Comparing the seven major live TV streaming services for cord cutters

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  • Reply 21 of 38
    So the proposed solution to cord cutters is get a less expensive cord??  But not that much less expensive for most options outlined here.  Someone needs to make a device the sends over the air broadcast to the AppleTV.  Then I just have to pay internet.  Or better yet, provide the ota channels via internet to the AppleTV.  Also, these skinny services still give you channels that are complete garbage.  Which was a main driver of people cutting the cord in the first place.  All these companies are doing is repacking and rebranding the same old crap and people are dumb enough to buy it.  Until there is a true ala cart option I will continue to just stream stuff for free.  
    Amazon seem to be going down the ala-cart route with Prime Channels, in the UK anyway. They offer individual subscriptions to networks... ITV for example includes the live channels AND the on demand back-catalogues. I've just signed up for the 3 month trial of Discovery which I believe is on-demand only but new episodes are added as they air - this gives me all the programming from the Discovery channels to watch when I want. There's also subscription options like BFI or MGM offering select films from the British Film Institute and MGM studios respectively - no cable-provider-esq middle man bundling it all together with stuff you don't need or want.

    edit* This of course CAN be much more expensive to have it all but should be cheaper if you only watch certain things.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 22 of 38
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    For me, none of the above... 
    For me the 80/20 rule applies:   I get 80% of what I want for very little cost.

    A digital antenna connected to an analogue TV gives me perfect pictures and access to the traditional TV channels:  ABC, CBS, NBC, and Public Television plus a few other miscellaneous ones.  That's actually more than I have any desire to watch.

    Beyond that, my $40/month FiOS cable gives me access to Web based news services:  CNN, Faux, CNBC, Reuters, WSJ, WaPo, AI, etc...  And, since I prefer to read my news rather than have a talking head read it for me, that is just fine...

    (Watching multi-million dollar sports jerks holds no interest to me.  It used to when sport was sport rather than WWE type entertainment where the winner goes to the highest bidder.  But, no longer...)

    For those services compared here, for TV viewing I am thinking that there is little savings from traditional cable because you still have a pay a cable bill to get access to them -- and those range from my low of $40/month to nearly $100/month plus the cost of the streaming service.  

    If I could stream everything over a single 5G cell service I might revisit this.  But, until then, I'm good thank you.
  • Reply 23 of 38
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,505member
    DiRT said:
    I subscribe to Fareed Zakaria's GPS on iTunes w/ no commercials for a $1/episode. (Best show on TV, BTW) and HBO $14.95/mo for Bill Maher, John Oliver and the occasional movie/series.
    I'd LOL but I'm afraid you're serious.
    That sound like an excellent line up to me but I'd need a ton of Sci-Fi stuff too :)
  • Reply 24 of 38
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    MacPro said:
    DiRT said:
    I subscribe to Fareed Zakaria's GPS on iTunes w/ no commercials for a $1/episode. (Best show on TV, BTW) and HBO $14.95/mo for Bill Maher, John Oliver and the occasional movie/series.
    I'd LOL but I'm afraid you're serious.
    That sound like an excellent line up to me but I'd need a ton of Sci-Fi stuff too :)
    StarTrek TOS is all you need....
    ..."Jim, I'm a doctor, not a brick layer!"
  • Reply 25 of 38
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 801member
    So the proposed solution to cord cutters is get a less expensive cord??  But not that much less expensive for most options outlined here.  Someone needs to make a device the sends over the air broadcast to the AppleTV.  Then I just have to pay internet.  Or better yet, provide the ota channels via internet to the AppleTV.  Also, these skinny services still give you channels that are complete garbage.  Which was a main driver of people cutting the cord in the first place.  All these companies are doing is repacking and rebranding the same old crap and people are dumb enough to buy it.  Until there is a true ala cart option I will continue to just stream stuff for free.  
    Someone already has such a device. HDHomeRun with the Channels app. 
  • Reply 26 of 38
    DaekwanDaekwan Posts: 174member
    pdnoble said:
    I have FiOS (1 gigabit) and cut the cord primarily to unify and simplify control down to an Apple 4K TV remote and am extremely pleased with the results. However, in the above comparison service quality is not discussed and maybe the assumption is (and frankly was for me) that QoS is not an issue. However it very much is, from my experience. 

    I tried Hulu Live since I already had their regular service and it’s live streaming was totally unwatchable, certainly for the channels we watch, though streaming of their back catalog always was and is fine.  I switched to Google and it was and is absolutely perfect. 

    All these services come with free trials and no contracts but if the service you select is anything but perfect (assuming adequate bandwidth) switch to another.

    I tolerated Hulu for several weeks out of ignorance and regret it: constant glitching, buffering, loss of sync, sudden sub SD quality and worse: try sound not only several seconds out of sync, but duplicated another second further out of sync. Stereo from hell. 

    I also had to contend with my wife’s highly justified demands that I switch back to cable!
    This is something that really needs to be discussed more.  I am also in a similar situation, having Verizon FIOS Gigabit internet connection and have used the free trial for all of these streaming cable providers.  In my experience PSVue is the only service that works 99% of the time.  DirecTV has the best "deal" in that you get a FREE AppleTV4K + 3 months of service for $105 prepaid (all taxes & fees included).  YoutubeTV has the best interface, best DVR and a great selection of channels.  SlingTV is the OG, but its reliability is still questionable and it just feels old compared to everything else that has came after it.  Hulu, WatchTV and Philo are fairly new comers and yet to be proven but offer the best bang for buck regular monthly pricing with no special promotions needed.

    • Money no object, want all the features? Get PSVue
    • First time cutting the cord?  Start with the DirecTV Deal
    • Easiest to use? YouTube TV
    • Already pay for Hulu + want TV? Hulu is worth the try
    • Cheap as possible and dont care about missing major channels?  Philo or WatchTV
    • Curious? SlingTV
  • Reply 27 of 38
    DaekwanDaekwan Posts: 174member
    For me, none of the above... 
    For me the 80/20 rule applies:   I get 80% of what I want for very little cost.

    A digital antenna connected to an analogue TV gives me perfect pictures and access to the traditional TV channels:  ABC, CBS, NBC, and Public Television plus a few other miscellaneous ones.  That's actually more than I have any desire to watch.

    Beyond that, my $40/month FiOS cable gives me access to Web based news services:  CNN, Faux, CNBC, Reuters, WSJ, WaPo, AI, etc...  And, since I prefer to read my news rather than have a talking head read it for me, that is just fine...

    (Watching multi-million dollar sports jerks holds no interest to me.  It used to when sport was sport rather than WWE type entertainment where the winner goes to the highest bidder.  But, no longer...)

    For those services compared here, for TV viewing I am thinking that there is little savings from traditional cable because you still have a pay a cable bill to get access to them -- and those range from my low of $40/month to nearly $100/month plus the cost of the streaming service.  

    If I could stream everything over a single 5G cell service I might revisit this.  But, until then, I'm good thank you.
    The best part about streaming TV is there is an option that works best for most people and NONE of these services require a contract of anytime.  You can literally sign up for month, switch every month to a new provider or quit any time you desire.  As you said.. OTA programming works best for you so it would be stupid to pay for cable TV in any form.  However most people prefer cable TV programming.  As far as your comment that there is "little savings from traditional cable".. you couldn't be more wrong.  But thats probably because you never watched cable TV to begin with.  Where traditional cable gets expensive is in the taxes, fees and service charges.  Having the ESPN package on your traditional cable subscription adds something $7 per subscription in taxes, fees and service charges alone.  Most cable companies still charge rental fees of around $10/month for EACH cable box.  And finally DVR services with cable TV generates it on set of fees.  

    What you dont understand from lack of experience with cable TV is that a $40/monthly streaming cable TV service will cost you exactly $40 every month.  Where as a $40/traditional cable package will cost you around $70 a month once you add in all the taxes, fees and services.  Its the same reason why cable companies promote their triple play & double play packages and will price them cheaper bundled over single services.   Because advertised price is far from the total price you pay when the bill arrives.

    Did I forget $79 installation fee when you first sign up for traditional cable.  
  • Reply 28 of 38
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Still want at least one of these add-on box manufacturers to include a DVR for over the air TV recording. Bizarre that none of them see this as a desired feature by cordcutters.
  • Reply 29 of 38
    RSG1RSG1 Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    I have tried Sling, Playstation Vue, and DirectTV NOW.  While all three are interesting and fairly easy to navigate, none are really useful.  The main problem is the lack of rewind and fast forward.  In some cases, one can rewind to the beginning of a show, but not fast forward to the original point in the show.

    This is somewhat understandable when watching "Live" TV, but unacceptable when watching a "recorded" show or on-demand.  I realize this is probably part of the deal worked out with the content providers, but they all need to go back to the negotiating table.  This sets television viewing back at least 20 years (the release of the original TiVo) and as much as 40 years (the introduction of the home video recorder).

    Watching shows on a streaming service should be at least as convenient as watching broadcast TV with a TiVo.  If not, what is the point?  I get that advertising money pays for the content.  I'm even perfectly OK with a minimum amount of mandatory, un-skippable, advertisement time during each show, so long as it is not excessive.  But there are ways to do that while still offering a modern, 21st century viewing experience.

    I haven't given up on streaming, I use Netflix and Prime for their original programming, and I'll keep accepting free trials when offered to see if anything improves.  But for now I'll keep paying the exorbitant prices of cable until something better comes along.

  • Reply 30 of 38
    Purchased DirecTV Now for the free AppleTV 4K. I won't be keeping it. It's a non-starter because they don't allow for the creation of profiles. That means every member of the household shares the same DVR, same Favorites, etc. Fix that and I might reconsider. I'm pretty happy with Playstation Vue for now. Multiple profiles, cloud DVR. Plenty of channels, etc but I don't have access to the Velocity channel. Anyone know a sneaky way I can get access to that?

  • Reply 31 of 38
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,467member
    eightzero said:
    Someone needs to make a device the sends over the air broadcast to the AppleTV.  Then I just have to pay internet.  Or better yet, provide the ota channels via internet to the AppleTV. 
    You mean like this?

    https://www.silicondust.com

    Or this?

    https://www.tablotv.com/for-appletv/

    I have an HD HomeRun. I'm 50k outside downtown Toronto, so I get about 50 channels, 20 of them HD the others SD second-tier channels. Since the only thing you need live TV for is news, special events like the Oscars, and the odd free sports, this covers everything I need that isn't on Netflix or iTunes.


    There is something to be said for having all your content accessible behind one box and remote. An ATV with a OTA coax jack on it and a few tuners inside would be a very welcome product (and maybe fix the less than wonderful ATV siri remote) but it is never going to happen. There's no business model to justify Apple doing that, and it potentially pisses off the content providers that want to sell subscriptions to you on the same box. 

    I discovered something interesting when I ditched the cable box some years ago now: finding a roof antenna installer is not an easy thing to find. I am way past the age where I'm ok crawling up ladders onto roofs, and have found an acceptable location for a mohu leaf in a window. Plenty of channels, but a few artifacts depending on weather at times. A mast mounted quality antenna might clean that up, but it's not a priority for me. YMMV.


    I think Roku TV may be pretty close to what you're looking for. I have all my local OTA's two-clicks away, can rewind/replay which covers much of the practical utility of a DVR, all the streaming services from HBO to Plex to YouTube, and fast access to cable if it's a service you subscribe to. If you're a Spectrum cable customer there's a great Roku app too so one remote works with everything. 
  • Reply 32 of 38
    Still want at least one of these add-on box manufacturers to include a DVR for over the air TV recording. Bizarre that none of them see this as a desired feature by cordcutters.
    The HD HomeRun OTA boxes have a DVR function, I actually use Channels and it's DVR, works great. I have it recording to my home NAS and I can stream live or recorded OTA content to all the ATVs in my home, along with IOS devices. 
  • Reply 33 of 38
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,467member
    ncmacuser said:
    Still want at least one of these add-on box manufacturers to include a DVR for over the air TV recording. Bizarre that none of them see this as a desired feature by cordcutters.
    The HD HomeRun OTA boxes have a DVR function, I actually use Channels and it's DVR, works great. I have it recording to my home NAS and I can stream live or recorded OTA content to all the ATVs in my home, along with IOS devices. 
    I see great reviews for the HD Homerun so it looks like you made a good choice. I personally chose a refurb'd 4-channel Tivo Roamio, but there's also Tablo and the fairly newish AirTV. 
  • Reply 34 of 38
    karmadavekarmadave Posts: 368member
    I've been doing battle, with Direct TV, for the last couple days. When I moved my daughter to my AT&T cell plan somehow Direct TV Now was added to my service. I never received notification and in fact have never even logged into the service. Basically, they pulled a 'Wells Fargo' on me and I am steaming mad about it. Will probably move my cell service to Verizon soon. I would avoid Direct TV like the plague due to their shoddy business practices. I've been using PS Vue, for the last couple years and it works great!
  • Reply 35 of 38
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Still want at least one of these add-on box manufacturers to include a DVR for over the air TV recording. Bizarre that none of them see this as a desired feature by cordcutters.
    Isn’t a few dozen gigabytes of cloud DVR good enough?
  • Reply 36 of 38
    john_858john_858 Posts: 1member
    In terms of quality channel count for the price, DIRECTV NOW's $35 "Live a Little" packages is one of the best values, with at least the anchor channel for every major network. The only thing I miss here is NFL Network/Redzone option and my regional Fox Sports network but the regional Fox Sports networks are included with the $50 Just Right Package. If you want to throw in HBO, it's just $5 more with any of their packages. Their DVR functionality and the on screen guide are new and somewhat limited, still pretty much in Beta mode; but I expect those features to improve with time. I've tried Sling, Playstation Vue (which is the only real option for a hard core NFL fan) and YouTube TV and after trying these four, I've settled on DIRECTV NOW because of the channel selection/price overall value.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 37 of 38
    Could someone please explain to me how this cord cutting works mechanically. Right now i have internet and cable from Comcast with premium add-ons for HBO, Showrime. This costs a hefty $234 per month, to which I the pay another $11 to Netflix, and i already have prime. But, i am confused. Is there a place i can go to see how to make this work mechanically. Do i need an antenna, or am i missing soething? Help anyone?
  • Reply 38 of 38
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,467member
    ABiteaDay said:
    Could someone please explain to me how this cord cutting works mechanically. Right now i have internet and cable from Comcast with premium add-ons for HBO, Showrime. This costs a hefty $234 per month, to which I the pay another $11 to Netflix, and i already have prime. But, i am confused. Is there a place i can go to see how to make this work mechanically. Do i need an antenna, or am i missing soething? Help anyone?
    Something like YouTube TV gives you both locals and a smattering of national networks like TNT/TBS/Syfy and a heavy helping of sports both national and regional. Other streamers like DirectTV Now have a more traditional lineup heavy on the standard cable stations. Either one would be around $45/mo and uses your internet service to provide it. 

    Go to Cordcutters.com and they lay everything out pretty clearly. Lots of articles, comparisons and how-to's. 
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