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The Death of the Cable TV Bundle

LakeWashingtonLakeWashington Registered User Posts: 9,299 Senior Member
Really interesting report/opinion from Bloomberg Business News. Can't say I have much sympathy for the Cable TV companies. One thing I whole-heartedly agree with is that the Cable Networks made a super-dumb move when they overpaid for live sports. I love college football and the NCAA basketball championship, but when those events switched exclusively to Cable, I learned to live without them and re-discovered the glory of broadcast radio.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-08-08/who-killed-the-great-american-cable-tv-bundle
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Replies to: The Death of the Cable TV Bundle

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,399 Senior Member
    I have one word that might help....Sling.

    Last year, I wanted to watch the NCAA women’s march madness, so we bought whatever we needed to get on Sling for the month. I think it was $20. When the month ended...we cancelled.
  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner Registered User Posts: 36,804 Senior Member
    Sling is great. $30/month flat, better than paying $120 to Comcast for the privilege to watch 15 minutes of CNBC here and there. :)
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,039 Senior Member
    Another Sling fan. Saving about 1000/year. Have all the channels I want except one. No sports interest at all.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 32,929 Senior Member
    Pleased educate me more about Sling. Thanks. We are dinosaurs and rarely watch tv but couldn’t see natgeo special on Yellowstone because the bottom price cable we have would charge extra to have that channel. We just get the basic network channels.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,039 Senior Member
    edited August 9
    Sling is internet delivered tv, via Roku or other similar devices. Nat Geo is one channel but I don't know if specials are included. It does include movies/rentals. I don't watch those so no experience. Also a Netflix link, if you have a subscription.

    On some areas, network tv is available. In mine, not without an additional flat antenna. I think I paid 15 for that at Best Buy.
  • youceeyoucee Registered User Posts: 1,255 Senior Member
    Also look at Directv Now, YouTube TV, and PlayStation Vue. All have better video quality than Sling IMO if that’s something that matters to you.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 32,929 Senior Member
    We have a “smart tv” so can already access the Internet on it. Thanks—don’t have netflix, only AmazonPrime.
  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner Registered User Posts: 36,804 Senior Member
    You probably have Netflix and some other mentioned above apps already pre-loaded on your TV. If not, you can get a Roku stick for 30 bucks off Amazon. All of these a ala carte Internet TV services offer a slightly different mix of programming; for us, Sling made the most sense because it had both CNN and CNBC which is what Mr. watches.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,039 Senior Member
    Yes, Sling has Yellowstone Live in the rentals.
    They sometimes offer a free roku or other deals. I really like their customer service.

    I didn't get roku but the AirTV interface, which is what allows local channels to also ride in, using the flat antenna.
  • chercheurchercheur Registered User Posts: 1,163 Senior Member
    We cut the cable cord just last week! We were paying between $115-$135 per month for TV (depending on how we divvied up our "bundle discount").

    We are currently doing a 2-week free trial of YouTube TV (https://tv.youtube.com/welcome/) based on Clark Howard's recommendation (https://clark.com/technology/tvsatellite-cable/4-things-to-know-before-you-sign-up-for-youtube-tv/). It is $40 per month, and we bought a Roku stick to connect.

    We've only been using it for 6 days, but here's what I like:
    --plenty of channels for us, only the History Channel is missing for me
    --unlimited DVR recording included in the price
    --locals channels are included, so I don't have to switch to an antenna to watch them
    --my spouse and kids get their own accounts which also gives them unlimited DVR recording (separate from mine, they can't see my recordings and I can't see theirs)
    --3 users can be streaming at once
    --it's been reliable so far

    What I don't like:
    --The DVR recordings are somewhat of a mess. You can't tell it to just record new episodes only, so all episodes are recorded. The episodes are arranged in order, so if you know what show/episode you are on, you're fine. It does mark episodes as watched, so after you've watched your 1st episode, it's easier to see where you left off.
    --Recordings, if not watched within a day or 2, get replaced by the video on demand episode which doesn't allow you to fast forward through commercials. I'm curious to see how this compares to other providers.

    Our Roku (purchased at Best Buy) came with a 1-month free trial to Sling, so next week I'm going to give Sling Blue a try. I've read their DVR service allows for 50 hours of recording which is plenty for us as I prefer to only record new episodes and then delete them after watching.

    Sling doesn't include my local channels, but we have a small antenna plugged in to get local channels and PBS over the air. The picture quality is great, and all I have to do is change the input from HDMI to TV.
  • deb922deb922 Registered User Posts: 5,308 Senior Member
    I have a question that maybe someone can answer. When I was at my sisters last month, she had switched to Hulu live and it was great. She got local channels and as far as I could see worked just as well as my cable. The British Open was on and we watched that. She lives in a big city though.

    I live in a rural area though. I looked up Hulu live and only one local station is included. But the other networks are on demand. If a sporting event is on, can I watch that through the on demand option? Or would I have to get an antenna for that? The other “local” stations are 50 miles away, will an antenna pick those up?

    Also I have one smart tv and that will be fine for Hulu, I got that figured out. But what about my non smart tv? How would you set those up?

    Thanks, I’ve been trying to figure these things out.
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 1,542 Senior Member
    edited August 10
    @deb922 I have Hulu live for $39.00 with 2 users at the same time plus dvr that I rarely use since I can always find what I want (description this way on purpose).

    There are many flat attenna that go 50 miles. Look up on Costco etc and read the descriptions. They all look the same so make sure. You might have to try a few to see what works Even though I can get local channels without an attenna... Your over the air (Ota) will always look better since it is pure HD not compressed. Plus your not using any of your internet incase your provider ever throttles your usage. Again being in a rural area you might have to go like old fashion attenna on the roof but the new flat ones tend to work.... Hit and miss. Once you get past that..........

    I use a firestick since it's faster then my TV to get any application like Hulu, Amazon prime, Netflix. I am saving over $120.00/month. We did this 6 months ago. Hulu just came out with a TV guide also.

    I need /want sports and news and my wife wants the latest shows, Bing series etc. I can watch every college or pro sport game I want without a sport package. This is huge for me. I get like 4 different cnn's and all the other news channels. Hulu also has some amazing series of their own. You can use you tube etc web browsers to internet search things etc etc.

    With the Amazon firestick I recommend getting the extra volume /channel changer called the side kick. This is all we use. You can also control by voice with most things. But buy only when on-sale to save a lot. They both seem to go on sale frequently so check Amazon.

    We get everything we want for a fraction of the price. If there is a program you really want now you can always buy the series for like $30.00...much better then what we were paying.

    There are some hiccups and some stuttering /buffering once in a while and when it happens I always remind myself that we are saving a lot per month. Plus you can watch on any device at home or away.

    We have 5 tvs all with flat attenna. I did upgrade my modem and router since I am more of a tech nut. I noticed we were not getting the speed that we were paying for and the old modem was the issue. Check your internet speeds on Speedtest by Ookla. Make sure you are getting what you are paying for.

    Hope that helps. Once you get the hang of it, it's all pretty easy.

    FYI sports are both on demand and live. I am speaking above about live sports. All the games are there for the taking including college sports.
  • eh1234eh1234 Registered User Posts: 943 Member
    We just ditched our cable bundle, too. We already had a Fire TV stick and got Sling Blue with DVR and HBO for $40/month. It has pretty much every channel I we ever watched anyway (and it has our local NBC Sports station for NHL games). In our area, NBC and Fox are included (but they're not our local stations). We'll get an antenna if we decide we miss PBS.

    The video quality on Sling is fine - our FIOS HD channels didn't work half the time anyway so the Sling quality is actually an improvement.
  • shellfellshellfell Registered User Posts: 3,066 Senior Member
    We've had Sling for over 2 years and use a flat antenna to pull in local channels. We've been very satisfied with the channel selection and price. Unfortunately, we're moving to an apartment in a city & I don't know if we'll be able to pull in local channels with an antenna (too much interference from other buildings). We might need to check out YouttubeTV or HuluTV to see if they'd give us our local channels. I'm certainly not looking forward to paying for cable again, but we may have no choice.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,039 Senior Member
    What AirTV does is allow for local channels same as cable, without changing any settings. You can look up online how far your local tv station towers are, see if they're within 50 miles. The Sling website shows what cities have local available without the antenna.

    None of this tech is perfect, it's still new. But that's no issue. I added showtime and more cable news. Total cost 40 with Blue.

    Have to say. I watched these threads and was as confused as anyone, at first. But it'seasy. Even adding the flat antenna was a no brainer. I did need support when first setting up. But all my experience with cust svc was excellent.
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