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Which TV service to buy?
Old 07-29-2018, 10:49 AM   #1
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Which TV service to buy?

My wife and I have been on the DishTV system for 5 years now, and are beginning to look around for some possibly better options. Dish currently has several technical issues, like channels mysteriously changing, screen image suddenly pixillating, etc.. Whenever we talk to a Dish technician, the problem is solved, but that's about a half-hour process. Dish also had to deliver a new Hopper (main hub) to us this year. The company offers 250 channels, which sounds great, but there is a catch: The channels are spread out over three distinct packages (tiers), no one of which offers all the channels we like. For example, if you want CNN and Animal Planet, you have to subscribe to 2 different tiers, since both networks don't appear on the same tier. Consequently we're looking for a service that lets us pick only the channels we want to see.

I called a DirecTV rep a few weeks ago, and she said that Direct offers no more than Dish, but it's less expensive. Well... that is...for the first year, then there would be a $50 jump in the monthly rate.

Our local electric company offers a FiberOptic cable that would allow us to receive programs via the Internet. Just go to, say, the CBS web site, and sign up for your favorite CBS shows at $5 per show. That sounds great, except that the electric company will charge us $1400 just to install the FiberOptic cable. Plus a monthly fee for using their service.

Then there's the plethora of other Internet channels like Netflix, Amazon, etc.

I think it's a confusing mess at this point. A local technician for CenturyLink told me that all these companies are now in a vicious competition with each other, which is the cause for all the confusion. I also heard a rumor that Direct and Dish are getting out of the satellite business and getting into Internet broadcasting.

Has anyone else here had similar experiences?

Thanks,

Roy in New Mexico
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:03 AM   #2
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Fiber will get you better service with fewer interruptions. I would not pony up $1400 just to get started. If there is "vicious competition" you might be able to get that fee waived, plus a better monthly price. Note that whatever price you start at the service provider will ratchet up the price annually unless you play the "call and threaten to cancel service" game. If you do cancel be ready to be hounded by calls. After I cancelled Dreck TV they robocalled many times per day for about a year.
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Old 07-29-2018, 02:51 PM   #3
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I've played the 'cancel/threaten game with Xfinity/Comcast for decades. So far it's worked. I also have to do the same with our newspaper, the Sacramento Bee. They'd have me paying over $400 a year for a newspaper delivery if I hadn't.

BTW, with Xfinity, my 'drop dead' price is under $200 a month. Includes TV, internet and phone service. When the contract is up, they usually up the price to near double. I call, tell 'em under $200 or pull their equipment. (The price includes their cable boxes and router as well as in home repair service). The customer service agent comes back with a lower price from the original, I say no, under 200. Another offer, another no until eventually they give me a price that is under 200. I say o.k. and I'm good for 2 more years. I have no idea how low they'd go before they told me bu-bye, but I think I get my money's worth at that price. Oh, also includes DVR and on demand as well as Netflix and a few other movie channels. A lot more TV than I could ever want to watch any ways.
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Old 07-29-2018, 03:06 PM   #4
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There are several threads from those of us who stream all our live TV using Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV or Hulu Live - you don’t need a fiber internet connection. You can get by with as little as 10-25 Mbps. There are alternatives to expensive cable or satellite TV, streaming live TV is far less expensive.

One of several here http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...-87375-34.html, or Google “cord cutters.”
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Old 07-29-2018, 03:22 PM   #5
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We like our cable tv and get everything for under 200. My son uses other things and what a pain when I visit to remember how to do everything if he isn’t home.
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:05 PM   #6
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We recently signed up for Directv Now. i will never go back to regular cable or satellite again. After using streaming for awhile it is obvious to me that cable and satellite are going to die for TV. It just makes no sense when streaming is easier for everyone.

The thing that I best love about streaming is not having to pay a monthly fee for each box on a TV. I pay for a certain number of simultaneous streams, yes. But I can have 10 TVs if I want to. Yes, each one has to have a Fire TV or a Roku Stick or an Apple TV (or whatever) but it could be moved from TV to TV if I really wanted to. I like having several TVs available but didn't like having to pay a per box monthly fee and now I don't have to.

We did the 3 month prepay of Directv Now so we could get the Apple TV. I think we will either try Hulu Live or Playstation Vue next.

Two reasons:

1. DH has repeatedly had difficulty logging on. He watches a lot on his TV and several times he has just not been able to log in. Occasionally he could get on with his phone but not his computer or our TV. No one else was watching and we pay for 3 streams. This is a dealbreaker for him if it doesn't get better fast.

2. I am annoyed with the 20 hours for the Cloud DVR. I record some HGTV shows that have multiple episodes in a day. So, 10 hours can get used up in less than 24 hours and it is not always a good time to watch. That DVR needs to be a lot bigger....
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:48 AM   #7
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Direct TV is great as long as you don't need to call them for any service related problems.
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:35 AM   #8
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If you are looking to get away from cable/satellite service, everything you want to know is found here: https://www.cordcuttersnews.com/
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Car-Guy View Post
Direct TV is great as long as you don't need to call them for any service related problems.
And the fact that it’s the most expensive (satellite) TV service I know of. Dish Network is less, and streaming is much less. I’m not current on cable options, but I know they’re comparable to satellite and much more than streaming.
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:25 AM   #10
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If you can secure 25mb (or faster internet) with a high (1,000 GB) or unlimited bandwidith/download limit, then the world is your oyster for TV.

All the streaming options are no contract. Free trials, low 3 month offers, free devices for signing up.

You will need a device like a Amazon Fire TV, Roku or Apple TV at each TV. That is an initial cost.

We use Fire TV boxes with Sony Vue (no Playstation required). Personal profiles, DVR for each user. DirecTVNow has a DVR now. You can get 3 months of DirecTV Now for $10 right now.

Another benefit of the streaming packages is you can authenticate all the individual apps (Fox Sports Go, ESPN, etc). That opens up all the specialized apps.

If you are an Amazon Prime member, the Prime content offers a lot of TV and movies.

Netflix is another easy add on. All easily run from your box. Fast and easy to use. Low power.

The only other thing you need it is a good router. Google Wi-Fi (1 or 3 unit mesh) is highly recommended.

$50 for internet. $50 for streaming package. Add ons like Netflix. It is not $0, but it saves money over the $200 cable bill and is flexible, no contract.
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:35 AM   #11
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Wow, that cord-cutters site has really grown since I last visited it! I'm going to work my way through it and then proceed. This guy has a gold mine if he can keep it up (similarly to that credit cards points guy, who parlayed a hobby into a profession).

But I'm not convinced I'll learn what I need to know. I grew up when plug and play meant plug and twist the on button and, voila, 3 channels sprang up instantly. You toggled right and left for light and dark, if needed. End of issues. I grew up when television was "the idiot box," and I can't seem to adjust to its needing large manuals and consultations over the phone.

But I have to! If there were only a "tool" where I could enter my parameters (e.g. my prime watch time is at 5 am when on the treadmill. I don't need sports on television. I do need access to a large library of past programs and movies to watch during exercise. I do watch current news and the occasional broadcast program. I have a computer, but don't care to use it as my main watch venue (I have a friend who streams, but it requires him to seat himself in a chair with a board across his lap. I rarely watch television without doing something else at the same time). I have an Amazon subscription. I don't know how smart my tv is. Etc.

I would pay for a one-time consult with a local "media consultant" who was up on all the current local options and could end the session with a printed recommendation. Like an insurance agent! I would pay (less) for access to an online "tool" where I could similarly respond to a series of questions and end with a recommendation. (Like annual health care option "tools.") I know that if I could just get a good hour with someone who knew his/her stuff, I could save loads of dough. A lucrative niche awaits the right person here.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:01 AM   #12
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It seems to me that if you just try to replicate traditional cable/satellite with a live streaming service such as Sling or PS Vue, you're probably not going to save a ton of money. We currently pay right at $100/mo for internet plus PS Vue (before tax/fees).

The basic cable package here is $90/mo for internet, TV, and landline phone. That's also before tax/fees, but also before STB/DVR rentals. And of course, it might include install, ETF, and price increases after a year or two. Not sure how that would all play out, but it's not more than plus/minus $10/mo either way, especially with the latest price increases from all the live streaming outfits.

I stick with streaming (PS Vue), not so much for the savings, but because I think it's better than traditional cable. It's portable, cloud DVR, easy switching with free trials, better user interface, better content integration, good search functionality, and lots of great hardware options including voice control, etc. The new streaming boxes seem so much quicker than the clunky old cable STBs.

To me, it's a bit like Uber vs traditional taxis. Initially, it was the lower price that attracted me. That price gap is closing a bit now. But I'll stick with Uber and Lyft. It's just a better, more innovative solution in almost every aspect. I feel the same way about streaming TV service.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:17 AM   #13
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I use Sling TV. I get 30 channels for $25 month. I also have Netflix for $8, plus my monthly cable internet is $49.99. All in, I am paying about $83, and I occasionally will get HBO for $15 (but can cancel at anytime) if there is a show I am watching.

This works out to be nearly $100 cheaper a month than my Cable TV/internet package was. Huge savings!
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:19 AM   #14
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And the fact that it’s the most expensive (satellite) TV service I know of. Dish Network is less, and streaming is much less. I’m not current on cable options, but I know they’re comparable to satellite and much more than streaming.
It probably is, I haven't checked. I'm playing almost $200mo now and have most of the channel packages they offer. The good thing is the service is pretty reliable (except for rain fade in really bad weather once or twice a year). However, whenever you call in for a problem, their customer service folks are the most incompetent and rude people I think I've ever dealt with. They may even be worse than the folks who work in health insurance claims dispute departments.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:45 AM   #15
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So when you cut the cable, what do you use for a TV guide for the networks?
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:46 AM   #16
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It probably is, I haven't checked. I'm playing almost $200mo now and have most of the channel packages they offer. The good thing is the service is pretty reliable (except for rain fade in really bad weather once or twice a year). However, whenever you call in for a problem, their customer service folks are the most incompetent and rude people I think I've ever dealt with. They may even be worse than the folks who work in health insurance claims dispute departments.
We pay $50/mo for PS Vue and $5/mo for PBS Passport. We have 68 live channels with PS Vue (channel list below), a cloud DVR plus many shows On-Demand, and we can view on up to 3 TV's simultaneously or 5 devices (TV's, desktop, laptop, iPad and/or iPhone). So in my world I'm paying $55/mo for TV with all the bells & whistles we had with cable or satellite.

We use Roku streamers, but others may choose Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast or another - one time purchases and we broke even after 3 months, saving at least $600/yr ever since and we had a pretty basic Dish Network package, others will probably save even more.

We pay $50/mo for 25mbps Comcast internet, which you could argue takes our TV cost to $105/mo - but who doesn't have/use the internet regardless? So again, we pay $55/mo for TV as far as I'm concerned.

Our service is at least as reliable as cable or satellite ever was, and the picture quality/resolution is just as good if not better.

And it's not difficult to use at all, and no more difficult than cable or satellite. If it was, DW would have demanded we go back to satellite after the free trial. She got used to it in 2-3 days and we've never looked back.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:46 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pellice View Post
If there were only a "tool" where I could enter my parameters (e.g. my prime watch time is at 5 am when on the treadmill. I don't need sports on television. I do need access to a large library of past programs and movies to watch during exercise. I do watch current news and the occasional broadcast program. I have a computer, but don't care to use it as my main watch venue (I have a friend who streams, but it requires him to seat himself in a chair with a board across his lap. I rarely watch television without doing something else at the same time). I have an Amazon subscription. I don't know how smart my tv is. Etc.
What you require is free (after equipment purchase, i.e., Smart TV, Roku, nVidia Shield, etc). There are many (and I mean a lot) of free services. Here is a pretty good one - https://www.roku.com/whats-on/the-roku-channel. PLEX and KODI are a bit complicated (PLEX much less than KODI) but, also, provide free streaming TV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pellice View Post
I would pay for a one-time consult with a local "media consultant" who was up on all the current local options and could end the session with a printed recommendation. Like an insurance agent! I would pay (less) for access to an online "tool" where I could similarly respond to a series of questions and end with a recommendation. (Like annual health care option "tools.") I know that if I could just get a good hour with someone who knew his/her stuff, I could save loads of dough. A lucrative niche awaits the right person here.
You might try to Google it. I know there are a number of individuals in Denver who do that full time. And TBH, are not that costly... well, they are salespeople, so watch out.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:47 AM   #18
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So when you cut the cable, what do you use for a TV guide for the networks?
I stream my Sling TV on Amazon Fire....and there is a guide built into Sling TV. The guide is very similar / basically the same thing as what you'd expect on any given Cable TV carrier.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:53 AM   #19
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So when you cut the cable, what do you use for a TV guide for the networks?

As mentioned, each of the services have their own TV Guides. However, I find that using https://streamingtvguides.com/ allows me to print them out so I don't have to "channel surf" so much.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:55 AM   #20
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I stream my Sling TV on Amazon Fire....and there is a guide built into Sling TV. The guide is very similar / basically the same thing as what you'd expect on any given Cable TV carrier.
PS Vue, DirecTV Now, Hulu Live and YouTube TV all have guides similar to cable or satellite too nowadays - you don't need to look up programming elsewhere unless you want to. PS Vue example below:

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