New/Updated review of the big 6 OTT options

msmith198025

Member of the Year
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Aug 28, 2007
30,880
10,919
mississippi
I like the breakdown comparison, but I do not agree with the end results.

My own rankings after trying them all are
1A: youtube tv (best UI, PQ on par with Vue, it offers all the locals for me, and unlimited DVR at a low price. Plus I think it has the best on the go experience)
1B: PS Vue (best PQ imo, dvr worked like I wanted, and above all it was rock solid reliable)
2: Directv Now (pq was good, channel selection was good. The main problem I had was it was glitchy)
3: Hulu (this is one I wanted to like, most of the channels I wanted are there, and it was pretty reliable, but the UI ruined it for me)
4: Sling (worst PQ imo, not a fan of the UI, and while the starting point is low, once I did get the channels that were available that I might want, the price was the highest, or tied for it)
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,874
2,919
Salem, OR
I find the labeling of these services as "apps" confounding.

People need to stop giving DIRECTV Now a pass on their DVR feature. It has been coming soon for quite a while now. Whether or not it works like it should and supports all the modern features competently is not assured.

It is unfortunate that the review didn't include comparisons of the guide format and data quality as some are reportedly lacking there.

Locals availability varies widely so they shouldn't have given everyone a "has locals". Getting network feeds and Big Four prime time programming is not the same as being able to watch your local news and events.

I'm disappointed that they don't rate the apps used to access these services because, as msmith198025 points out, they vary considerably from service to service and in the case of PS Vue, the interface is quite different if you happen to have a PS4.
 

stmcld

SatelliteGuys Master
Apr 24, 2008
7,092
2,392
Henderson KY
I have switched from Vue to DirecTV Now and so far my most recent experience with DTNOW has been a positive one. Yeah, I am looking forward to the DVR but with Playon and WatchAir Antenna, most of that is taken care of it would seem.

I did so because I decided to go with an Unlimited Plan with AT&T. $15 per month discount and free HBO. So, I should be good to go for now.

I really liked Vue, was reliable, good PQ, and the DVR was good too. I hesitated to switch because my first experience with DTNOW was not that great due to continual buffering issues. So far, so good.
 

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
4,182
937
Here and Now
As is usual in these "OTT live TV service comparison" articles, there's so much misleading and incomplete information. For starters, it vastly underrates the ability to fast-forward recorded programs, resulting in nonsensical opinions like "However, under most circumstances, DirecTV Now does what PlayStation Vue does but cheaper." And at times has no idea what it's talking about: "The [PS Vue] service includes a cloud DVR. They aren’t overly transparent on its limitations. However, it does lean heavily on the back-logged content we mentioned earlier, meaning it just gives you access to older episodes of shows rather than “recording” them." Um, for more than 20 months, when I added any show to My Shows to record upcoming episodes, it recorded every new episode. And if you go to Vue's FAQs, it's pretty transparent what limitations there are. (I never encountered a limit beyond the well-known 28-day window for recorded shows.) Speaking of limitations, the article fails to mention the inability to record on Disney-owned channels on Sling.
 

jcrandall

Proud Staff Member
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Apr 3, 2005
10,910
378
Central Michigan
I like the breakdown comparison, but I do not agree with the end results.

My own rankings after trying them all are
1A: youtube tv (best UI, PQ on par with Vue, it offers all the locals for me, and unlimited DVR at a low price. Plus I think it has the best on the go experience)
1B: PS Vue (best PQ imo, dvr worked like I wanted, and above all it was rock solid reliable)
2: Directv Now (pq was good, channel selection was good. The main problem I had was it was glitchy)
3: Hulu (this is one I wanted to like, most of the channels I wanted are there, and it was pretty reliable, but the UI ruined it for me)
4: Sling (worst PQ imo, not a fan of the UI, and while the starting point is low, once I did get the channels that were available that I might want, the price was the highest, or tied for it)

Pretty good assessment. I'll add my thoughts as I've been testing several. I will say I was disappointed with PS Vue's interface and DirecTV desperately needs DVR.
 

jcrandall

Proud Staff Member
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Apr 3, 2005
10,910
378
Central Michigan
Here are my thoughts / preference of order:

1 - YouTube TV - Awesome DVR capability, no limit, 9 months, good lineup for sports fans (which adding Turner and MLB/NBA), good picture, pretty consistent, good interface, does well on getting locals signed up (if not the best). Only down side, it's not in my area yet. I did a VPN to get a trial and check it out, but I don't want to formally signup depending on a VPN setup.
2- PS Vue - great lineup, great picture, DVR works but interface is wonky and not intuitive. Stability is great, UI needs polish, price is a little high.
3 - DirecTV Now - Interface is good, picture quality is good, but not as consistent as PS or Youtube, more frequent streaming errors / glitches. Desperately needs DVR, they've taken way too long to get this right. They're growing their user base by giving away hardware (got me in for Apple TV's last week), they won't keep them if they don't act fast.

Ones' I haven't tried but read about:
Hulu - Improving but still in beta as they work to get it right. Also seems to be aggressive on signing up locals like Google. They nickel and dime - $20 for more than 50 hours of DVR and more than 2 streams. $15 for one of those two features - seems like a lot on top of the $40.
Sling - Good interface and price - but they nicked and dime. $5 for DVR with limited hours, limited channel packages and weird stream limits on the Disney/ESPN, really weird with the limit 1.

I think Youtube TV has the most promise and feature base, and if they were in my area I'd chose them, but went with DirecTV now for the free Apple TV. We'll see in 3 months...
 
  • Like
Reactions: msmith198025

jcrandall

Proud Staff Member
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Apr 3, 2005
10,910
378
Central Michigan
I've moved to streaming only. I have DirecTV Now, prepaid 3 months for the free Apple TV, they tossed in HBO/Showtime when chatting about some concerns (and they have an aggressive price on HBO $5 and Showtime $8), just needs a good DVR setup.

Borrowing my dads login for Fox Sports Go, which is really the only thing I don't have in the DirecTV package without paying an extra $15. Add Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu (the kids love Hulu) and we've got pretty much everything.

I am using an OTA antenna with "Channels" which is a really nice interface DVR for $8/month that runs on my computer and stores to an External Hard Drive using a HDHomeRun OTA box. Total setup for that was $80 for the box and $40 for the apps ($25 on Apple TV and $15 for phone/ipads). It may be a while before the streaming services do a good job on having all 4-5 major locals, especially in my area, so I made this investment. Also felt better than paying for CBS Access to just go OTA.
 
  • Like
Reactions: msmith198025

JerryVolunteer

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 30, 2004
637
13
Memphis, TN
You Tube TV has been the best for me. It is the only service to have all of my locals and I have not had any buffering issues. They also have a great DVR.

I had previously been with Vue which I liked but recently the quality started going down.

I looked at all others but i had problems with each
 

efbrune

SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 23, 2004
184
4
Indianapolis
You Tube TV has been the best for me. It is the only service to have all of my locals and I have not had any buffering issues. They also have a great DVR.

I had previously been with Vue which I liked but recently the quality started going down.

I looked at all others but i had problems with each

What streaming device are you using?
 

jcrandall

Proud Staff Member
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Apr 3, 2005
10,910
378
Central Michigan
I ended up changing my mind and signed up for YouTube TV. The DVR is awesome and until DirecTV gets theirs ready to go I just can't get used to not having DVR. I mostly watch sports and Youtube has a great mix of sports channels, and has enough to keep my wife and kids happy.

Kinda stinks that I'm paying for both for 3 months, but really DirecTV can be looked at as a way to get a $105 Apple TV 4k, so no hard feelings there.

The new ability to switch user accounts makes it great.
 
  • Like
Reactions: msmith198025

msmith198025

Member of the Year
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Aug 28, 2007
30,880
10,919
mississippi
So you are gonna deal with using a VPN?

I got in on a glitch. YouTube tv isn't available in my dma, but it is on two next to me. When I was checking one day my location put me in one of them so I signed up.

It happens often enough that the requirement that you sign in in the "home" location happens, so it keeps moving back the 3 month requirement.

So even if you do the VPN, you shouldn't have to do it often.
 

spencer7779

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 20, 2015
237
62
central florida
Doing my second device offer for Direc tv now (Fire 4k with one month paid), haven't seen much improvement since launch . Although I'm getting 720p 60fps, the picture is extremely shaky. On demand is still way behind .Vue is the best Imo, but out of my price range. Settled on Spectrum choice a la carte.
 

jcrandall

Proud Staff Member
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Apr 3, 2005
10,910
378
Central Michigan
So you are gonna deal with using a VPN?

I got in on a glitch. YouTube tv isn't available in my dma, but it is on two next to me. When I was checking one day my location put me in one of them so I signed up.

It happens often enough that the requirement that you sign in in the "home" location happens, so it keeps moving back the 3 month requirement.

So even if you do the VPN, you shouldn't have to do it often.

I read that it should be ok if I connect from each user account every 3 months or so, not even every device. Does that match your experience?
My TVs are showing the locals despite location, even live. Mobile devices and PC do not, they show the recordings but on demand only as out of market.

I didn't need VPN to setup, was able to do it with location spoofing, I think a quarterly login that way should suffice, but we'll see. Ideally they'll launch my market and I can just have them switch it, this to me is much more of a temporary solution versus the old days of "moving" on satellite.
 
  • Like
Reactions: msmith198025

msmith198025

Member of the Year
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Aug 28, 2007
30,880
10,919
mississippi
Yeah that pretty much matches what I see.

And I haven't even had to go to that dma. Eery time I log into my home devices it resets the date. Maybe that's where my ip at home puts me with them. Idk. It doesn't if I try to sign up with a new email address, but it does when I watch.
 

jcrandall

Proud Staff Member
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Apr 3, 2005
10,910
378
Central Michigan
Maybe they build a bit of a buffer to their lines for those that live on the line so to speak. In some cases just a zip code isn't accurate enough, and some ISPs are pretty liberal with the IP.
 

spencer7779

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 20, 2015
237
62
central florida
I like the breakdown comparison, but I do not agree with the end results.

My own rankings after trying them all are
1A: youtube tv (best UI, PQ on par with Vue, it offers all the locals for me, and unlimited DVR at a low price. Plus I think it has the best on the go experience)
1B: PS Vue (best PQ imo, dvr worked like I wanted, and above all it was rock solid reliable)
2: Directv Now (pq was good, channel selection was good. The main problem I had was it was glitchy)
3: Hulu (this is one I wanted to like, most of the channels I wanted are there, and it was pretty reliable, but the UI ruined it for me)
4: Sling (worst PQ imo, not a fan of the UI, and while the starting point is low, once I did get the channels that were available that I might want, the price was the highest, or tied for it)

Pretty much spot on
1a Vue if you want Discovery, Scripts and have Fire tv devices
1b YouTube tv if you don't
2 Hulu best back catalogue $15 for a real dvr.
3 Direc tv now if you only watch live
4 Sling if you only watch live and want cheap.
 
  • Like
Reactions: msmith198025

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 0, Members: 0, Guests: 0)

Top