Questions on Cord Cutting (1 Viewer)

pmsmith2032

Thread Starter
Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Aug 6, 2013
25
0
Chicago, IL
I hoping to get some advice on cord cutting as I know little about the process and what is offered. We currently have DirecTV and I am tired of the constant price increases and haggling I have to do with them to get a decent price. This has become even worse since AT&T bought them. That being said, I'm hoping that "cutting the cord" might be a viable option for us. Here is a list of our current viewing preferences:

Local Sports: Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears and some Chicago Blackhawks
WGN America
FX
AMC
HISTORY
Local Stations
Disney
Nickelodeon
HBO (Game of Thrones)

Now I understand most streaming options won't be able to cover all of this, but I'm hoping to cover at least some (especially sports). We watch very little Live TV (except for big games). We have three TVs (all HD) in the house, all with DVRs. We currently have AT&T for internet (12 Mbps) but would love to be able to change that too.

So what are my options?
 

ErikaP@DISH

Active SatelliteGuys Member
May 19, 2015
15
1
Littleton
We'd love to have you join DISH! I'd recommend giving our Sales Department a call at 1-800-333-3474 so they can go over all your options with you about TV and Internet service.
 

Photog_7

SatelliteGuys Family
Mar 8, 2008
58
52
North Central Florida
...Here is a list of our current viewing preferences:
Local Sports: Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears and some Chicago Blackhawks
WGN America, FX, AMC, HISTORY, Local Stations, Disney, Nickelodeon, HBO (Game of Thrones)
So what are my options?

It's complicated. You don't give us some critical information such as what you are currently paying to DirecTV (including all their fees) to get that channel list, or what your budget allows to get it from someone else. The Internet streaming options are rapidly changing, and at least two new companies will become available in the next few months, but I don't think any of them offer everything you want, at least not without receiving programming from more than one method. It might cost you $35 to $75 plus some up-front costs. Or none of this may appeal to you. I suggest you do free trials for the services before dropping what you have now.
Realities for you to ponder:
1. Most cord-cutters (who are able to) pick up their local channels for free using an antenna, since many streaming services don't offer live streaming locals to the majority of Americans. Living in Chicago, you may be able to get all of the broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, and WGN) for free over the air using a $30 indoor antenna or an attic or roof-top antenna.
2. WGN is not currently available on SlingTV, Playstation Vue, DirecTV Now, or any other Internet streaming service so far as I know. Over-the-air might be your only option for WGN unless you get it by satellite of cable. CBS is not offered by Sling TV, Vue, or DirecTV Now, but CBS can be purchased separately directly from CBS.
3. Before you drop DirecTV or dismiss Dish Network, make sure you have investigated all of your options with them. Both DirecTV and Dish have sometimes offered "secret" low-cost packages that the reps won't usually mention unless you ask about them. Dish has the "Welcome Pack" for $20 that would give you all of your locals (maybe WGN is a local channel for you) and a few family-oriented extras that you might not get in a low-end streaming package. DirecTV may still offer a "Family" package like the one my sister subscribes to. When comparing prices on those two be sure to consider all the fees that DirecTV charges and Dish does not. You don't HAVE to sign up for a top-of the-line receiver with monthly DVR fees. For about $110 plus a one-time $30 DVR setup fee, you can buy a Dish receiver (the Wally) and external hard drive from Office Depot that will eliminate all monthly DVR fees, period. With the Dish Welcome Pack, it is actually possible to receive all your local networks, AXS, Comedy Central, CMT, Discovery Family, FETV, Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, History, MSNBC, MTV2, Oxygen, Sundance, TBS, TLC, WE, and the Weather Channel, for a TOTAL monthly cost of $19.99 plus tax, with NO DVR fees ever. And that's the regular price--not a promotion. And you get access to movie packages like HBO and others. Additional Dish receivers cost $7.00 per month, so your total bill with Dish for the Welcome Pack with three receivers would be $34 plus tax. I don't think DirecTV can come anywhere near that price. And those monthly fees that DirecTV and the cable companies charge usually make their offerings much more expensive than Dish. I'm not sure if Dish will sign up a new customer with the Welcome Pack, but it's worth asking.
4. Combining satellite with a streaming service may make sense for you if you don't want to (or can't) receive your locals for free over an antenna. If you pay $19.99 for your locals as described above, you can still combine that with a streaming service for the rest of what you need. Both Sling TV and Playstation Vue have plenty of sports options, Disney, and a DVR service available, but cost $40 a month for the channels you want, and Vue does not have Nickelodeon. DirecTV Now has a great $35 package with everything on your list, and live streaming locals from ABC, NBC, and Fox, but they have no DVR available and don't seem inclined to add one anytime soon. That means with DirecTV Now you pretty much have to watch all the commercials, although a few shows are available "on-demand".
So there you have it--or perhaps I should say there you don't have it. Nobody has everything you want in one tidy package for a super-low price. Dish and DirecTV make it really easy and convenient to get everything you want but charge a lot more than the streaming services. The streaming services offer some really low prices, but specific channels my not be available at a price lower than satellite. Combining a basic satellite package with an Internet streaming package can save you a considerable amount of money, but is a bit more of a hassle with regard to changing between the two services and DVR recording. It's a good idea to run this by your family before cutting the cord. You can sign up for these services for a free trial before disconnecting whatever you have now, and I suggest you try them all if you have the time and money. And of course getting free TV over an antenna is the cheapest of all options. Or reading a book.
 

navychop

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I suppose the first and biggest question is: Can you get the local sports you want via free OTA?

If not, that kind narrows down your options. Especially if those sports are absolute requirements.
 

Photog_7

SatelliteGuys Family
Mar 8, 2008
58
52
North Central Florida
I'm checking the site again to be sure, but DirecTV Now does have WGN America. It's on their $50.00 "Just Right" plan.

It must be a local thing based on your login zip code. I subscribe to DTVN's $60 "Go Big" plan (here in sunny Florida) and WGN is not in my channel list. I went to the DirecTV Now Channel Lookup screen and entered a Chicago zip code (60660) to check Chicago locals and Chicago sports availability, and it showed CSN Chicago would be included. But WGN doesn't show up for me in Florida on DirecTV Now's Package Comparison web channel list or in my actual channel list. Sorry if my WGN information was incorrect.
 

Photog_7

SatelliteGuys Family
Mar 8, 2008
58
52
North Central Florida
. . . We currently have AT&T for internet (12 Mbps) but would love to be able to change that too. . . .

If you are interested in replacing all your TV with a streaming box, it's always a good idea to check if your ISP (AT&T) has any monthly data caps in place. These vary by location and carrier, and sometimes according to your plan level (speed). So long as you have 250 GB per month or more, you'll probably be OK with Internet TV streaming, since you say that you don't watch that much TV. I stream a lot and have never used that much in a month, but I only stream on one TV at a time. If you are in the habit of shutting off the TV while your device is still streaming a channel, you can use more than 20GB in a single day, so always press "home" on your ROKU or whatever before turning off the TV. My monthly data cap with Cox Cable in Florida is 1 TB per month. My monthly cap in NC with Frontier is 350 GB per month.
 

Bodo Fenrirsson

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Jul 21, 2009
14,068
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Grovetown,GA
It must be a local thing based on your login zip code. I subscribe to DTVN's $60 "Go Big" plan (here in sunny Florida) and WGN is not in my channel list. I went to the DirecTV Now Channel Lookup screen and entered a Chicago zip code (60660) to check Chicago locals and Chicago sports availability, and it showed CSN Chicago would be included. But WGN doesn't show up for me in Florida on DirecTV Now's Package Comparison web channel list or in my actual channel list. Sorry if my WGN information was incorrect.
WGN America is a national channel separate from Chicago's local WGN channel. Ok, looking on their site, looks like they did dAmerica America.
 

Bodo Fenrirsson

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Jul 21, 2009
14,068
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Grovetown,GA
If you are looking for scheduled WGN America original programming though outside of sports, Hull &, oddly enough, Crackle carries some of those while they are still being broadcast on WGN America, along with Netflix after the respective seasons are over.
 

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