Cord cutting on the cheap!

harshness

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I’m not sure that works well financially. The cable companies are pretty much pushing and pricing the heck out of bundling services.
And sometimes that works to the subscriber's advantage. If you can get a good-sized bundle with Internet for the same or less than Internet and a few streaming subscriptions, you win.
 

lparsons21

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And sometimes that works to the subscriber's advantage. If you can get a good-sized bundle with Internet for the same or less than Internet and a few streaming subscriptions, you win.
Absolutely!

I’m still playing with streaming subs and money to see which represents the best value and has the stuff I want to watch. New 2 week trial of YTTV started this morning. I can see why it is getting such good press and comments in various forums and websites. It represents a lot of bang for the buck. It has all the channels I would watch with the exception of Paramount, and that channel only for one show, so that isn’t really a concern. And it has more channels and more similar to what my cable TV sub is, missing some that cable has, has some my cable sub doesn’t have. All in all, a wash. At $50 it is only $8 less than my cable TV portion. It has VOD which my cable doesn’t because of my retail Tivo. In June, when my contract is up with cable it will be $28 less than cable TV assuming no increase in YTTV pricing.

And that may be a big assumption since most reports I’ve seen, though they are probably more educated guesses than anything else, is that Google is losing money on it at the current price. But the again, cable companies are not getting fat on TV subscriptions either, so who knows what the financial future is?

All that said, I wouldn’t go to YTTV until June when the contract with the cable company trips as the cost is just too close now.


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lparsons21

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I learn something new every time I start looking at the streaming world...

My original premise was that the cheapest way to stream and get all the broadcast and most cable channels content was a combo of Hulu basic & CBS All Access. Supplemented with some freebie ad-supported stuff. I was almost right, or at least almost right for me.

Hadn’t realized that two channels of importance to me aren’t there in that combo. SyFy and USA, both of which have ‘must have’ content for me. Currently the cheapest way to get those 2 is Sling Blue @$30. In reality it is $35 because the 10 hours of free dvr space isn’t good at all, the extra $5 gives you 50 hours, which might be enough if you’re careful.

The combo of Sling Blue, CBS and Hulu Basic and no ads is $55.34 if you pay for CBS annually or about $60/month if you don’t. At that cost, a cable/sat replacement service comes into play though you lose the originals of Hulu & CBS All Access.

For example, YouTube TV is $50/month all in, including unlimited DVR, that would give you a heck of a lot of channels, including your locals for most. It also include VOD of past shows to some extent, depending on channel/show. You can skip ads in DVR’d episodes but not in VOD. You could even add in Hulu & CBS w/ads for about $12/month total, or $24/month w/out ads. Making a grand total of either $62 or $74.

Hulu Live is a consideration, but it is more expensive by a fair bit as you really need to take the base and add the expanded DVR and with no ads that costs $71 but includes all of Hulu Basic. Add CBS to that and it rises to either about $80 or $92 depending on how you pay for CBS.

Going forward depends on just exactly what Peacock and HBO Max will bring to the table. Assuming no ads, Peacock is $10/month, HBO Max is $15. So total of Hulu, CBS, Peacock and HBO Max $45.34. The unknown is are they bringing current programming of their owned channels to those services. So far, articles have not said anything about that with certainty. That would make a killer, relatively cheap combo. Downside for some is that would include almost zero sports.

OK, now my cost comparisons if I cancel my cable subscription. I’m only using the figures with subscription to the service and not to the subscription to those services I always subscribe to. That’s because that cost is fixed and would be there regardless.

Mediacom - current bill is $158, rising to $178 in June. Included in that is the internet service which by itself costs $99/month for 200/20 with a 2TB cap.

Sling Blue - cancel cable TV, reduces out of pocket to $134. Savings of $24 right now and $44 in June. No sports of concern, locals via Tivo and delayed streaming, sparse DVR and no VOD.

YTTV - cancel cable TV, reduces out of pocket to $149, a reduction of $9 now and $29 in June. Has more channels, locals, good DVR and VOD. Possibly more savings because I could cancel HULU since the VOD is quite good and their originals are not a real value.

Hulu Live TV - Note: figures are offset because Hulu basic is included in price.
Cancel cable TV, reduces out of pocket by nothing now, and $20 in June. Advantage is after using it enough you could get used to the hinky UI Hulu uses. Lots of stations, locals, middling DVR if you buy the 200 hour extension, lots of VOD. Note that my opinion of the UI is because of watching some videos on YouTube of it. I had tried it quite awhile back and wanted to again, but couldn’t get a 2nd try at a week of free trial.

Going forward:
Hulu basic, CBS, Peacock & HBO Max - All no ads, all assuming channel content is actually there. Cancel cable, out of pocket $124. Savings of $54 in June, not possible now.

One non-financial benefit to the Sling Blue is that all my other streamers tag into the AppleTV app in one way or another so a unified search is there as is a pretty good ‘up next’ indication. And going forward probably Peacock and HBO Max will too.




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harshness

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The other part of the equation is that both streaming and traditional pay TV aren't static in what they offer. The future may bring something you can't get today or, by the same token, it may take away something you take for granted (or shift it to a higher-cost tier).

The only real mistakes you can make if you're committed to switching to streaming are engaging in a long contract and assuming that what you remember is the way it still is.

The only universal truth is that anything that claims to be unlimited isn't.
 

lparsons21

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True, though the cable/sat systems are less flexible and slower to change IMO. And both are a PITA to deal with if you want to cancel, and if you are under a contract, an ETF is usually involved. With one possible future exception the contract and ETF situation just doesn’t exist.

The biggest advantage to streaming is that you aren’t locked into them for more than a month at a time. And cancelling or changing is all done online simply. A secondary advantage is that you are only paying for your service and not an ongoing rental of equipment. I’m sure there are others.

Cable’s problem with pricing is that the locals have to be on them, it isn’t a choice they can make. So even if you don’t want or need the locals from them you can’t opt out as you can with Dish and some of the streamers. That’s a fair piece of the pricing puzzle. And making changes with many cable providers is always a phone call, which is a real PITA more often than not.

Satellite’s problem is that except for some rare exceptions, they are too expensive. Cable’s bundling deals and streamings methods produce cheaper prices.

All that is not to say that streaming is perfect. It is far from that. The UI’s are different, the DVRs work differently, ad skipping where allowed isn’t as easy or smooth, and the channel mix can make for a lot of digging around to find the best deal that still provides you what you want. And of course, they all have simultaneous stream limitations.




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harshness

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Cable’s problem with pricing is that the locals have to be on them, it isn’t a choice they can make.
Whether you pay viggerish to TiVo or to your cable company, is that really a hot topic? I would think that a unified UX across all channels would make up for a good chunk of any cost advantage that a TiVo DVR might offer (and you wouldn't be screwing yourself out of VOD). If you need locals on more than one TV, the cable/satellite option only charges once where TiVo charges a pretty healthy up-front per TV ($179.99) for an otherwise not very exciting streaming box. That may not sound like much to someone who's vested in ATVs, but for what it offers, the Mini VOX is relatively expensive.
 

theBruce

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If you need locals on more than one TV, the cable/satellite option only charges once where TiVo charges a pretty healthy up-front per TV ($179.99) for an otherwise not very exciting streaming box. That may not sound like much to someone who's vested in ATVs, but for what it offers, the Mini VOX is relatively expensive.
The cable/satellite option you still have to pay monthly for each box to each TV to get those locals, that is on top of the Broadcast fee.

You are correct for Tivo, you are ignoring the other services that are less expensive and do not need to pay for each Television like Tablo and HD Home Run.


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harshness

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While you are correct for Tivo, you are ignoring the other services that are less expensive and do not need to pay for each Television like Tablo and HD Home Run.
Not so much ignoring them as using Lloyd's context as the environment for the reply.

I have about $160 tied up in my Plex system (with lifetime Plex Pass) but with only two tuners, it isn't enough so I'm looking at another two tuners at least. Full disclosure dictates that I admit that my Plex server cost isn't included in that $160. I had a media server long before I committed to Plex. I have a lot less money tied up in it than those with a NAS do, but it is part of the deal. What works best for anyone is necessarily and significantly impacted by what they have and what they want. The trick is to assemble the right mix of bits and pieces or recognize when to cut losses and start from scratch.

I generally agree that TiVo has no place in a discussion of budget systems for the modern cord-cutter but as Lloyd's case illustrates, there are some hopeful refugees that already have the hardware and lifetime service. That the OTA tuners in the early Bolt DVRs are disappointing needs to be factored in.
 

lparsons21

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Whether you pay viggerish to TiVo or to your cable company, is that really a hot topic? I would think that a unified UX across all channels would make up for a good chunk of any cost advantage that a TiVo DVR might offer (and you wouldn't be screwing yourself out of VOD). If you need locals on more than one TV, the cable/satellite option only charges once where TiVo charges a pretty healthy up-front per TV ($179.99) for an otherwise not very exciting streaming box. That may not sound like much to someone who's vested in ATVs, but for what it offers, the Mini VOX is relatively expensive.
The viggerish is always paid when you are on cable here if you want a DVR. You either pay to Tivo for the guide service, or you pay a rental to the cable company. With the retail Tivo you gain a few streaming apps and unified search over most of the content available, but you don’t get the cable company’s VOD. With the cable company’s Tivo you pay rental for each TV in the house, you get VOD but a much smaller list of streaming sources. So kind of 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other.

But yeah, if you are buying equipments to do this, Tivo isn’t cheap at all. I think also that with Tivo you can support 4 Mini Vox’s, so more locations in the house could be covered if needed.

If you only needed 1-3 simultaneous viewing rooms then YTTV would give a unified UI, a channel selection as good or better than many cable companies and would be cheaper overall.


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lparsons21

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I generally agree that TiVo has no place in a discussion of budget systems for the modern cord-cutter but as Lloyd's case illustrates, there are some hopeful refugees that already have the hardware and lifetime service. That the OTA tuners in the early Bolt DVRs are disappointing needs to be factored in.
It should be noted that even though the early Bolt DVRs have weak tuners, that wouldn’t be an issue in many locales.

For someone starting from scratch to look at streaming, and also for a box to use to do it, then the costs for that have to be factored in. Fortunately there are all kinds of boxes at all kinds of prices. Roku and Amazon have nice cheap devices as well as some more pricey. AppleTV is at the highest end. My preference is ATV



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lparsons21

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To use AppleTV, do you need an Apple ID and use iTunes and the App Store and such as that? In other words, do you have to buy into the whole Apple scene?
You do have to have an AppleID and you use the App Store on the ATV to get your apps. That’s as far into the Apple scene you have to go.


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lparsons21

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Well I screwed up the numbers! I have 3 Tivo Bolts bought at different times and thought they all have lifetime service. But 2 of them don’t. One was a special deal for $99/year service, the other was $149/year service.

If I were to stay with cable I would drop the one with the $149/year service as its been in a guest room unused for a couple years. The $99/year has to be there with cable as it is a 6 tuner, 3TB model.

So refreshing the spreadsheet a bit shows the following:

1. Sling Blue, CBS All Access, Hulu, OTA w/Tivo would be $24.33 less than cable setup now, and $44.33 in June.

2. Hulu Live TV saves $20.67 now and $40.67 in June

3. YouTube TV saves the most at $40.67 now and $60.67 in June. Part of that is cancelling out Hulu and CBS All Access. Because of the way YouTube TV’s DVR works Hulu wouldn’t be needed. Also YouTube TV’s login will work with pretty big selection of channel specific apps. Some of the savings would come from cancelling the Tivo service. CBS All Access would only have value for their originals and that could be accomplished with just subbing a couple times a year and binge watching.

The Sling Blue combo would be the most difficult to manage, though not horribly daunting. CBS & Hulu shows will integrate somewhat with AppleTV app, which is a plus.

YouTube TV’s DVR methodology is a bit different from cable/sat. For shows in a series, you select the series and it immediately shows the VOD versions in the DVR section going back a varying number of episodes depending on channel owner’s policy. Usually at least 5 most recent episodes. In the VOD versions you can’t skip ads. New episodes are just like we are used to on cable/sat and you can skip ads though the skip isn’t as smooth as one a cable/sat box. That works for me as I only use a DVR these days to time delay watching shows. No archiving of movies and such since I almost never go back to them, and usually the movies I might consider re-watching are available somewhere streaming and most of the time for no additional costs.

Hulu Live just is a non-starter. Costs more and has the worst UI of all I’ve looked at.

I’m going to wait out the 2 week trial of YTTV to make sure I’m comfortable with it and it will give me time to create a document of timers on the Tivos so I can set them up on YTTV.


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harshness

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If you only needed 1-3 simultaneous viewing rooms then YTTV would give a unified UI, a channel selection as good or better than many cable companies and would be cheaper overall.
Not it dismiss what YTTV does offer, but it certainly doesn't compare with the breadth of most cable company offerings. Most cable companies (except for the handful that are still analog) offer at least two times the channel count in terms of both locals and cable channels. Packaging is cost-hazardous to be sure but to assert that YTTV hits all the high spots is folly.
 

harshness

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To use AppleTV, do you need an Apple ID and use iTunes and the App Store and such as that? In other words, do you have to buy into the whole Apple scene?
With the advent of Apple TV+, you no longer need Apple hardware to get an Apple ID. I signed up a while back to preview Apple TV+ on a Roku.

I wish they had allowed this years ago when my Brother-in-Law was posting pictures on iCloud.
 

harshness

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It should be noted that even though the early Bolt DVRs have weak tuners, that wouldn’t be an issue in many locales.
If consumers weren't being bombarded by advertising of indoor antennas that can receive hundreds of free channels and 4K, I'd have an easier time buying into that argument.
 

lparsons21

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Not it dismiss what YTTV does offer, but it certainly doesn't compare with the breadth of most cable company offerings. Most cable companies (except for the handful that are still analog) offer at least two times the channel count in terms of both locals and cable channels. Packaging is cost-hazardous to be sure but to assert that YTTV hits all the high spots is folly.
Correct, none of the streamers offer as many channels as does cable. That said it really isn’t about channel counts as much as it is by the right mix of channels. And from so many articles that I lost count of them long ago, most people only watch a handful of channels.

And it should be noted that cable/sat pads the hell out of channel counts with their bazillion ‘music’ channels.



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lparsons21

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If consumers weren't being bombarded by advertising of indoor antennas that can receive hundreds of free channels and 4K, I'd have an easier time buying into that argument.
Well sure, marketing BS is in full bloom when it comes to antennas. Including the “HD” antenna which is exactly the same but at a higher price. You have to learn how to separate the BS from reality. I mean who the hell believes that a little indoor antenna has a 100 mile range?


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Bobby

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Well sure, marketing BS is in full bloom when it comes to antennas. Including the “HD” antenna which is exactly the same but at a higher price. You have to learn how to separate the BS from reality. I mean who the hell believes that a little indoor antenna has a 100 mile range?


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Or gets you 4K TV...
 

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