellite drop in which is what DW wanted. FWIW.

Good luck OP, sounds like you could be pleased with either of your best options. If it were me I’d trial my second choice and cancel. Then trial my first choice and continue if you’re happy. If not, you already know if your second choice was a better option.
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:28 AM   #6
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You might also consider the Spectrum TV Choice streaming service... you get 6 broadcast channels (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS and Music Choice) and can chose 10 cable channels from a list of ~50 channels for $22/month for programming.

I considered this for my Mom (I scheduled her tv and internet install a couple days ago) but we ultimately decided to just stay with conventional cable (Spectrum TV Select) because she is familiar with it and that service and internet were about the same at the promotional price (this is for her seasonal property so we'll cancel service before the promotional period is over).
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:33 AM   #7
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The primary options for us will be Frontier Fios (either 100 mbps or 150 mpbs both up and down) with Frontier TV or Spectrum Cable (either 100 mpbs or 400 mpbs down but only 5 up I think) with Spectrum TV.
Spectrum standard internet is 100/10 in my area (200/10 in a nearby city) and Ultra is 400/20 for $25 more. This may be market specific, but when I go to their website and choose standard internet only for $44.99, midway through the process it gives me the option to add Silver TV plan for $30/month. I have found this to be better than the 'triple play' rates. It does not include $9/month Broadcast Fee, taxes, or one STB rental fee. You only need to rent one STB. The other TVs can have a Roku (or similar) with the Spectrum app. Don't pay the $5 Spectrum WiFi fee, you can use your own router.

These are promotional rates for one year. If you have more than one adult in the house, turn in the equipment and cancel service when the rate increases. Later that same day have the other adult sign up at the new customer rates. Rinse and repeat each year as the other person is considered a new customer again. I have to give credit to the DSLReports forum for teaching me these tricks.

Regarding ABC, CBS, and NBC. Have you gone to one of the antenna websites to see what stations can be picked up OTA?
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:46 AM   #8
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https://airtv.net/products/airtv_player/

I assume there are very strong OTA signals in Dallas so this might be another option for the OP. I haven’t looked into it, but it supposedly integrates OTA and Sling TV so you have free live local majors and your Sling channels all rolled into one user interface. You don’t have to mess with changing sources/inputs. Could be a bargain in terms of monthly $.

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Old 05-20-2018, 08:05 AM   #9
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https://airtv.net/products/airtv_player/

I assume there are very strong OTA signals in Dallas so this might be another option for the OP. I havenít looked into it, but it supposedly integrates OTA and Sling TV so you have free live local majors and your Sling channels all rolled into one user interface. You donít have to mess with changing sources/inputs. Could be a bargain in terms of monthly $.

Interesting as we have Sling TV.
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:38 AM   #10
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We've had DirecTV now since it's inception. Because of that we have been grandfathered into the 'Go Big' package for 35 bucks a month. Plus local channels. There have been ups and downs, and there were times we were ready to leave it, but we figured it would improve, and it has. But the reason why may be of interest to you. There have been stuttering and freezing problems continuously. With a broadband speed of 65 Mbps, it shouldn't happen with us. We determined that the problem boiled down to our ROKU 3 box. We switched to the appleTV box (we got for free with the subscription) and have not had the issue again. It's working great now. Must be something in the buffering capacity of AppleTV. Just the other day, DirectV now added DVR functionality. Haven't dug into yet, but another big plus. Have read that Roku box has issues with recording or does not work at all. Bottom line - our experience says that your choice of media player may determine the quality of your experience with DirecTVNow. AppleTV, for us, appears to be the best media player for the service, and without it we may have cancelled by now.
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:49 AM   #11
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Just the other day, DirectV now added DVR functionality. Haven't dug into yet, but another big plus. Have read that Roku box has issues with recording or does not work at all.
I’m curious if you know more about this? Roku boxes don’t record anything to my knowledge.

My understanding is DTVN, Vue, Sling, YTTV and Hulu Live all offer “cloud DVR.” All that takes place on their servers, nothing is recorded on your end, your local hardware isn’t involved at all except for playback. It’s basically like your personal on demand library on their hard drives, that you can play back at will. It’s transmitted the same way as live programming.

For us at least, there is no difference between live and cloud DVR transmission quality on Vue, and there shouldn’t be with the others?

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/direc...020248592.html
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:02 AM   #12
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Sounds like you've done your homework quite thoroughly. At the time we signed up with PS Vue, they were the only streaming service that offered all the local live broadcast channels (...minus PBS of course, which no one offers). Last I checked, I think all the providers offer all the channels now, so I need to go back and do a similar analysis. We just have the basic PSV package for $39.99.

We're in the far north DFW burbs where OTA is not an option. We have Frontier 50/50 internet for $54/mo (non-promo price). Also, our local Spectrum alternative is a very old, small-town Charter cable system, which only offers 30/5, and reliability is notoriously bad. So not as many good alternatives. Still, we've been quite happy with FiOS since 2006 and PS Vue has the right mix of channels and DVR/on-demand capability that nicely complements our Amazon Prime and Netflix subscriptions.

We have two TVs, both equipped with 2nd gen Fire TV boxes. We use Alexa to control everything. Plus there is very tight integration between the Fire TV platform and PS Vue, similar to Netflix and Amazon Prime. Voice searches bring up content from any of those services. We mostly watch DVR content on PSV, so one of the most common things you will hear around our house is, "Alexa, fast forward three minutes."
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:10 AM   #13
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A couple points from a satisfied Hulu Live user. We do not pay the extra 20 for since we don't need the extra streaming options. We don't do HBO but its my understanding it is a month by month sign on. If we really want to watch a certain program we would just sign up at the end of season and binge watch for one month's fee.

Weather channel is something I have never seen offered on a Hulu/Sling type option even for an additional fee. However they were recently sold to another entity and we are hopeful it might get added to some general streaming services.

YMMV, but with Hulu live we feel no need to continue Netflix.. once again we might do a month or two on Netflix during the winter to catch up on Netflix originals. We have Prime as well and can't find enough hours in the day to watch things now.

I don't do a lot of You tube...but I will tell you we had a really old Roku that wasn't up to live stream Hulu..it was 5 or 6 years old. We bought one Fire Stick to upgrade and were so impressed with Fire Stick performance, such speed of loading and ease of use that we promptly bought 2 more FS and tossed the the newer Roku's we had been using on our other TV's..IMO the FS in superior....I should mention Hulu does have a few shows organized by channels that are not live but on demand only...I think a couple that you mentioned wanting are included in that area.
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Old 05-20-2018, 10:25 AM   #14
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I’m curious if you know more about this? Roku boxes don’t record anything to my knowledge.

My understanding is DTVN, Vue, Sling, YTTV and Hulu Live all offer “cloud DVR.” All that takes place on their servers, nothing is recorded on your end, your local hardware isn’t involved at all except for playback. It’s basically like your personal on demand library on their hard drives, that you can play back at will. It’s transmitted the same way as live programming.

For us at least, there is no difference between live and cloud DVR transmission quality on Vue, and there shouldn’t be with the others?

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/direc...020248592.html
I really don't know, as the new DVR recording was just introduced in our home, and haven't had time to dig into it. I do know that there had been a DTVN beta DVR out there for select people that has been offered for a while now, even on a roku box. So yes, if Roku boxes have no capacity to record, then DTVN DVR probably is a cloud function. But as far as live stream stuttering/freezing problems, AppleTV has been superior for us.
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Old 05-20-2018, 10:53 AM   #15
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YouTubeTV here. Having said that, when Direct TV Now comes with a dvr on roku, I may give it a try. I tried PS Vue, it buffered a lot. Tried Hulu TV, had a learning curve and no guide.

We do not get OTA where we live so external antenna is not a choice. If it were I would do OTA, with Hulu no commercial and a dvr setup on the OTA.
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Old 05-20-2018, 01:02 PM   #16
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Weather channel is something I have never seen offered on a Hulu/Sling type option even for an additional fee. However they were recently sold to another entity and we are hopeful it might get added to some general streaming services.
PBS and the Weather Channel were the two big holes in programming we faced when we cut the cord and went to PS Vue.

As you probably know there are quite a few streaming weather apps if you just want weather, forecasts, radar etc. We downloaded Weather Nation, though it's no where near as in depth as The Weather Channel. We were migrating to getting our weather online more often than TV anyway, so no biggie for us. YMMV It might be nice to have Weather Channel again someday if they ever become part of streaming packages.

We subscribed to PBS Passport for $60/yr or $5/mo to fill the first need. It's not as complete as live PBS, we get all the national and local programming on demand in a timely manner but some of the other regional programming is gone, e.g. America's Test Kitchen and their offshoots. And we don't get to see PBS Newshour live at 6pm anymore, but we've adapted to viewing it on demand between 9-10pm each night, and we can FFWD through stories of less interest - silver lining?
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:28 PM   #17
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Thanks all.

On paper, we would theoretically get good OTA service at our new house (NE Tarrant County). But, DH is really opposed to having a mix of streaming and OTA, just doesn't want the hassle factor. And, DTVN and Hulu Live both have the local stations so that is fine.

I am still uncertain between those two. Midpack's suggestion to trial the 2nd choice first is a good one. Also DTVN right now has a promotion so if you prepay 3 months you get an AppleTV 4k or if you prepaying 1 month you get a Roku Streaming Stick. So that is attractive.
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:39 PM   #18
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It sounds like DirecTV's future plans are to move away from satellite service and transition more to streaming services.


https://www.cordcuttersnews.com/att-...ers-streaming/
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:02 PM   #19
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One question. I know that DTVN allows only 2 streams at a time. For those using it:

I've read they are going to increase this to 3 streams for an extra $5 a month. Is that something that you can get now or is that something for the future? If future, any idea when it will go live?

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It sounds like DirecTV's future plans are to move away from satellite service and transition more to streaming services.


https://www.cordcuttersnews.com/att-...ers-streaming/
I think this makes sense. I mean why have to have the expense of physically getting cable or satellite to someone homes when you can provide the streaming service and the customer has to buy the hardware whether it is Roku or Amazon Fire or whatever.

Of course, the worse case scenario is that Directv Now at some points transitions everyone to streaming but it won't work on the Roku or the Apple TV or Amazon Fire and you have to be a Directv Now stick and plug into all our TVs and if you get tired of Directv Now and you switch to Hulu then you have to buy a Hulu stick, etc.
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Old 05-21-2018, 05:53 AM   #20
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FYI, here is a website that let's you select the channels you watch and recommends the best package for you.
https://www.suppose.tv/tv
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